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Destination:

Crete

Crete

Crete, the largest Greek island, is washed by the waters of the eastern Mediterranean, and so enjoys a mild climate. An island where Myth meets History, where the age-old Cretan culture has its roots in the long-ago, where the sea meets the mountains and unspoiled nature coexists with modern tourist infrastructure. Crete has a thousand faces: one for each and every sort of traveller: the naturalist, the explorer, the cosmopolitan, the lover of history and culture. The list is long and all-encompassing!
Departures
Landvetter - Crete
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Timetable
The Old Town of Chania

The old town of Chania embodies the long history of the city; in the picturesque alleys, visitors can see the marks left by every civilization that has settled here for a period of time in the past. Venetian, Ottoman, Neoclassical monuments and architectural elements, old neighbourhoods, historical sites and a lot of local colour characterize the old town of Chania, which is justly called by some “Venice of the East”. It used to be surrounded by walls, however only parts of them survive today. It extends inland from the Venetian port and it includes the districts of Topanas, Splantzia, Kasteli, Santrivani and the Jewish quarter. The old town of Chania, full of different sounds and colours, figures in every visitor’s photographs. The Venetian and Turkish monuments, the neoclassical buildings, the narrow alleys with balconies full of flowers, the traditional knife shops and Cretan boot shops, the promenade along the Venetian port, the lively restaurants and cafes, all make up a vivid picture of a historical city that remembers the past and celebrates the present. In front of the city, there is the Venetian port of Chania, including the Venetian lighthouse, is one of the symbols of the city and a favourite walking area for locals and visitors alike.

The Minoan Palace of Knossos

Knossos, the largest and most brilliant centre of the Minoan civilization, is located 5 kilometres south of the historical centre of the city of Heraklion. In the labyrinthine arrangement of corridors and rooms of the palace complex, many scholars have visualised the famous Minoan “Labyrinth”. Such a notion of the existence of a labyrinth may be only a mythological remembrance of a great civilization, however one could say that it really does correspond to the architectural structure which can be seen today in Knossos. Twisting corridors and stairwells which used to connect as many as five storeys, create a truly labyrinthine complex. There, visitors can admire important architectural innovations, such as water supply systems and sewer networks, shafts for the lighting and ventilation of the lower levels of the palace complex, and rooms equipped with baths and sanitary facilities that almost match modern constructions in ingenuity and function. It is believed that the first palace complex of Knossos was probably built in the 19th century BC and was destroyed in the 17th century BC. It was later rebuilt (16th century BC) in a remarkable, functional way, as one can ascertain by seeing the surviving ruins. In the mid 15th century BC, Knossos is believed to have reached its acme, which lasted until approximately 1450 BC; then, an extensive natural disaster occurred, probably due to an eruption of the volcano of Santorini(known as the “Thera eruption”).

Address
Knosos, Heraklion, Crete
Climate

Crete has an average of 300 days of sunshine a year – one of the best climates in Europe. Generally and for the greater part of the island there exists a temperate Mediterranean climate, although the winter sees snow on the mountains. Broadly speaking, the winter in Crete is relatively mild, spring, autumn and summer are sunny and warm, even hot. The rainfall is concentrated from autumn until spring, highest at the west of the island, lessening as one goes east. The prevailing winds are westerly; in the summer, a wind from the north, the "meltemi", can bring a much appreciated coolness – and ideal conditions for surfing. Further, in the summer (and winter ones too), the Livas (a southerly wind from the African continent) can bring hotter blasts – and sand!

How to get to Crete

Crete is connected with the rest of Greece by air (Aegean, Olympic Air, Skyexpress, Minoan Air) and by boat (Minoan Lines, Anek Lines, Superfast, Hellenic Seaways etc). The island has two international airports (Heraklion, Chania) and a national one at Sitia (Astra Airlines) with connections to other transport hubs in Greece. Chania airport is 12 km from the city of Chania and 68 km from the town of Rethymnon. The airport of Heraklion is but 5 km from the city of Heraklion and 65 km from Agios Nikolaos. Similarly, the two major ports of the island are also in Chania and Heraklion, with four smaller: Kissamos, Rethymnon, Agios Nikolaos and Siteia. In the summer (say between Easter and late October) there are frequent flights between Crete and numerous centres inside and outside Europe. For economic travel, visit the Ryanair (to Chania) and Easyjet (Heraklion) websites. Or search on-line for other charter companies too. Within Greece, and in addition to Aegean Airlines and Olympic Airways, take a look at the timetables and routes of Skyexpress and Minoan Air. Whatever you choose, remember that an early booking can bring substantial reductions in the costs.