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Introduction to Crete

Falararna, Crete

barbounia in Chania central market

The Island of Crete

Sometimes people send me their desired itineraries to Greece for comment and suggestions. Many times along with their 3 days in Mykonos and two days in Santorini they want to do 2 days in Crete. My advise to them is to forget it. Unless they have at least a week to spend on Crete, I tell them to go elsewhere. Crete is simply too big and too multi-dimensional to breeze in and out of for a couple days. It would be like stopping in New York for a couple hours. What's the point if all you will see is Times Square? That being said, you could still go to Crete if you don't have a full week, just don't plan to see the whole island. If you just tell yourself that this is the first visit to a place that you will return to, then start with Chania this trip. You can treat it as the first date of a long relationship.

There is lots to see on Crete. While the mountain villages and coastal towns on the Eastern and Western tips of the island have retained their traditions and their beauty, towns like Malia, and many of the beach towns in Northern Crete are centers of British package tourism and gigantic hotels owned by international travel cartels who have turned much of Crete into Nassau with Mousaka. Not to discourage those who are looking for a Club-Med style vacation. If that's what you want, it is certainly here in quantity and in quality and two days in Crete is fine, though you might as well have spent the time on whatever island resort you just came from since it was probably not much different from what you will find in Crete.

But I have come to praise Crete, not to discourage those travelers who come to Greece looking for the real thing. Crete is spectacular and if you take the time to get to know it, you will probably return.  Crete is full of foreigners who came for a visit, some on package tours, and ended up returning year after year and eventually buying a house and living here permanently. My focus is on Chania so after you have read my Quick Tour of Crete which is just a sort of overview of the entire island, go right to the Chania pages for the real meat of this website. If you have a week or so Crete is one of the best places in the world to spend it. If you have two weeks or more it is even better.

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