Crete is the largest island in Greece and fifth largest island in the Mediterranean. Four mountain ranges run across the island from west to east. Fertile plateaus are common with climate and condition that suits the cultivation of olives, oranges and more. The island is divided into four administrative regions.
The first people came to Crete 6000 BC, a few other historical changing points:
- 1900 BC the Minoans built their first palace.
- 1450 BC the Minoan culture disappeared and the Mycenaeans took control of the island.
- 1100 BC the Dorians conquered Crete succeeded by the Romans, Arabs, Byzantines and Venetians.
- 1645 the Ottoman Empire conquered the island
- 1898 Crete became independent and was included in Greece in 1913.
- 1941-1945 Germans occupied Crete, but throughout the occupation, the Cretan resistance took actions and was severely punished
The majority of the tourism on the island is along the northern coast, which means that the southern coast has a slower pace and often a more genuine character. In some areas in southeast Crete, you will find a lot of greenhouses. The temperature rarely goes below 12 degrees, the area has the most hours of sunshine and lowest rainfall in Greece. That provides favourable conditions for greenhouse cultivation of fruits and vegetable all year round.
Between the mountains of Lassithi and Thripti the island is at its narrowest, and on the south coast, you find Ierapetra, also called “The bride of the Libyan Sea”, which is the only town on the south coast of Crete. It is a good starting point for visiting the area and experience the beautiful, picturesque villages, situated along the coast and in the mountains. Places to visit are for example Minoan settlements and palaces, plateaus, monasteries, towns such as Aghios Nikolaos and Sitia, gorges, Chrissi Island.
And everywhere you will experience the well-known Cretan hospitality!
Ierapetra is the fourth largest city in Crete and Europe’s southernmost city. The area has a very special climate that makes it possible to grow fruit and vegetables all year round in greenhouses.
Every Saturday there is a street market where farmers and others are selling their own products such as vegetables, cheese, honey, fruit, sausages. There are also items like fabrics, flowers, clothes.
In the city centre, there are plenty of shops ready to please your shopping desire. Maybe you prefer a relaxing break in a café with coffee and a sweet, traditional cake while enjoying the street life? Kafenion is the most traditional cafes where besides coffee is often served raki or ouzo with meze (appetisers).
There are many nice hotels and apartments at good prices and with a family atmosphere.
At the long boardwalk, you will find a variety of taverns, shops, cafes, bars.
Along the coast and in Ierapetra there are several sandy beaches that each year receives the “Blue Flag”. There are beaches for everyone’s taste: from Long Beach in Koutsounari which is 5 km long (Crete’s longest beach) to small bays. In Ierapetra, there are various water activities such as diving, water skiing, pedal boats, windsurfing. During the tourist season, there are boats going daily to the island of Chrissi.
The museum in Ierapetra was formerly an Ottoman school and today it houses an archaeological collection. The fishing port and the medieval fort is situated next to each other near the old town. In the winding alleys of the old town, you will find Napoleon’s house where he stayed overnight in 1798 and the mosque with minaret and fountain.