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Crete . . . the "Little Continent"

Church on Island

Between Heaven and the earth lies the island where the essence is happiness and where the land and people both are at one with the place. Here is an innocence and ancient wisdom. Here is a handshake and a kiss, which lets you into the heart and where the mind is second. Here language of the voice means nothing compared to the language of the heart. This is the Island where music is in the very air and welcome is an open gesture to the stranger with a courtesy never learned in artificial ways, but coming as naturally as breathing. This is surely a blessed island, this island of Crete.

Italos, sheppardCrete is famous in Greek Mythology for being the birthplace of Zeus and from where Paedalus and Icarus flew to escape King Minos. The famous Minoan palaces at Knossos and Phaestos should not be missed and the splendid Venetian harbor at Chania is traditionally the most pleasant place on the island to sit with a drink and watch the world go by. Be sure to look up at the buildings, for you are surrounded by exquisite Venetian and Turkish architecture.

OrangesCrete is the 5th largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and is the largest island in Greece. It lies southwest of the mainland. Its length is 160 miles from east to west and its peaks exceed 7500 ft in height. A mountainous island, it lies south of the Aegean Sea - the link between Europe, Asia and Africa. The high snow capped mountains are a characteristic of the Cretan landscape. They form 4 mountain ranges, each very distinct. From the west (Chania area) are the White Mountains known as Lefko Ori, followed by Mt. Ida, which is the highest mountain and to the east are the Khikti and Siia ranges. Between the ranges lie semi mountainous zones, which cover the greater part of the island. These mountains gifted Crete with fertile plains and plateaus.
The island has a long history that goes back to Neolithic times. It is however known for the Minoan civilization that flourished from 2600 to 1100 BC. The island is abundant with relics of this period, the most famous being the palaces at Knossos and Faistos.

Crete is divided info four prefectures or areas: Chaina, Rethymno, Heraklion and Lasithi. The capital of the island is the city of Heraklion located on the east side of the island. The island has two distinct halves. The east, which consists of Heraklion and Lasithi, is busier and in my opinion has lost its charm. The western side is more traditional and should be your holiday adventure destination. It is still relatively uncommercialized and authentic. Just waiting to be explored! This part of Crete boasts some of the islands best beaches especially the coast just west on Chania (where you will find Pavlakis Beach Apartments) which is a 15 km stretch of sandy beach.

Inland and virtually untouched by tourism, rural life continues at the same slow pace as it has for centuries and if you venture off the beaten track, you will undoubtedly be rewarded with breathtakingly fabulous scenery and a very friendly welcome at every roadside taverna.

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