WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE GOING TO CRETE?
1. WHEN TO TRAVEL?
The worst time to visit Crete is the start of June, because at this time Greek students go on educational trips around their country and besides buzzing around the most popular sightseeing spots on the island, they don’t show much interest in the acquired knowledge and unfortunately disturbs others.
In July and August, air temperatures in Crete increase up to an average thirty degrees, especially when the island is reached by sirocco - a hot wind from the Sahara; so if someone does not mind the heat, but also the hustle and bustle, because the middle of summer is the peak of the tourist season, can boldly book travelling dates. Be aware that in August strong, winds called meltemi can blow on Crete and they are even able to turn over the sunbeds!
September is the perfect month for sunbathing and swimming, because the water in the sea is very warm, and the temperatures are not that high anymore, while the nights are still warm.
The later autumn, the more rain, the colder evenings, but also the lower prices and the less tourists. If, therefore, you are setting out to explore Crete almost exclusively for little money, you should choose the period from November to March. Unfortunately, sunbathing in these months is practically impossible, and bathing in the sea is excluded due to high waves and gusty winds.
2. HOW TO GET TO CRETE?
The easiest way to get to Crete is of course by plane. Depending on the place of residence, it is worth observing flights of low-cost airlines such as Ryanair, WizzAir and EasyJet. It happens that tickets cost less than 20 euro one way with hand luggage. I also recommend checking offers of travel agencies, where you can buy not only an organized trip, but also only the flights. There are two airports in Crete: near Chania and Heraklion; from both you can get directly to the city by bus for about 2.50 euros or by taxi for around 15 euros.
However, the plane is not the only way - you can also take a ferry to Crete from mainland Greece. Prices differ from the line and class, and seats are usually not numbered, so even in the higher class it is possible not to get one, which means standing the whole journey, if you are too late.
3. HOW TO TRAVEL AROUND CRETE?
The easiest way to travel around Crete is by a rented car, for which you have to pay about 30 euros per day. It is worth renting a car with stronger engine, because the roads in Crete are winding and often lead uphill. In order to get to the most interesting beaches, you have to enter the gravel road and unfortunately, usually the insurance does not cover the repair of a tire punctured on such surface, so you have to be careful. You can rent a scooter for around 15-20 euros - helmets are mandatory!
There is no railway on the island, public transport is buses only. There is no problem with connections between larger cities, especially in the northern part of Crete, but to less popular places buses sometimes run only once a day and during the working week, so it is worth checking the timetable before the trip.
Hitchhiking in Crete practically does not exist, it is unlikely that the drivers will take tourists catching the ride, and it may happen that after the lift they will demand payment.
4. WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED?
Greece belongs to the Schengen zone, that's why EU-citizens will only need to have identity card on them and, of course, a driving license if they plan to rent a car or scooter. It is worth having a copy of the documents hidden in a different place than the original - preferably with you, in case of theft or loss of luggage.
5. WHERE TO SLEEP?
The standard of Cretan hotels is expressed in letters, not stars and it looks like this: A = 4 stars, B = 3 stars, C = 2 stars, D/E = 1 star, L = de luxe.
The most profitable is to rent villas as a larger group, preferably for a minimum of a week - then even in the season the price can be very low.
In addition to traditional accommodation search engines, I also recommend using the website: www.grhotels.gr.
6. WHAT TO EAT?
Greek cuisine is a typical Mediterranean cuisine, full of fresh vegetables, herbs, olive oil and seafood. Snails and juicy fruits such as watermelons and oranges are also popular, while tomatoes, aubergines and okras are dominating vegetables on the island..
The Cretans don’t eat red meat, because cattle is not raised there. The production of cheese is also negligible, which is why the famous feta cheese is usually imported and normally not eaten by the natives.
It is worth paying attention to the Cretan herbs, the variety of which is very impressive. On the island grows, among others: rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, lemon balm, periwinkle, calendula, burdock, mistletoe and nettle.
7. WHAT TO DO?
In Crete, you can easily indulge in blissful laziness (you can read about the most beautiful beaches HERE), or organize an active rest and not be bored a single day. Popular sports available for tourists include diving, sailing, rafting, mountain climbing, canoeing and golf.