Why Crete

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Crete is truly a magical place. It is an island full of variety, rich in history, full of contrasts and stunning beauty. One look at its majestic mountains and deep blue sea and its apparent why the ancients attributed the island to the birthplace of Zeus, king of the gods. Nikos Kazantakis, the re-known Cretan author said it well in his novel “Report to Greco”:

“Crete’s mystery is extremely deep. Whoever sets foot on this island senses a mysterious force branching warmly and beneficently through his veins…senses his soul begins to grow.”

Indeed anyone who steps foot on our island will experience something unusual, something wonderful and distinct. Is it because the island houses the remains of the 4,000 year old Minoan empire, one of the most developed empires of the ancient world? Or because Crete is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean, the southernmost part of Greece and one of the last frontiers of Europe? Perhaps, but there is still so much more.

The exotic island separates the Aegean and Libyan seas. Crete is flush with fertile plateaus and valleys split by deep ravines and full of breathtaking sandy beaches that pepper its coasts. We love Crete so much that we came up with a list of ten things that we would want from a place if we were buyers. We honestly believe that there is no place in the world like Crete and we hope that our genuine convictions are persuasive. While the island of Crete is magnificent in its entirety we believe that the western part of the island, the prefecture of Chania, has the best the island has to offer. This is where we have chosen to build our homes.

Crete is simply Crete, a name with no origins and unknown meaning, a place where your imagination can make life whatever you want it to be. Come step back in time with us. Because our list below isn’t comprehensive we invite you to enjoy our blog which follows the life an expat couple and their authentic experiences of the island. If you enjoyed the video please feel free to watch the full version below.

If you have any questions at all please feel free to send us a QUICK MESSAGE or CONTACT US. We are happily available for you.

NICK DASKALAKIS,

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


10 Reasons We Love Crete. (Things that we would think about if we were buyers…)

1.

DIET. Crete has incredible food. Because the island is abundant in natural spring water and totally self sufficient in its agricultural produce farm fresh unadulterated daily produce is easy to buy and affordable. Fresh seafood is also abundant. Dairy products are important to the local economy and there are a number of local specialty cheeses such as mizithra, anthotyros, and kefalotyri. The Cretan diet is regarded around the world as one of the healthiest and at one time before the diet became somewhat more westernized, people living in Crete had the longest life expectancy in the entire world. The premature death rate from heart attack for Greek men was 90 percent lower than that of American men. We don’t only love Cretan food for the quality of the food alone. Dining is an experience to be savored with friends, one of life’s simple pleasures, and Cretan’s believe in savoring meals. We love that.

2.

PEOPLE. Beautiful and inspiring people. It doesn’t take long before you realize, like every invader eventually did, that there is something different about the people of Crete. Every occupier of Crete, from the Venetians to the Ottomans to the Axis during the second world war have been impressed by the Cretan fighting spirit and willingness to endure unbelievable hardship in order to defend what they cherish most; freedom and honor. Cretans are fiercely proud of their island and customs and value a strong family unit. These are the real Greeks. The Cretans are a hard working and generous people that will give the shirt off their backs to help a friend. At my wedding I was embraced by strangers as a son. Crete enjoys the lowest unemployment rate in the country, little crime and is home to the world recognized University of Crete, all testaments to the Cretan spirit.

3.

CULTURE. Crete is sophisticated and cultured. Beyond the glistening lights of the abundant luxury hotels and fine restaurants, Crete has countless niche bars and pubs, lavish seaside clubs, and chic shopping. If you want a taste of tradition you can stroll through one the labyrinthian venetian stone walkways letting the distant hum of festival dance guide you. World renown artists perform concerts throughout the year. Enjoy one under the stars on a balmy summer’s eve. Enjoy a sunset sipping a coffee or wine from a hillside café, or wet your palate with some fresh seafood and an earthy salad with sun kissed skin and your hair down after a day at the beach.

4.

CLIMATE. Weather. Crete has some of the best weather in Greece. Summers are hot and dry and winters are mild which helps explain why bananas were grown on the island until recently when the restrictions on the import of bananas to Greece were lifted. No June gloom on these beaches, from May through September summer is kicked into gear. Because the mountains which are as much as 2,456 meters or 8,058 ft tall form a north-south barrier the weather can be highly localized. A windy day at one beach can be contrasted with not a breath of wind on another which isn’t always possible on other islands. The eastern and southern parts of Crete are generally warmer and drier then the western and northern coasts. During the winter it is not unusual to have a beautiful day strolling along the beach and spend the evening at a snowed in mountain village taverna by an open fire. As cliché as it sounds you can enjoy the seasons on Crete and we love that.

5.

HISTORY. Incredible cultural heritage. Crete was the centre of the Minoan civilization (c. 2700–1420 BC), the earliest “high culture” civilization in Europe. The Minoan Civilization was incredibly advanced. Much of the palace of Knossos which was one of the first palaces in Europe, featured running water, beautiful porticoes with beautiful murals and a lavash throne room all still largely preserved. On Crete’s shores the apostle Paul was shipwrecked. Venetian castles and Byzantine monasteries pepper its landscape. Cretan authors have made important contributions to Greek Literature throughout the modern period; major names include Vikentios Kornaros and in the 20th century Nikos Kazantzakis. In the Renaissance, Crete was the home of the Cretan School of icon painting, which influenced El Greco and through him subsequent European painting. Just as the island has inspired hundreds of generations we love how it has inspired us.

6.

ACTIVITIES. Activities for everyone. Crete is in fact much more like a small continent then an island. From playing a round of gold on the PGA designed 18 hole golf course to sailing/windsurfing/kite surfing and other watersports to hiking, bungee jumping, snorkeling, go-karting or mini golfing, cycling, shopping, dining, gardening, clubbing or camping to attending the theater, visiting a museum, watching a movie at an outdoor cinema under the stars Crete has by far the most diverse set of activities of any island in the country. It is worth mentioning that Crete is the 4th most important economic region in the country which gives it a year round vibrancy. We love that it is pretty hard to get bored on Crete unless of course that is what you would love to do!

7.

CONVENIENCE. Crete has two international airports with direct chartered flights from numerous cities around Europe, including the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Israel, Italy, Norway, Sweden and many more. Crete features a cross island highway and several ports that service high speed ships and ferries. You can step on a flight in London and be in Crete within 4 hours. Crete is also a hub to the rest of the Greek islands. The high speed ferry from Crete to Santorini is a convenient 1:45 minute ride. It is also easy to explore mainland Greece from Crete. Often people only consider proximity when gauging convenience but it is worth noting that the education level of Crete is very high having been built on the foundation of the University of Crete which is world reknown. With such a high literacy rate over 70% of the population speak fluent English and the majority of the television programs and movies are televised in English. The convenience of communication is great.

8.

SIZE. Size and diversity. Crete is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean with an east-west width of 257km (160 miles) and a maximum north-south axis of 60km (37 miles). The island has three mountain ranges that make it feel even bigger. There are several benefits to the size. One is the natural diversity to explore. There are caves, beaches, villages, world renown canyons, fresh water rivers, flowery fields, lonely taverns. The island of Crete supports a diverse ecosystem with many rare or even endangered species. Chania Prefecture has the largest amount of fresh water in Crete (65%) and is rich in plants and fruitful trees as well as semi-tropical plants. It feels like an island but is big enough to make you forget. Another big advantage of size is the islands ability to absorb tourism. Despite its popularity you can still “get away” and the island hasn’t lost its values.

9.

DEVELOPED. Developed healthcare system. Often overlooked by people looking to buy a second home or relocate or retire in a foreign country is the quality and availability of healthcare. Crete has 6 major hospitals, some of which have recognized in Europe for their quality and one of which was completed as recently as the year 2000. Many foreigners note that the cleanliness, modernity and service given by Cretan dentists, doctors as well as the emergency treatment exceed the quality available to them in their home countries. British and other EU nationals are entitled to free medical services under reciprocal health care agreements. If you have private health insurance there are a number of private clinics that offer a high standard of healthcare as well. We love that regardless of your health or age Crete can accommodate your needs.

10.

LIFESTYLE. The pace of life. It is hard to know why time feels so different here, whether it stems from the majestic beauty of the island and the vibrant sunsets and the brilliance of the night sky, or from the people and their sense of values, but life feels more in touch. The gentle hum of the tzitzikia (crickets) in the cool of evening, the persistent lapping of waves upon the shore, nature is a relentless timekeeper, urging you to stop and take another breathe of flowery air. Regardless of your religious inclinations there is something about this island that moves you beyond yourself. Its almost as though the rich soil is bursting with stories and songs of the hundreds upon hundreds of generations of peoples that have lived upon it. We love how this island makes you feel like you are a part of something bigger, and we hope some day you share it with us.


Please enjoy the full featured video “Chania: Crossroad of Civilizations” below courtesy of the Prefectural Committee for Tourism Promotion of Chania and Indigoview Productions.