Welcome to Crete!
Reasons to Invest
1. Investment prospects for the island of Crete are excellent.
2. Greek building regulations are strict, so the island will not suffer from over-development.
3. Crete has a mild climate with short winters.
4. The countryside is magnificent and is an idyllic spot for walking and exploring.
5. Crete boasts some of the best beaches in the world.
6. The locals are friendly and proud of their traditions.
7. Crete has a rich cultural and architectural heritage.
8. The island offers peace, tranquillity and has a very low crime rate.
9. Ideal for retirement as the costs of living are low.
10. A wide selection of properties that are ideal for investments, holidays or retirement.
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, and the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, and Corsica.
Crete forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local cultural traits (such as its own poetry and music). It was once the center of the Minoan civilization (c. 2700–1420 BC), which is currently regarded as the earliest recorded civilization in Europe.
Crete straddles two climatic zones, the Mediterranean and the North African, mainly falling within the former. As such, the climate in Crete is primarily Mediterranean. The atmosphere can be humid, depending on the proximity to the sea, while winter is fairly mild. Snowfall is common on the mountains between December and April, but rare in the low lying areas. During the Cretan summer, average temperatures reach the high 20s-low 30s Celsius (mid 80s to mid 90s Fahrenheit), with maxima touching the upper 30s-mid 40s. The south coast falls in the North African climatic zone, and thus enjoys significantly more sunny days and high temperatures throughout the year.
The economy of Crete is predominantly based on services and tourism. However, agriculture also plays an important role and Crete is one of the few Greek islands that can support itself independently without a tourism industry. The economy began to change visibly during the 1970s as tourism gained in importance. Although an emphasis remains on agriculture and stock breeding, because of the climate and terrain of the island, there has been a drop in manufacturing and an observable expansion in its service industries (mainly tourism-related). All three sectors of the Cretan economy (agriculture/farming, processing-packaging, services), are directly connected and interdependent. The island has a per capita income much higher than the Greek average.
Holiday homes and immigration
Crete's mild climate and culture attracts interest from northern Europeans who want a holiday home or residence on the island. EU and Non EU citizens have the right to freely buy property and reside with little formality. A growing number of real estate companies cater to mainly British immigrants, followed by German, French, Scandinavian and other European nationalities wishing to own a home in Crete.
Crete is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Greece. The island's tourism infrastructure caters to all tastes, including a very wide range of accommodation; the island's facilities take in large luxury hotels with their complete facilities, swimming pools, sports and recreation, smaller family-owned apartments, camping facilities and others. Visitors reach the island via two international airports in Heraklion and Chania and a smaller airport in Sitia or by boat to the main ports of Heraklion, Chania, Rethimno, Agios Nikolaos and Sitia.
Popular tourist attractions include the archaeological sites of the Minoan civilisation, the Venetian old city and port of Chania, the Venetian castle at Rethymno, the gorge of Samaria, the islands of Chrysi, Elafonisi, Gramvousa, and Spinalonga and the Palm Beach of Vai, which is the largest natural palm forest in Europe.
Archaeological sites and museums
There is a large number of archaeological sites which include the Minoan sites of Knossos and Phaistos, the classical site of Gortys, and the diverse archaeology of the island of Koufonisi which includes Minoan, Roman, and World War II ruins.
There are a number of museums throughout Crete. The Heraklion Archaeological Museum displays most of the archaeological finds of the Minoan era and was reopened in 2014.
The island has three significant airports, Nikos Kazantzakis at Heraklion, the Daskalogiannis airport at Chania and a smaller one in Sitia. The first two serve international routes, acting as the main gateways to the island for travellers. There is a long-standing plan to replace Heraklion airport with a completely new airport at Kastelli, where there is presently an air force base. The island is well served by ferries, mostly from Athens.
The island has an elongated shape: it spans 260 km (160 mi) from east to west, is 60 km (37 mi) at its widest point, and narrows to as little as 12 km (7.5 mi) (close to Ierapetra). Crete covers an area of 8,336 km2 (3,219 sq mi), with a coastline of 1,046 km (650 mi); to the north, it broaches the Sea of Crete (Greek: Κρητικό Πέλαγος); to the south, the Libyan Sea (Greek: Λιβυκό Πέλαγος); in the west, the Myrtoan Sea, and toward the east the Carpathian Sea. It lies approximately 160 km (99 mi) south of the Greek mainland.
Mountains and valleys
Crete is mountainous, and its character is defined by a high mountain range crossing from west to east, formed by three different groups of mountains:
• The White Mountains or Lefka Ori 2,452 m (8,045 ft)
• The Idi Range (Psiloritis 2,456 m (8,058 ft)
• Kedros 1,777 m (5,830 ft)
• The Dikti Mountains 2,148 m (7,047 ft)
• Thripti 1,489 m (4,885 ft)
Gorges, rivers and lakes
The island has a number of gorges, such as the Samariá Gorge, Imbros Gorge, Kourtaliotiko Gorge, Ha Gorge, Platania gorge, the Gorge of the Dead (at Kato Zakros, Sitia) and Richtis Gorge and waterfall at Exo Mouliana in Sitia.
The rivers of Crete include the Geropotamos River, the Koiliaris, the Anapodiaris, the Almiros, the Giofyros, and Megas Potamos. There are only two freshwater lakes: Lake Kournas and Lake Agia, which are both in Chania regional unit. Lakes that created by dams also exist in Crete.