Explore Cretan

Nature

Awesome Landscapes

You'll find a variety of awesome landscapes in Crete, all within easy reach of each other

Outdoor Activities | Hiking | Caving

10 Places in Crete home to

Cretan Date Palm

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Hiking

The E4 Trail

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Hiking

Samaria Gorge

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Nothing is repeated in Crete. Enormous geological contradictions and special weather conditions have formed unique landscapes, surprising the visitors and keeping senses constantly alert.

Each route in Crete is unique. Variant sensations, pictures, colors, flavors, sounds accompany visitors at every step. 

One can encounter emerald beaches, scrublands, sand dunes, rocky summits, steep slopes, alpine zones, verdant mountains, deep gorges, dry lands, gurgling rivers, scenic ponds, Mediterranean woods, wetlands, fertile meadows, vineyards and olive groves, while the same contrasts are met below sea surface.

Those contradictions favor the development of different ecosystems, significantly increasing the biodiversity of the island.

Beaches
From the dunes of Lafonissi and Xerokambos to the tropical shores of Kedrodasos and Chrissi, from the hidden beaches in the wild gorges of Sfakia and Asteroussia to the emerald bays of Triopetra and Plakias, from Balos and Elounda lagoons to the palm groves of Preveli and Vai, from piney beaches of Ierapetra to the long organized strands of the northern coasts, Crete offers the ultimate combination of carefree holidays and natural beauty, which can be finely reflected on its...
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Gorges
For millions of years, the geological upheavals are reflected strongly in the intense relief of the island. While mountains rose, the river water continued its corrosional route through the limestone terrain, forming today's "land of gorges", Crete. With more than 400 canyons, Crete hosts the largest number of gorges in Greece. Many travel agencies offer packages for gorge trekking and there is are several hiking and mountaineering clubs based in Heraklion, Chania, Rethymnon, Agios...
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Caves
The existence of numerous caves is inextricably linked to the rugged topography of Crete. People lived in caves thousands of years ago, as evidenced by the prehistoric carvings in the cave Skordilakia by Asfendou. Moreover, today's religious tradition in the caves, which hosts cavernous chapels, is an evolution of the worship of ancient gods inside caves. Originally, the Minoans worshipped their major deities, such as Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, in caves....
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Mountains
Crete’s most distinctive feature is its large mountain ranges which are home to a number of peaks. Cretan mountains are mainly grouped into three ranges: the Dikti range in Lassithi, the Ida (Psiloritis) range in central Crete and the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) in Chania. The highest summit is Timios Stavros on the Psiloritis range (2.456 m), however the largest area is spanned by the White Mountains, the highest peak of which is Pahnes (2.453 m). The highest summit...
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Natural Parks of Crete
Crete's three natural parks and geoparks showcase a large area of diverse, natural scenery ready to explore by foot, boat or car. Spend time in Crete's national parks and you'll begin to understand the soul of this place. Our national parks are treasured and preserve our natural heritage, forests, wildlife and landscapes, close to - if not exactly, as it was before people arrived here. There are more protected areas such the Natura and Junicoast regions.
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Woods
Crete was once covered with dense forests, thus its mountains were called "Idea", i.e. wooded. Unfortunately these forests have almost disappeared due to logging, overgrazing and fires. Even so, the few remaining forests are some of the most beautiful landscapes in Crete and a typical sample of the Mediterranean vegetation that once covered the entire island. Each area of Crete has its own characteristic trees. The provinces Apokoronas and Sfakia are covered with...
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Lakes
Crete has limited water resources, due to its geographical location and weather conditions. Dams and artificial reservoirs have been built at several sites of the island in order to meet the increasing needs for water supply. After their construction, all of them soon were transformed into very important wetlands, enriching the biodiversity of the island. The largest natural lake in Crete is located at Kournas by Georgioupolis, where visitors can watch birds from the...
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Rivers
Because of its small width, Crete has few rivers, starting from the mountains of the island, in the central part, and ending either at the Libyan or Cretan Sea. Most of them have water only during the winter months, while on summer they get dry.
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Falls
On the rugged terrain of Crete, rivers meet large faults and steep descents during their course through the canyons, forming hundreds of small and high waterfalls. Even locals are unaware of the existence of several waterfalls, as most of them are invisible and hidden in the impassable gorges. The vast majority has water from the first months of the year by the end of spring. The most famous waterfalls with water flowing all year round are the falls of Kourtaliotis by Plakias,...
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Islets
Crete is surrounded by about 80 islets. Gavdos, the southermost land and islet of Europe, is inhabited and has many amazing things for you to discover. Chrissi is the most exotic islet of Crete, with crystal turquoise water and white sand, reminding of Carribean. Koufonissi also has very nice beaches and important archeological sites and, fortunately, is totally unknown to visitors. Apart from them, there are other islets such as Thodorou (where cretan wild goat is sheltered), Dia,...
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Plateaus and Plains
Crete is full of mountain ranges, amongst which fertile plains and plateaus are formed. The largest plateau of Greece, the peaceful Lassithi Plateau is hidden between the wild peaks of Dicteos Mountains and some smaller plateaus. The Omalos Plateau, in White Mountains, is in the heart of the most mountainous area of Crete. Omalos is the starting point for several canyons of Sfakia, such as Samaria. Psiloritis Mountain also has several plateaus, with Nida being the most important. The...
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Geological Formations
Crete is full of karst and geological formations. This category hosts some places which have high geological interest and are worth getting known better.
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Flora
Crete has a rich biodiversity and the best moment to witness this is in the spring when the flora is at its best. Over 1.700 species have been recorded up to date in Crete, many of which are endemic. Some remote areas of the island, especially the White Mountains and the surrounding islets are home to many stenoendemic species and subspecies, i.e. plants that are only distributed in this limited area. Every year these rare species attract botanists from all over the world....
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Fauna
Crete is isolated from other continental regions of Europe, Asia and Africa and this is reflected on the genetic diversity of the island’s fauna. From the proud Cretan ibex, the wildcat and the Cretan shrew to the endemic arthropods and bats, the fauna of Crete hides many secrets about the evolution of species in the Eastern Mediterranean. On the island there are no animals that could harm humans. The ancestors of the Cretans attributed this either to a labor of...
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Heritage and Culture

Archaeological Sites | Forts | Museums | Religious Monuments | Mythology

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