ISLAND OF CRETE
Planet Earth in a miniature!
The island of Crete, being the fifth largest in the Mediterranean Sea, is located in the centre of Mediterranean among three continents.
Its unceasing geological history as well as its location on the atlas has forged a unique landscape. This can explain the vast variety in the flora and fauna of the island and the harmony in the coexistence of different ecosystems that appear on this relatively narrow land. This includes alpine scenery, valleys, isolated gorges, the wild highlands and the golden beaches, cliffs and plateaus as well as caves and underwater springs.
The lovers of nature and outdoors activities can discover up to 2000 species of plants, 170 of which are indigenous. They will enjoy the unique experience of rediscovering primitive traces in the wild life which still are so obvious on the island.
From the west to the east, from the northern parts to the very southern region of Crete the island of Gavdos, archaeological sites are found all over the island. Venetian ruins, little picturesque villages, Byzantine churches, olive groves, pine forests, vine yards, flocks of sheep, eagles gliding in the air promise a memorable experience to the visitor.
A big number of hiking and climbing trails with the E4 trail at the top of all (http://www.e4nar.gr/page.php?pid=1&1=2&,Gorge cross over (hiking or advance technical), Snorkeling and scuba diving, Fishing, Cave exploration (www.esecrete.eu) Rock climbing, Winter camping and survival, Bike riding (mountain bike), Horse riding Sea water sports, Bird watching.
Almost in every village you will find Minoan, archaic and Romaic ruins, Byzantine churches among the olive trees, Venetian walls and fortresses on the hills.
In the little picturesque villages join the natives in the squares and in the narrow streets among their homes they will treat you with iced raki (traditional spirit drink) and simple Cretan delicatessen. Festivals, celebrations and cultural events and concerts will entertain you throughout the year.
All your senses will be satisfied by sampling the traditional Cretan products and the well known healthy Cretan cuisine.
Discover the spirit of Crete through the various activities that the whole island has to offer in every nook and corner.
Because of its geological and tectonic evolution, Crete Island has an extensive complex of underground cavities and gaps which have been created in calcareous rocks thanks to the erosive activity of water.
The Hellenic Speleological Society (Department of Crete) has reported more than 5.000 caves. In fact, the real number of these caves is believed to be vast. Crete has some of the deepest and longest caves in Greece. Tens of them have a vertical depth of more than 100m, while others have a length of at least 1000m. The longest, called “Tafkoura” on the mountain of Psiloritis, is 6.500m long and 860m deep, while the deepest one called “Gourgouthakas” (Lefka Ori Mountains, Chania) has a vertical depth of 1208m!
Since the Neolithic era many of these caves have been used occasionally by humans to protect themselves, or to inhabit. Some other times they were used as graves, shelters or even as place of worship. There are numerous caves of archeological interest some on the top of the mountains and others virtually by the coast of the island.
Some of the most famous are:
• “Ideon Antron”
• “Kamaron”: A very big cave located at 1780 m, under the summit of Mavri (1950 m). It became important when a great number of fine pottery was discovered, which are dated back at 1700 BC.
• “Dikteon Antron”
• “Pelekita” or “Sykias Spilios” : Located north east of the small village of Kato Zakros. The height at the entrance is 105m from the surface of sea.
• “St. Paraskevi Cave”
• “St.Antonios” in the gorge of Patsos.
Some caves in Crete have spectacular speleothems. Some of the most impressive caves are:
• “Pelekita” and “Dikteon Antron” in the region of Lassithi.
• “Kamilari”and “Marmarospilios” in the region of Irakleion.
• “Trypa tou Sfentoni” in the region of Rethymno: It is found in the mountain of “Psiloritis”, 1km north-east from the village of Zoniana. A big enough cave with address of North-south, length of 145 metres and extent 3.000 square metres roughly, with a lot of booths that succeed the one the other.
• “Gerontospilios” in the region of Rethymno.
• “Agia Sophia” and Kournas caves in Chania.
As a source of valuable information (geological, paleontological, biological and archeological) as well as places which are indisputably related to our civilization, the caves of Crete are an important part of natural and cultural inheritance.
starting from Best Western Your Memories
Canyoning (combined with food, bath and visting near sights)
• “Aposelemi” Gorge
• “Canyon Of The Deads” Gorge(Kato Zakros)
• “Agios Nikolaos” Gorge(Rouvas)
• “Courtaliotiko” Canyon (Preveli)
• “Patsos” Canyon (Rethimno)
Cave Visiting (combined with food, swimming, sightseeing)
• “Scoteino” Cave or “St. Paraskevi” Cave (Pano Gouves)
• Dikteo Andro (Lasithi, also visit Avdou or Limnokamaro)
• Melidoni Cave (or Spilaio Melidoniou) (Rethymnon)
• “Margarites”, ”Eleftherna” or the Arkadi monastry and of course Rethymnon
• Sfendoni Cave (Zoniana, also visit “Axos” and St Yakinthos and the church of St Yakinthos in Anogia )
• Kamares Cave (Messara, also visit the “Vorizano Gorge or The Monastery of Vrontissi in Zaros or Matala for swimming)
Walking Routes (combined with sightseeing, food and swimming)
• Archanes – Giouchtas (Heraklion, also visit “Fourni – Vathypetro)
• Selakano (also visit Ierapetra)
• Thripti (also visit “Agios Nikolaos – Gournia” or “Oreino – Agia Fotia”)
• Agiofarago or Martsalos (gorges, ideal for climbing) combined with
• Gortyna – Phaistos and Moni Odigitrias
• Tsoutsouras – Maridaki – Ag. Nikitas (ideal for fishing and swimming)
• Kapetaniana, Sternes, Moni Koudouma(ideal for swimming)