From the moment that I glimpsed the large Greek Island of Crete from the plane I knew I was going to like the place. By the time our two week vacation drew to an end it was a serious love affair. If there is one place in the Med where hubby and I could easily live, Crete is that place.
Greeks are warm, welcoming people. On the island of Crete we found this to be the case, and some. In the busy tourist areas, especially places like Malia the island's clubbing capital, the people are a little jaded, That is hardly surprising when they face drunken young louts during the busy tourist season. Choosetyour resort and time well unless you are one of that crowd.
If you visit the east of the island during the high season you are guaranteed good weather. From April to October there is a fair chance that there will be no rain. Not just a little but none. The west of the island may experience a little rain but nothing to write home about.
An island of two halves
It is not just the weather that makes Crete feel like two distinct islands. Chania and Rethymnon in the West bear few similarities to Elounda and Aghios Nikolas in the East yet all have a great deal going for them.
With so many sandy beaches Crete is a sunbather's dream. Head a little out of the town's in order to find a more secluded beach or even one all to yourself.
There are some beautiful regions on Crete. The Samaria Gorge offers a gruellng walk but rewards the intrepid traveller with flora and fauna to excess. The mountains and villages give a glimpse into a more traditional Greece.
Getting around Crete is so very easy. There is no need to drive or pay for an expensive excursion, unless you want a guided tour. Simply hop on a local bus and see the island. It is possible to cover a great deal of the island this way.
Crete has the X Factor
Crete has that certain extra something, the X Factor. It is hard to explain exactly why it is so special. It is a feel good island which treats its visitors well. As previously said you will need to choose your location and time of visit well. Parts of Crete are over developed and in high season suffer because of that.
If you are offered the local fire water Raki go steady. Supermarket Raki tastes I am told like lighter fuel but locals may offer you a purer version of homemade Raki. It is still a very potent alcoholic drink but has a smoother taste.
History lovers will find plenty to appeal but perhaps the only downside will be for city lovers. Crete is short off cities but of course that may be why it is so special.
So why is Crete special? It just is.