The Guide to the Perfect Vacation in Crete
The old Town
Modern Rethymnon is a continuation of the old city of Rithymna, from the Minoan Era, and she has started growing again when the Venetian conquerors of Crete wanted to have a commercial station between Chania and Heraklion (Candia), the two largest cities of the island. Rethymnon, according to the Greek travel guide, is one of the best preserved old towns of Greece, still maintains its old aristocratic appearance, with its buildings dating from the 16th century. Arched doorways, stone staircases, small Venetian harbor and narrow streets are characterizing the now days city, one of the most popular holiday destinations for those they travel to Greece.
One of these 16th century buildings is the “Casa Vitae Suites” where also our main office is situated. This beautiful piece of the Venetian architecture is situated in the middle of the old town, 100 m away from the Venetian castle called “Fortezza” which is the one of the biggest and best standing castles of the island. Other monuments of the town include the picturesque Venetian harbor full with small fishing boats, restaurants and the old stone light house, recently restored, the Neratze mosque (St. Katherine’s Catholic Church), the Great Gate (megali porta, Porta Guerera), the Piazza Rimondi (Rimmondi square), the Venetian Loggia, the Catholic Church and the city’s municipal garden.
Crete is a land of breathtaking scenery with beautiful sandy beaches, fertile green valleys and towering snow peaked mountains. It is a lively mix of old traditions and a modern living. Traditional villages with hard working people with a lot of them still using donkeys and mules out on the fields and modern towns full with cars, clubs, shopping centres and all kind of today’s entertainment.
There is already a golf resort near Heraklion and two more will be available in the next few years. A large variety of sport activities are also available or organized by tour operators across the island. Tracking, mountain climbing, cycling, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, wind surfing paragliding and a lot more.
Stretching approximately 260 km from east to west, it is the largest of all the Greek islands and in fact the 5th largest in the Mediterranean sea with population over 600.000 people.
The long history of the island through the centuries, part of the ancient Greek civilization with its evidence present everywhere, the fantastic climate with over 300 sun shine days per year and its natural products, (olive oil, wine, grapes, vegetables, herbs, honey etc.), base of the famous, nutritious and healthy Mediterranean diet, make this island a paradise on Earth.
Despite the relatively large size of the island, it enjoys an excellent infrastructure with newly built highways connecting its major towns and cities. A frequent and reliable public transport system gives access to even the most remote villages. The island is connected by ferry to main land (Athens) and to some of the nearby islands (Santorini, Rhodes, Mykonos) from its 4 main cities. Also by its two major airports, Crete is connected to the rest of Europe with direct flights almost all year round.
Advantages of buying property on Crete
Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of buying property on Crete, whether as an investment or as a home, is the current cost of properties with prices running considerably lower than other popular Mediterranean countries. After the Olympic games a few years ago, Crete became the most and fastest developing area in Greece.
When contemplating purchasing property, you should consider the market trends and with house prices increasing by between 10 and 20%, depending on the location and type of property, there has never been a better time to buy in Crete. There are top Hotels in Greece like LUX ME White Palace Grecotel Luxury Resort or Panorama+, also there are a lot of services and restaurants.
It isn’t only house prices which are lower. The cost of living in Crete is also 30 – 40% lower than in most northern European countries. The thought of no council tax or even just eating great food in a beautiful setting at a wonderfully affordable price comes as a welcome treat. Buying fresh local produce at one of the many weekly street markets is not only economical but also a sure way to find the best of what is available. Crete has everything to make life happy, healthy and as exciting or as peaceful as you want it to be.
With the location exactly where the 3 continents of Europe, Asia and Africa meet, Crete is blessed with a perfect Mediterranean climate. It enjoys long, hot summers lasting around 6 months and short mild winters with an average of 310 days of sunshine each year. For thousands of years Crete has attracted travellers and now, with approximately 2,000,000 visitors every year, Crete is known worldwide but is still quite ‘untouched’.
Population & Lifestyle
Crete has a population of approximately 624,000 inhabitants. Its fertile land is perfect for agriculture and produces oranges, avocadoes, bananas, wall-nuts, almonds, cherries as well as tomatoes cucumbers a lot of other green vegetables and serials. Its main export is olive oil, wine and fresh vegetables. The last 20 years tourism gave one more boost to the island’s economy.
Whether you decide to move to Crete fulltime or just plan to spend your holidays here, you can’t but notice the friendliness of the Cretan people who have a word for it – philoxenia – which loosely translated means ‘friend of the stranger’. The Cretans will do their best to make you feel comfortable in their homeland. It is not unusual to find fresh fruits, cakes or other small treats at your door step, left there by your neighbours. The family is central to the Cretan way of life, neighbours look out for each other and the crime rate is very low. While Greek is not the easiest language to master, English is taught widely resulting in a surprisingly large number of Cretans who can communicate in English. There are also many opportunities for you to learn Greek.
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