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     Crete Info

Heraklio Koule

Crete lies at the point where the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa meet. It is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean with an area of 8,335 square kilometers. It has an elongated shape with an east-west axis and a length of 257km and a maximum width of 60km. However, in the area of Ierapetra, Crete is only 12km wide.

Crete is divided into four prefectures (nomos). From west to east they are: Chania, Rethimnon, Iraklion and Lassithi. Each one of the prefectures is subdivided into provinces (eparchies). All the major cities of Crete are on the north side of the island beside the sea. From west to east they are: Chania with a population of around 50,000; Rethymno with about 23,000 people, Iraklio with 115,000; Agios Nikolaos with 8,000 people and Sitia with 7,000 people. The total population of the island is more than 500,000.

Rethymnon Minotavros Hania harbour

The climate of Crete is probably the mildest in Europe. The strong northwesterly wind, the meltemi, moderates even the hottest months of July and August. Rainfall is rare during the summer months. Autumn is Crete's mildest season, when temperatures are often higher than in spring. The mountains that run across the island act as a barrier to the weather, often creating different conditions in northern and southern Crete.

Crete is the home of a rich variety of flora that contain, among many hundreds of others, 130 species of wild flowers and herbs which are unique to it. Among these are dictamo (Organium dictamus), an herb made famous by Aristotle for its medicinal value.


The fauna of Crete are as varied as the flora. The unique Cretan wild goat (Capra aegagrus-cretica) has a distinctive and impressive appearance. Protected by the government, the agrimi or "kri-kri" is found in the Lefka Ori, in the Samaria National Forest, and on the islets of Dia, Thodorou, and Agii Pandes.

Bird life on the island is extensive. The Cretan golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetus) and the lammergeyer (Gypaetus barbatus), a subspecies unique to Crete, are distinctive among the birds.


Archaeological finds confirm the presence of man on Crete for at least 8,000 years (areas shown on map). The first inhabitants lived in caves and used tools made from stone. This Neolithic or "New Stone Age" Period lasted from about 5000 B.C. to 2600 B.C. Religion in this period was dedicated to the goddess of fertility and evidence of this in the form of numerous clay figurines of stout females has been found not only in Crete but throughout the eastern Mediterranean.

Minoan Period succeeded the long period of the Neolithic Age. Sir Arthur Evans, the archaeologist who excavated the Palace of Knossos, named this age after the mythological ruler of Knossos, King Minos. This period lasted for about 1,500 years and included the "Golden Age" of Crete.


The inhabitants of Crete belong to the so called Mediterranean type. The true Cretan people are among the tallest in Europe, which can be seen in the isolated mountain areas where the population has remained unchanged by outside influence. Cretans are a proud and independent people and their behaviour reflects their long history and their struggles against occupying forces.


Many traditions are preserved in the villages of Crete, especially in the more isolated ones. Among them are the Cretan wedding and the Cretan baptism. Both are special celebrations that may continue for several days.

Beyond its natural beauty and its gorgeous history that left behind samples of wonderful monuments one can find and do anything in Crete. Numerous awarded beaches, Water sports, Water-Parks, Diving, Mountain Holidays, Hiking - Mountaineering - Climbing Forests - Aesthetic forests, National parks, Preserved natural monuments, Lakes - Lagoons, Caves, Gorges, Therapeutic - Spa tourism, Golf, Churches - Monasteries, Castles,enjoy Cretan festivals and taste the famous Cretan cuisine and wine.



Traditional Costumes Agios Nikolaos

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00 14 Gouves, Heraklion - Crete - Greece Tel : +30 2897041112, Fax: +30 2897041362 www.portogouves.gr, info@portogouves.gr
Marina Entrance: 35°20’15’ Nort , 25° 18’13’’ East

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