Discover the Crete island

Floating in the Mediterranean, a stop in front of Africa, you arrive in beautiful Crete, the largest island of Greece. Crete itself is a small state where each region has something special to showcase.

In Crete, the visitor can find the holiday that he dreams depends on the area he chooses. There are complete calmness and elsewhere intense life and fun.

If you love adventure, Crete is the ideal destination for exploring and wandering even on the most rugged points of the island. Just dare it.

The island of Crete

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Crete is the largest Greek island and is located at the southernmost tip of Greece between the Cretan and Libyan seas. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations visited by thousands of travelers from all over the world.

Crete consists of four Municipalities: Heraklion, Lassithi, Chania and Rethymnon. It is surrounded by dozens of small islands, of which only four are inhabitable.

Crete has a daily air and a coastal connection with Athens, Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Peloponnese and some islands of Cyclades and Dodecanese. The capital of the island is Heraklion, one of the largest cities in Greece.

It was then that the island suffered severe disasters from the eruption of the volcano of Santorini. Crete is an island with countless alternations of landscapes, combining perfectly the wild aspect of the mountain scenery with the colorful paradise of flowers and the green plains, the intense cosmopolitan life with the calm and serenity of the atmosphere.

Crete was first inhabited during the Neolithic Age and reached its peak in the Minoan years when the Minoan civilization flourished between 2800 BC. and 1400 BC, mainly on the dynasty of King Minos.

Those who love the crowd will find many organized sandy beaches with crystal clear waters that attract many bathers, while lovers of tranquility can head to the various beaches of the island and relax in the nature surrounding them.

In Crete there are many Venetian castles, churches, monasteries, museums, ancient ruins that together with the beautiful and enchanting scenery that prevails everywhere will make your holidays unforgettable.

Crete is a very popular destination for visitors from all over the world. Due to its large extent, one visit to the island is not enough to explore. Remember that every time you return to Crete you will discover new beauties that will fascinate you.

The Beautiful Landscape of Crete

Crete is a mountainous island and its landscape is dominated by the mountain range Idi (Psiloritis), the White Mountains and Mount Dikti. Its huge coastline, measuring more than 1,000 km, extends from the north of the Crete to the south of of the Libyan Sea. . Crete’s interior alternates between the fertile plains, the lush forests, the caves and the gorges with the most famous the Gorge of Samaria while it’s southern coast offer some of the quietest and isolated spots in Europe. 

It’s entire coastal perimeter is laced with amazing beaches, blue sea, picturesque bays,  villages, resorts, and historical sites of every kind.

Crete Travel Guide

Chania Prefecture

The prefecture of Chania is one of the four regional units of Crete. It is bordered by the Prefecture of Rethymno, north and west of the Cretan Sea and south of the Libyan Sea. Its territory, in the inland, is mountainous – semi-mountainous, while the lowlands are mainly found on the coasts, where the most densely populated settlements are located. On the shores there are the most of the summer tourist resorts.

Chania is a beautiful Venetian harbor with dozens of cafes and restaurants, the picturesque alleys leading to the historical districts of Splantzia, Topanas, the old Jewish quarter, Santiriani square and Kastelli with the archaeological Minoan sites are just some of what you can admire in the Old Town The city of Chania stands out for its excellent tourist services, since every year it manages and serves thousands of tourists from Greece and abroad, with a large number of accommodations of all categories, catering and entertainment.

Chania is not the only destination of the prefecture, as there are beautiful villages and settlements that are worth winning a place on the tourist map of the area. Some of them are, Platanias, one of the most popular resorts, the coastal village of Kolymbari, Kissamos which is close to some of the most beautiful beaches such as the lagoon of Balos, Sougia with its stunning beach, Agia Roumeli, situated at the exit of the Samaria Gorge, the picturesque summer resort of Loutro, Kalives, the settlement of Almyrida and others.

Platania Beach

It is located right in front of the settlement. It is a huge beach, mostly organized with sun loungers and umbrellas, while giving guests the opportunity for water sports. There are also several cafes and beach bars.

Gerani Beach

It is located in the settlement of Gerani, quite close to the city of Chania and it is a long beach (2,5 km), organized in several places with umbrellas, sunbeds, showers even lifeguard, while in the trees near it, can the visitor find natural shade.

Stephanou Beach (Seitan Ports)

Approximately 20 km away from the capital there is this small, beautiful beach. It is hidden at the end of one of the bays that create vertical rocky volumes, giving the whole landscape a wild beauty. It is made up of sand and gravel and access is from a rough trail or boat.

Visit the museums in Chania, Archaeological, Naval, War and Folklore, as well as museums of Typography and Chemistry, the Mosque of Kuchuk Hassan (Gialim Tzamis), the Archaeological Museum of Kissamos, the Samaria Gorge, the Aptera archaeological site, the fortress Frangokastelo near Hora Sfakion, Lake Kournas etc.

Chania Airport: (28210) -83800, Olympic Airport: (28210) -63171, Aegean airport: (28210) -63366, KTEL Prefecture of Chania-Rethymno: (28210) -93052, Taxi: (28210) -94300, (28210) -98700, General Hospital of Chania: (28210) -42000, Pharmacies: (28210) -92447, (28210) -93288, Police Department: : (28210) -63072, Port Authority of Chania: (28210) -98888, Chania Fire Brigade: (28210) -90433, Tourist Police: (28210) -25930, Chania Traffic: (28210) -25905, Archaeological Museum: (28210) 90334, Nautical Museum, Akti Kountourioti (Fortress): (28210) -74484, Gallery: (28210) -36190, House El beast Venizelos: (28210) -56 008

Rethymno Prefecture

The mainland is mostly mountainous with the famous Psiloritis (Ida) mountain dominating the center-east of the prefecture. In the north and south, where the coast is located, there are the fertile lowlands, with the large olive groves, the apricot trees, the pear trees, the cherry trees and others. Apart from agriculture, tourism plays an important role in the economic development of the region, as it is a popular destination, especially during the summer months, for thousands of tourists, Greeks and foreigners.

Rethymno town is built on the northern coastline of the prefecture, in the Cretan Sea. It is a modern city, which has all the public services and banks, and remarkable tourist infrastructure. There is the Old Town with its beautiful Venetian harbor and the lighthouse, while the trademark is Fort Forza, which dominates the hill of Palaiokastro. In Rethymnon there are several historical monuments, Venetian and Ottoman, a large number of museums and exhibitions, as well as many important temples and churches and places of pilgrimage.

Other prefecture destinations, which are high on the list of visitors’ preferences, are the beautiful Panormos settlement 22 km west of the capital, Bali, which is considered to be a tourist resort, 32 km away from the town of Rethymno, the coastal village of Plakias with its beautiful beach, the southern coast of the prefecture, Agia Galini settlement, the historical villages of Anogia, Zoniana and Axos, Saktouria and Melambes that give access to some of the most popular beaches of Crete etc. All the settlements of Rethymno prefecture, have excellent tourist facilities, which combined with the proverbial hospitality of the residents and the excellent service guarantee that they will satisfy even the most demanding visitor.

The prefecture of Rethymno has many beautiful beaches on its coastline, sandy and pebble, some easily accessible, but some hidden, “wild” beaches that cause the visitor to discover them.

North shoreline

It is a huge sandy beach (10 km), one of which is right in front of the city of Rethymno, and extends eastwards. It is mostly organized, with sun loungers and umbrellas, has lifeguards, and offers guests the opportunity to enjoy water sports and activities.

Petre beach

Long beach located west of Rethymnon, near the village of Episkopi. It consists of sand and in several parts it is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, while there are tavernas, cafe and beach bars. It accepts a large number of visitors every day, but due to its extent, there are always some pieces for relative isolation.

Panormou beach

It is located in the homonymous village and it is an organized beach with the fine sand beach. The visitor will find cafes and taverns while having the possibility of some water sports.

Bali Beach

It is the beach of the settlement of Bali and is located 32 km east of the capital. It consists of sand and pebbles and is organized with sun loungers and umbrellas. Everyday a small unbreakable is created and is not recommended for lovers of isolation.

Livadi beach

In fact, it is another beach of the previous settlement, as it is a breath away from it. Peaceful sandy and shallow beach, ideal for children. It is well organized with umbrellas and sun beds and showers, while there are several shops for food, coffee and drinks. It also allows for sports and games in the sea.

Southern coastline

Damnoni beach

A long beach that is 33 km south of the town of Rethymnon. It consists of fine sand and is organized in several parts. It accepts thousands of bathers daily, as it is quite popular. There are tavernas and a hotel.

Ammoudi Beach

Very close to the previous one is the small beach Ammoudi. It is composed of fine pebbles and is quite organized, while it is known as the beach of nudists. If you are not a fan of nakedness, it is good to visit it May-June, where there are not many tourists.

Plakia beach

Great beach with fine gravel and relatively deep but crystal clear waters. It is one of the most popular beaches not only of Crete but also of Crete. It is organized in several parts and there are several hotels, restaurants and cafes, while it offers the possibility of water sports and activities, such as free diving, as the depth of the area is of considerable interest.

Schiniaria Beach

About 7 km west of Plakias, there is this beautiful and crystal clear beach, which in recent years has become a pole of attraction for many visitors. It is composed of thick sand and is surrounded by beautiful rock formations, while the same is impressive and it is worth exploring. It is quite organized and you will find beautiful taverns where you will enjoy fresh seafood.

Preveli

One of the most beautiful beaches of Crete is Preveli beach. It was named after the homonym monastery and is located at the mouth of the Kourtaliotis River at the end of the beautiful palm grove. It is an organized beach with umbrellas and deck chairs, while there are some shops for eating and souvenir shopping. If you climb the icy waters of the river, you will find yourself in front of a miracle of nature. The Phoenicians, the dense vegetation, the small and big waterfalls and the river flowing among them, create a landscape of amazing beauty that will enchant you.

One of the most beautiful beaches of Crete is Preveli beach. It was named after the homonym monastery and is located at the mouth of the Kourtaliotis River at the end of the beautiful palm grove. It is an organized beach with umbrellas and deck chairs, while there are some shops for eating and souvenir shopping. If you climb the icy waters of the river, you will find yourself in front of a miracle of nature. The Phoenicians, the dense vegetation, the small and big waterfalls and the river flowing among them, create a landscape of amazing beauty that will enchant you.

Triopetra Beach

A large sandy beach named after the three big rocks that rise from the sea on the edge of a peninsula, which creates two separate beaches, the small and the large Triopetra. It is organized in some places and there are taverns and rooms to let.

Agia Galini

It is located in the homonymous settlement and is a perfectly organized beach, which is flooded daily by hundreds of visitors. Due to the fact that the wide river flows out, it is divided into two separate sandy beaches. In Agia Galini visitors can enjoy water sports and free diving.

Visit the Old Town and the important temples and monasteries, the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Marine Life, the Museum of History and Folk Art, the Municipal Gallery “L. Kanakakis”, the Veli Pasha Mosque, the Ibrahim Khan Mosque , the Neratze Temple that is now used as a conservatory, the Fortezza Venetian Fortress, the Municipal Garden of Rethymno, the legendary Arkadi Monastery a few kilometers far from the capital, the port of ancient Sulia near Agia Galini, the Kourtaliotis Gorge and the Idaion Andron, the cave where Zeus was raised near Anogia, the Cave “Sfendoni” at the entrance of the Zonians, etc.

(28310) -22212, Radio Taxi: (28310) -25000, (28310) -72900, Rethymnon Hospital: (28310) -87100, Rethymno Health Center: (28343) -40000, Anogia Health Center: (28310) -22276, Tourist Police: (28310) -28156, Police Station of Rethymno: (28310) -88154, Police Station of Anogeia: (28340) -31204, Traffic: (28310) -88173, Fire Department: (28310) -35288, Archaeological Museum: (28310) -29975, Arkadi Monastery Museum: (28310) -83076, Fortezza Fortress: (28310) -28101

Heraklion Prefecture

It is located between the prefectures of Rethymnon (west) and Lassithi (east), while north lies in the Cretan Sea and south of the Libyan Sea.

Its economy is based on producing olives and the famous Cretan olive oil, citrus fruits, cereals and even bananas. The economic development of the area is significantly enhanced by tourism, as the prefecture is full of archaeological sites and historical monuments. It has picturesque villages and popular summer resorts, while on its coastline there are many beautiful and unique beaches.

Heraklion, the birthplace of celebrities

The capital is Heraklion is built on the northern coast and is the administrative and commercial center of the county. It is the birthplace of great personalities such as Nikos Kazantzakis, whose name is given to Heraklion airport, and there is also his tomb, which is one of the city’s attractions. Also, El Greco, the Nobel Prize-winning poet Odysseas Elytis and others. In Heraklion there are all public and municipal services, and its tourist infrastructure is fully developed.

Malia

East of the city of Heraklion and 34 km away, there is a prime tourist destination, Malia. The settlement is built near the border with the prefecture of Lasithi, and it is only 28 km from Agios Nikolaos. It consists of two districts separated by the main road. To the south is the old village with picturesque streets, houses with courtyards and flowered flower beds. There are also traditional cafes and taverns offering local mezedes. In the northern and coastal zones, it is the most “unruly” part of the settlement, with countless cafes, bars and clubs, and the frantic, no-frills nightlife. In Malia there is a huge number of hotels and rooms to let. Almost every street, dozens of taverns and restaurants are waiting to serve the thousands of tourists, Greeks and foreigners (mostly English) who visit the village every year.

Hersonissos

The same possibility for entertainment, but with a more cosmopolitan touch, also gives the coastal resort of Hersonissos. It is located 25 km east of Heraklion. It is one of the most popular settlements, not only of the prefecture but also of Crete, and has a number of hotels of all categories. Also, restaurants, cafes, and entertainment centers for all tastes, waterpark, and even golf course, while giving access to some of the best and busiest beaches of the area. For those who are looking for a quieter stay, without departing from the fun of Hersonissos, the area of ​​Anissaras, located a few hundred meters away, is ideal.

Matala

About 70 km away from the capital and on the southern shore, is Matala, which is one of the most popular destinations in the county. The coastal village of the past decades (60-70) was the place where hippies met and stayed. Today it is a modern summer resort. It offers excellent accommodation, dining and entertainment facilities, while giving guests access to the archaeological sites of Phaistos, Agia Triada and Gortynas. Other popular settlements in the prefecture of Heraklion are Kalamaki very close to Matala and the seaside village of Agia Pelagia, 18 km west of Heraklion. Kokkini Hani, Tympaki, the traditional villages of Arhanes, Zaros, Arkalohori and  many others.

North coast (Cretan Sea): Malia, Potamos, Stalis, Hersonissos, Anisaras, Analipsi. Gouves, Kokkini Hani, Karteros, Amoudara, Paliokastro, Lygaria, Agia Pelagia, Psaromoura, Mononaut

South Coast (Libyan Sea): Red Tower, Kalamaki, Komos, Matala, Red Sand, Marzalo, Agiofarago, Kali Limenes, Psili Ammos, Dyskos. Lendas, Trafoullas. Tripiti, Salamis, Helia, Agios Antonios, Pachia Ammos, Three Churches, Voidomatis. Aspas, Tsoutsouras, Skin, Dragon, Kastri, Armenopetra, Arvi, Sidonia, Tercha.

Visit the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the archaeological sites of Phaistos, Gortyn and Malia, as well as Ancient Tylisos. Museums in Heraklion, Archaeological, Historical, Natural History and the Battle of Crete Museum and National Resistance. The Venetian Castle Koules and the tomb of Kazantzakis.The impressive aquarium in Hersonissos and the Cave of Skotinou, just outside the homonymous village. The Rouva Gorge and Lake Zaros, the Ecological and Archaeological Park of Yuehta with its impressive flora and fauna.

HERAKLION

Venizelio Hospital: (2813) – 408000, University Hospital: (2813) – 402111, Police Departments of Heraklion: A: (2810) – 274010, B ‘: (2810) – 274190 (Alikarnassos) Mykonos), (2810) – 246720 (Police Department), Traffic Department: (2810) – 274080, Department of Tourist Police: (2810) – 274046

Port of Heraklion: (2813) – 406910-2, Olympic Airways (Airport): (2810) – 245644, Aegean Airlines: (2810) – 330475, Sky Express: (2810) – 223500, Minoan Lines: ANEK – Superfast Ferries: (2810) – 308000, N.Kazantzakis Airport: (2810) – 228402, KTEL Crete: Heraklion Port: (2810) – 246530, 245020, (2810) – 23940, Archaeological Museum: (2810) – 279000, Historical Museum: (2810) – 283219, N. Kazantzakis Museum: (2810) – 741689, (2810) -210102, 6948599006

MALIA

Regional Office: (2897) -031594, Pharmacies: (28970) -31900, (28970) -31590, Taxi: (28970) -31777, Municipal Police of Hersonissos (Malia): (28973) -40211
PENINSULA

(28970) -22042, Pharmacies: (28970) -22159, (28970) -23923, Hersonissos Port Authority: (28970) -22100, Municipal Police of Hersonissos (Malia): (28973) -40211, Taxi: 28970) -23723, (28970) -24343

Lassithi Prefecture

The Prefecture of Lasithi borders west to the Prefecture of Heraklion, while it lies in the Cretan Sea (north), Karpathion (east) and Libyan (south). It is perhaps the prefecture with the most peculiarity of soil morphology, as alternations and intense contrasts of landscapes are truly amazing. 

The majestic mountains, the plateaus with picturesque villages built on verdant slopes, the wild beauty canyons with small lakes and waterfalls, the huge plains with olive trees and the torrents that lead to beautiful and crystal clear beaches impress the visitor from the first moment.

Agios Nicholaos

Capital is one of the first cities to be developed touristy on the island of Crete, Agios Nikolaos. It is located in the northwest of the prefecture and in the bay of Merambelos, in the Cretan Sea. The trademark is the beautiful lake Voulismeni, with the settlement embracing it, as it is built in the hills surrounding it. It is a popular tourist resort, since every summer the port and the dozens of restaurants, taverns and cafes around the lake are flooded by visitors. Agios Nikolaos can be a destination but also a starting point for visits to some equally popular settlements. Like the cosmopolitan Elounda located 10 km away, Amoudara with its crystal clear beach, Istro (12 km east), Pachia Ammos and others.

Sitia

At the east and at a distance of 70 km from the capital, there is the beautiful town of Sitia. The amphitheatrically built settlement is a pole of attraction for the visitors of the prefecture because of the natural environment, the important archaeological sites and the proverbial hospitality of its open-minded inhabitants. From Sitia the visitor has the opportunity to visit the beautiful beaches nearby and to visit the famous Vai palm forest located 23 km away.

Ierapetra-Makris Gialos

The south coast is dominated by the city of Ierapetra, which is also the largest in the prefecture. It is located 36 km south of Ag. Nicholas, in one of the most beautiful areas of Crete. It is a “lively” city famous for its nightlife, while it has some of the most beautiful and clean beaches on the island. It can also serve as a base for visits to some important ecosystems. Very close is the forest of Seleucus and the mountains of Thryptian, but also some of the most interesting gorges of Crete (Mylonas, Ha, Sarakinas, etc.).

Just a short distance from Ierapetra (26 km), there is the tourist resort of Makry Gialos with its picturesque harbor and its large beach to receive thousands of visitors each year. It has several rooms for rent, restaurants, cafe, while in its quality bars the fun keeps until the morning hours. From the settlement start boats for Koufonissi and its “pristine” beaches with crystal clear waters.

Goudouras: It is located in the homonymous village and it is a long beach with fine pebbles. It is scarcely organized by some of the taverns that exist there, but it has crystal clear waters.

Achlaia: Beach with thick sand and quite organized with umbrellas and sun loungers, while giving the opportunity for water sports. It is located in the homonymous settlement, 15 km east of Ierapetra and near it there are taverns and rooms to let.

Myrtos: Very close to Ierapetra, and in front of the seaside settlement of Myrtos, there is this large sheltered beach consisting of fine pebbles. It is organized to the maximum extent. It has umbrellas, sun loungers, showers, locker rooms and even lifeguards, and has the water sports infrastructure. Very close to hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars.

Xerokampos; In the settlement and in the surrounding area there are the beaches: Alatsolimni, Vourlia, Potamos, Ampelos, Argilos, Gerontolakos, Mazidas Ammos or Megali Paralia, Lygia Lakos, Amatos and the beach of Agia Irini.

Golden Island: It is located in Koufonisi and is a crystal clear sandy beach with turquoise, shallow waters. It is not organized and you must have purchased the necessary ones beforehand. Other beaches on the island are Chalamas Beach, Sideboat, Asprougas, Akritamos, Kato Papaloukas, Kamares, Wells, Passage, Grace and Offer.

Sitia beach: This large beach is located next to the settlement and consists of sand, while in some places there is a small pebble. It is largely organized with umbrellas, sun loungers and showers, it has a lifeguard and has the facilities for water sports. There are cafes and bars nearby.

Saint Andrew: Also known as “Big Beach”, Agios Andreas beach is the longest beach of Ierapetra and is located east of the road to Makrygialos. It is made up of sand and pebbles, while it is organized on the track near the town where there are hotels.

Pumpkin: It is located on the peninsula of Spinalonga, opposite the islet of Pumpkin. It is also known as the beach of Agios Loukas from the homonymous chapel there. It is a beautiful, secluded beach with white sand and crystal clear waters that in recent years has become a pole of attraction for many visitors.

Volition: It is located a few hundred meters east of the settlement of Istro and is one of the most popular beaches not only of the prefecture but also of Crete. It is made up of white sand, which combined with the blue waters creates an exotic landscape of amazing beauty that impresses visitors. It is organized for the most part with sun loungers and umbrellas.

Scarecrow: It is 4 km east of Makrygialos and it is a white sandy beach with crystal clear waters. It is slightly organized with umbrellas near the unique tavern that exists. For greater isolation and nudity, the eastern part of the beach is proposed. Right next to it is Lagada beach, while to the west the beautiful beach of Lagoufa.

Vai: It is one of the most popular and multiphotographed beaches of Crete and is at the end of the largest palm grove in Europe. White sand, crystal clear waters and palm trees create a Caribbean landscape, while small islands and pigeonholes complement the exotic touch. It is organized and there are several canteens for the necessary refreshing, The area is protected and it is forbidden to stay in it (tents etc.). Next to it there is also a beautiful beach, that of Psili Ammos, while further north there are the beaches of Itanos and Erimoupolis.

The palm forest of Vai, which has been characterized as “aesthetic forest”, the Diktaio Andro cave, where according to mythology was born Zeus, the Kapsa Monastery near Makry Gialos, the archaeological museums in Agios Nikolaos and Sitia, the Kazarma fortress in Sitia , the Milatos cave located in the homonymous village, the island of Spinalonga, etc.

Nature has “endowed” Crete, with many beauties and attractions, and it is no accident, one of the most powerful tourist destinations in Greece. The archaeological sites of Knossos, Phaistos, Zakros and Malia, the excavations brought to light the findings of the Minoan civilization from the most ancient civilizations in Europe, are of great interest and visit, attracting thousands of visitors.

Agios Nikolaos
Hospital: (28413) -40900, Agios Nikolaos Police Station: (28410) -91402, Port Authority (information): (28410) -22312, Tourist Police: (28410) -91409, Traffic: : (28430) -22272, Agios Nikolaos Bus Station: (28410) -22234, Archaeological Museum: (28410) -24943, Spinalonga: (28410) -41773

Ierapetra
Hospital: (28423) -40222, Pharmacies: (28420) -24888, (28420) -22479, (28420) -28884, Police Department: (28420) -90160, Port Authority: (28420) -22294, KTEL Prefecture of Lasithi: 28430) -22272, KTEL of Heraklion-Lasithi: (2810) – 245019-2842028237, Taxi: (28420) -22000, (28420) -26011

Sithia
KTEL Prefecture of Lassithi: (28430) -22272, Taxi: 6932757553, (28430) -20420, Health Center: (28433) -40100, Pharmacies: (28430) -22276, (28435) -00622, Department: (28430) -22259, Airport Police Station: (28430) -20765, Port Authority: (28430) -22310, Sitia Airport: (28430) -20150

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Heraklion

Heraklion is the capital of Crete and It is the fourth largest city in Greece and the third largest urban area in Greece.
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Lasithi

The prefecture of Lasithi is located in eastern Crete and is a beautiful corner of Crete that attracts visitors ...
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Rethymno

Rethymno is located in the center of Crete between Chania and Heraklion. It is a beautiful area ...
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Chania

Chania is the largest city in the prefecture of Chania and is full of sights and historical monuments ...
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