The geography of Crete

Crete lies around 160 km south of the Greek mainland, has an area of 8,336 sq km and 1,040 km of coastline. It is thus the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean.  The island of GAVDOS off the southwest coast of Crete marks the southernmost point in Europe. (Incidentally, it is worth making the trip there for a swim). Crete is 260 km long und between 12 km (at IERAPETRA) and 60 km (in the Prefecture of Chania) in width. The island separates the ‘Sea of Crete’ from the ‘Libyan Sea’. Crete is very mountainous, with soaring peaks. The mountains are interrupted by fertile plateaus and plains which are used intensively for agriculture, such as the ‘Mesara’, the ‘Lasithi plateau’ and also the ‘Omalos plateau’.

The highest mountains are to be found in the ‘Lefka Ori’, the ‘Ida mountain chain’ and the ‘Dikti Mountains’. Numerous gorges – the most famous of them the ‘Samaria Gorge’ – and caves offer an ideal landscape for walkers.