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Chania (55,000 inhabitants) is the capital of Chania Prefecture, the part of the island with most rainfalls and vegetation which makes it ideal for nature and outdoor sports lovers. A blend of tradition and modern lifestyle, Chania caters for all types of tourists and offers a wide range of natural attractions, stunning beaches, as well as a well-developed tourist infrastructure.
Rethymno (35,000 inhabitants), 60 km east of Chania, is the capital of Rethymnon Prefecture which is the most scenic region of Crete with superb tourist infrastructure. It is an ideal destination for relaxing holidays, as it offers an extraordinary variety of natural features, including spectacular beaches with crystal-clear waters, mountains, gorges, caves and rivers.
Heraklion (140,000 inhabitants), 80 km east of Rethymno, is the largest city in Crete, the fifth largest in Greece and the commercial centre of the island. Heraklion Prefecture is the largest and most visited area in Crete due its abundance of historical monuments and archaeological sites, traditional villages, fabulous beaches, a vibrant nightlife, as well as excellent tourist and conference infrastructure making it popular for conventions and events.
Agios Nikolaos (12,000 inhabitants), 66 km east of Heraklion, is the capital of Lassithi Prefecture. It is the easternmost prefecture of Crete with marvellous historical sites, charming traditional villages with friendly locals and impressive natural attractions, such as the palm tree forest of Vai which is the biggest in Europe.
Crete’s economy is based mainly on tourism due its soft climate, beautiful landscape, cultural attractions, hospitality of its residents, excellent tourist facilities and easy access, as well as on agriculture and stock breeding due to the climate of the island.
Crete produces mainly olives and olive oil, raisins, fruits (especially grapes and oranges), horticultural products, honey, wine (20% of Greece’s production) and aromatic herbs – all high-quality products, many of which are exported mainly to the European market.
Crete has two main ports, the port of Heraklion and the port of Souda (Chania), and two smaller ones in Rethymno and Agios Nikolaos, all of which connect Crete to the mainland, other islands and neighbouring countries.
There are two international airports, one in Heraklion and one in Chania, with an abundance of domestic and direct charter flights to many European cities, as well as a smaller one in Sitia.
The island also has an extensive bus network and a highway on the north coast from East to West and many vertical roads to the south.
The tourist infrastructure is highly developed and includes anything a visitor might need for their stay on the island, all types of accommodation, restaurants and taverns with local and international kitchen and places entertainment, many festivals and concerts during the year, especially in the summer, wide network of travel agencies for car or bike rental, water sport facilities, trips to the mainland and to secluded beaches etc.
The island has an excellent climate, mild Mediterranean with long hot dry summers with frequent cool sea breezes and short mild rainy winters with many days of sunshine, as well as an exceptionally rich flora and fauna.