LIVING IN CRETE
Crete is the largest island in Greek archipelago with an area of 8335m². It’s 250km long, about 60km at its widest point and 12km at its narrowest. The island has an extraordinary geographical and ecological diversity, with mountainous ranges, dramatic gorges, a vast coastline and a plethora of caves.
Crete offers stunning mountain scenery, hundreds of miles of immaculate beaches lapped by crystal clear waters and cooled by fresh sea breezes. Crete is generally laid back and very friendly. Cretans will always find time to chat with each other and with tourists. In small towns and villages you will find family owned bars and restaurants in which it is easy to blend in and feel at home. The island has been inhabited for at least 8000 years. The richness of its past and the promise of its future are evident everywhere. Crete is awash with the ebb and the flow of myth. Crete is the Mediterranean lifestyle at its very best.
One of the delights of travelling through Crete is coming across a family run taverna were authentic Cretan dishes are made with fresh, home grown produce, where the wild aromatic greens were picked in the mountains, the oil and cheese is homemade, tender lamb is from a local shepherd or fish was caught by the owner.
Crete may be a potential gourmet travel destination, but the essence of its rustic cuisine remains its simple seasonal and balanced approach, which reflects the bounty of a sun blesses fertile land and a history of resource fullness that comes from subsistence living during hard times. Cretan cuisine gained legendary status for its health benefits following scientific studies of the Mediterranean diet in the 1960s that showed Cretans had the lowest levels of heart disease and other chronic illnesses. This was largely attributed to a greater reliance on pulses, fresh vegetables and fruit than on meats and processed foodstuffs and copious use of virgin olive oil.
Cretans will travel far to get a great restaurant or eat specific food, heading to the mountains for local meat and the sea for fresh fish.
Your health is part and parcel of your quality of life. Whilst healthy living is easier when living in a warmer climate, it’s reassuring to know that if you need it, an effective health service is at your call night and day.
Hospitals are clean modern and efficient. Pharmacist are well trained and will help you to deal with minor complaints with good grace and efficiency, while local doctors surgeries perform the same primary care function as in the other European countries. The staff in the various health systems also tends to speak excellent English.
You will need to make your own research to fully understand how the health service works and the prescription charges.
If you are thinking of moving to Crete with children, their education will be an important factor.
Any child who lives in Greece can attend Greek school. To register your child at Greek school you need to attend at the school in your residential area. Some documentation showing your local address (e.g. electricity or phone bill) is usually required, to prove that you are living in the area. You will also need the child's birth certificate, and you may be asked for details/proof of your child's inoculation history.
If you wish your child to attend at an English speaking school, there is one full time school in Heraklion (the European school) which teaches lessons in English and one full time private school in Chania which follows the American curriculum.
Crete's transport system is relatively well-organized, with regular ferry and air services arriving at the island's ports and airports, and reliable public transportation. From arrival, visitors have the option of either hiring a car from the airport or utilizing taxis or buses to get around.
Crete's public transport system is pleasantly reliable and efficient. Bus services on Crete are generally affordable, punctual and safe. For the most part, they run several times a day between major cities and at least twice a day from major towns to smaller locations. Bus travel between Heraklion and Chania takes about 2 hours, 30 minutes and buses run hourly from 05:30 to 20:30.
Taxis are a quicker and easier way of getting around the island and can be caught in the street and from taxi ranks at various locations across Crete, or ordered by telephone from anywhere on the island.