26-29 Sept Chania, Crete
Crete is the largest island in Greece and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean Sea. Here, you can admire the remnants of brilliant civilisations, explore sandy beaches, impressive mountainscapes, steep gorges and become part of the island’s rich gastronomic culture. Crete is, after all, a small universe teeming with beauties and treasures that you will probably need a lifetime to uncover!
Crete managed to keep its unique and strong character till today. Religion, glorious history and the wild Cretan terrain formed the personality of Cretans. Apart from the scattered archaeological sites and monuments of spiritual wealth, the visitor has the chance to see the rare and priceless findings of excavations at the various museums and collections throughout the island.
In Crete, at the Diktaion Andron Cave in Lassithi Plateau, lies the birthplace of Zeus, the ruler of the gods, people and hospitality. Τhe hospitality of the Cretans is more than a ritual. The first European civilisation, the Minoans, emerged here between 2800 BC and 1400 BC. Even today, the palaces of Knossos, Phaestus, Malia and Zakros reflect the splendor of the Minoan civilization through the masterpieces of architecture, pottery, gold, silversmithing and painting. The most powerful fleet in the then known world, as evidenced by the different findings across the Mediterranean, brought wealth to Crete from trading the famous Cretan cypress and its agricultural products. This brilliant course was terminated in 1400 BC when the Achaeans and the Dorians made their presence on the island, founding new towns (e.g., Lato, Polyrhenea) and gave the baton to the Classical Greek civilisation.
The Prefecture of Chania (Hania), on the western side of the island, is dominated by the impressive White Mountains (in Greek: Lefka Ori), the largest mountain range in Crete with more than 50 summits with a height over 2000 m. These mountains and its famous National Park of Samariá Gorge (the longest gorge in Europe with a total length of 16 km), which occupy the largest part of the region, provide tourist services and activities of all kinds.
The City of Chania maintains unaltered many of its characteristics, from the time of the Venetian Rule up until today.