The largest island of Hellas separates the Aegean from the Libyan Sea, marks the boundary between Europe and Africa. Majestic mountains rise in its centre -the White Mounts, Psiloritis (Idi), Dikti. Its plateaus are split by deep gorges and end up in fertile valleys.
The scenery is constantly changing. In one place harsh and barren, in another wooded and gentle. Its villages smothered in greenery.
Olive trees, orange groves, vineyards, early vegetable market gardens.
Old stone farmhouses, monasteries and villages perched on mountain ridges, castles and chapels forgotten on steep slopes. Shores lined with forbidding rocks, often inaccessible, but also lots of endless sandy or pebbly beaches.
Crete is renowned for the variety of its vegetation and the wildlife in its chestnut, oak and cypress forests. Not to mention its palm forests (at Vai and Preveli) and its cedar forests (at Gavdos and Chrisi).
Medicinal herbs and fragrant shrubs -laudanum, dittany, marjoram and thyme- grow in rocky areas and the mountain tops are home to the "kri-kri" or else the Cretan goat.
The main cities-ports on Crete -Hania, Rethymno, Iraklio, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia- all grew up on the north side, which is more benign topographically. Ierapetra is the only port on the south coast, on the shores of the Libyan Sea, facing Africa.