Today it continues to live fully and to develop in the same rhythm it has for centuries.
How to enjoy yourself
There are hundreds of cafes, where one can sit in the shade of a spreading plane, oak or mulberry tree and sip a "heavy sweet" or "medium" hellenic coffee, or a snap of "tsikoudia" (raki), while playing a game of cards of "tavli" (backgammon).
There are dozens of tavernas and ouzeries serving some tasty "meze" (tidbit), yogurt with honey and nuts, "kaltzounia" (sweet or lightly salty tarts with cheese), cheese pies -especially the ones they make in Hora Sfakion in Hania-, squash pies, "sfougato" (Cretan omelet), "staka" (fried top milk), "graviera" (gruere - especially the one they make in Amari-Rethymno), cockles, boiled goat, rabbit stew, "anthous" (stuffed squash top-flowers), stuffed tomatoes and vine leaves, fish, sea urchins, octopus and cuttlefish cooked on charcoal, fried squid, "chochlious" (snails), and wine, wine, wine…
Every saint's feastday is celebrated with gusto at dozens of villagers throughout the island and marriages parties may last for days; all Crete throbbing to the sound of the Cretan lyre and the rhythm of the local dances, the "pentozali", "malevizioti", " Cretan syrtos", "sousta". Meanwhile the housewives are preparing a steamed Cretan pillaf and "xerotigana" (special holiday fritters) or "gamokouloura" (specially decorated marriage rounded shaped breads). It is worthwhile to give yourself the pleasure to enjoy these "panigiria" (festivals) in the mounts of Rethymno and Hania.
Pastry shops, open air cinemas, discos and bars as well as luxurious hotels are also available.
In the shops of lovely Sitia and tranquil Ierapetra (Holly Stone) and in the mountainous Anogia one is impressed by the spread out patanies, traditional local woven fabrics in dazzling colours. Everywhere one sees skilfully crafted ceramics and leather goods.
In the "Stivanadika" district of Hania (Skridlof St.) traditional boots -called stivania in the Cretan dialect) are still made in the old-fashioned way, though it may seem strange even today there are Cretans who still wear their traditional costumes.
In the "Agora" (marketplace) of the same city, unique and international awarded of its kind, but also in shops all over the island, every kind of food, fruit and vegetable produced in the fertile valleys, hot houses and mountain regions, is laid out on display. Exotic avocadoes, endives, bananas, juicy oranges, fragrant melons, succulent figs, tasty prickly pears, delicious grapes, sweet tomatoes, tender cocumbers, fresh-watering sardines, tempting lobster, kid from the islet of Gavdos, honey perfumed with wild thyme, tasteful cheeses such as "graviera" (gruere), "myzithra" (ricotta), fresh white cheese, and soft delicious "staka", olives, olive oil, vinegar, wines of all kinds, "hondros" (wheat boiled in milk and dried, which makes a nutricious soup), home-made noodles and hundreds of therapeutic wild herbs that nowhere in the world will be found.