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Best Honeymoon Destinations: Crete

If there was one word to describe the Greek island of Crete, it would be "diverse." Sandy beaches hide amongst soaring mountains, palm-tree forests grow in the middle of sprawling plains, bustling modern cities share coastline with ancient ruins. And speaking of cities -- in Crete they reflect the people that came before; the streets are lined with architecture mirroring the styles of the Minoans, the Venetians, the Ottomans as well as contemporary Greeks. Despite the visible contrasts, this island maintains a sense of unity felt whenever you step onto the street, dine at a local taverna or enjoy a glass of raki at a sidewalk café.

Crete's experiences are as assorted as its history, so take some time to decide what type of vacation you're looking to have before you set anything in stone. For a more urban setting and a variety of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, consider staying along the northern coast in Chania or Heraklion. Those who prefer the great outdoors should head to the southern areas of Chania and Rethymnon for the hiking opportunities and many beautiful beaches.

How To Save Money in Crete

Bring your own toiletries
Shampoo, toothpaste, suntan lotion… all of these things cost more in Crete than they do in the U.S. And as long as they're not in your carry-on, you'll have no trouble getting them from point A to point B.
Eat like a local
When it comes to dining on a dime, you can't go wrong with a taverna. These homely eateries serve up all the Greek favorites for a fraction of the cost of a fine restaurant.
Determine your route in advance
Gas prices tend to be high in Crete. If you're renting a car, avoid excess fuel use by mapping out your route and your itinerary.
Crete Culture & Customs

Greeks are known for their hospitality and Crete is regarded as a friendly tourist destination. However, understanding Greek etiquette will help you interact with residents and blend in with society.

Understanding body language will also help you interact with residents. Be aware of your gestures; for example, the hand signal for "OK" using the thumb and index finger, is offensive in Greece, and Greeks indicate "yes" -- a slight downward nod -- or "no" -- a slight upward nod -- differently than Americans.

Because of Crete's warm climate, shorts and T-shirts are acceptable when walking around the cities or the beaches. However, if you are planning to visit any religious sites, make sure to dress more conservatively in long pants or skirts and shirts that cover the shoulders and the chest area. You should dress more formally when dining at a restaurant.

Cretan restaurants are used to serving foreigners and generally accept most major credit cards However, Cretans themselves generally pay in cash (the official currency of Greece is the Euro). When it comes to tipping, 10 percent is the standard amount, but it's acceptable to leave a little extra for outstanding service.

Crete Dining

You can find authentic Cretan menus at almost any taverna. If you're feeling lost when it comes to finding a truly authentic taverna, just ask a resident; Cretans are known for being friendly and helpful to tourists. Travelers suggest dining at the Ferryman Taverna and Lotus Eaters, both located in the northeast town of Elounda, for an excellent dinner experience.

Meals are composed of fresh meat and fish, dairy products like feta cheese and locally grown produce and wine. Crete is also famous for producing olive oil, a staple ingredient in most dishes. And no need to worry about calorie counting when it comes to dessert; most desserts are sweetened naturally with honey and molasses.
  • Dedeg said on 30.07.2012 10:18
    that as many as 1,000 hotels are exeeptcd to close or be sold in the next few weeks as owners fight for survival in the face of reduced bookings. According to the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels about 10% of the country's hotel owners say they intend to sell up after official figures predicted tourism revenue for 2012 will be 5% down on last year. Recent anti-German protests in which German and Nazi flags were burnt in the streets of Athens have been blamed for a 20%-30% fall in bookings from German nationals. The drop in British and Irish tourists is exeeptcd to be smaller at about 10%. Luxury hotels in the centre of Athens are understandably worst hit. However the islands are also badly hit as small family hotels that cater to Greek nationals lose bookings from those who cannot afford a holiday this year. Apparantly the Ktimatoemporiki property agency has 75 hotels on its books in Crete.The second article also by Chris Haslam says that geophysicists on Santorini have recorded land movements of 5-9cm prompting fears that a volcanoc eruption is imminent . He goes on to say that a government-appointed committeee meets in Santorini on 27/3 to assess the risk. If you believe, as I do, that the eruption of Thera destroyed the Minoan civilisation of Crete through a combination of tsunami and volcanic ash, the hoteliers of Crete have now got something else to worry about!
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