EMERGENCY TELEPHONE NUMBERS
National Emergency Center: 166
Emergency Hospitals, Pharmacies, Doctors: 14944
Fire Brigade: 199
Emergency Intervention of the Port Authority: 108
Εuropean Emergency Number: 112
The European Emergency Number was created to serve the citizens on a 24 hour basis in case they need help, no matter in which country of the European Union they need it. The call is answered immediately by a specialized professional, with whom you can communicate in one of the basic European languages. The call from a fixed phone, a mobile phone, a telephone box or a public telephone appliance is without charge. The European Emergency Number also operates in Greece and serves the visitors of our country. The number operates within the range of any mobile telephony network, even if your own network does not function in a specific area, provided there is coverage by another network.
For more information visit the website of the General Secretariat of Civil Protection: www.gscp.gr
NATIONAL AND LOCAL HOLIDAYS
There are two types of holidays: Those occurring on the same day every year and the movable feasts, which occur on different dates every year.
1. New Year’s Day: January 1st
2. Epiphany: January 6th
3. Ash Monday: 48 days before Easter
4. Independence Day and Annunciation: March 25th Easter: Good Friday to Easter Monday
5. Resurrection: Easter Day
6. Workers’ Day (May Day): May 1st
7. Whitsun: Is celebrated 50 days after Easter.
8. The Assumption: the 15th of August
9. October 28th
10. Christmas: December 25th -26th
The official language is Greek. However, English, German, French, Russian and other languages are widely spoken in tourist resorts. Foreign visitors that try to speak even a few words of Greek are rewarded with warm smiles.
In Greece the right to religious tolerance and freedom is constitutionally established. The majority of the population is orthodox Christians, but there are also ceremony areas for other religions.
CLIMATE - WEATHER
The climate of Crete is a factor that greatly contributes to its attractiveness. It is mild Mediterranean – dry and warm, which means high sunshine all year round, very small seasonal changes in temperatures and no extreme weather phenomena. In Spring temperatures fluctuate between about 16 and 24 degrees Celsius. During the summer, the average temperatures fluctuate between about 25 and 30 degrees Celsius, the maximum values reaching even 40 degrees Celsius, while the “meltemi” winds mitigate the warm weather. Autumn is the mildest season in Crete, with the average temperatures fluctuating between about 12 and 13 degrees Celsius. In general, eastern Crete is warmer than western Crete, the southern part of the island is warmer than the northern, the western part of Crete has more vegetation and in the mountainous areas the weather is cooler.
Crete, the largest island of Greece, is located at the crossing of three continents, south-eastern Europe, the south-western part of Asia and northern Africa. This position, besides having a huge geopolitical importance, has also influenced the development of the climate in general and, consequently, the biodiversity (flora and fauna) of the island, which is extremely rich. Crete occupies an area of almost 8.000 square kilometers, with a length of about 260 km. The coastline of the island is more than 1.000 km in length.
The morphology of the Cretan earth is described as intensely mountainous, with an imposing mountain range that crosses the island from the west to the east. The mountains defining the morphology of the island are the “Lefka Ori” with a maximum altitude of 2.452 meters, the Psiloritis, with a maximum altitude of 2.456 meters and Mount Dikti, with a maximum altitude of 2.148 meters. To realise how intensively mountainous Crete is, it is enough to observe the Lefka Ori, the most extensive mountain range, with more than 50 summits of more than 2.000 meters altitude.
The large and impressive plateaus, like Omalos, Askyfos, Niatos, Nida and Lasithi, the numerous gorges, the swallow-holes, like that of Omalos, the cliffs and numerous caves, like the cave precipice of Gourgouthakas (the largest in Greece, and, having depth of about 1.200 meters, one of the deepest in Europe) complete the mountainous and wild profile of the geomorphology of the island. In the Lefka Ori alone, more than 1.500 caves have been recorded, as well as the three deepest precipices of Greece. In Crete there are more than 5.000 recorded caves.
More specifically, as regards gorges, Crete could be well characterised as the land of the gorges. The formation of gorges is very important, from geological and environmental view, and is the result of the combined effects of the water, the limestone rocks that are prevalent on the island and the tectonic movements of the area, as the plate of Africa is sinking deeply under the European plate, causing intense pressures to the Hellenic Arrow. The vicinity of Crete to the convergence point of the tectonic plates has caused, over the geological years, important elevations of the soil, the most characteristic being the 9 – meter elevation after an 8 Richter scale degrees earthquake in 365 A.D.
The gorges of Crete, basically orientated from the north to the south, cause awe and amazement. They have very special soil, biodiversity and local microclimatic conditions. The most famous of them, the gorge of Samaria, is about 16 kilometers in length and is one of the largest gorges of Europe. It is an internationally recognized place of environmental and cultural importance. Apart from the gorge of Samaria, there are many more impressive gorges one can visit and cross in Crete: The gorges of “Imbros”, “Aradaina” and ”Agia Irini” in the regional unit of Chania, the “Kourtaliotiko” in the regional unit of Rethymno, the “Agiofarango” and the gorge of “Karteros” in the regional unitof Heraklion, the gorge of “Cha” and the “Gorge of the Dead” (or gorge of “Zakros”) in the regional unit of Lasithi.
Time of Greece: GMT +2
WORKING HOURS OF PUBLIC OFFICES AND SHOPS
- Public Offices: Monday – Friday 7:30 – 15:00
- Post Offices: Monday-Friday 7:30 – 14:00
- Banks: Monday – Thursday 8:00 – 14:30 and Friday 8:00 – 13:30
- Shops are open on Monday and Wednesday: 9:00 – 15:00, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 9:00 – 14:00 and 17:30 – 21:00, Saturday: 9:00 – 15:00. In touristic areas during the summer months shops have free working hours.
- Although pharmacies have free working hours they are usually open from 08:00 to 14:00 on Monday and Wednesday. On Tuesday,Thursday and Friday they are also open in the afternoon from 17:30 to 21:00. There are also emergency pharmacies which are open 24 hours and at weekends. You can find the lists of them on the doors of all pharmacies.
CURRENCY – EXCHANGE
In Crete, like in the rest of Greece, the euro is used. Coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and of 1 and 2 euros circulate. The notes circulate in values of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros. Before your trip, contact your bank to inform them about the use of your credit card and the withdrawal of money.
For more information visit the website of the Hellenic Tourism Organization:
PASSPORTS & VISAS
Find out whether the issue of a visa and a passport is required for your country of origin and undertake the necessary actions in time. For more information visit the website of the Hellenic Tourism Organization: HTO
ELECTRIC CURRENT – ΕLECTRICAL APPLIANCES
The electric current is 220 V (50Hz). In order for appliances from North America to function properly and without problems a transformer is necessary (schucko adaptors). For appliances from England a special adaptor is necessary. Make sure before use that the appliances you are going to use function at this voltage.
HEALTH SERVICES –MEDICAL CARE – INSURANCE
Crete has very good public hospitals, private hospitals etc. Make sure that your healthcare insurance is valid. Visitors coming from European Union (EU)member-states and wish to receive the necessary healthcare should have the European HealthCard or another legal Community document, issued by their competent insurance authority. On the basis of it part or the whole of their care costs is covered. Those whose country is not a member of the European Union, in order to receive the necessary healthcare should consult their insurance authority before they travel.
Tap water is safe for consumption, the consumption of bottled water is recommended though.
Crete has a wide coverage of mobile telephony networks, so you will have no problem. However, contact your telephone company in order to activate the service of international roaming in your mobile phone. If you plan to stay for a long time or make more calls, it might be better to buy a Greek SIM card. Go with your mobile phone and your passport to a mobile telephony shop, where your new SIM card will be registered, along with your telephone number and your personal information. (Undeclared telephones cannot receive or make calls). In order to send postcards, letters or packages you should go to the Hellenic Posts. These offices also offer a fax sending service, like most hotels also do. If you wish to connect to the internet, you can go to places offering this service: Areas of public use, Internet cafes, airport etc.
INTERNATIONAL CALL CODE – CALLS FROM AND TO CRETE
The international call code for Greece is +30. If you wish to make a call from abroad, you should call +30, followed by the telephone number. If you wish to call another country from Crete, dial 00 and then the code of the country and the telephone number. You may also make calls from telephone boxes which operate with call cards.
HOLIDAYS IN CRETE WITH YOUR PET
Before you start your trip with your pet, it is advisable to check with the accommodation you have chosen and with your travel company, regarding their rules on travelling with animals. According to Law 3170/2003 the dog may follow us in open areas, provided that it is tied, that we collect its mess and have with us its health booklet to prove it is vaccinated if we are asked to. In case of a dangerous animal a muzzle is required. In article 230, paragraph Ζ of the General Regulation on Ports (GG 912/11-10-99) it is specified that: “The movement of animals and their bathing in areas of swimmers is prohibited”.
The circular M.F. 3111.10/1/93/20-05-93 of the Direction of the Port Police of the Ministry of Shipping explains that the above mentioned prohibition does not include remote areas.
HUNTING AND FISHING IN CRETE
Before you travel you should get informed about the legislation governing the activities of amateur fishing and hunting. For information about hunting visit the website:ksellas.gr.
Amateur – athletic fishing is governed by the provisions of Presidential Decree (131A), as well as by Regulation (EC) 1967/2006. Hobby fishermen must have individual fishing permits issued by the Port Authority. From this obligation are exempt the amateur fishermen that fish from the land (article 232 General Port Regulation).
NUDISM IN CRETE
There are holiday centres, where, according to Law 1399/83 nudism is allowed.
Smoking is prohibited in all closed public areas, according to Law 3868/10. Hotels and similar accommodation may reserve rooms for smokers.
If you are not satisfied with the quality of the tourist services during your stay in Crete, address the local offices of the tourist police and the Hellenic Tourism Organization. For filing a complaint you can fill in the following application form and send it to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
CONSULATES OF FOREIGN COUNTRIES IN CRETE
- Consulate of Great Britain: +30 2810 224012
- French Consulate: +30 28210 91191
- German Consulate: +30 28210 68876
- Consular Agency Italy: +30 28210 27315
- Consulate Finland: +30 2810 346202
- Swedish Consulate: +30 28210 60605
- Danish Consulate: +30 2810 243714
WEDDING IN CRETE
Individuals of nationality other than Greek that wish to marry in Crete should address the local municipalities (where the wedding is going to take place) and be informed about the certificates required. Wedding of individuals of the same sex is not allowed.