Crete has been a prime tourism destination since the 1960s. This magnificent Mediterranean island offers spectacular sandy beaches and an extraordinary cultural history that includes ancient sites like the Minoan-era palace of Knossos and the medieval Venetian Town of Chania, while it is also the birthplace of renowned Greek artists like writer Nikos Kazantzakis, author of Zorba the Greek, and the painter El Greco.
As the southernmost point of Europe, Crete enjoys the mildest winter climate in Europe that has helped turn Crete into a major agricultural producer and exporter of fresh fruits and vegetables, olives and olive oil, dairy products and cheeses, as well as signature wine vintages. Temperatures remain moderately cool and sunny days are a blessing.
Crete is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean and is one of Greece’s Top 5 tourist destinations, having been voted as one of the five best destinations in the world for travelers. Crete welcomed more than 5 million visitors in 2019, representing about one sixth of Greece’s tourist arrivals, and collected 20% of national tourism receipts. The island is also a major investment destination for leading international travel and has tourism operators with several major resorts and hotel complexes planned.
Crete continues to be in the forefront of energy and climate-friendly construction in Greece. Moreover, Crete is involved in two landmark power interconnection projects. The Crete-Attica interconnection, valued at €1 billion and the Crete-Peloponnese submarine AC interconnection project, an investment with an estimated value of €324 million.
After years of delay, Crete is slated for several major public works projects that will improve the island’s infrastructure. Central to the upgrade is a new airport at Kasteli, south of the island’s capital at Heraklion, and a new highway stretching across the north shore of Crete.
Crete is poised for an economic take off with massive investments in the electricity grid infrastructure. These include two separate projects worth approximately €1 billion to connect the island with the mainland’s electricity grid.
Crete is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean and represents the southernmost point of Europe. The island was the home to the outstanding Minoan civilization, Europe’s first civilization, often identified with the ancient palace of Knossos near Heraklion. Its capital city, Heraklion, is the fourth largest city in Greece with a population of 313,514 (2019). Chania and Rethymno are among the most beautiful towns in Europe with spectacular Blue Flag Beaches, historical monuments, prestigious universities and great, hospitable people.
Share of Greek population (2019-2020)
Population Density (2019-2020)
Crete has seen a boom in tourism in recent years and is attracting both public and private investment that is helping to boost the local economy.
GDP in 2019, in current prices
Per capita GDP in 2019, in current prices
Percentage of visitors out of Greece’s total in 2019
Increased performance in innovation according to the EU’s Regional Innovation Scorecard 2019