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CRETE AT A GLANCE

WHEN TO COME
Being the most southerly point in Europe Crete has the longest summers. The tourist season runs from May to October. Apart from the extremes of this period you should be guaranteed a rain free sunny time. Temperatures and crowds peak in August which can be oppressively hot and windy with occasionally choppy seas.

WHAT TO BRING
Obviously everything you think you will need, but shops here are increasingly looking like shops everywhere these days so most foods and cosmetics etc. are available locally, with the notable exception of tea bags. If you are hiring a car you may want to bring a few CDs as most cars have a player.

VOLTAGE
Voltage is 220v and sockets are standard European two pin type. English appliances will therefore work OK with a plug adaptor.

FOOD AND DRINK
Cretan cuisine tends to be simple meat and vegetable dishes flavoured with herbs. Apart from the more rural areas burger and chips and pizzas are never far away. A lot of establishments offer children’s menus, or you could just ask for an extra plate. Most restaurants serve a cheap and palatable house wine. Amstel lager is very prevalent as well as the vastly superior local lager Mythos.

PRICES

Prices are generally slightly lower than in England, at least for all the items you are likely to purchase whilst on holiday, though the recent fall in the exchange rate has not helped this. A meal for two with wine should run between 20 and 30 euros. Petrol is about the same as in England.

WATER
Tap water is safe to drink though you may find a little unpalatable. Bottled water is universally available.

TIME

The time in Crete is always two hours ahead of British time. Flight time to and from Britain is approximately four hours.

NASTIES
Discounting for a moment the effects of excessive alcohol and sunbathing. The only other threat to your well being you are likely to encounter is mosquitoes, which unfortunately are active throughout the tourist season. There are a plethora of products available locally for dissuading them from attacking you, and for treating the bites after those products failed.

TOILET PAPER
Despite inventing plumbing whilst English people were living in caves and spending their free time painting each other blue, much of the Cretan sewage system cannot cope with toilet paper. Hence waste baskets are placed in bathrooms for its disposal. In practise this is not quite as bad an imposition as it sounds. The increase in new building however may mean that your accommodation has plumbing to European standards.

DRIVING
Driving is on the right and driving laws and signs are generally similar to England, though this is not immediately obvious from observation of local habits.

DRUGS AND PHOTOGRAPHY
An unlikely combination on the face of it, but bound together by the same harsh prison sentences if you flout the laws pertaining to them. All recreational drugs are illegal as well as codeine (so check the labels of any medicines you intend to bring with you). Photographing military installations is illegal. There is no shortage of signage to this effect so you can be certain what it is they don’t want photographed. With the advent of Google Earth this may seem a bit ridiculous, but they do take it very seriously, and Greek police are not famous for their sense of humour.

NEWSPAPERS
English newspapers and books are widely available at the usual premiums.

 

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