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.
Time of Greece: GMT +2
Working hours of public offices and shops
1. Public Offices: Monday – Friday 7:30 - 15:00 2. Post Offices: Monday-Friday 7:30 - 14:00
3. Banks: Monday - Thursday 8:00 - 14:30 and Friday 8:00 - 13:30
4. 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.
5. 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.
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
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.
Electric current – electrical 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.
Telecommunications –wifi areas – business centers for fax, letter, and telegram dispatch
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.