Crete (Κρήτη) is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands and is in the Mediterranean Sea between the Sea of Crete and the Libyan Sea, at the southest part of the Aegean Sea. Its the fifth largest island in Mediterranean after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, and Corsica. The population is approximately 650,000 and it is not just sun, sea and sand; it is a quite distinct place full of vitality, culture, warmth, hospitality and of course an excellent infrastructure.
Crete is approximately 260 km long and 60 km wide and it is divided into four prefectures (from west to east).:
The capital and the largest city is Heraklion which is the 7th most populated place in Greece.
Crete is well known for its seas and beaches but it has a very contrasting landscape. The island goes from fertile coastal plains to rugged mountains and from busy metropolitan cities to very peaceful hillside villages.
The island has begun to rely on tourism more and more since the 1970s; many towns serve no other purpose, and virtually close down during the winter.
Agriculture is the most important industry of the island, although tourism is extremely important to the economy.
The entire island was once completely covered with forest, primarily cedar and pine. It has been largely deforested for firewood and to make room for the olive trees and vineyards.
There are many contrasts in this region, you can go from incredible beaches to impressive mountains, from big (and chaotic) cities to really small picturesque villages, from very dry, almost desert areas to very green zones like the springs in the center.
If you travel throughout Crete you can clearly see remnants of Roman and Turkish aqueducts and architecture from when these people invaded the island long ago.
You will also find ancient Minoan ruins around the island as Crete was the center of the Minoan civilization (2700–1420 BC). The most famous archaeological treasures were found in the palace of Knossos in Heraklion city, where the renovation and redevelopment of the area is non stop.
Cities in Crete:
Heraklion (Ηράκλειο): the largest city and capital of the island, with the archaeological highlight Knossos. Not the most attractive city, as it was built haphazardly with little planning oversight. Although there are a number of attractive old buildings and churches, the Old Town has largely disappeared. The harbor (a major cruise and ferry port) boasts Venetian walls and a Venetian fort.
Heraklion city is full of students all over Greece, as it has two of the best and biggest universities of the country. This is the main reason that keeps the city full of life at winter time.
Agios Nikolaos (Άγιος Νικόλαος): the charming capital of Lasithi Prefecture. Its a coastal town at the eastern part of Crete and it has three faces to the sea: The Lake and port, the Marina and a famous beach. The center is full of cafeterias and good tavernas which are overlooked by fine-dining establishments. Overall it is a peaceful city for relaxation, as it has many little villages to explore and plenty of places to escape from city life.
Chania (Χανιά): a beautiful port town on the north west coast of Crete, with an atmosphere reflecting its Venetian and Turkish past. Chania is an attractive destination for sightseeing and shopping for many tourists. There is an Old Town centered around the harbor, with a maze of alleys which include plenty of art & souvenir shops. There is a long row of beach resorts not far from the Old Town that are stretching to 20km wide, making them ideal destination for tourists and sun lovers.
Rethimno (Ρέθυμνο): capital of Rethymno Prefecture, with a fascinating and well-preserved Old Town, which is a maze of lanes and alleys mostly reserved for pedestrians. The Old Town sits at the foot of a massive Venetian fortress. It is a city full of life with steady arrivals of foreign visitors, as it offers majestic nightlife and local culture. Besides, there are many Greeks studying in the university that make the city full of life all the time of the year.
Hersonissos (Χερσόνησος): a very popular destination near Heraklion city, full of tourists in the summer (most Scandinavians and Germans) and neverending parties in any corner. A refined place to give yourselves a happy nightime.
Malia (Μάλια): Similar to Hersonissos, Malia is the “party capital” of the island which brings young travelers all over the world (especially British) to have fun in its streets and beaches till dawn.
Elounda (Ελούντα): once a small fishing town with shallow waters, with many four and five-star resorts and exclusive villas. The town dependents on tourism as it is a luxury destination. It’s located on Elounda Bay with the abandoned Spinalonga Island, a former Turkish fortress and leper colony.
Ierapetra (Ιεράπετρα): the southernmost city of Europe with some of the longest and finest sandy beaches on the island. Also site of an old Venetian fort where you can admire its architecture at the harbor.
Sitia (Σητεία): medium-sized harbor city on the eastern tip of the island, with access to some very unspoiled beaches. There is a line full of traditional tavernas and rakadika (restaurants with local drink “raki”). It is quite popular with French tourists, and there are direct charter flights during the tourist season. Ferries also put in here.
Mires (Μοίρες): Mires town is a town in the heart of Messara plain, an agricultural area where residents are engaged with tourism, trade and animal husbandry. In the nearby beach there is Matala village with the famous “hippie caves”.
These are the capitals of the prefectures, for more information about the cities you can explore the inner pages about each city.
Avra Imperial Beach Resort & Spa accommodates a new conference complex facility of the highest standards consisted of 10 “state of the art” conference halls of flexible function space that can accommodate up to 1900 persons, covering 2000 sq.m. meeting and exhibition space.
The main conference hall, ¨Maistro¨, is an 886 sq.m. contemporary, pillar free, conference hall with a capacity of 1100 persons which can be also separated into two smaller rooms, equipped with the latest conferences and banqueting facilities.
Technical facilities: Paramount audiovisual equipment, touch screen automation system, Dome Cameras, Data Projector LCD 12.00, ceiling Data projectors, electric screens, Video, Video cameras, DVD player, Audio amplifiers & ceiling speakers, Congress microphone system – BOSCH, wireless microphones, DVD, Business Centre, intercommunication among conference halls and free internet (wireless & wired) in all halls provided.
Rithymna Beach offers 6 venues with total capacity 650 people. The multipurpose spaces are able to host any type of event and meeting.
Combining the five star service of the hotel, your event in Crete will be unique memorable.
Delegates: 220 pax
Petra Hall with its 210 m2 fitted with the latest state of technology in audiovisual and communication equipment, meets all requirements for meetings, receptions and other special events.
City: Agios Nikolaos
Kalimera Kriti provides an ideal setting for top level conferences, offering 8 meeting and conference facilities with a capacity of 10 to 450 persons. The grand “Europa” Auditorium, unique in Greece, has a capacity of 450 persons, including fixed podium and translation booths for simultaneous translation in 4 languages. The “Athena” conference hall has a capacity of 368 persons. Its foyer can also be used as an Exhibition Hall.
City: Agios Nikolaos
In Sunshine Crete Beach, five carefully designed banquet and meeting rooms fully equipped with all necessary facilities can accommodate anything between a meeting of 10 and a grand conference of 500 persons.
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