Crete, cradle of European civilisation

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The island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea is the largest of the Greek isles and the most populous.

The second largest island in the Mediterranean after Cyprus- Crete is teeming with history. It was once the centre of Minoan civilisation which is recorded as the earliest known European civilisation.

The culture is rich. Known for Mantinades poetry and music, and dances the most notable being the Pentozali. Crete is also rich with archaeological sites such as Knossos and Phaistos and there are also Minoan, Roman, and World War II ruins.

Crete is mountainous and has three different groups of mountains forming part of a range running from east to west. The island is plush with fertile plateaux, valleys, caves, and gorges. The climate is primarily temperate and there is snowfall in the mountains between November and May.

Heraklion is the largest city and capital, with more than a fifth of the island’s 600,000 people.

Crete has a road network larger than that of Britain and is well-served by ferries from the mainland city of Athens.

Crete is a veritable den of flora and fauna not seen anywhere else in Greece or other parts of Europe. There are no large or dangerous mammals or snakes on the island.

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Cyprus, Mediterranean paradise

Cyprus
Very mild winters and warm dry summers make the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea a hotspot for tourists. The island gets almost twice the sunshine of cities in Northern Europe with as many as 12-13 hours of sun during the summertime.

Cyprus sits south of Turkey and east of Greece and is the third largest island in the Mediterranean. The island of Cyprus is divided into Greek and Turkish rule and is unique in that it is the only one which has a divided capital city – Nicosia. Nicosia is divided by a “green line” with part in Turkish Cyprus and part in Greek Cyprus. The city is surrounded by a Venetian wall.

International flights arrive at Larnaca International Airport in the south of the island. The island is mountainous in the north and south with plains in the centre while there are also plains on the island’s southern coast.

There are many archaeological sites scattered across Cyprus that date from the Stone Age through the Roman Empire and the island also boasts a beautiful coastline.

Cyprus is a great place to buy leather goods including shoes and handbags, jewellery, lacework from the village of Lefkara, and Cypriot wine. It boasts interesting cuisine and meze, a dish that can be made from meat or fish, is a must try.

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