If you are seeking an idyllic lifestyle, Crete is the island for your second home. It will captivate you with its year-round, appetizing climate. During the summer, the high temperatures allow you to bask in both sea and sun, lounge in stunning Cretan beaches, and trek through natural gorges. In the winter, the island holds a different charm, proving a bit chillier. Venturing inland will let you marvel at snow-capped mountains, though the coastline will always be warmer in comparison, courtesy of the Mediterranean Sea.
#1 - Mediterranean Lifestyle
Have you ever wanted to simply wake up one day and go out to enjoy a quiet and uninterrupted morning stroll by the beach? Or, perhaps, you have been thinking about tranquil sunsets, with a glass of wine in hand? These are some of the most common ideas when one thinks of the much-coveted Mediterranean lifestyle, but the truth of the matter is that it is so much more. You can partly experience it if you visit Crete, but you can live all of it if you invest in Greek Real Estate and choose Crete as your new home.
Life in the Mediterranean means more activity, a deeper focus on spending time outdoors, and a healthier diet, which is heavily centered around olive oil, fresh foods fruits and vegetables. It means integrating into a different way of living life, taking a step back and spending time with your loved ones, as well as fostering a sense of belonging for you and your friends in the community.
Ultimately, Crete not only embodies the Mediterranean lifestyle, but it also stands apart from other islands. Its strategic position at the crossroads between Europe, Africa and Asia, its boundless coastline, its diverse geography, and sunny weather truly make Crete a unique gem in the Mediterranean Sea.
#2 – An Ancient Cultural Heritage and History
Whether you are roaming through the streets of Heraklion, strolling down the harbor in Chania, or enjoying the beach at Rethymno, you will notice there is something more, something that sets Crete apart from the others. The unique feel the island brings is the result of a blend of multiple civilizations and cultures spread throughout more than three thousand years of history.
Having a new house in Crete is more than a backup plan. It is a journey through time, both distant and closer to us. The ancient ruins left behind by the Minoans, which are scattered all over the island, have been a source of countless myths and legends, especially those surrounding Zeus, King Minos, and the Minotaur. The fortifications and loggias, built by the Venetians, still stand to this day, watching over the Cretan cities as their ever-faithful guards. The Ottoman traditions and customs, which have survived to this day have become an intrinsic part of the Cretan culture and are part of the island’s charm.
And the best part is that Crete’s history is alive. It is not set in stone. It continues to be written daily by the thousands of people who breathe and live in Crete every day. You too can become part of this never-ending story by investing in a second property and becoming a resident in Crete.
#3 - Picturesque Vistas
Greece as a whole is an endless source of inspiring views, capable of taking everyone’s breath away with its natural splendor. Though other, more famous islands such as Mykonos may come to mind, Crete stands on its own, proving to be one of the finest examples of Greek beauty.
Trek through the challenging hike at Samaria Gorge, and experience how nature remains untameable and out of reach for human beings with its towering cliffs. Dip your toes in the pink sands of Elfonisi Beach and marvel at the otherworldly contrasts its lagoon provides, encircled by dunes and hills. Follow along the trail at Kourtalioko Gorge and discover its many hidden coves and waterfalls before ending up at the iconic Preveli Beach.
Explore the raw Balos Bay, an island hallmark, almost reminiscing of a Caribbean landscape, where pristine, clear waters meet ivory white sands. Alternatively, travel through the lesser-known Lasithi Plateau, a trove of windmills and olive groves scattered among the boundless plains.
Whatever your preference – raw greenery, vast stretches of sandy beaches, rugged mountains, or bustling cities, each oozing with history, choosing Crete as your new home is not something you will regret.
#4 - Cretan Cuisine
It is by no coincidence that Greek cuisine is ranked among the best in the entire world, often competing with other types of beloved cuisines, such as Italian and Chinese. However, to truly enjoy these Greek and Cretan delicacies, you will have to embrace olive oil. Its use is nearly universal in the most typical and common Cretan meals.
The poster for Cretan cuisine is, perhaps, the dakos, pictured above. This savory treat combines barley rusks soaked in olive oil and a blend of chopped tomatoes, feta cheese and olives. It is often served as a meze, which means it is an entrée, an appetizer to the best yet to come.
For a fuller meal, do not forget to experience the stifado, a Cretan classic, a flavorful stew which is a mixture of beef, herbs, and spices, slowly cooked to perfection in a tomato-based sauce.
And it is not just meat. Cretan cuisine also boasts a wide range of seafood, including octopus and shrimp, all properly seasoned with herbs and olive oil.
Eating any of these, and more in the broader Greek culinary variety, is a gift you would be giving yourself, a true treat to all the senses, and a fest to your taste buds.
#5 - Varied Real Estate Landscape
Even if Crete is not always featured in the musts of Greece, it does have a sizeable advantage against its sister islands. As the most populated region in Greece, it offers the widest selection of properties to choose from, and you will not have any issues in finding a new house in Crete.
The sound of rolling, crashing waves of the Mediterranean becomes an everyday joy through stunning waterfront residences, allowing you to wake up properly rested and head onto the beach for a walk in the beach and enjoy the sunrise.
Completely new, built from the ground-up modern apartments, are a perfect choice for those wanting to combine the exciting life in the bustling cities of Heraklion, Chania, or Rethymno with the Mediterranean lifestyle.
Otherwise, timeless, stunning villas carved from stone offer an alternative to those seeking property more on the interior side of the island, and bask in the peaceful tranquillity of rural life, but never without modern comforts.
At the time of the writing of this article, investing in Cretan real estate to obtain the Greece Golden Visa is the most affordable point of entry to EU residence. However, investing in Crete does not have to mean just a business transaction between you and the government. It can mean a more relaxed way of life, allowing for much-needed rejuvenation. It can mean constantly being awestruck at so many postcard views scattered along the island, and it can mean a healthier lifestyle, with a varied cuisine, which lets you taste new, rich and savory flavors you have never experienced before. All you must do is embrace Crete as your second home.