10 Random Facts About Crete, Greece

by Oscar Webb |



As we’re about to head off to the Island of Crete in Greece on Sunday this week, we  wanted to share a list of 10 Random Facts About Crete with you. Even if you’ve been there before you probably don’t know about all of these oddities.

I’ve linked some of the random facts below to websites where you can get more information on the associated attractions.


Lefka Ori/White Mountains

  1. It Snows in Crete…Lefka Ori/White Mountains

Yes you heard right….this popular sunny holiday destination for many people has up to 4 or 5 meters of snow in the highest areas by the end of winter in Crete (which only last for 2 months). Lefka Ori or White Mountains go up to 2,453 m (8,048 ft).

lefka ori

2. Fine Cannabis from Crete

One of the finest cannabis sold in Amsterdam is of Cretan origin.

Ancient Archway, Crete

ancient archway

  1. The History of Crete is More Ancient than the History of the European Continent

Europe’s first advanced civilisation, the Minoans, called the island home from 2,700 BC for around 1,500 years. They were eventually wiped out by a tsunami created when the nearby volcano Santorini erupted.

The Minoans were inventing coins, money, trading, urban life and building a navy when the rest of Europe were still wandering around throwing spears and hoping for the best.

4. Crete was only Reunited with the Rest of Greece in 1913

It had been independent since 1898 and before this it had been occupied by Turks since 1669.


5. Cretans Love their Guns

Statistically, Crete has the highest ratio of guns per person in the whole European Union. Basically most of the 620,000 people there own a gun. However, Crete is still considered as one of the safest tourist destinations in the world. Don’t be scared when you see shots in a road sign. This isn’t because the road signs point the wrong way, but rather because in the more rural areas they are good for target practice.

There’s also a big tradition is called balothies and which means it’s customary to fire their guns during weddings, baptisms, New Year, and other major events.

6. Leper’s – Spinalonga Island, Elounda,Greece

This island was a leper colony up until 1962.

7. Crete’s ‘Olive Tree of Vouves’ is possibly the Oldest Living Olive Tree

Estimated at being anywhere from 2,000 – 5,000 years old. It still produces Olives to this day and although in this list it is a great tourist attraction.

8. Most Southerly Point in Europe

Gavdos a small Island off the southern coast of Crete is the most southerly point in Europe.

9. Crete used to have its Very own Mini-Mammoth


Sounds odd and it is as they weren’t very mammoth like at all in comparison to their cousins further north. Cretan dwarf mammoths weren’t woolly, and were only the size of a large dog rather than a small elephant.

Ancient City of Knossos


  1. The Oldest City in Europe Called Knossos is in Crete

The Palace of Knossos was home to a subterranean labyrinth, in which lived the Minotaur: a monster with the head of a bull and the body of a human, who dined on human flesh. The remains of the palace were excavated at the beginning of the 20th Century.


  1. Jennifer Aniston’s Father, John Aniston, was Born in Crete

Born Yannis Anastassakis, John emigrated to America with his family when he was two years old. He’s an actor in his own right, and has starred in Days of Our Lives since 1985.