Cretan Nature

Wild Flora & Fauna

To get an idea of how rich the biodiversity of Crete is, just consider that Crete has almost as many species and subspecies of plants (about 1750) as the whole of Britain (1450), even if it is an island 35 times smaller in size.

This diversity is not only reflected in the total number of species but also in the number of endemic species, which grow only in Crete and nowhere else in the world.
In Crete, there are about 160 endemic species and subspecies, which means that 9% of the plant species of Crete do not exist anywhere else in the world. Amazingly, Cretan flora has adapted itself so as to resist human interventions and especially free animal grazing, which has been a traditional practice in Crete for thousands of years.

The plants have developed resistance to the above, with thorns or bitter and bad taste. The most characteristic plants of the island are the aromatic herbs that thrive here. Due to the essential oils that they contain, they are used as ingredients in cooking, in the preparation of teas and as medicines. Some of them, include, wild thyme, sage, oregano, mountain tea, and wild marjoram.

Natural Landscapes
Chania is divided by the Lefka Ori mountains into two completely different natural landscapes. The coastal zone, with beaches 415km long, is richer and more densely populated. The other, is a sparsely populated inner territory and considered one of the most authentic parts of Crete.

Explore Nature
Day after day, more and more wanderers explore the inner parts by foot, by jeep, horse or bicycle. In places like Vamos, Milia, Keramia, Kasteli, Askifou, and Spilia, one can enjoy the Cretan "simple and natural life", with a glass of wine or tsikoudia and scrumptious choices of organic natural food.

In Chania there are almost 60 gorges, one of the most famous one being the Samaria Gorge which has been declared a nature reserve since 1962. It is the largest gorge in Europe, 16km in length. The gorge contains rare species of flora and fauna, such as the Cretan wild goat (or kri-kri as the local call it) as well as rare species of eagles and wild birds, which are all protected by international treaties.