Crete is the southernmost and biggest of
the Greek islands. The climate is a few degrees warmer than the mainland and
other islands. Gavdos, one of Crete’s satellites, lays claim to being the
southernmost place in Europe.
The short winter (January to February): is similar to British weather in
September; there are a few warm days with temperature over 18 degrees, but many
more rainy days with temperatures of 8-15 degrees. The sea temperature is
generally 15 degrees.
Spring (March – May): The weather in these months gets warmer and warmer, and
the frequency of rainfalls dwindles. In March the average daytime temperature is
20 degrees, going up to 26 degrees in May. This is a great time to go to Crete
for a walking or cycling holiday; the island is a deep shade of green with
flowers all over. The sea remains fairly chilly until May.
Summer (June – September): There is almost no rain; the sky is blue and rarely
bothered by clouds. Days where the temperature drops below 28 degrees are rare,
and many days are over 35 degrees. Sea temperature in these months is over 25
degrees, and pleasant for swimming.
Autumn (October – December): winter sees many warm days. Some days in December
it is possible to go to the beach with temperatures around 22 degrees and the
sea temperature is still pretty warm at 18 degrees. There are more and more
rainy days, transforming the brown, desert-like landscape slowly into a green
Earthquakes and Tsunamis on Crete
Crete, like many other parts of Greece, is in an earthquake zone. The Minoans
endured some catastrophic earthquakes: circa 1700BC an earthquake destroyed
nearly every building on the island, and suffered the same fate barely 300 years
later – this time the explosion in
Santorini is suspected to be the culprit. The
eruption of the island sparked a gigantic earthquake and enormous tsunami. Some
historians believe the wave to have been 200m high. Contrasting this with the
Asian tsunami some years ago, which was ‘only’ 10m high, there’s little surprise
that Crete was totally destroyed, bar the mountain areas. Unsurprisingly, people
refused to live next to the sea for centuries after this.
Today, Cretan authorities have made strict laws on how to build earthquake-proof
homes, but many are still afraid. Until the Asian tsunami at Christmas in 2004,
many experts believed tsunamis weren’t possible in the Mediterranean Sea or the
Indian Ocean. Shortly after the catastrophe, many politicians in Athens promised
to spend money on implementing an early warning system. To my knowledge, this
never went any further than talks.