Troubles On Crete





There are not many dangerous animals on Crete. You can find more information about the few that do live on the island here.

Crime

The crime rate on Crete is much lower than in other Southern European countries such as Spain and Italy. Theft is much less prevalent than in Britain.
Locals frequently do not lock their cars and doors, harking back to more innocent times for many British people. When theft does occur on Crete, it’s very rare that it was committed by a Greek – more often than not, a British or German traveller who has run out of money will be the culprit. Sadly, in the last couple of years there have been more and more stories about professional Eastern European gangs who have come to Crete to ‘work’, having found it ripe with easy pickings. Nevertheless, it is still relatively safe here. Theft is rare, but it still pays to be vigilant.

Always keep an eye on your valuables or put them in a safe. Insurance for expensive items (e.g. cameras) is not a bad idea. Generally speaking, theft is more likely to occur in larger towns (Iraklio and Chania). The worst place in Greece for theft is Athens, particularly the port area of Piraeus.

One of the reasons for Crete’s low theft rates is the draconian punishments; a thief caught for the first time can expect a few months in prison. Secondly, the locals are very helpful should something be stolen; they are extremely proud of their low crime rate and will do everything they can to keep it like that.

Fires

In the summer of 2008 the whole world heard about the big fires that ravaged many parts of Crete, especially in the Peloponnese. Crete did not escape these infernos, and suffers them yearly.

In my hometown, Plakias, there was a enormous fire two years ago in which thousands of olive trees burnt down. The fire brigade was very efficient, with thirty fire engines coming to help from all over Crete. In the end, the fire was stopped a mere 20m from the first houses in Plakias – including the Youth Hostel. Evacuation was enforced in parts of Plakias to minimise human casualties.

The fires do not last beyond the first rains in autumn (usually mid- to end of September), and do not start again until June. The worst months are August and September, when the combination of no rain for months, strong winds, a blazing sun and the bone-dry ground create a tinderbox waiting to be ignited.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are a seasonal problem in some parts of Crete, particularly after the sun has gone down. Thankfully, Cretan mosquitoes do not seem to transmit any diseases (e.g. Malaria, Dengue Fever), but unfortunately that does not make their bites any the less itchy, nor the humming of a hungry mosquito nearby less irritating.

Mosquitoes are more prevalent where fresh water is prevalent, to the point where they can plague anyone nearby – I know an Australian who drunkenly fell asleep by a river for a couple of hours. The next day, we counted more than 500 bites on his body.

Happily, there are many ways you can protect yourself from mosquitoes.

• Mosquito nets: properly used, these cover the bed and keep mosquitoes out.
• Keep your skin covered: the more skin you cover, the less chance a mosquito has to make direct contact with your skin.
• Apply cream/spray: these contain a chemical repellent to mosquitoes, keeping them at bay. A popular brand is Autan.
• Plug-in devices: there are a few on the market. The most effective slowly spray out a scentless mosquito repellent (harmless to humans). It’s better to buy these in Greece – those manufactured in northern Europe do not work on Cretan mosquitoes. In any case, they’re very cheap; a few euro a most, and frequently they come with several containers of the chemical. One container is good for 2-3 nights.
• Turn on the air-conditioning: mosquitoes dislike the environment air conditioning creates, with the result that your room will be mosquito-free!

Devices which only emit a high-frequency (inaudible to humans) pitch which is meant to drive mosquitoes away are sadly completely ineffective.

All in all, whilst Cretan mosquitoes are harmless, you should do well to remember that a bite from one is not equivalent to a bite from a fly local to where you live; your body will not be used to them, and as a result each bite will result in a big red spot with a small swelling – with plenty of itching! Fortunately, after a few weeks your body will acclimatise - most people living on Crete do not have a problem with mosquito bites. Unfortunately, the mosquito season runs parallel to the tourist season (May – October). The amount of mosquitoes varies from year to year, depending on the weather in winter and spring. A mild winter followed by a mild spring with little wind generally heralds a mosquito-infested summer.

 

Crete Guide
PLACES
Eastern Crete
Ierapetra
Sitia
Vai
Agios Nikolaos
Kritsa
Elounda
Zakros
Central Crete
Iraklio
Knossos
Hersonissos
Malia
Rethymno
Panormo
Bali
Moni Arkadi
Georgioupolis
Plakias
Preveli
Agia Galini
Matala
Kalamaki
Pitsidia
Lendas
Western Crete
Chania
Platanes
Agia Marina
Kolymbari
Kissamos
Paleochora
Sougia
Samaria Gorge
White Mountains
Imbros Gorge
Chora Sfakia
INFORMATION
Where to go on Crete?
Transportation
Accommodation
Climate Crete
Figures Crete
Money and Prices
Food on Crete
Menu Crete
Drinks on Crete
Fauna of Crete
Flora of Crete
Snakes in Crete
Dangerous Animals
Troubles on Crete
Sport on Crete
Cretan Diet
General Advice Crete
Caves on Crete
Islands around Crete
Other Greek Island