The Canary, the Greek and Balearic Islands are among the most popular holiday destinations for central European tourists. The three island groups are located at different destinations and each island has its own flair and character. But which destination suites whom: A comparison of the Greek island Crete and the Canary island Gran Canaria – different, varied, overwhelming and thus similar in many ways.
Location of Crete and Gran Canaria
Crete is the southernmost and largest Greek island. With an area of 8,336 km², the island has a low population density. About one third of the approximately 623,000 islanders live in the capital Heraklion. Gran Canaria is the third largest island of the Canary Islands in terms of area, which is run as an autonomous community of Spain. The island is located west of the African coast. With an area of 1,560 km² and around 848,000 inhabitants, the population density is much higher. The capital of the island is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. While Crete is located in the Mediterranean, Gran Canaria is located in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Distance to Central Europe
The two airports in Heraklion and Chania are the gateway to Crete. Vacationers fly from Germany about 3 hours to the Greek island, which is about 2,100 kilometers away. The airport of Las Palmas is the arrival point on the Canary Island Gran Canaria. After almost 3,200 kilometers and a flight of about 4.5 hours, travelers land at Gando Airport.
The Differences in the Climate
The southernmost Greek island, Crete offers vacationers 300 sunny days a year. This makes it the sunniest Mediterranean island next to Cyprus. Gran Canaria, on the other hand, has an average of 340 days of sunshine per year. The average temperature in Crete is 19 degrees; on Gran Canaria, however, 24 degrees are measured. In contrary to the high season of Crete which is from May to October, on the Canary Islands it is exactly the opposite from October to April.
The Greek island is being mostly visited by childless tourists, hikers and nature lovers, in the late spring months April and May. The same applies to the month October. Beach vacationers in Crete usually choose the summer months June, July, August and September as their travel period. Only a few over-winterers move to Greece – most tourist facilities have closed at this time.
Especially childless tourists and seniors come in the winter months to Gran Canaria, which want to escape the Central European cold. In the summer time in the Canary Islands is the time of the younger audience and families with children. Thus, the Canary Island is considered as a year-round destination with «eternal spring».
Culture and History
The most popular island-worlds of German tourists are multi-faceted and offer a vast variety of attractions.
Once inhabited by the Guanches, Gran Canaria has a history dating back to 3,000 years before Christ. The first islanders probably descended from peoples of the Sahara. This Stone Age culture came to an end after the conquest through the Spanish in the 15th century. Remnants can be admired, for example, in the Canarian Museum of Las Palmas. However, excursions can be made all over the island – be it a hike through the Guayadeque gorge with the cave village Cuevas Bermejas or a visit to the former fishing village Puerto de Mogán, which was partly built in Venetian style.
The Greek island Crete is known to have been inhabited since about 6,000 BC. Civilization began from around 2,600 BC, the time of the Minoan, which is regarded as the first high culture of Europe. Remains of impressive ruins palaces of the Minoans are still to be found today in the ancient sites of Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and Agia Triada. The cities Rethymno and Chania bear witness to the epochs of Venetian and Ottoman occupation in Crete. Countless canyons invite hikers. The bustling resorts Hersonissos and Malia also provide accommodation for all young package tourists. Luxury hotels can be found north of Agios Nikolaos in Elounda and Plaka. Due to the huge differences in altitude from the sea to the over 2,000 meter high mountain ranges in the interior of the island, the island offers a diverse selection of possible activities.
Canary Islands or Greece? As mentioned above, a conclusion is hardly possible. Gran Canaria, Crete and Mallorca are among the most popular island destinations of the Germans – comprehensible considering their charm and the lifestyle. The two islands Crete and Gran Canaria are as diverse as they are different. In one, however, both are the same: they offer travelers the perfect conditions for a relaxing and varied holiday. While young tourists enjoy the intense nightlife in the larger island cities and swimming, surfing or sunbathing during the day; active and hiking tourists will find their pleasure in the ravine-rich landscapes instead. Trips with a hired car, scuba diving courses or boat trips are equally popular in Crete and Gran Canaria. The Mediterranean Sea is a bit quieter than the one surrounding the Canary Islands. Nevertheless, sunbathers will find their dream destination equally at both destinations – the sea is deep blue everywhere on the beaches.
καλό ταξίδι / ¡buen viaje!
Have a nice trip