Administration – Regional Units
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, and the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus and Corsica. Crete and a number of surrounding islands and islets constitute the region of Crete, one of the 13 top-level administrative units of Greece.
The capital of the island is based at Heraklion and as of 2011, Crete had a population of about 630,000.
Approximately 42% live in Crete’s main cities and towns whilst 45% live in rural areas.
Crete with its nearby islands form the Crete Region, one of the 13 regions of Greece which were established in the 1987 administrative reform.
The island of Crete is divided into four regional units. From west to east these are: Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion, and Lasithi. They are further subdivided into 24 municipalities in total.
This Prefecture covers the westernmost quarter of the island. Its capital is the city of Chania, which borders only one other regional unit : that of Rethymno to the east. The western part of Crete is bounded to the north by the Cretan Sea, and to the west and south by the Mediterranean Sea. The regional unit also includes the southernmost island of Europe, Gavdos.
The Prefecture of Chania is subdivided into 7 municipalities :
- Kantanos – Selino
The capital of this city, is the town of Rethymno. Today its main income is tourism. The countryside is also based economically on agriculture and herding.
The Prefecture of Rethymno is subdivided into 5 municipalities :
- Agios Vasileios
The Prefecture of Heraklion borders on the regional units of Rethymno to the west and Lasithi to the east. Its capital is the town of Heraklion. Farmlands are situated in the central and the northern parts, at the coast and in valleys. The mountains dominate the rest of the regional unit, notably the south. The regional unit includes the island of Dia to the north.
Except for the mountains which receive mild to cool winters unlike northern Greece, the warm to hot Mediterranean climate dominates the regional unit.
The Prefecture of Heraklion is subdivided into 8 municipalities :
- Archanes – Asterousia
- Minoa Pediada
Lasithi is the easternmost regional unit on the island of Crete, to the east of Heraklion. Its capital is Agios Nikolaos.
To the east of the village of Elounda lies the island of Spinalonga, formerly a Venetian fortress and a leper colony. On the foot of Mount Dikti lies theLasithi Plateau, famous for its windmills.
Thanks to stunning beaches and its mild climate year-long, Lasithi attracts many tourists. Mass tourism is served by places like Vai, Agios Nikolaos and the island of Chrissi.
The Prefecture of Lasithi is subdivided into four municipalities :
- Oropedio Lasithiou
- Agios Nikolaos
For more information regarding the Administration and Regional features of Crete, you can check the following link :