Passports and Visas
UK visitors require a passport; most other EU nationals require only a valid identity card. Citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do not require visas for a stay of up to 90 days.
English is spoken more or less fluently by all Cretans working in hotels, guesthouses and other tourist-related industries, and n most bars and restaurants. Learning a few words of Greek, even if only those for 'hello' (yiassou or kalimera), 'please' (parakalo) and 'thank you' (efcharisto), will be much appreciated.
Like in most EU member states, Greece adopted the euro in 2002. Change money or travellers' cheques at banks in larger town and villages, at post offices displaying a yellow 'Exchange' sign, and at travel agencies and some hotels in holiday resorts. Always take your passport when changing money. Banks are normally open 8am-2pm Monday to Thursday, 8am-1:30pm Friday.
Visitors from other EU countries are not subject to customs formalities. Unauthorised export of antiquities and works of art is a serious offence. If bringing prescription drugs with you, also bring a copy of the prescription, and, if possible, a letter from your doctor to say why you need them.
Tourist offices abroad
The Greek National Tourism Organisation (the Hellenic Tourist Organisation, EOT) has offices in all European capitals, major US cities, and in Australia and South Africa.
Tourist offices in Crete
EOT has offices in Herakleion, Chania and Rethymno. There are also local tourist offices in the major resorts. All have English-speaking staff who can provide maps, bus timetables, and lists of places to stay and things to see.
Generally the open hours in Crete vary. Most state-run museums and archaeological sites are open around 8:30am - 3pm and close on Mondays. Some may reopen or stay open to 7pm or 8pm in summer. Monasteries, convents and churches are generally open during daylight hours but close for two to three hours in the afternoon. Some smaller churches may be locked; the key will be in the nearest small cafe or village shop.
Modest clothing (long rousers for men, over-the-knee skirts for women) is required when visiting monasteries and churches. Topless sunbathing is generally tolerated, but nude bathing is officially restricted to designated beaches.