Etiquette

  • Eating & dining Meals are commonly laid in the middle of the table and shared. Always accept an offer of a drink as it’s a show of goodwill (unless it’s an unwanted advance). Don’t insist on paying if invited out; it insults your hosts. In restaurants, the pace of service might feel slow; dining is a drawn-out experience in Crete and it’s impolite to rush waitstaff.
  • Photography If a sign says no photography, honour it. This goes for camera-phones and tablets, too. In churches, avoid using a flash or photographing the main altar, monks or nuns, which is considered taboo. At archaeological sites, you may be stopped from using a tripod which marks you as a professional and thereby requires special permissions.
  • Places of worship If you plan to visit churches, carry a shawl or long sleeves and a long skirt or trousers to cover up in a show of respect.
  • Body language If you feel you’re not getting a straight answer, you might need literacy in Cretan body language. ‘Yes’ is a swing of the head and ‘no’ is a curt raising of the head or eyebrows, often accompanied by a ‘ts’ click-of-the-tongue sound.