Spelling of Crete place names

You say Chania, I say Hania, you say Rethimnon, I say Rethymno...

No matter how long you spend in Crete, Creta, Kreta or Kriti you may still get confused by the spellings!

If you travel around by bus or hire a car from a car rental company on the Greek island of Crete you may be a little confused by some of the different spellings of the village, town and place names you may come across on maps or road signs.

For example, for the capital of Crete, Heraklion, you may see it as Heraklio, Irakleion, Iraklion or Iraklio.

Chania, the former capital, can be spelt as Hania or sometimes Xania.

Quite regularly you’ll find the letter ‘G’ as an alternative to the letter ‘Y’ as in Agios Nikolaos or Ayios Nikolaos. Sometimes added to this is the letter 'H' making it Aghios Nikolaos! And very commonly words with one ‘S’ can be seen with two, as in Lasithi or Lassithi.


Well this variation in spelling is because the translation from the Greek language to the English language is not an exact science. Many letters in the Greek alphabet do not translate exactly to a letter in the English alphabet. So mapmakers, road sign writers, and guidebook authors translate the Greek alphabet place names to what they believe is a phonetic counterpart in the English language.

So throughout our website you’ll find alternative spellings to many of the towns and villages of Crete. So you may see Rethymnon spelt as Rethimno for example.

Variations of spellings is just one of the eccentricities of living in Crete that you never seem to get used to!

Here is a chart that might help you.

Spelling 1 Spelling 2 Spelling 3 Spelling 4
Aghio Apostoli Aghios Apostoli Agios Apostoli Agios Apostolli
Aghios Nikolaos Agios Nikolaos Aghio Nikolaos Agios Nickolas
Agia Galini Aghia Galini Agia Galilni Aghia Gallini
Agia Marina Aghia Marina    
Agia Pelagia Aghia Pelagia Agia Pellagia Aghia Pellagia
Almirida Almeirida Almyrida  
Amoudara Ammoudara    
Anogio Anoyio Anoghio  
Bali Balli    
Chania Hania Xania  
Elounda Elounta    
Douliana Ntouliana Doulliana  
Frangokastello Fragokastello Frangokastelo Fragokastelo
Gerani Girani    
Georgioupolis Georgiouppolis Georgioupollis  
Hani Kokkini Hani Kokini Chani Kokkini Chani Kokini
Heraklion Heraklio Iraklion Iraklio
Ierapetra Irapetra Iearapetra  
Istron Istro    
Kalo Horio Kalo Chorio    
Kalyves Kalives Near    
Kissamos Kastelli Kisamos Kastelli Kisamos Kasteli Kisamos Kastelli
Lassithi Lasithi    
Makrigialos Makriyialos Makri Gialos Makrigalos
Matala Mattala Matalla  
Malia Mallia    
Milatos Millatos Milato  
Myrtos Mirtos Myrto  
Paleohora Paleochora    
Paleokastro Paliokastro    
Plakias Plakia    
Platanias Plattanias    
Platanos Platano    
Rethymnon Rethymno Rethimno Rethimnon
Sissi Sisi    
Sitia Sitea    
Spili Spilli    
Stalis Stallis Stalida  
Therissos Therisos Thyrissos  
Zakros Zakro    
Zaros Zaross    

Luckily for most people though, the spellings of Greek road signs are also in English as well as in the Greek alphabet.

Greek Road Sign
Road Sign in Greek

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