You can survive in Crete without speaking Greek, but if you live on the island and wish to integrate you will want to learn to speak Greek. You'll soon pick up words and phrases in the first weeks and months, however becoming fluent in Greek will take much longer.
The majority of fluent Greek speaking foreigners are those married to, living or working with Greeks, which suggests that the best way to learn the language is through total immersion. Many English/foreign couples find it more difficult to learn the language as contact and interaction with locals is usually limited, and the Greek friends made in the beginning will probably be those who speak good English!
A good grasp of Greek grammar is also very important in learning the language, and of course there is a whole new alphabet to learn (although learning the Greek alphabet is not so difficult as it may first appear).
Learn Greek in Crete
Free Greek Classes in Crete Free Greek classes are available at various times throughout the year for EU residents and legal immigrants in towns in Crete, organised through Κ.Ε.Ε. - Κέντρα Εκπαίδευσης Ενηλίκων, the Greek Centre for Adult Education.
Contact KEE in the following areas for details and enrollment: