The quake struck at a depth of 40.5 kilometers about 12 miles off the coast of Avri, a coastal village in the south of the island,according to the Athens-based Geodynamic Institute. The strong tremor occurred around 19:30 local time (17:30 United Kingdom).
The fire brigade and police said they had not received immediate calls for help or reports of damage.
Local reports say the tremors are felt as far away as Chania north of the island.
The quake occurred as Cretans and other islanders in the region prepared for a rare hurricane-like storm.
Storm Ianos will create torrential rain and power outages in parts of western Greece.
The cyclone is moving rapidly east and is about to bring winds of up to 73 miles per hour this weekend.
The Peloponnese region will be hit first before the storm hits Athens and Crete.
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During the summer months, its population swells when holidaymakers flock to the fifth largest Mediterranean island.
Greece is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.
Crete itself has a high frequency of earthquakes, most of which do not cause deaths or serious damage.
However, a deadly earthquake struck Greece in 1999, killing 143 people.
The tragedy happened near the capital Athens.
In May, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake shook southern Crete.
The powerful tremor was felt throughout the island.
No casualties were reported.
It happened at a depth of six miles, according to the European Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC).