The Greek island of Crete has at all times been the right vacation spot for a calming vacation. It’s stuffed with thrilling experiences and is good for any sort of traveller. Actually, there are such a lot of unimaginable issues to do in Crete that it may be sort of overwhelming to determine the place to go on the island!
Crete is the most important island in Greece and provides gorgeous shores the place you may lazily lounge all day lengthy underneath the nice and cozy Mediterranean solar. In distinction, there are imposing mountain peaks and gorges ready so that you can conquer.
House to distinctive pure surroundings and infinite alternatives for leisure, it’s at all times laborious to provide you with an inventory of the most effective issues to do in Crete.
15 Greatest Issues to Do in Crete
I’ve been dwelling on the island for over 5 years now, and have found all the wonderful locations to go to in Crete, and the highest websites and points of interest. It’s not solely my favourite place in Greece, however simply considered one of my favourite locations in the entire world!
This record that includes 15 distinctive issues to do on the island will definitely provide help to determine why it’s essential go to Crete a minimum of as soon as in your lifetime — it actually is without doubt one of the prime locations to see in Greece.
Right here’s my record of the highest 15 issues to do in Crete, Greece.
1. Uncover the Lovely Seashores
There are a number of seashores that you may discover in Crete, Greece. I’ve made it my mission to dip my toes within the sea from all of them.
Three of Crete’s most well-known seashores are within the area of Chania — go to all of them or select the one which most accurately fits your vacation type. A number of the prime seashores in Greece are present in Crete, so don’t miss them.
Balos Seaside and Lagoon
Balos Seaside is situated in direction of the top of the Gramvousa Peninsula, about one hour drive from Chania.
Should you favor to skip the street to Balos, which is usually a dust observe subsequent to a steep hill overlooking the ocean, it’s a good suggestion to e-book a day cruise departing from the close by harbour of Kissamos.
A day cruise won’t solely take you to Balos but additionally to the close-by island of Imeri Gramvousa.
The seashore of Balos is without doubt one of the most unique locations on the island. The crystal waters type a shallow lagoon that’s surrounded by a harsh mountain panorama of placing distinction in opposition to the turquoise seas.
The seashore is properly organized though there’s only one canteen on the seashore. Should you’re on a finances, I’d recommend you pack your lunch in order to avoid wasting cash.
Irrespective of whether or not you go to Balos by automobile or boat, don’t overlook how cruel the solar could be in Crete. Carry sufficient water with you and excessive SPF sunscreen lotion.
Pink Sand Seaside of Elafonisi
Elafonisi Seaside is one other spectacular place to go to in Crete. It’s a worldwide well-known shore recognized for its implausible pink sand, but additionally for a reasonably calm sea with alluring shades of blue.
The shore is broad and though it may be actually packed in summer time, there’s at all times sufficient area for everybody.
Elafonisi is about 70 km south from Chania, and though there are buses going there from Chania’s central station, one of the simplest ways to get there’s by automobile.
To succeed in Elafonisi, you may drive by way of the gorge of Topolia or mix the journey with a cease on Crete’s third well-known seashore, Falasarna, driving alongside the coastal street. For these of you who don’t have a automobile, be a part of this extremely rated journey to Elafonisi Seaside.
The broad shores of Falasarna are on the west coast of Crete and it’s the most effective place on Crete to benefit from the sundown. The village is small and stress-free, with not many issues to do, however I at all times have a superb time there anyway.
The principle purpose to go to Falasarna is the spectacular bay and the perfect climate circumstances that make it an ideal place to apply windsurfing and different water sports activities.
There are just a few seashore bars and eating places serving fundamental dishes and chilly drinks, so that you don’t have to pack a lunch when you plan to spend your day in Falasarna.
2. Stroll the Alleys of Chania’s Outdated City
The outdated city of Chania has typically been described as Crete’s prettiest metropolis, and for good purpose! The outdated city is dwelling to a chic Venetian quarter, a romantic outdated port, an attractive Egyptian lighthouse, and way more.
An effective way to get to know the town whenever you first arrive is to affix this strolling tour with a neighborhood information. In the course of the expertise, you’ll uncover hidden areas, implausible eating places and study Chania and the island of Crete. Be taught extra about this inexpensive, highly-rated journey right here.
The Venetian district of Chania’s outdated city is the right place to admire the gorgeous city panorama of the town. You can even go to the outdated Jewish neighbourhood of Zudecca which is dwelling to a Synagogue courting from the fifteenth century.
On the seaside space, you may step into the Ottoman previous of the island by visiting the small Mosque of the Janissaries, considered one of Chania’s best-known landmarks with its typical pink domes and arches.
At night time, you may dine in any of the a number of tavernas that line up alongside the Venetian Arsenals. That is the right spot to take pleasure in a sundown whereas sipping a glass of the native Vidiano white wine (my private favourite).
Also called the New Marina, the Arsenals are a fantastic place to expertise the distinctive flavors of Crete.
Select Salis for a refined eating expertise with merchandise coming immediately from the producers and the restaurant’s personal vineyard.
Should you’re on a finances, as an alternative, go for a spherical of native meze (small Greek dishes) in Faka. The views of the harbour are equally inspiring in each venues.
To finish the day, have a cocktail in Pallas, proper in entrance of the lighthouse. There you may hearken to some music and interact in dialog with the pleasant locals.
☞ SEE ALSO: Information to Visiting Elounda, Crete
3. Catch a Ferry to Loutro (Probably the greatest issues to do in Crete)
Taking the ferry to small fishing village of Loutro is without doubt one of the prime Crete actions, each for the vacation spot and the journey to get there. Each time I do it, I’m astounded by how attractive the environment are.
One of the crucial scenic drives within the area of Chania is the one which takes you all the best way all the way down to the southern village of Chora Sfakion, passing by way of the spectacular gorge of Imbros. As soon as in Chora Sfakion, attain the port and board a ferry to spend a day and even two in Loutro.
Should you’re an skilled hiker or just simply love adventures, you may also attain Loutro by mountain climbing the coastal mountain path that connects Chora Sfakion to the village. In your manner, you may cease and swim within the fantastic hidden seashores of Illingas or Glyka Nera.
There’s not a lot to do in Loutro, however that’s the fantastic thing about it.
Loutro is the right place to loosen up and luxuriate in a peaceable vacation, and it’s common for day-trippers to vary their thoughts on the spot and e-book a keep as soon as they’re there.
You possibly can swim within the emerald inexperienced waters and benefit from the easy however tasty native delicacies served in any of the seaside tavernas. My favourite has at all times been Notos, specializing in seafood but additionally catering to vegetarians. Their costs are additionally very budget-friendly.
4. Discover the Native Historical past in Arkadi Monastery
Arkadi Monastery is crucial religious middle of Crete. It’s a spot liked by the locals not just for the fantastic thing about the church and the gardens however particularly due to the important thing function it performed through the occasions of the Ottoman occupation of the island.
The Holocaust of Arkadi is a vital occasion up to now of the island. About 900 folks – largely children and ladies – selected to take their very own lives quite than give up to the Turks.
These occasions didn’t result in the speedy liberation of the island however did begin a technique of worldwide assist which, by 1898, lastly put an finish to 267 years of oppressing ottoman ruling on the island.
Arkadi Monastery is without doubt one of the many monasteries of Crete. It’s about 25 minutes away from the town of Rethymnon, and when you’re an actual fan of native historical past, it may very well be a fantastic day journey if mixed with a go to to the Archaeological Website of Eleftherna and its museum.
Handle: Rethymnou-Arkadiou 741 50 Rethymno, Crete, Greece
5. Admire the Turkish Structure within the Outdated City of Rethymnon
Yet one more good thing to do in Crete is to pay a go to to the outdated city of Rethymnon. This is without doubt one of the first spots I take my out-of-town guests to allow them to get an concept of what to see in Crete past essentially the most well-known locations.
Rethymnon isn’t just a stunning Venetian city with a picturesque port and a maze of cobblestone alleys, it’s additionally the place the place the remainder of the Turkish previous of the island is best preserved and simple to find.
Within the city, it’s a good suggestion to discover the implausible Venetian mansions with picket balconies in good Turkish type. You’ll additionally discover excessive minarets, such because the Valide Sultana minaret and the one within the Mosque of Neratzes.
Nevertheless, essentially the most imposing mosque on the town could be visited contained in the Fortezza, the imposing Venetian fortress that faces the Sea of Crete.
When you’re executed exploring, you may take pleasure in lunch or dinner within the outdated city.
For a fast and light-weight lunch, select Raki BaRaki for the infinite selection of meze. For a extra refined meal, Avli is considered one of Crete’s most well-known eating places. It has an attractive herb backyard and considered one of Greece’s finest wine lists.
6. Go Wine Tasting
It’s unimaginable to go to Crete and never come throughout one of many over 50 wineries that populate the villages of the island. Most wineries are open to the general public and produce implausible wines from 12 completely different grape varieties that develop solely on Crete.
The area of Rethymno is dwelling to Crete’s star grape, Vidiano, which produces the most effective white wine labels of Crete. One of many wineries open to the general public in Rethymno is Klados, a boutique producer with simply 6 labels price making an attempt.
For a enjoyable day journey out, be a part of this expertise which incorporates transport, olive oil tasting, lunch, and drinks (5 completely different wines, raki, and limoncello).
In Chania, you need to make a degree to go to Manousakis vineyard, which isn’t removed from the middle. Should you’re driving to catch that ferry to Loutro, you may verify Dourakis vineyard, on the best way to Sfakia.
Heraklion, nevertheless, is crucial wine area of Crete. Take a look at this enjoyable expertise which features a 3-course meal with wine.
Lyrarakis vineyard is without doubt one of the most conventional locations to go to in Crete. You possibly can take pleasure in a small wine tasting session with just a few labels and native cheese, or take pleasure in an entire meal with a complete wine tasting expertise.
There are some nice wine excursions that you may take part Crete, a lot of which embody meals as properly. Ingesting and driving isn’t protected, and by becoming a member of a tour, not solely will you have the ability to drink as a lot as you need, however you’ll meet some nice folks alongside the best way.
This highly-rated tour contains vineyard visits, olive oil tasting, lunch, transport, information and extra. This small-group tour provides 15 completely different tastings, lunch, olive oil, transport, information and extra.
7. Benefit from the Meals and Surroundings of Argyroupolis
Midway between Rethymnon and Chania, Argyroupolis is a really particular little city that lies surrounded by inexperienced valleys, excessive mountains, and pure springs.
The inexperienced panorama is an inviting environment for a day away from the ocean, to see a totally completely different aspect of the island.
Argyropoulis is legendary amongst locals as a result of it serves one of many island’s best-known dishes, goat on the spit. Nevertheless, many go to the village for a special meals deal with.
In Argyroupolis, it’s additionally attainable to eat recent grilled trout. Actually, not many individuals are conscious of the truth that, regardless of being an island, the protein of selection shouldn’t be at all times fish.
On Crete, fish is usually for vacationers whereas locals favor lamb or goat. For excellent fish, Argyroupolis is the reply.
8. Discover Historic Knossos
No go to to Crete is full with out paying a go to to the Minoan Palace of Knossos, about 11 km from the capital of Crete, Heraklion.
Knossos is without doubt one of the most-visited archaeological websites in Greece. Akin to the Parthenon in Athens, it’s additionally one of many largest archaeological ruins of Europe.
The Minoan civilization flourished on the island over 3000 years in the past, particularly through the Bronze Age, and engaged in buying and selling with different necessary Mediterranean cultures.
Contained in the palace, you may admire distinctive buildings, storage rooms, and genius engineering innovations, together with complicated piping programs to offer recent water to the inhabitants, stop floods, and flush their bogs.
After trying out the archaeological web site, head again to the middle of Heraklion to discover the Archaeological Museum. It’s going to shed new gentle in your current go to to Knossos, placing all the things into perspective.
It is possible for you to to admire the intricate high quality of the objects found within the archaeological web site, at present exhibited within the museum.
The easiest way to go to Knossos is to e-book a guided go to. This can carry the positioning to life, plus you’ll have the ability to skip the lengthy strains and save a whole lot of time.
This tour contains each the Knossos web site and the Archaeological Museum, a 90 minute guided tour with an English-speaking information, and skip-the-line entry.
Handle: Knosos 714 09 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
9. Nightlife in Malia
Malia is a energetic seaside city on the northern coast of Heraklion, with an attractive seashore and a fantastic number of pubs, seashore bars, and some discos to bop the night time away.
Those that journey to Crete anticipating an thrilling nightlife scene ought to possibly rethink. Crete shouldn’t be a loopy get together island except you go to Malia.
Nevertheless, there’s extra to Malia than loopy evenings on the dance flooring. Should you’re like me, you come for the get together, however keep for the historical past.
The village was additionally an necessary Minoan settlement in historic occasions, and as we speak you may dedicate some hours to visiting the Minoan Palace of Malia, just some meters from the Sea of Crete.
10. Swim within the Hippie Seaside of Matala
The southern coast of the area of Heraklion is legendary all around the world for Matala. Matala has been a widely known hippie assembly level because the early sixties, and it was one of many first locations the place ex-pats would return to them.
They weren’t digital nomads, however they had been positively the primary expression of recent nomadism and revolt in opposition to the norms. After I lay out my seashore towel in Matala, I at all times really feel like I’m a part of this lengthy custom.
The hippies of Matala lived for months within the mountain caves that stand proper subsequent to the seashore, dwelling a easy life free from stress — a singular vibe that this small coastal city managed to take care of by way of the years.
These caves within the rock are one of many extra distinctive issues to see in Crete.
Regardless of being considered one of Crete’s vacationer scorching spots, Matala is a tranquil resort to spend just a few days disconnecting from the remainder of the world. Click on right here for a day journey to this distinctive spot.
11. Go Village Hopping Across the Lasithi Plateau
When you’ve explored the central area of Heraklion, drive to Lasithi, Crete’s easternmost area and the place that finest treasures Crete’s mountain custom.
In all probability essentially the most genuine factor to do in jap Crete is to drive across the conventional villages of the Lasithi Plateau. A few of them are so small that you simply’ll want simply a few minutes to see them.
The plateau is an excellent inexperienced extension, the place locals domesticate completely different sorts of vegetables and fruit, the tavernas prepare dinner and serve genuine selfmade meals, and the mountain panorama is actually inspiring.
A should cease within the Lasithi Plateau is the small village of Psychro, recognized for the imposing Cave of Zeus, an historic Minoan place of worship.
In line with completely different legends, Greece’s most necessary god, Zeus, was not simply born on Crete, however he was additionally raised inside this cave.
12. Hike the Gorge of Richtis
Neglect the extraordinarily busy Samaria Gorge, the Gorge of Richtis is considered one of Crete’s lesser-known strolling paths alongside a small stream. This is without doubt one of the most stunning pure points of interest in Crete and considered one of my favourite swimming holes and mountain climbing spots.
Not all the things is about mountain villages within the east. Alongside the coastal street that takes you from Heraklion to Sitia, you’ll discover this implausible pure place to go to that can definitely depart you in awe.
After about an hour hike by way of the inexperienced panorama, it takes you thru a tiny however refreshing waterfall, and from there to an attractive seashore on the northern coast of the islands.
To hike the trail it’s essential entry the doorway of the gorge by automobile, and depart it earlier than beginning the hike, proper subsequent to the parking spot.
The seashore shouldn’t be organized, so take all the things you would possibly want, together with a seashore towel and chilly drinks. After the hike, a swim at Richtis seashore might be greater than welcome.
13. Sunbathe on the Palm Tree Seaside of Vai
The seashore of Vai is legendary for being dwelling to considered one of Europe’s largest date palm tree groves. It’s situated in a protected bay, well-protected from robust winds and sea currents, and the realm has facilities corresponding to eating places, showers, and lifeguards.
The intense east of Crete has a number of the most stunning seashores on the island, and Vai is without doubt one of the finest. Wherever near the ocean you drive within the area of Lasithi will provide spectacular scenic views and a number of the cleanest seashores of Crete, most of them often empty, because the space is taken into account to be fairly distant.
These of you who would quite swim in a extra remoted seashore will discover a good various simply 5 km away from Vai. The hidden seashore of Itanos is one other fantastic shore on the east coast, simply beneath historic Dorian ruins.
The place is actually spectacular throughout sundown. To finest go to the east, I recommend you selected a spot to remain within the close by metropolis of Sitia or in Agios Nikolaos.
14. Style the Sturdy Native Spirit: Raki
You is perhaps questioning what raki is. Properly, chances are high that raki is the primary (or shut second!) factor you style on the island. Let me clarify…
Raki (also called tsikoudia) is a powerful, selfmade spirit with excessive alcohol content material. It’s served as a complimentary deal with after each meal often along with recent fruit or one other candy delicacy.
Nevertheless, raki is way more than only a drink. It’s a welcoming expression of hospitality typical of the island, and it may also be loved earlier than lunch, with a spherical of olives and acts as a implausible starter for any meal.
15. Style the Distinctive Cretan Delicacies in an Genuine Mountain Village
As I’ve already mentioned, one of the simplest ways to see the hidden locations of Crete is by renting a automobile and driving across the island.
Driving in Crete shouldn’t be actually that tough and it lets you undergo spots that you simply wouldn’t have imagined existed. In addition to, it’s unimaginable to entry a few of these locations utilizing native public transport.
Whereas driving round, you don’t need to miss essentially the most genuine delicacies.
After all, you’ll have the ability to style the well-known Greek gyros whereas visiting crucial cities, however lunch in a mountain village might be a totally real expertise of taste and hospitality.
Simply cease everytime you see a small taverna, you may be advised the specials of the day and, belief me, it doesn’t matter what you select, you may be amazed on the recent substances and distinctive style of selfmade olive oil, plentiful herbs, and the tender meats.
And when you’re a vegetarian, there’s no want to fret, the Cretan eating regimen provides an infinite number of greens and greens baked in pies, cooked in tomato sauce, or just ready with olive oil, sea salt, and lemon.
Extra Issues to Do in Crete
There are such a lot of actions and issues to see and eat in Crete that I’ve added just a few extra to the record.
Be a part of a Tasty Meals Tour
Irrespective of the place on the planet you might be, the most effective methods to find the native tradition is thru its tastes, aromas, and dishes. And on Crete, flavors are actually easy and genuine however stuffed with nuances that can seduce any palate.
Within the metropolis of Heraklion, you may be a part of a gastronomic tour of the capital, whereas stopping at 8 genuine locations off the vacationer observe. Not solely will you eat your manner across the metropolis, however you’ll be taught in regards to the island of Crete out of your enjoyable and informative information. Be taught extra right here.
Go Paddleboarding (SUP)
Get out on the water with this enjoyable SUP journey in Chania. Meet up along with your native information, and head out on the water to take pleasure in some train, a swim, some sunbathing, and unimaginable views.
The journey is 2 hours and there are just a few completely different departures all through the day. Be taught extra about this enjoyable expertise right here.
Cook dinner Conventional Cretan Meals
Discover ways to make some scrumptious native meals in this enjoyable cooking class. The venue is situated open air on a farm surrounded by stunning olive timber… however, you’ll be completely shaded from the solar, so the warmth gained’t be an issue.
Collectively along with your cooks and guides, you’ll learn to make a 4-course meal which you’ll take pleasure in — with wine! Any leftovers are packed up so that you can take with you. Discover out extra about this prime exercise in Crete right here.
Go Paragliding (See Crete from Above)
This is without doubt one of the extra adventurous issues to do in Crete. Be a part of the founding father of Paragliding Crete and spend quarter-hour hovering excessive above the island, whereas having fun with the spectacular view.
The pilots are licensed Skilled Tandem Pilot instructors, Pilots of Paratrike Paramotor, and knowledgeable Paragliding pilots. You’ll be in good fingers. Discover out extra about this unimaginable expertise right here.
FAQs Concerning the Greatest Issues to Do in Crete
Listed below are some solutions to some often requested questions on what to do in Crete.
A number of the most well-known points of interest in Crete are the Palace of Knossos, the outdated city of Chania, and the Samaria Gorge. And don’t overlook unimaginable seashores corresponding to Elafonisi, Matala, and Vai, that are a number of the most stunning locations to go to in Crete.
Though you would possibly get a style of the island over a weekend, I’d say you want a minimum of 5 days to get a superb grasp of what the island is all about. There are such a lot of issues to see in Crete that you simply would possibly discover you want greater than a full week, or probably even two.
I believe it largely is dependent upon how a lot time you may have. Crete is way bigger with a greater diversity of issues to do, so it’s higher for an extended journey. Santorini is way smaller and higher suited to a shorter journey. I say, if you are able to do each, even higher.
Sure, you may take pleasure in most of the finest locations to go to in Crete with no automobile. Having one, nevertheless, will make it a lot simpler to achieve out-of-the-way Crete points of interest like distant seashores and wineries.
There are such a lot of fantastic issues to see in Crete, however when you can solely select one, I like to recommend Chania. Staying within the attractive outdated city provides you the most effective alternative to have a traditional Crete expertise.
Now You Know What to Do in Crete
Any journey to Crete can feed your wanderlust and ignite your creativeness from the preliminary planning part. The extra you learn in regards to the island, the extra belongings you’ll need to expertise.
Don’t be shocked when you really feel the necessity to add some further days to your journey to discover extra. These 15 wonderful issues to do in Crete simply scratch the floor — there’s a lot on provide.
My 5 years dwelling right here have been a number of the finest in my life, fingers down. There are such a lot of actions in Crete which might be enjoyable and rewarding that I can hardly think about leaving.
Crete stole my coronary heart and I might by no means image myself dwelling anyplace else. After all not each vacationer who visits Crete decides to start out a life right here, however many do return yr after yr, at all times keen to find extra. Will you be the subsequent one?
Visiting Different Locations in Greece?
Take a look at our full journey guides to Chios, Lesvos, Zakynthos, Meteora Monasteries, Zagori, Rhodes, and Kefalonia. And, don’t miss our information to the Greek Islands and Greece as an entire.
For enjoyable actions, sights, and issues to do, take a look at our posts on Athens, Paros, Thessaloniki, Ios, Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu, Zakynthos, and issues to do in Greece as an entire.
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