15 Finest Issues to Do in Crete, Greece, in 2023

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The Greek island of Crete has all the time been the proper vacation spot for a calming vacation. It’s stuffed with thrilling experiences and is good for any sort of traveller. The truth is, there are such a lot of unbelievable issues to do in Crete that it may be sort of overwhelming to determine the place to go on the island! 

Crete is the biggest island in Greece and affords beautiful shores the place you may lazily lounge all day lengthy below the nice and cozy Mediterranean solar. In distinction, there are imposing mountain peaks and gorges ready so that you can conquer. 

Residence to distinctive pure surroundings and limitless alternatives for leisure, it’s all the time onerous to provide you with a listing of one of the best issues to do in Crete.

15 Finest Issues to Do in Crete

I’ve been residing on the island for over 5 years now, and have found the entire 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 listing that includes 15 distinctive issues to do on the island will definitely show you how to determine why you’ll want to go to Crete a minimum of as soon as in your lifetime — it actually is likely one of the high locations to see in Greece

Right here’s my listing of the highest 15 issues to do in Crete, Greece.

1. Uncover the Lovely Seashores

Standing high above a beautiful beach, some of the best places to visit in Crete

There are a number of seashores that you would be able to 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 closely fits your vacation model. Among the high seashores in Greece are present in Crete, so don’t miss them.

Balos Seashore and Lagoon

Balos Seashore is situated in direction of the top of the Gramvousa Peninsula, about one hour drive from Chania.

Should you want to skip the street to Balos, which is generally a dust monitor 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 is not going to solely take you to Balos but additionally to the close-by island of Imeri Gramvousa.

The seaside of Balos is likely one of the most unique locations on the island. The crystal waters kind a shallow lagoon that’s surrounded by a harsh mountain panorama of placing distinction in opposition to the turquoise seas.

The seaside is properly organized though there’s only one canteen on the seaside. Should you’re on a price range, I’d counsel you pack your lunch in order to avoid wasting cash. 

Balos Beach, one of the most beautiful places to visit in Crete

Irrespective of whether or not you go to Balos by automobile or boat, don’t overlook how cruel the solar will be in Crete. Carry sufficient water with you and excessive SPF sunscreen lotion.

Pink Sand Seashore of Elafonisi

Elafonisi Seashore is one other spectacular place to go to in Crete. It’s a worldwide well-known shore recognized for its improbable pink sand, but additionally for a reasonably calm sea with alluring shades of blue.

The shore is large and though it may be actually packed in summer time, there’s all the time sufficient house 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 best ways to get there’s by automobile.

To succeed in Elafonisi, you may drive by the gorge of Topolia or mix the journey with a cease on Crete’s third well-known seaside, Falasarna, driving alongside the coastal street. For these of you who don’t have a car, be part of this extremely rated journey to Elafonisi Seashore.

Falasarna Seashore 

The large shores of Falasarna are on the west coast of Crete and it’s one of the best place on Crete to benefit from the sundown. The village is small and enjoyable, with not many issues to do, however I all the time have a great time there anyway.

The principle cause to go to Falasarna is the spectacular bay and the best climate circumstances that make it an ideal place to follow windsurfing and different water sports activities.

There are a couple of seaside bars and eating places serving primary dishes and chilly drinks, so that you don’t must pack a lunch if you happen to plan to spend your day in Falasarna.

2. Stroll the Alleys of Chania’s Previous City

The charming alleys of Chania old town, Crete, Greece

The outdated city of Chania has usually been described as Crete’s prettiest metropolis, and for good cause! The outdated city is dwelling to a sublime Venetian quarter, a romantic outdated port, a wonderful Egyptian lighthouse, and way more.

An effective way to get to know the town while you first arrive is to affix this strolling tour with a neighborhood information. Throughout the expertise, you’ll uncover hidden areas, improbable 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 proper place to admire the beautiful city panorama of the town. You may as well 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 evening, you may dine in any of the a number of tavernas that line up alongside the Venetian Arsenals. That is the proper spot to get pleasure from a sundown whereas sipping a glass of the native Vidiano white wine (my private favourite).

Also referred to as the New Marina, the Arsenals are an excellent 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 price range, as a substitute, 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 have interaction in dialog with the pleasant locals.

☞ SEE ALSO: Information to Visiting Elounda, Crete

3. Catch a Ferry to Loutro (Top-of-the-line issues to do in Crete)

Bout in the clear water off of Loutro Island, Crete

Taking the ferry to small fishing village of Loutro is likely one of the high Crete actions, each for the vacation spot and the journey to get there. Each time I do it, I’m astounded by how beautiful the environment are.

One of the vital 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 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 climbing the coastal mountain path that connects Chora Sfakion to the village. In your means, 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 proper 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’ll be able to 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 all the time 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 in Crete

Arkadi Monastery is crucial non secular heart of Crete. It’s a spot cherished by the locals not just for the fantastic thing about the church and the gardens however particularly due to the important thing position it performed in the course of the instances of the Ottoman occupation of the island.

The Holocaust of Arkadi is a vital occasion previously of the island. About 900 individuals – principally youngsters and ladies – selected to take their very own lives reasonably than give up to the Turks.

These occasions didn’t result in the instant liberation of the island however did begin a means of worldwide help which, by 1898, lastly put an finish to 267 years of oppressing ottoman ruling on the island.

Arkadi Monastery is likely one of the many monasteries of Crete. It’s about 25 minutes away from the town of Rethymnon, and if you happen to’re an actual fan of native historical past, it might be an excellent day journey if mixed with a go to to the Archaeological Web site of Eleftherna and its museum.

Deal with: Rethymnou-Arkadiou 741 50 Rethymno, Crete, Greece

5. Admire the Turkish Structure within the Previous City of Rethymnon

The old town of Rethymnon by the sea is one of the top places to visit in Crete.

Another great point to do in Crete is to pay a go to to the outdated city of Rethymnon. This is likely one of the first spots I take my out-of-town guests to allow them to get an thought of what to see in Crete past probably the most well-known locations.

Rethymnon is not only a beautiful 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 healthier preserved and simple to find.

Within the city, it’s a good suggestion to discover the improbable Venetian mansions with wood balconies in excellent Turkish model. You’ll additionally discover excessive minarets, such because the Valide Sultana minaret and the one within the Mosque of Neratzes.

Nonetheless, probably the most imposing mosque on the town will be visited contained in the Fortezza, the imposing Venetian fortress that faces the Sea of Crete.

When you’re accomplished exploring, you may get pleasure from lunch or dinner within the outdated city.

For a fast and light-weight lunch, select Raki BaRaki for the limitless alternative of meze. For a extra refined meal, Avli is considered one of Crete’s most well-known eating places. It has a wonderful herb backyard and considered one of Greece’s greatest wine lists.

6. Go Wine Tasting

A vineyard in Crete. Visiting a winery is one of the best things to do in Crete.

It’s inconceivable 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 improbable wines from 12 totally different grape varieties that develop solely on Crete.

The area of Rethymno is dwelling to Crete’s star grape, Vidiano, which produces among the best 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 value making an attempt.

For a enjoyable day journey out, be part of this expertise which incorporates transport, olive oil tasting, lunch, and drinks (5 totally different wines, raki, and limoncello). 

In Chania, it is best to make some extent 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, nonetheless, is crucial wine area of Crete. Take a look at this enjoyable expertise which features a 3-course meal with wine.

Lyrarakis vineyard is likely one of the most conventional locations to go to in Crete. You’ll be able to get pleasure from a small wine tasting session with a couple of labels and native cheese, or get pleasure from an entire meal with a complete wine tasting expertise.

There are some nice wine excursions that you would be able to take part Crete, a lot of which embrace 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 individuals alongside the best way. 

This highly-rated tour consists of vineyard visits, olive oil tasting, lunch, transport, information and extra. This small-group tour affords 15 totally different tastings, lunch, olive oil, transport, information and extra.

7. Benefit from the Meals and Surroundings of Argyroupolis

Ancient springs in Argyroupolis, Crete

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 totally different aspect of the island.

Argyropoulis is known amongst locals as a result of it serves one of many island’s best-known dishes, goat on the spit. Nonetheless, many go to the village for a distinct meals deal with.

In Argyroupolis, it’s additionally doable to eat contemporary grilled trout. The truth is, not many individuals are conscious of the truth that, regardless of being an island, the protein of alternative isn’t all the time fish.

On Crete, fish is generally for vacationers whereas locals want lamb or goat. For excellent fish, Argyroupolis is the reply.

8. Discover Historical Knossos

The ruins of Knossos are one of the can't-miss places to see in Crete

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 likely one of the most-visited archaeological websites in Greece. Similar to the Parthenon in Athens, it’s additionally one of many greatest archaeological ruins of Europe.

The Minoan civilization flourished on the island over 3000 years in the past, particularly in the course of the Bronze Age, and engaged in buying and selling with different essential Mediterranean cultures.

Contained in the palace, you may admire distinctive buildings, storage rooms, and genius engineering innovations, together with complicated piping techniques to offer contemporary water to the inhabitants, stop floods, and flush their bathrooms.

After testing the archaeological website, head again to the middle of Heraklion to discover the Archaeological Museum. It should shed new mild in your current go to to Knossos, placing all the pieces into perspective.

It is possible for you to to admire the intricate high quality of the objects found within the archaeological website, at the moment exhibited within the museum.

One of the simplest ways to go to Knossos is to e-book a guided go to. It will convey the positioning to life, plus you’ll have the ability to skip the lengthy traces and save a variety of time.

This tour consists of each the Knossos website and the Archaeological Museum, a 90 minute guided tour with an English-speaking information, and skip-the-line entry. 

Deal with: Knosos 714 09 Heraklion, Crete, Greece

9. Nightlife in Malia

Seaside deck with tables and chairs in Malia, one of the most fun places to visit in Crete

Malia is a full of life seaside city on the northern coast of Heraklion, with a wonderful seaside and an excellent number of pubs, seaside bars, and some discos to bop the evening away.

Those that journey to Crete anticipating an thrilling nightlife scene ought to possibly rethink. Crete isn’t a loopy occasion island until you go to Malia.

Nonetheless, there’s extra to Malia than loopy evenings on the dance flooring. Should you’re like me, you come for the occasion, however keep for the historical past.

The village was additionally an essential Minoan settlement in historic instances, and at the moment you may dedicate some hours to visiting the Minoan Palace of Malia, only a few meters from the Sea of Crete.

10. Swim within the Hippie Seashore of Matala 

Weathered cliffs over the beach at Matala. Spending a day in the sand is one of my favorite things to do in Crete, Greece.

The southern coast of the area of Heraklion is known everywhere in the world for Matala. Matala has been a well known hippie assembly level for the reason that 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 insurrection in opposition to the norms. Once I lay out my seaside towel in Matala, I all the time 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 seaside, residing a easy life free from stress — a singular vibe that this small coastal city managed to keep up by 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 a couple of 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

Road winding through the farms and mountains of the Lasithi Plateau, Crete

When you’ve explored the central area of Heraklion, drive to Lasithi, Crete’s easternmost area and the place that greatest treasures Crete’s mountain custom.

In all probability probably 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 totally different sorts of fruit and veggies, 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 response to totally different legends, Greece’s most essential god, Zeus, was not simply born on Crete, however he was additionally raised inside this cave.

12. Hike the Gorge of Richtis

Taking a swim in a pool below a waterfall in the Gorge of Richtis, Crete

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 likely one of the most lovely pure points of interest in Crete and considered one of my favourite swimming holes and climbing spots. 

Not all the pieces is about mountain villages within the east. Alongside the coastal street that takes you from Heraklion to Sitia, you’ll find this improbable pure place to go to that may actually depart you in awe.

After about an hour hike by the inexperienced panorama, it takes you thru a tiny however refreshing waterfall, and from there to a wonderful seaside on the northern coast of the islands.

To hike the trail you’ll want to entry the doorway of the gorge by automobile, and depart it earlier than beginning the hike, proper subsequent to the parking spot.

The seaside isn’t organized, so take all the pieces you would possibly want, together with a seaside towel and chilly drinks. After the hike, a swim at Richtis seaside might be greater than welcome.

13. Sunbathe on the Palm Tree Seashore of Vai

Date palm trees and sand at Vai Beach in Crete

The seaside of Vai is known for being dwelling to considered one of Europe’s largest date palm tree groves. It’s situated in a protected bay, well-protected from sturdy winds and sea currents, and the world has facilities similar to eating places, showers, and lifeguards.

The intense east of Crete has among the most lovely seashores on the island, and Vai is likely one of the greatest. Wherever near the ocean you drive within the area of Lasithi will supply spectacular scenic views and among the cleanest seashores of Crete, most of them often empty, for the reason that space is taken into account to be fairly distant.

These of you who would reasonably swim in a extra remoted seaside will discover a good different simply 5 km away from Vai. The hidden seaside of Itanos is one other fantastic shore on the east coast, simply beneath historic Dorian ruins.

The place is actually spectacular throughout sundown. To greatest go to the east, I counsel you selected a spot to remain within the close by metropolis of Sitia or in Agios Nikolaos.

14. Style the Sturdy Native Spirit: Raki

Enjoy some raki the traditional way when in Crete

You could be questioning what raki is. Properly, likelihood is that raki is the primary (or shut second!) factor you style on the island. Let me clarify…

Raki (often known as tsikoudia) is a robust, selfmade spirit with excessive alcohol content material. It’s served as a complimentary deal with after each meal often along with contemporary fruit or one other candy delicacy.

Nonetheless, 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 improbable starter for any meal.

15. Style the Distinctive Cretan Delicacies in an Genuine Mountain Village

Crete food: chicken, vegetables, and yogurt

As I’ve already stated, one of the best ways to see the hidden locations of Crete is by renting a automobile and driving across the island.

Driving in Crete isn’t actually that troublesome and it permits you to undergo spots that you simply wouldn’t have imagined existed. Moreover, it’s inconceivable to entry a few of these locations utilizing native public transport.

Whereas driving round, you don’t need to miss probably the most genuine delicacies.

In fact, 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’ll be instructed the specials of the day and, belief me, it doesn’t matter what you select, you’ll be amazed on the contemporary substances and distinctive style of selfmade olive oil, plentiful herbs, and the tender meats.

And if you happen to’re a vegetarian, there’s no want to fret, the Cretan eating regimen affords an limitless 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 a couple of extra to the listing.  

Be a part of a Tasty Meals Tour

Irrespective of the place on this planet you might be, among the best 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 may seduce any palate.

Within the metropolis of Heraklion, you may be part of a gastronomic tour of the capital, whereas stopping at 8 genuine locations off the vacationer monitor. Not solely will you eat your means across the metropolis, however you’ll study 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 together with your native information, and head out on the water to get pleasure from some train, a swim, some sunbathing, and unbelievable views.

The journey is 2 hours and there are a couple of totally different departures all through the day. Be taught extra about this enjoyable expertise right here.

Prepare dinner Conventional Cretan Meals

Learn to make some scrumptious native meals in this enjoyable cooking class. The venue is situated open air on a farm surrounded by lovely olive timber… however, you’ll be completely shaded from the solar, so the warmth gained’t be an issue.

Collectively together with your cooks and guides, you’ll learn to make a 4-course meal which you’ll get pleasure from — with wine! Any leftovers are packed up so that you can take with you. Discover out extra about this high exercise in Crete right here.

Go Paragliding (See Crete from Above)

This is likely 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 arms. Discover out extra about this unbelievable expertise right here.

FAQs In regards to the Finest Issues to Do in Crete

Listed below are some solutions to some often requested questions on what to do in Crete.

What’s Crete greatest recognized for?

Among 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 neglect unbelievable seashores similar to Elafonisi, Matala, and Vai, that are among the most lovely locations to go to in Crete.

What number of days are wanted 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 great 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 presumably even two.

Which is healthier, Crete or Santorini?

I feel it principally is dependent upon how a lot time you’ve. Crete is far bigger with a greater variety of issues to do, so it’s higher for an extended journey. Santorini is far smaller and higher suited to a shorter journey. I say, if you are able to do each, even higher.

Is it value it to go to Crete with out a automobile?

Sure, you may get pleasure from lots of the greatest locations to go to in Crete with out a automobile. Having one, nonetheless, will make it a lot simpler to succeed in out-of-the-way Crete points of interest like distant seashores and wineries.

Which a part of Crete is greatest?

There are such a lot of fantastic issues to see in Crete, however if you happen to can solely select one, I like to recommend Chania. Staying within the beautiful outdated city provides you one of the best 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 stuff you’ll need to expertise.

Don’t be stunned if you happen to really feel the necessity to add some additional days to your journey to discover extra. These 15 wonderful issues to do in Crete simply scratch the floor — there’s a lot on supply.

My 5 years residing right here have been among the greatest in my life, arms down. There are such a lot of actions in Crete which are enjoyable and rewarding that I can hardly think about leaving.

Crete stole my coronary heart and I might by no means image myself residing anyplace else. In fact not each vacationer who visits Crete decides to begin a life right here, however many do return 12 months after 12 months, all the time 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.

Pictures on this article are from Shutterstock.com, a web site for sourcing high-quality, royalty-free pictures and movies. 

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