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

15 Greatest 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. Actually, there are such a lot of unimaginable issues to do in Crete that it may be sort of overwhelming to resolve the place to go on the island! 

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

Dwelling to distinctive pure surroundings and countless alternatives for leisure, it’s all the time exhausting to give you an inventory of the most effective issues to do in Crete.

15 Greatest Issues to Do in Crete

I’ve been residing on the island for over 5 years now, and have found all the superb locations to go to in Crete, and the highest websites and sights. It’s not solely my favourite place in Greece, however simply considered one of my favourite locations in the entire world!

This checklist that includes 15 distinctive issues to do on the island will definitely make it easier to resolve why you want to go to Crete not less than as soon as in your lifetime — it actually is likely one of the prime locations to see in Greece

Right here’s my checklist 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 which you can 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 model. A number of the prime seashores in Greece are present in Crete, so don’t miss them.

Balos Seashore and Lagoon

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

In case you choose to skip the highway to Balos, which is usually a dust observe subsequent to a steep hill overlooking the ocean, it’s a good suggestion to guide 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 seaside of Balos is likely 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 hanging distinction in opposition to the turquoise seas.

The seaside is effectively organized though there’s only one canteen on the seaside. In case you’re on a price range, I’d recommend 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 automotive or boat, don’t overlook how cruel the solar might 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 identified 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 season, there’s all the time 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 best ways to get there may be by automotive.

To achieve Elafonisi, you possibly can 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 highway. For these of you who don’t have a automobile, be a part of this extremely rated journey to Elafonisi Seashore.

Falasarna Seashore 

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 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 situations that make it an ideal place to observe windsurfing and different water sports activities.

There are just a few seaside bars and eating places serving fundamental dishes and chilly drinks, so that you don’t must pack a lunch for those who 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 fantastic Egyptian lighthouse, and far more.

A good way to get to know 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 find out about Chania and the island of Crete. Study 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 town. You may also go to the outdated Jewish neighbourhood of Zudecca which is dwelling to a Synagogue relationship from the fifteenth century.

On the seaside space, you possibly can 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 possibly can dine in any of the a number of tavernas that line up alongside the Venetian Arsenals. That is the proper spot to take pleasure in 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 amazing place to expertise the distinctive flavors of Crete.

Select Salis for a refined eating expertise with merchandise coming instantly from the producers and the restaurant’s personal vineyard.

In case 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 possibly can 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 (Probably the greatest 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 prime 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 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 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.

In case you’re an skilled hiker or just simply love adventures, it’s also possible to attain Loutro by mountaineering the coastal mountain path that connects Chora Sfakion to the village. In your approach, you possibly can 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 great thing about it.

Loutro is the proper place to chill out and revel in a peaceable vacation, and it’s common for day-trippers to vary their thoughts on the spot and guide a keep as soon as they’re there.

You may 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 an important non secular heart of Crete. It’s a spot beloved by the locals not just for the great thing about the church and the gardens however particularly due to the important thing function it performed throughout the occasions of the Ottoman occupation of the island.

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

These occasions didn’t result in the quick liberation of the island however did begin a technique 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 town of Rethymnon, and for those who’re an actual fan of native historical past, it could possibly be an amazing day journey if mixed with a go to to the Archaeological Website 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.

Yet another good thing 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 concept of what to see in Crete past essentially the most well-known locations.

Rethymnon is not only 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 wood balconies in good Turkish model. You’ll additionally discover excessive minarets, such because the Valide Sultana minaret and the one within the Mosque of Neratzes.

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

When you’re carried out exploring, you possibly can take pleasure in lunch or dinner within the outdated city.

For a fast and light-weight lunch, select Raki BaRaki for the countless alternative of meze. For a extra refined meal, Avli is considered one of Crete’s most well-known eating places. It has a fantastic herb backyard and considered one of Greece’s finest 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 not possible 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 attempting.

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. In case you’re driving to catch that ferry to Loutro, you possibly can examine Dourakis vineyard, on the best way to Sfakia.

Heraklion, nonetheless, is an important 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 may take pleasure in a small wine tasting session with just a few labels and native cheese, or take pleasure in a whole meal with a complete wine tasting expertise.

There are some nice wine excursions which you can take part Crete, a lot of which embrace meals as effectively. Consuming and driving isn’t protected, and by becoming a member of a tour, not solely will you be capable of 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 completely 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 completely 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 special meals deal with.

In Argyroupolis, it’s additionally potential to eat recent grilled trout. Actually, 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 usually for vacationers whereas locals choose lamb or goat. For nice 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. Corresponding 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 throughout the Bronze Age, and engaged in buying and selling with different vital Mediterranean cultures.

Contained in the palace, you possibly can admire distinctive buildings, storage rooms, and genius engineering innovations, together with advanced piping programs to offer recent 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 latest go to to Knossos, placing the whole lot 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 best ways to go to Knossos is to guide a guided go to. It will convey the positioning to life, plus you’ll be capable of skip the lengthy strains and save numerous 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 vigorous seaside city on the northern coast of Heraklion, with a fantastic seaside and an amazing 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 get together island except you go to Malia.

Nonetheless, there’s extra to Malia than loopy evenings on the dance ground. In case you’re like me, you come for the get together, however keep for the historical past.

The village was additionally an vital Minoan settlement in historic occasions, and at the moment you possibly can commit some hours to visiting the Minoan Palace of Malia, just some 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 all around the world for Matala. Matala has been a well 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 have been positively the primary expression of contemporary nomadism and riot 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 novel vibe that this small coastal city managed to take care of 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 sizzling 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

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 finest treasures Crete’s mountain custom.

In all probability essentially the most genuine factor to do in japanese 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 do-it-yourself meals, and the mountain panorama is actually inspiring.

A should cease within the Lasithi Plateau is the small village of Psychro, identified for the imposing Cave of Zeus, an historic Minoan place of worship.

Based on completely different legends, Greece’s most vital 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

Overlook 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 sights in Crete and considered one of my favourite swimming holes and mountaineering spots. 

Not the whole lot is about mountain villages within the east. Alongside the coastal highway that takes you from Heraklion to Sitia, you can see this implausible pure place to go to that can 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 fantastic seaside on the northern coast of the islands.

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

The seaside isn’t organized, so take the whole lot you would possibly want, together with a seaside towel and chilly drinks. After the hike, a swim at Richtis seaside will likely 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 positioned in a protected bay, well-protected from robust winds and sea currents, and the realm has facilities akin to eating places, showers, and lifeguards.

The intense east of Crete has a few of the most lovely seashores on the island, and Vai is likely one of the finest. Wherever near the ocean you drive within the area of Lasithi will supply spectacular scenic views and a few 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 reasonably swim in a extra remoted seaside will discover a good various 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 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 Robust Native Spirit: Raki

Enjoy some raki the traditional way when in Crete

You may be questioning what raki is. Nicely, chances are high that raki is the primary (or shut second!) factor you style on the island. Let me clarify…

Raki (also referred to as tsikoudia) is a powerful, do-it-yourself 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.

Nonetheless, raki is far more than only a drink. It’s a welcoming expression of hospitality typical of the island, and it will 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

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 automotive 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. In addition to, it’s not possible to entry a few of these locations utilizing native public transport.

Whereas driving round, you don’t wish to miss essentially the most genuine delicacies.

After all, you’ll be capable of style the well-known Greek gyros whereas visiting an important cities, however lunch in a mountain village will likely be a totally real expertise of taste and hospitality.

Simply cease everytime you see a small taverna, you can be informed the specials of the day and, belief me, it doesn’t matter what you select, you can be amazed on the recent elements and distinctive style of do-it-yourself olive oil, ample herbs, and the tender meats.

And for those who’re a vegetarian, there’s no want to fret, the Cretan eating regimen affords an countless 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 checklist.  

Be a part of a Tasty Meals Tour

Irrespective of the place on the earth 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 possibly can 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 approach across the metropolis, however you’ll be taught concerning the island of Crete out of your enjoyable and informative information. Study 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 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. Study extra about this enjoyable expertise right here.

Prepare dinner Conventional Cretan Meals

Discover ways to make some scrumptious native meals in this enjoyable cooking class. The venue is positioned outdoor 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 discover ways 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 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 professional Paragliding pilots. You’ll be in good arms. Discover out extra about this unimaginable expertise right here.

FAQs In regards to the Greatest Issues to Do in Crete

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

What’s Crete finest identified for?

A number of the most well-known sights in Crete are the Palace of Knossos, the outdated city of Chania, and the Samaria Gorge. And don’t overlook unimaginable seashores akin to Elafonisi, Matala, and Vai, that are a few of 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 not less than 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 probably even two.

Which is best, Crete or Santorini?

I feel it principally is determined by how a lot time you could have. 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 price it to go to Crete and not using a automotive?

Sure, you possibly can take pleasure in lots of the finest locations to go to in Crete and not using a automotive. Having one, nonetheless, will make it a lot simpler to succeed in out-of-the-way Crete sights like distant seashores and wineries.

Which a part of Crete is finest?

There are such a lot of fantastic issues to see in Crete, however for those who can solely select one, I like to recommend Chania. Staying within the beautiful outdated city offers 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 concerning the island, the extra belongings you’ll wish to expertise.

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

My 5 years residing right here have been a few of the finest 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 may by no means image myself residing 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, all the time keen to find extra. Will you be the following 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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