VISIT ELOUNDA & SPINALONGA ISLAND
Explore the small village of Elounda with its inviting natural setting and traditional fishing boats docked at the small pier. From there take a short boat ride to Spinalonga island, to explore the remains of the leper colony that operated on the island between 1903 and 1957. Spinalonga is also home to a Venetian fortress and various small, pebbled beaches.
EXPERIENCE AGIOS NIKOLAOS
Agios Nikolaos is one of the liveliest towns of the island, filled with cafes, traditional tavernas, and souvenir shops. Don’t miss the chance to walk around the picturesque Lake Voulismeni, a former sweet water lake which is now connected to the sea by a narrow inlet.
UNRAVEL THE MYTH OF DIKTEON ANDRON
The large and mysterious cave of Dikteon Andron was, according to mythological tradition, the birth place of Zeus, ruler of the ancient Greek Gods. Before heading out, check with your concierge about opening hours and the general terrain. All who visit Dikteon Andron leave with a sense of grandeur for Greek mythology!
EXPLORE THE TOWN OF SITIA
Sitia is a quiet town in Eastern Crete known for its excellent fish tavernas, pleasant waterfront, and its wide sandy beach. Sitia also boasts a small but fine
archaeological museum, and an old Venetian fortress locally known as Kazarma.
DISCOVER LASSITHI PLATEAU
Lassithi Plateau is a surprisingly large upland plain surrounded by the Lasithiotika Mountains, with one distinct characteristic you cannot miss - it is full of windmills! Although now far fewer than the 12,000 once said to have been present here, their white “sails” are quite a sight on a breezy day.
VISIT KRITSA VILLAGE & PANAGIA KERA CHAPEL
Enjoy a short excursion to the beautiful village of Kritsa, known for its traditional handicrafts, authentic Greek coffee shops and tavernas. On the outskirts of Kritsa, stop at the important Panagia Kera chapel, and admire the wonderful frescoes, among the most significant in Crete.
It definitely take some time to wander the streets of Heraklion, the bustling capital city of Crete. Divided into two parts - the area outside the walls is the modern city, while the most fascinating part of Heraklion is the town within the Venetian and Turkish walls. Filled with old neighborhoods, narrow streets, and old churches – among them the beautiful Agia Ekaterini and old Venetian buildings like the Venetian Loggia, Saint Marcos Basilica, and
superb Saint Titus church.
On Crete’s most eastern tip is Vai - Europe’s largest wild palm tree forest consisting of more than 5,000 palm trees. Vai is also home to an exotic beach with fine sand and sun loungers to rent. This beach can get very crowded during the high season.
HAVE FUN AT CRETAQUARIUM
Head to Cretaquarium, one of Europe’s biggest aquariums and discover the magical, wonderful underwater world of the Mediterranean. An excellent opportunity to get acquainted with creatures of the sea bed, migrant species from tropical waters, impressive sharks, ghostly jellyfish, passive dusky groupers and more!
VISIT BALOS & GRAMVOUSA
Enjoy a boat trip from the town of Kissamos to Gramvousa island, famous for its impressive Venetian fortress built atop a steep rock. Continue your trip to Balos, a lagoon that lies between Gramvousa and the coast of Crete. Balos is among the most visited and photographed beaches in Crete. Due to their natural beauty and diverse ecosystem, both Balos and Gramvousa are protected by the NATURA 2000 European initiative.
Elafonisi is one of the most famous and spectacular beaches in the Mediterranean. It features long stretches of pinkish sand, crystal clear turquoise waters, rocky islets, and a small cedar forest. Of course, such beauty brings along the crowds, and you will certainly find Elafonisi to be quite crowded during the peak summer season. Close to the beach is the historic and interesting Chrysoskalitissa Monastery, which is worth a casual stop on your way back.
Walking through the neighborhoods of Chania will be one of the most enjoyable parts of your trip to Crete. Discover Topanas, the old Venetian district of Chania and get lost in its winding alleys, then make your way toward Splantzia the old Turkish neighborhood where you will see the churches of San Rocco, Agia Ekaterina, and Agios Nikolaos with its minaret tower. Then stroll along Akti Enoseos and head out to the old lighthouse of Chania. As you walk along the inner harbor, you will see the wonderfully restored Great Shipyard, that presently hosts the Center for Mediterranean Architecture.
VISIT THE CHANIA MUNICIPAL MARKET
The Chania Municipal Market is the place to go to discover delicious food products and local delicacies. The iconic market building is a major landmark in Chania, and inside it you will find a vivid world of flavors and aromas. In the Agora, as the Greeks call the market, you will be treated to a vast variety of fruits and vegetables, cheeses, herbs, honey, meat, fresh fish, wine, and raki as well as many other traditional Cretan products.
HIKE THE SAMARIA GORGE
Put on your trekking shoes and hike through the Samaria Gorge – the most famous of the Cretan gorges and one of the ten national parks of Greece. The natural scenery is extraordinary and very rewarding, and if you’re lucky you will even be able to spot the Kri Kri, a rare wild species of Cretan goats. Note, this hike is quite strenuous and takes several hours to complete at a moderate pace (estimated 6 hour hike time).
Walk through the colorful narrow streets of the old town of Rethymno, filled with many well-preserved examples of Venetian architecture such as the beautiful Rimondi fountain with its impressive stone lion-heads. Rethymno’s amalgamation of cultures definitely gives the town a very unique charm. Finishing your walk by the small and romantic Venetian harbor in the early evening is an ideal way to wrap up your day.
Preveli is a stunning area located on the south coast of Crete and home to a monastery and a beautiful beach. The Preveli Monastery is famous for its Byzantine architecture and wonderful views while the spectacular beach is located at the end of the imposing Kourtaliotikos Gorge which creates an awe-inspiring landscape.
Hit The Beach Eastern & Western Crete
BEACHES IN EASTERN CRETE
A long sandy beach with shallow warm waters making it suitable for families with children. The beach is organized with various amenities.
Location: 3km east of Ierapetra
Voulisma is a beautiful beach with white sand and amazing turquoise waters. Umbrellas and sun loungers are available for a small fee, and there are various tavernas and beach bars.
Location: East of Agios Nikolaos
This beach is popular among windsurfers and kite surfers across Europe due to its strong winds. Kouremenos Beach has shallow turquoise waters and fine golden sand and offers basic amenities such as a few umbrellas and a beach bar.
Location: Near Palekastro Town
BEACHES IN WESTERN CRETE
A 3km-long beach with white sand and turquoise water. The beach is organized with umbrellas and sunbeds in its biggest part, however, there are several non-organized parts for those who prefer to bring their own gear. There are also a couple of cafes to get snacks, drinks, and water.
Location: West of Chania
A lovely secluded beach with pebbles and deep crystal blue waters. Ideal for an isolated swim away from the masses. Due to the beach’s remote location you will have to bring along all the essentials, including water.
Location: Northwest of Chania
Plakias is a famous family-friendly beach, perfect for a leisurely swim and a fun seaside day. The beach is very well organized and offers all sorts of amenities and restaurants.
Location: Plakias Village
Seitan Limania (Stefanou Beach)
A perfect beach to visit if you’re feeling adventurous. This tiny beach is wedged between steep cliffs on both sides and offers amazing azure water and a beautiful landscape. Bring water and snacks and wear hiking shoes to walk down the steep path that leads to the beach. Visit early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Location: Akrotiri Peninsula, Chania