Best places to visit and see in Crete

Crete, a stunning destination in the Mediterranean, attracts travelers with its beautiful landscapes, fascinating history, and friendly locals. As summer arrives, this island paradise comes alive with vibrant colors and numerous exciting spots for adventurous visitors. Here’s a specially selected list of the top places to visit for an amazing summer experience in Crete.
The list of the Best places to visit and see in Crete below promise an immersive and diverse summer experience, each offering a tapestry of history, natural beauty, and cultural richness waiting to be explored.

Old Towns of Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos

Each town encapsulates its own unique allure within its old quarters. Chania’s Old Town charms with its enchanting mix of Venetian and Ottoman architecture, while Rethymnon boasts a well-preserved Venetian quarter, adorned with atmospheric alleys and historic monuments. Heraklion’s ancient walls guard a wealth of treasures, with vibrant markets, historic squares, and a bustling ambiance.

Samaria Gorge

Samaria Gorge is the most famous trekking gorge in Europe and a part of the European E4 hiking trail. For many visitors, it is the sole purpose of their visit to Crete. The length of the gorge reaches 14.5km and takes about 5 7 hours to hike from Omalos plateau to Agia Roumeli beach. The gorge is located at the south of Chania Prefecture in the larger uninhabited area of Europe, where no roads even exist. It was created by the river flowing between the main massif of the White Mountains Lefka Ori) and Mountain Volakias
*Top hike destination of Crete

elafonisi beach from top view, sunbeds pink beach
Elafonissi Pink Beach

Known for its pinkish sand and shallow, warm waters, Elafonissi is a postcard-perfect beach on the southwestern coast. The beach is adorned with small islets and sandbars, making it a wonderful spot for leisurely strolls and exploring. The vibrant colors of the sand, the shallow pools, and the clear sea create a stunning natural palette.
*Around 10 min walking from the parking spot.
** limited sunbeds

Arkadi Monastery – Cultural Heritage

Venture to Spinalonga Island, an islet steeped in history. Explore the remnants of a Venetian fortress and the haunting remnants of a leper colony. The island’s rich past, coupled with its serene coastal setting, makes for a compelling excursion.

knosos Palace, tour Heraklion
Knossos Palace

Knossos was the most important city of Crete before the Roman Era and the centre of the first brilliant European civilization, the Minoan. The palace of the city, located just 5km south of Heraklion, is the most visited archaeological site in Crete with more than 1 million visitors per year. The palace was the seat of the legendary King Minos and has been associated with famous Greek myths, like that of Daedalus and Icarus, the Labyrinth and the Minotaur. Minos was not a person, but a series of kings with the same name (as we say Pharaoh in Egypt). The palace of Minos was the heart of the city of Knossos, with constant presence in the historical events of Crete from the Neolithic era till the early Byzantine era.
*Top archaeological destination of Crete
**Highly recommend it to combine with the archaeological museum of Heraklion

Lasithi Plateau

The Lasithi Plateau is a captivating expanse that unveils a different facet of Cretan life, inviting travelers into a world shaped by timeless traditions and rustic charm. Beyond its scenic beauty, this plateau boasts a captivating narrative that resonates with the island’s agricultural heritage and the enduring spirit of its inhabitants.

Balos lagoon & Gramvousa cape
Balos Lagoon

Balos beach is a paradise with its turquoise lagoon and soft white sands located next to Gramvousa Peninsula. Accessible by boat or a 15-25 min hike, this beach offers surreal beauty and a sense of seclusion. The shallow, clear waters make it perfect for swimming or simply soaking in the mesmerizing views of the lagoon and the distant islets.
*Steep hill to go down and come back around 15-20 min walking (be prepared).
**Limited sunbeds
***Gramvousa Peninsula accessible only with a boat.

Spinalonga Island

Venture to Spinalonga Island, an islet steeped in history. Explore the remnants of a Venetian fortress and the haunting remnants of a leper colony. The island’s rich past, coupled with its serene coastal setting, makes for a compelling excursion.
*Plenty of ferry options from Elounda or Plaka ports.

Dikteon Andron

Located in the east of the island, Dikteon Andron is a long and winding cave that was believed to be the birthplace of Zeus. Within the cave, there is a 4-kilometer hiking route, which takes around 2 hours. Along the way, hikers are treated to a variety of spectacular rock formations, as well as rare plants and animals. 

Other useful links

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