Unmissable Things to Do in Crete Greece
- June 21, 2022
- 7 minutes
Crete is a place perfect for all types of travellers and if you plan to visit the island, you might wonder what are the unmissable things to do in Crete. Crete offers visitors a unique experience. From crystal-clear beaches with fine, golden sand to ancient ruins just waiting to be explored, there’s something for everyone in Crete.
To make the most out of your time and to budget your trip accordingly, read on below to know the best things to definitely do in Crete.
Hike the Samaria Gorge
The Samaria Gorge is located in the southwestern part of Crete, right in the regional Chania. The gorge was formed by a small river that runs between Mt. Volakas and the White Mountains (Lefká Óri). There are several other gorges found in the White Mountains but the Samaria Gorge is by far the most popular due to the beautiful scenery it possesses.
The gorge is 18 kilometers long, starting at the village of Omalos and ending at the bay of the Libyan Sea in Agia Roumeli. Hiking the Samaria Gorge is a fun activity chosen mostly by nature lovers. While going through the gorge, you can see all sorts of Cretan wide life such as hawks, ravens, and occasionally, bearded vultures.
If hiking isn’t really your thing, exploring ancient ruins is a great alternative.
Visit the Knossos Palace
As you may know, Crete is rich in history. The island has seen and experienced a lot in the past, and ‘til this day, some of those footprints can still be seen. One example of this is the Knossos Palace.
Knossos Palace is located a few kilometres south of Crete’s capital, Heraklion. Knossos is an ancient fortress that had a population of up to 100,000. It was established in the 18th century BC. The palace was often featured in Greek mythology. It’s recognized to be the place where King Minos and Daedalus build a labyrinth to seal his son, the Minotaur.
Today, you may check out the wide reception courtyard where the royal family used to entertain guests, head to the Throne Room, Sanctuary, and walk the path of the Royal Way towards the shore to witness the Royal Apartments, which are built on four storeys.
Are you more of a beach-bum than a history-lover? If that’s the case, a trip to Elafonisi will leave you in awe.
Relax in Elafonissi Beach
Elafonisi is an oblong land structure that is often broken in two by water. As a result, it gives the image of being a separate island. However, what makes Elafonissi stand out is the pink sand it possesses due to the crushed dead shells that mixes with the sand.
You can either hangout by the beach or swim to the little islet.
On the beach, you can find cafes, beach bars, taverns and sun loungers to relax on. It’s quite packed with tourists during the summer.
The islet, on the other hand, is unorganised. There are no accommodation in the area, so you can fully indulge in nature if that’s what you like. The endangered loggerhead sea turtle rare plants call the island home; it is illegal to remove any plants, animals or even shells from the area.
Other beaches worth checking out are Balos Beach in Chania, Vai Beach in Lassithi, Preveli Beach in Rethymno and Matala Beach in Heraklion.
Visit the major cities in Crete
Heraklion, Chania and Rethymno, are among the major cities in Crete. Each of the regions has an Old Town, which is considered the “central part” of the cities. You can visit souvenir shops to purchase Cretan goods such as olive oil, herbs and spices. After shopping, head to one of the many restaurants and try famous dishes such as the moussaka or smoked pork.
When the sun sets, Crete’s nightlife comes alive. Go visit bars and taverns, meet locals and try the ever popular Cretan raki. Raki also known as tsikoudia is a traditional Cretan spirit. It is a 100% natural product without any added preservatives, an authentic distillate made from grape skin that’s full of flavours and aromas.
Another activity that’s a-must is visiting museums in Crete. This is especially fun if you’re more of a laid-back traveler.
Head to one of Crete’s museum
There are many museums in Crete that’ll provide you a glimpse of the island’s past. The following museums are not to be missed:
Archeological Museum of Heraklion
The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is a museum found in the island’s capital, Heraklion. It is one of Greece's top museums and the best in the world for Minoan art, as it houses the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of Minoan relics.
Folklore Museum of Chania
The Folklore Museum of Chania situated in the heart of Chania's city. Learn about the lives of rural residents until the early half of the twentieth century. In this museum, you’ll get to see the everyday tools used by the people of Crete before. Other items include jewels, embroidery, vases and even weapons.
Lychnostatis Open Air Museum
On the coast of tHersonissos, in a landscape of 7,000 sq.m, check this natural-folk museum. The museum aims to promote and preserve the popular culture and traditional life of Crete. This museum showcases items from life in the countryside. You’ll see objects from the late 19th century to the 20th here, allowing you to truly indulge in the local life of early Crete.
Go wine tasting
If you’re in Crete, you can't afford missing out on their wine. Crete has an extensive list of wineries such as the Manousakis Winery, Lyrarakis Winery and Minos Wines of Crete. These wineries offer day tours that show you how they make their wines as well as the history of wines in Crete.
Wine making in Crete has been an important part of the island’s culture and was even practiced since the Minoan period. Going wine tasting is a fun activity that will not only satisfy your taste buds but will also allow you to learn more of Crete’s traditions.