The tiny island of Spinalonga is so close to Crete and easily reached by a little boat over to the island. Perched in the north-east of Crete (within the Gulf of Elounda), it’s one little spot to explore some of the Venetian histories of the island.
It’s a tiny little place that has had a pretty turbulent past, with the historic Arab raids, Venetian conquering, Ottoman occupation, all before being turned it into a leper colony. Thankfully, the island is much more peaceful today. Pop on one of the small boats that leave Elounda every 30 minutes, or so. It really is one of the best things to do in Crete.
Seitan Limania Beach
Relatively near Chania (and Chania Airport), the tiny little cover of Seitan Limania is a great spot to chill out and relax in that stunning Aegean Sea. Now, the beach is pretty small and it does get busy during peak season.
If you want to avoid the crowds, pop over for an early morning dip during the week. It really is beautiful.
Look, there’s no going to Greece without eating as much Greek food as physically possible.
Make sure you try some of the tasty Cretan Cheeses, Kalitsounia (a proper cheesy delight) and Dakos which is a delicacy made from chunks of rusk, ripe tomatoes, sheep’s cheese and lashings of Greek olive oil.
Village of Loutro
Perched on the south coast of Crete, Loutro is a tiny little fishing village that you have to visit. It’s a complete throwback to old Greece and the town doesn’t seem to have loads of development for visitors, it really does feel like a hidden gem.
One unique thing about the village is that it’s inaccessible by land and you’ll have to get there by boat (or ramble across the mountains). When you’re there, take some time to relax on the waterfront, enjoy the views and grab some seafood on the front itself.
Chania is one of the biggest island cities you’ll find on the Greek Islands, which means there’s usually lots to do.
Make sure to take a wander to the Venetian Harbour, visit the old lighthouse and visit the Agora Marketplace where you’ll be able to grab some freshly picked figs. Yum.
One of the best hiking routes in Crete has to be around Balos Lagoon. Well, for views at least. Arrive pretty early in the morning to avoid the crowds and the mercury that will inevitably be rising around midday.
You can also take a small little boat from Kastelli to Balos if you’re wanting to stretch your seafaring legs. For one of the best views, head onto the Balos Beach Trail and stop off at the many viewpoints you’ll find. It really is one of the gorgeous things to do in Crete.
Holy Trinity Monastery
Not too far from Akrotiri is the Holy Trinity Monastery that’s amazing to visit when you’re looking for a break from all that beach life. Make sure you head inside the monastery itself, it has some of the very best gilded interiors you’ll find on the island.
Be ready to see a lot of cats as well!
One of the largest bays in all of Europe (well, top 5), Mirambello Bay. Take a drive around the whole region, pop into the Sea of Crete for a little dip and head to the town of Agios Nikolaos for a bite to eat.
After exploring all the amazing things to do in Crete throughout the day, pop into To Pareaki for some good meze. After all, you deserve it.
One of the best things about Rethymno is its old, historic town. Take a few hours to wander the narrow, cobbled streets, stop off at the little cafes for a frappe and find the Venetian Harbour. Yes, there’s a few of these delights in Crete.
Fishing village of Sissi
Sissi is one of those villages that’s laid-back attitude and charm is totally contagious. Pop over to the village and experience some of that relaxing attitude that’s every holiday should include. Just remember to pack your swimming gear too, there’s a really tiny beach where you can chill out after a few hours exploring.
Knossos Palace is the biggest Bronze Age site across all of the island and is often referred to as Europe’s oldest city. You will have to fork out about €15 (approximately) for entry but it’s well worth the adventure when you’re on the island. Look out for the stunning frescoes and amazing Throne Room too.
Samaria Gorge National Park is one stunning spot to see another side of Crete and something that’s so unique compared to the other Greek islands. Make sure you see the gates of the gorge, too. They’re not actually gates but a very narrow part of the gorge that is pretty epic to see.
Fortress of Koules
Built in the 16th Century by the reigning Venetians, the Fortress of Koules and a site you should definitely see. Now, the historical site itself is now closed for entry, but you can still catch a glimpse when you’re wandering around Heraklion. Whilst in the city, make sure to hop over to the Cathedral of St. Minas, too. It’s just stunning.
Sacred Monastery of Arkadi
Perched within the countryside of Crete is the gorgeous Sacred Monastery of Arkadi. The monastery itself is about 20 km, or so, from Rethymnon with a car being the easiest option to get here. Make sure to visit the bell tower and see the Corinthian columns – it really is one of the special and sacred things to do in Crete.