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Best Crete Activities and Travel Tips – 2024 Guide

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, right now, you can’t travel to Crete or anywhere in the world. But, you can use the time to research your next vacation destination and get to know all the things you need to do and visit on your trip.

Crete is the biggest island in Greece, located in the Aegean Sea. Millions of tourists visit this island every year, and every one of them is sure that they will come back again. Many of them see Crete just like a summer destination, but there are plenty of places worth visiting during the whole year.

For your next trip to Crete, you need to know a few basic things and tips that will help you plan the vacation easily:

Crete is divided into four regions

Each region has unique things to offer, and you can start with the one that seems most attractive to you. The regions are:

  • Heraclion, that is a mix of historical monuments, traditional Greek villages, beautiful beaches, and very good nightlife.
  • Rethymno, calm and beautiful during the season, full of archeological sites and important monasteries and churches.
  • Chania, the most popular region with the best beaches and traditional houses and streets.
  • Lassithi, the least popular region between the tourists, with a lot of calm and peaceful villages and archeological sites.

You can start your plan by choosing one region that is most interesting to you, depending on what you want to see there. Then, explore what it offers and decide where will you rent an apartment or in which hotel you will stay.

Crete is a perfect road trip option

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Crete is covered with great public transport service, but you can’t reach every place worth visiting like that. So, you may consider renting a car and visit every place you want and anytime you want, without having to wait for a bus or taxi. You will enjoy driving from one place to another, watching the scenery around you. The local car rental companies are affordable and usually include a full insurance policy. Check the prices on and be ready to discover all the beauties this island has to offer to the visitors. You can arrange the car renting a few weeks before you arrive, so you can get the proper vehicle that fits your needs.

What are the most beautiful spots in Crete?

Whatever you choose, you will enjoy the breathtaking sea views, wonderful historical sites, and great local cuisine. But, if we have to choose, we recommend you to add these spots to your vacation map:

  1. Elafonissi beach

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The people call it a heaven on Earth. It’s located 70km from Chania. People love it because the water is crystal clear and the sand is white and pink, because of the crushed shells. The landscape is stunning, so don’t miss it while you’re there.

  1. The national park Samaria Gorge

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This is the major natural attraction on the island. You can start exploring it in the morning because you have a lot of things to see there. We recommend this place if you enjoy hiking in the mountains. You can reach the village Agia Roumeli from there and find great taverns and food places, or just stay at the calm beaches.

  1. Kato Zakros on the east side

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Get in the car and drive to the east end, so you can find Kato Zakros, an incredible village located next to the legendary Minoan palace. Don’t forget to take your camera, because you will have to take a few shots of the breathtaking scenery.

  1. Balos Lagoon

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Balos lagoon is similar to Elafonissi beach. It’s a stunning and exotic site, the water is turquoise and clear, and you will want to stay there forever if it’s possible. Together with Elafonissi, Balos is also the most photographed place on Crete.

  1. Kourtaliotiko Gorge

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The locals also refer to it as Asomatos Gorge, so you need to know that it’s the same place. You can find beautiful and unique flora and fauna, especially the rare bird species. It’s excellent for the nature lovers who don’t need a beach every day of their vacation.

What to eat and drink while on Crete?

Greek cuisine is specific and unique, even though it resembles the Mediterranean kitchen. Every part of Greece has some special dishes, and here is what you can eat and drink during your Crete vacation:

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  1. Local olive oil

Greeks produce their olive oil, but the Crete is one of the greatest producers of olive oil for the whole of Greece and even for the Balkan countries. They add it to the meat dishes, salads, with a slice of feta cheese or with a few loafs of bread.

  1. Dakos salad

It’s crunchy bread with chopped tomatoes, fresh cheese, herbs and a lot of olive oil on the top. The bread is named Paximadi. It’s similar to the Italian bruschetta, but the taste is authentic Greek.

  1. Different types of cheese

You may think that Greeks have only feta, but you’re wrong. In Crete, many people produce cheese and it’s different than the traditional feta. You can find a few types of soft cheese in the stores and the restaurants, and eat it with a salad or with bread and olives. The most popular types are graviera (hard sheep cheese), kefalotiri (mixed sheep and goat salty cheese), and mizithra (soft fresh cheese that can be made of sheep or goat milk).

  1. Loukoumades

They look like small donuts and often are served with honey and cinnamon or with vanilla ice cream. The donut is deep-fried, but you will not be able to stop eating once you try it.

  1. Lamb chops

Greeks love lamb and they have over 100 ways to prepare it. The lamb chops are named paidakia, and the meat is very delicious. You can combine it with potatoes or with the traditional Greek salad. Of course, all of these dishes are great with a glass of Cretan wine.

There are many reasons why to visit Crete and we hope this list helped you to decide where to start your road trip and what sites and spots you need to visit while you’re there.

About Michael Farmiga