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Crete Travel Guide - Tours, Hotels, Restaurants, Museums, and Historical Sites

Crete Travel Guide

Crete is the fifth-biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea and the largest of the Greek islands. South of the Peloponnese, it is situated between the Libyan Sea and the Aegean Sea. It is approximately 645 km from the coast of Libya and has Ierapetra, the southernmost city on the European continent. Crete measures about 260 km in length and 60 km in width. From west to east, the island is divided into Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion, and Lassithi prefectures. The population of Crete is roughly 650, 000. Moreover, Crete represents about one-sixth of Greece’s tourist arrivals. The word “diversity” best describes the Greek island of Crete, where palm trees flourish in the middle of vast plains, sand beaches are hidden among towering mountains and modern cities hum along with centuries-old buildings. In Crete, cities are a reflection of the people who came before. Architectural remnants from Minoans, Venetians, and Ottomans, as well as modern Greek design, border the streets. This island retains a sense of oneness despite its obvious inconsistencies, which can be sensed whether you walk down the street, eat at a neighbourhood tavern, or relax with a glass of raki at a sidewalk café. The largest Greek island features a temperate climate, immaculate beaches, fantastic dining, and wine options, hundreds of ancient ruins, magnificent scenery, miles of hiking trails, and a raucous nightlife.

Before making any firm plans, consider what kind of holiday you want to have because Crete’s experiences are as varied as its history. Consider staying in Chania or Heraklion on the northern shore for a city environment with a variety of restaurants, bars, hotels, and nightclubs. For the many gorgeous beaches, those who prefer the great outdoors should travel to Rethymnon or Agios Nikolaos. The island is home to several beautiful beaches and upscale beach resorts, but there is still much more to discover. Nonetheless, from tours, hotels, restaurants, museums, and historical sites, name it, Crete has it all.

What is the history of Crete?

Greek “Kriti”, “ancient Creta”, often known as Crete, is an island in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and a part of Greece. Crete has an area of 8, 336 sq. m. It was inhabited by the Minoan civilization from c. 3000 BCE, which was dominated by mountains. Crete is notable for its palaces at Knossos, Phaestus, and Mallia. In the 16th century BCE, it peaked. The end of the Minoan period occurred in c. 1450 BCE, by a significant earthquake. Crete was seized by Rome in 67 BCE, and Byzantium took control of it in 395 CE. The island was ceded by the Crusaders to Venice in 1204, and after one of the longest sieges in Crete’s history, the Ottoman Turks finally took control of it in 1669. It was an independent state until Greece annexed it in 1913. Greece had taken it over in 1898. The island is one of Greece’s top producers of olives, olive oil, and grapes, and agriculture is the island’s primary source of income. Tourism is also significant for the island. A beautiful collection of Minoan artwork is kept in the museum in Heraklion. Despite the island’s abundance of tourist attractions, the locals continue to practise their ancient traditions and customs. In actuality, tradition plays a significant role in their daily lives.

Where is Crete located?

Crete is located between the Aegean Sea and the Libyan Sea. It is Greece’s most southern island, at the same time the largest island. Above Crete are the Cyclades islands, and the Dodecanese islands are to the northeast. The island is the fifth-biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Crete’s latitude and longitude coordinates are 35.417416, and 24.530005.

How many days do you need to spend in Crete?

The quick answer is that at least 5 days in order to see the majority of the island. And if you set your itinerary on visiting every big attraction, think about two weeks at least. Especially if you want to experience everything the island has to offer. With an average maximum temperature of 30 degrees Celsius and little summer rainfall, July is typically the warmest month.

Which is the best month to visit Crete?

April to mid-October is the customary tourism season. However, the best times to visit and travel to Crete are in the late spring/ early summer and in the fall, when the weather is pleasant and the summer crowds have dispersed. Between Easter and mid-June, when the weather is generally pleasantly warm, beaches and ancient monuments are relatively empty, affordable, and easier to find, and conditions are ideal. The finest seasons for hiking and other outdoor activities are spring and fall.

What is the best season for visiting Crete?

Summer is the best season to visit Crete. Mediterranean summers are hot and dry, and winters are pleasant in Crete. It is ideal to visit Crete between June and September if you are looking for the sun. However, the entire year is a great time to visit Crete. Before and after the well-established touristy summer season, travellers are drawn to it by its moderate climate and distinctive mountainous features. The natural beauty of Crete inspires visitors to feel compelled to explore its mountains, gorges, and pathways.

How much does it cost to travel to Crete?

For your holiday in Crete, you should budget about €81 per day, which is the average daily cost. In the past, tourists have typically spent €28 on food for a day and €19 on local transportation. Additionally, a couple can stay in a hotel for €76 on average in Crete. Therefore, the average cost of a weeklong trip for two people in Crete is €1,135. Moreover, it typically costs €567 for one person to take a weeklong holiday to Crete. When a family of three or four takes a trip, the cost can frequently be reduced because child tickets are less expensive and hotel rooms can be shared. It is important to note that a two-person trip to Crete for a month can frequently cost less per person per day than a one-person trip for a week. For a complete price guide, look for prices in Crete and the cost of travelling to Crete.

Restaurant menu & Prices in Crete

How is the Crete Travel Itinerary?

With so much to see, experience, and taste, Crete’s travel itinerary is a full package of extraordinary experiences. Crete’s travel itinerary could range from the must-see attractions in Crete which include Balos Beach, Matala, Ierapetra and so on, the top things to do in Crete may include a boat cruise to Balos lagoon and Gramvousa from Kissamos port, full day Samaria Gorge trek excursion from Chania, a day trip to Elafonisi island from Chania and a heck of diverse activities. Because the island is a rich tourist attraction, your stay will surely be a good one.

What are the Tours for Crete?

Crete is a big island with a lot to offer. There are a lot of tours that can be availed when visiting Crete. Such as the Balos Lagoon and Falassarna Beach Tour, snorkelling and boat tours in Crete. Elafonisi tour from Chania, 7 villages of Apokoronas tour, food tasting tour in the town of Chania, a gourmet wine tour of the Heraklion area, and many more. One thing is common for the mentioned tours, they will let you experience and appreciate the rich culture and palettes of Crete. However, since the island is agricultural in nature, and the leading producer of olives and olive oil, the best tour to do is the Cretan wine and olive oil tour. On a full-day wine tour departing from Chania, treat your senses to the historic flavours of Crete. To visit two family-run wineries where you may taste award-winning regional wines and wander among the vineyards, go via the Kisamos region’s highlands and typical Cretan villages. On this leisurely gastronomic tour of northwest Crete, partake in a sample of another renowned Cretan product at an olive oil facility and visit one of the oldest olive trees in the world. The tour could take approximately 7 hours and may cost around €100 to €380  for two adults inclusive of a tour guide.

What is the best vehicle for visiting Crete?

The best vehicle for visiting Crete is a rented car. While there are buses that transport tourists, they follow a timetable that tourists must follow. Driving a rented car allows one to have their own schedule whenever they want to visit Crete. Time is important whenever a person travels. When a tourist is driving a rented car, it allows one the flexibility of time to go around places in a more convenient way. Small manual cars, sometimes known as economy cars, are perfect for short trips outside of cities or inside city limits and are also quite simple to park. Car Rental Crete, the economical car is a preferable option if you plan to stay in one of Crete’s major cities, such as Heraklion, Chania, Agios Nikolaos, or Rethymnon.

Can you rent a car to get to Crete?

Yes, you can rent a car to go to Crete. Tourists can rent a vehicle to explore different places in Crete. One can really maximise their schedule and plan their itinerary while driving along Crete island. There are a lot of options for tourists who wish to travel using a rented car. One can rent a car for just a day tour, or spend the whole holiday driving a rented car for a month.

What are the factors to consider before renting a car in Crete?

Crete is a beautiful island in Greece that is a must place to visit who love the rich culture and its historical past. There are different ways to explore the majestic island, but one way to enjoy it is by renting a car. Learning how to choose the right car to rent in Crete will definitely make the most of one’s time enjoying the beautiful tourist spots.

Listed below are the factors to consider before renting a car in Crete.

  • Insurance. Crete car rental includes insurance for Collision Damage waiver, and a credit or debit card is required as a guarantee. Rental car insurance protects a passenger against the cost of damage when renting a car.
  • Driver’s age. In Greece, the minimum age to drive is 18 years old. Although, to be able to rent a car in Greece and Rental Center Crete you should be at least 21 years old and have a driver`s license at least 12 months.
  • Driver’s gender. Gender doesn't matter when driving or renting a car in Crete. Both women and men can drive in Crete without any restrictions.
  • Car type. When travelling in Crete, the vehicle type needed depends on the number of passengers. Travelling with members of the family requires a bigger type of car. Opting for a smaller car is best when driving in Crete. The main reason is that Greek roads are narrow. There are noticeable smaller cars on the roads too.
  • Documents needed for renting a car. Documents needed are 1. driver’s licence, 2. national Id or Passport. A credit card is not required with Rental Center Crete. A debit card works fine. A debit or credit card with the tourist’s name is needed to provide the rental car company guarantee (not obligatory in all companies).

Travel Documents / Passport and International Driving license

How much does a car rental in Crete cost?

The island of Crete has many beautiful tourist spots that can be travelled using a rented car. The Crete car rental costs vary depending on the number of passengers, itinerary, car type, location, and duration. The average cost of renting a vehicle in Crete is around €30 to €40 per day. A car rented for a whole week will cost on average €250 while renting for the weekend will cost around  €78. Affordable car rentals in Crete vary depending on the car type. Only four passengers, including the driver, are allowed in cars with up to seven seats. For a car with eight or nine seats, up to 6 total including the driver.

What are the best hotels to stay in Crete?

The island of Crete is very big. It is the size of the main island of Hawaii. It is perfectly understandable if you are having trouble deciding where to go in Crete because there are so many options and the island is so varied from one region to the other. You will need more than 5 days to explore Crete, and since you can’t see the entire island in a single visit, you must decide which prefecture: Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion, or Lassithi you will spend the most of your time. In terms of hotel accommodations, Crete will never let you fail. For a starter, Deluxe City Hotel, Pagopoieion by Enorme-Adults Only Suites, and Amalia are among the three best hotels in Crete. The Deluxe City Hotel in Chania Town offers easy check-in and check-out, non-smoking rooms, a seasonal outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi, and a garden, and is less than 1 km from Nea Chora Beach. This hotel offers family rooms together with a sun patio for visitors. It also offers its visitors a concierge service, a 24-hr front desk, and currency exchange. Pagopoieion by Enorme-Adults Only Suites is a hotel with a restaurant and a bar that is situated in Heraklio Town, 2.2 km from Amoudara Beach and 200 m from Heraklion Venetian Harbour. The hotel also offers free Wi-Fi access. Popular destinations including Koules, the Morosini Fountain, and the Municipal Art Gallery are adjacent to this hotel. Lastly, Amalia offers air-conditioned lodging with a balcony and free Wi-Fi in Matala, which is located 500 m from Matala Beach and 1.2 km from Red Sand Beach. The hotel overlooks mountains and is 1.3 km from Kommos Beach.

Elounda Heights Hotel

What are the best restaurants in Crete?

Complex and proud, with a rugged, mountainous landscape and a strong traditional culture, Crete stands apart from mainland Greece. For its distinctive ingredients and flavours, Cretan cuisine is well-known both in Greece and abroad. The variety of local produce, which is based on straightforward cooking methods, defines the dishes: fresh fish, the renowned Cretan oil, mountain herbs and greens, bulbs, distinctive cheeses, and raki, a bracing grape liquor. Avli, Red Havana, Giannikos Traditional Taverna are among the three best restaurants in Crete. Avli offers a palette of healthy Mediterranean and Greek cuisines, located in Heraklion. With its special diets that are vegetarian-friendly, vegan and gluten-free options are also available. Restaurant fans reviewed Avli as an amazing all-around and must-visit restaurant when coming to Crete. Red Havana on the other hand offers a bar, with Mediterranean, European, and Greek cuisines, located in Chanion, Agia Marina. With its special diets that are vegetarian-friendly and also offer vegan options. The restaurant is reviewed to be a great family place with great food and kids’ entertainment. Lastly, Giannikos Traditional Taverna offers Mediterranean, Barbecue, and Greek cuisines, located in Rethymnon. The restaurant is reviewed as always the first choice and absolutely amazing. For a complete restaurant guide, look for the 10 best restaurants in Crete and what they’re known for. Surely you’ll have a good appetite.

Pelagos Seaside Restaurant

What are the best historical sites to visit in Crete?

Despite being Greece’s largest island, Crete has a distinct history and culture that is evident in the numerous historical sites that must be visited when coming to Crete. Old Town of Chania, Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, and Minoan Palace of Knossos are among the three best historical sites in Crete. The island of Crete has a troubled past. This fertile terrain, which sits in the middle of the Mediterranean, has drawn nearly every civilisation that has ever ruled the area. The cities of Crete, which were conquered by the Romans, Venetians, and the Ottoman Empire, mix several architectural styles to produce an eclectic environment. One of those cities in Chania’s Old Town. This charming town has a distinct personality thanks to its Venetian villas, Turkish minarets, and fortress walls. Another historical site to visit is the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Visit the Heraklion Archaeological Museum in the heart of Crete to learn more about the fascinating Minoan past. By doing so, you will be able to appreciate the items discovered both on the site and in several other communities all across Crete. Lastly, the remarkable array of archaeological sites and Crete’s millennia-old history make the island stand out. The island of Crete, which is renowned for being the birthplace of western civilisation, is home to numerous ancient towns and ruins. The Minoan Palace of Knossos is the most significant one. Knossos is only ten minutes drive from Heraklion, the island’s capital. Visit the place either early in the morning or shortly after dusk to avoid the crowd of tourists. Crete has a lot more to offer in terms of historical sites. Check for the 10 best historical landmarks in Crete to better appreciate how historic the island is.

Minoal Clay heads in Heraklion Archeological Museum

What are the Hiking Routes for Crete?

Crete, which is blessed with magnificent beaches, is a great location for hiking. In Crete, walking and hiking will help you escape the masses and uncover a new side to this stunning island. Crete is ideal for trekkers, with its mountains, gorges, and pink beaches. There are three main hiking routes in Crete, these include Samaria Gorge, Preveli Beach, and Imbros Gorge-Komitades. Samaria Gorge, discover the 14.3 km point-to-point trail that runs close to Lakki, Crete. It takes an average of 13 hours to 14 hours to accomplish this course, which is generally regarded as somewhat difficult. You will probably run into other people while exploring because this is a very popular location for birding and trekking. The route is lovely to explore at any time of the year and is open all year. Preveli Beach, discover this 7.6 km circular route close to Myrthios, Crete. It takes an average of 2 to 3 hours to accomplish this course, which is typically regarded as moderately difficult. Since hiking and strolling are fairly popular activities, you can run into other people while exploring. The months of April through October are ideal for hiking this trek. Imbros Gorge-Komitades, discover the 6.6 km point-to-point trail that runs close to Ibros, Crete. It typically takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes to accomplish this trip, which is thought of as being simple. Since backpacking, camping, and hiking are all fairly popular activities in this region, you can run into other people while doing your exploration. The route is lovely to explore at any time of the year and is open all year.

Senior man hiking on Crete

Is Crete worth visiting?

Yes, Crete is definitely worth visiting. There are more than a hundred reasons why visiting Crete is worth your time. The largest Greek island features a temperate climate, immaculate beaches, fantastic dining, and wine options, hundreds of ancient ruins, magnificent scenery, miles of hiking trails, and a raucous nightlife. Thus, Crete is worth visiting. Crete should be part of the plan when planning to go backpacking in Greece.

Is Crete safe?

Yes, Crete is safe. Crime rates in Crete are typically low, just like in any other part of Greece. Since there are many police officers on the island, assistance is never far away should an accident occur. And like other Mediterranean islands that you may have visited, Crete is thought to be a secure tourist destination.

15 Crete Activities: Things to do in Crete

March 10, 2023

Crete Activities Crete Activities are things a visitor, tourist, or local is able to do or enjoy while staying in Crete. Crete positions nearly 160 kilometres or 99 miles south of the Greek mainland and about 100 kilometres or 62 miles southwest of Anatolia. Crete is Greece's most famous and southernmost island, specifically with the Aegean and the Libyan Sea. It is known as a paradise for nature enthusiasts and adventurers. There are 15 activities to do on the island of Crete, including Hiking, Cycling, Horseback riding, Rock Climbing, Canyoning, Rafting, Bird watching, Sailing, Caving, Sport Tourism, Air Sports, Snow sports, Off-road exploration, Explore Old Towns, and Visit Archaeological Museums and Sites. There are numerous tours available in Crete, such as day and night tours. However, it is recommended to at least stay and explore Crete for five days. There are available tours to book with a trip to different sites in Crete. However, public transportation is not the best on the island, and it is necessary to have a mode of transportation to travel and enjoy all the sites, beaches, towns, and Crete Activities. Renting a car is the ideal and best way to go around Crete. The advantage of Car Rentals in Crete is it gives freedom and flexibility to travel, especially on how, when, or where to visit parts of the country, even those difficult and far to reach. Furthermore, Crete has a temperate Mediterranean climate, such as mild and rainy winters; and hot and dry summers. The best time to visit Crete is between June and September. July is the warmest and driest month in Crete, with a maximum of 32 degrees Celsius and an average low of 22 degrees Celsius. The coldest and wettest month is January, with a maximum of 14 degrees Celsius and an average low of 7 degrees Celsius.

10 Best Crete Gorges You Need to Visit

March 10, 2023

Best Crete Gorges Crete is the largest and most populous island in Greece. It is ranked 88th largest island in the world. Crete hosts the largest number of gorges in Greece. For years, hiking has been a tourist attraction in Crete. More and more tourists, mostly from German-speaking countries, come for hiking. Most Crete Gorges hikes start in the mountains and end at sea.  Some gorges will require mountaineering equipment to climb. Other gorges can be accessed by walking on easy trails for just a few hours. The Samaria Gorge National Park is one of the most prominent gorges in Crete. It has been Greece’s National Park since 1962. Most hikers will love the Samaria Gorge National Park because it offers many hiking trails with majestic views. The Samaria Gorge National Park can be considered a Crete budget-friendly gorge. The Topolia Gorge, in the inland area of Kissamos, offers an impressive landscape. Topolia Gorge is known to locals as the “Gorge of Caves”, due to the many caves found along its route. According to local traditions, Topolia Gorges hosted fairies and the magical Minoian Goddess Vritomartis. The Ha Gorge is located on the west side of the Thrypti mountains near Vasiliki and the small village of Monastiraki. The gorge is very narrow, and the walls rise hundreds of metres. The area inside Ha Gorge is an important wildlife habitat. Crete has the best gorges every tourist needs to visit.

Samaria Gorge: History, Tour and Car Rental Guide

March 10, 2023

Samaria Gorge Samaria Gorge is located in Southwest Crete in the regional unit of Chania. It was created by a tiny river running between the White Mountains and Mt. Volakias. The name Smaria was derived from the small church of Ossia Maria, built in 1379. The name “Samaria” is a contraction of Ossia and Maria.  The village of Samaria was a centre of Cretan resistance during the Turkish Occupation and during the German Occupation. Samaria Gorge is the most famous gorge in Crete and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Samaria Gorge is home to over 450 species of plants and animals, thus making it a World Biosphere Reserve. It is 16 km long and its width is 150 m. Samaria National Park has been a Greek National Park since 1962. It has become a major tourist attraction since then. The 16 km walk along Samaria Gorge provides a majestic scenery which is claimed to be incomparable anywhere else on the island of Crete. The Samaria Gorge usually operates from the 1st of May until the 15th of October, depending on the weather. One can visit the Samaria Gorge on an organised tour or by public transportation. Hiking is also one popular activity in Samaria gorge. It is one of the interesting things to do while visiting the beautiful gorge.

A Guide to Chochlakies Gorge: History, Map, Hiking, and Car Rental

March 10, 2023

Chochlakies Gorge The Chochlakies Gorge lies far east of the island. It gets across the village of Chochlakies to the scenic bay and beach of Karoumes. The canyons are full of amazing geological formations. The Chocjlakies Gorge is accessible by walking from the village of Agathias by Palekastro. After reaching Chochlakies, one needs to take the bus back to Palekastro, and this 2nd route takes about 4 hours. There is a curve alongside the cliffs of Chochlakies Gorge, and it ends on the beautiful beach of Karoumes.  Tourists who have visited the Chochlakies Gorge have nothing but good words to say about the gorge. What they love about it is the accessibility of the gorge and the lovely deserted beach of Karoumes. The rocky green landscapes make the charming Chochlakies a worthy tourist spot. The best time to visit Chochlakies Gorge is in all seasons. However, during spring, hikers need to do some rock climbing to get around the pools of water. It would take less than 2 hours to walk in Chochlakies Gorge, and it has an easy level of difficulty. Compared to some gorges in Crete, Chochlakies is not well known, but that doesn’t make it less attractive.

Kotsifou Gorge: History, Trekking, Tour, and Car Rental guide

March 10, 2023

Kotsifou Canyon Kotsifou Gorge is a gorge on the southern side of the western part of the island of Crete. It is noted for the high number of Cretan endemic plant species that grow in the area. The road in Kotsifou Gorge runs through a narrow slit in the mountains. It is located west of the mountain of Kouroupa, north of the town of Plakias. It is on the road between Sellia and Angouseliana.

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