Everything You Need to Know About the Greek Island of Crete
While the world has slowed down during COVID-19 our travel consultants have been busy little bees. Since the beginning of the crisis, they have been taking care of their clients both at home and abroad. They have tirelessly worked to bring their travelers home safely from their travels. While at the same time rescheduling, planning, and booking future trips. Somehow, they’ve also been keeping their expertise current! The best part is that they want to share that knowledge with you!
Unsurprisingly, Greece is one of the most popular travel destinations. While we take precautions at home, it’s nice to daydream about the paradise islands of Greece. Lindsay so much information to share that we’ve split it up into a 3-part series. Up first is the island of Crete.
Crete is the go-to island to see what’s considered “authentic Greece.” Crete has everything; long sandy beaches, rocky bays, mountain villages, and plenty of nightlife. As if that’s not enough, Crete is the biggest of Greece’s islands and has arguably one of the best climates in Europe.
It’s a must-see for travelers on a budget. Everything tends to be less expensive compared to the other islands of Greece. From accommodations to food there’s something for everyone.
One of the best ways to view the island is to rent a car and road trip from one end of the island to another during your visit. On the east of Crete is Chania, the 2nd largest city, and to the west is the island’s largest city, Heraklion. Spending two nights in Chania’s Old Town is perfect for exploring all the small pockets. Including the covered market. Keep reading to find more places to visit on your road trip toward Heraklion.
Where to Visit
Sfakion Village is a small historical town on the South coast of Crete. It feels untouched by history. The village had a flourishing trade business with Turkish and Venetian occupations. Now, it feels untouched by history. Almost as if you can feel what the village was like when it prospered in the 18th century.
The quaint village is accessible by foot or ferry. It’s a great destination for hikers who want to enjoy gorges and trains in the white mountains, just north of the village.
Sfakia village doesn’t have any night clubs. Instead, it has several locally-owned restaurants. Each offers fresh seafood, smoked meats, and a variety of vegetarian options. Regardless of your preference, you’ll be able to pair any meal with a local delicious wine.
Rethymno Old Town
The third-largest town in Crete preserves the renaissance-style Venetian & Turkish appearances. In other words, it exudes romance. The quirks and secrets of the ancient town bring new characteristics to this quaint town. For example, did you know the layout of the town is directly linked to the sea? Larger cities, such as Heraklion, did the opposite. Closing off the sea for defensive purposes.
This time capsule is on the western side of Crete, between the two larger cities of Chania and Heraklion. Authentic architecture isn’t the only attractive quality for this small town. You can find plenty of secluded coves and picture-worthy beaches too!
Don’t leave without seeing the famous Ideon Cave which, according to mythology, is where Zeus grew up.
You’ll find the Samaria Gorge on the southwest side of the island of Crete. Open between May and October for hiking, it’s the perfect option for active travelers. The Samaria Gorge is the result of a small river flowing between the White Mountains and Mt. Volakias, making it the ideal hike to clear your mind and get back in touch with nature for a day. Don’t forget your hiking boots!
Samaria Gorge is the longest canyon in Europe. It reaches for 10 miles and takes about five-seven hours to complete. The summer months tend to bring a lot of hikers, but the spring often has fewer crowds. As an added bonus for spring is the wildflowers in full bloom along the way.
Balos Beach is one of the best. It’s located 60km NW of Hania
Preveli beach looks like an exotic lagoon. This also makes it very popular so consider the crowds during the summers.
Elafonisi beach is the most famous and is actually an island. You can reach it on foot by wading through shallow water. It’s a great option for families.
Falasarna beach is exposed to NW winds which means it can be big waves, great for windsurfing. Stunning sunsets
Vai Palm Beach, 5000 palm trees on the east side
Golden Beach Chrisi island, mid-may to Oct famous beach 5 min from the harbor.
You’ll want to make sure to spend another couple of days in Heraklion once you arrive. As Crete’s largest city, Heraklion is not quite the small little island town you might expect. It’s built of concrete and has traffic but that doesn’t take away from friendly people, tasty food, and the beauty of being surrounded by the ocean. Take note of the awesome restaurants and activities to fill your visit.