10 Days of Romance and Adventure in Beautiful Crete
Arts & Culture
With its stunning landscapes of towering mountains, lush valleys and beautiful beaches, Crete offers a land of magnificent contrasts. Rich in history and culture, dating back to the Minoan civilization, the island boasts renowned attractions such as the Palace of Knossos, Samaria Gorge and Preveli Beach. Crete also holds a wealth of hidden gems waiting to be explored, making it a versatile and appealing destination for all types of travelers. Whether you seek relaxation on pristine shores, adventure amidst dramatic landscapes or a cultural immersion in vibrant cities and traditional villages, Crete promises an unforgettable experience.
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Where to stay
Casa Delfino Hotel and Spa
This hidden spot has views of Chania’s cobblestone harbor, rich interiors and a must-visit roof terrace.
Cretan Malia Park
Immerse yourself in a world of laid-back luxury and artistic design at Cretan Malia Park, a member of Design Hotels, where modern aesthetics and tranquil surroundings create an idyllic retreat on the beautiful island of Crete.
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Amirandes Grecotel Boutique Resort
A large resort with an Olympic-size saltwater pool and a beachfront location.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
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Day 1-3: Exploring the charms of Chania
Welcome to Chania, a city brimming with charm and history. Over the next three days, immerse yourself in the captivating atmosphere of the old town. Get lost in its labyrinthine streets adorned with stunning Venetian architecture and vibrant markets. Don't miss a visit to the Chania Archaeological Museum, where you can admire a remarkable collection of Minoan artifacts, offering insights into Crete's ancient past.
Make sure to set aside a day to embark on a boat trip to the breathtaking Balos Lagoon. Marvel at the meeting point of turquoise waters and powdery white sands, creating a truly mesmerizing landscape. Take the time to soak up the sun, swim in the crystal-clear waters and simply unwind in this idyllic paradise.
Day 4: Preveli Beach and the enchanting Preveli Waterfalls
Escape to the natural wonders of Preveli Beach, a serene stretch characterized by swaying palm trees and pristine waters. Enjoy a stroll along the shore, soak up the sun, or take a dip in the Mediterranean.
In the afternoon, venture on a hike to the Preveli Waterfalls and be rewarded by a swimming hole, so be sure to pack your bathing suit. There’s nothing quite like swimming under a picturesque waterfall. Cap off the day by making your way to the charming town of Matala, famous for its fascinating cave dwellings and bohemian vibes.
Day 5-6: Immersing in the treasures of Heraklion
Travel to Heraklion, the capital city of Crete, and delve into its rich historical and cultural heritage. Begin your exploration at the Palace of Knossos, the largest Minoan palace complex on the island.
Dive deeper into Cretan history at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, home to an extensive collection of Minoan artifacts that bring the island's past to life.
Spend a leisurely afternoon strolling along the Venetian Harbor, soaking up the maritime atmosphere and taking in panoramic views of the sea. And of course, don't forget to indulge in some local delicacies at the waterfront tavernas, savoring the flavors of Crete while enjoying the truly insta-worthy surroundings.
Day 7: Embarking on an epic hike in Samaria Gorge
Prepare for an unforgettable adventure as you embark on a challenging yet immensely rewarding 16km hike through the legendary Samaria Gorge. Marvel at the towering cliffs and lush greenery as you make your way through the gorge. There’ll be plenty of opportunities to rest at breathtaking viewpoints and the chance to spot native wildlife.
Day 8-9: Serenity in Sfakia and Loutro
After a hike like that, you deserve a little R&R. Escape to the tranquil beauty of Sfakia and Loutro, two coastal gems renowned for their serenity and charm. Relax on the sandy shores, basking in the warm Mediterranean sun. Or better yet, make it a spa day at your hotel.
In Loutro, a picturesque village accessible only by boat, wander through its narrow streets and admire the traditional whitewashed buildings that line the waterfront. Indulge in the slow-paced atmosphere, enjoying the peacefulness that surrounds you. Treat yourself to the local cuisine at the waterfront tavernas.
Day 10: Farewell to Crete, back to Chania
Return to Chania for one last day of relaxation in Crete. Sink your toes into the golden sands of Chania's beautiful beaches, savoring the last moments of the Mediterranean sun. Before bidding farewell to the island, make sure to visit the bustling Chania Municipal Market for a last minute unique souvenirs.
THINGS TO NOTE
Be prepared for a variety of climates. Crete is a large island with a diverse landscape, so the weather can vary depending on where you are. In general, the weather is mild year-round, but it can get hot and dry in the summer, while spring and autumn can offer pleasant weather with fewer crowds.
Credit cards are widely accepted in tourist areas, but it's advisable to carry some cash, especially for smaller establishments or when venturing into rural areas where card payment options may be limited. ATMs are readily available in towns and cities.
Crete, like the rest of Greece, is generally considered to be LGBTQ-friendly, especially in larger cities and tourist areas. It’s worth keeping in mind that while larger cities like Heraklion and Chania are more progressive and open-minded, rural areas and smaller villages may have more conservative views. As a visitor, you are likely to encounter a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere in popular tourist destinations. Many hotels, restaurants, and businesses in these areas are LGBTQ-friendly and cater to diverse clientele. Crete also hosts LGBTQ events, such as pride parades and cultural festivals, which further contribute to an inclusive environment.
Need to Know
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, How to Spend 4 Days on Isla Mujeres.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Greece.