Best Things To Do In Crete

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Written By: Pavlos Inglesis

best things to do in crete

Crete is the largest greek island and it has by far the most available attractions, activities, tours, excursions and the most diverse things to do. Here is the ultimate list of the best things to do in Crete, to make this an unforgettable trip. 

I have handpicked the ultimate list of the Best Things To Do in Crete on the list below but what you choose to do on this large greek island, really depends on your situation (a family with kids, a couple, a lone traveller or a senior).

BEST THING TO DO IN CRETE: Visit Knossos Palace Ruins (with a guide)

Crete is an extremely diverse place and you can easily find yourself laying on an exotic beach overlooking a snowy mountain which might be a few miles away…

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It’s also important to understand that because Crete is a massive island, the things you choose to do really depend on where you are staying in Crete (western crete, Heraklion area or Agios Nikolaos).

Where to Stay in Crete
Best Hotels in Chania
Best Villas in Crete
Best Beaches in Chania
Best Things to do in Paros


  • You won’t be able to do lots of things if you don’t rent a car or your own means of transportation in Crete because you will have to cover many miles

  • It is better if you focus in the perfecture you will be staying and cover most things on that part of the island: e.g. if you are staying in Chania then try to cover things to do in Chania and Rethymno perfectures rather than going to Agios Nikolaos and spend many hours on driving 

  • If you are visiting Crete in the winter there is no point of visiting the beaches as they will be deserted and pretty cold and windy

In a nutshell, the absolute best things to do in Crete are:

1. Visit Knossos Palace

Knossos Palace is one of the most impressive ancient ruins you can find in Greece

Visit the amazing Knossos Palace and explore the ancient Minoan civilisation (a guided walking tour will be very much apreciated…) – also don’t forget to visit the unique Heraklion Archaeological Museum (on Google Maps)

2. Visit a Crete beach

Cretan Beaches like Elafonissi or Balos has been voted as the best in Europe for many years

Explore the incredible famous beaches in Crete (like Balos, Elafonissi, Falassarna, Hersonissos, Malia and many more) – if you rent a car, things will be easier… Overall, I believe that the beaches in Chania are the best on the island but there are literally thousands of beaches to choose from.

3. Wander in old cities of Chania and Rethymno

Chania and Rethymno old towns are full of cute alleys filled with small shops and restaurants

Wander the picturesque old towns of Chania and Rethymno where you will find hundreds of shops, cute restaurants and cafes.

4. Daytrip to Santorini island

Santorini is the most famous greek island and it’s perfect for a day trip while in Crete

Take a daytrip from Crete to Santorini

5. Hike Samaria Gorge

Samaria Gorge is a National park and a UNESCO World Heritage Protected Area

Hike the unique Samaria Gorge

6. Go shopping in the old Chania Market

Chania municipality old market is full of local delicacies and amazing cretan herbs

Go for shopping in the Chania Old Local Market (on Google Maps)

7. Wine tasting and olive oil production tour

Olive oil and wine production in Crete goes back thousands of years BC

Go for winetasting and learn the ancient way of olive oil production in Crete 

8. Try the local cretan cuisine

Escargots are considered one of the most famous and yummy cretan delicacies

Try by any means the local cretan cuisine (yes, snails a.k.a. “chochlioi” included…)

9. Try the local drink “tsikoudia”

Tsikoudia is the local vodka-like drink that is offered for free almost everywhere in Crete

Try the local vodka-like spirit called “Tsikoudia”, usually offered for free as apperitif at the end of a meal

10. Visit Spinalonga island

Spinaloga island used to be a leper colony back in the early 1900s

Visit the old leper colony of Spinalonga Island (with a tour like this)


The list of awesome things to do in Crete is literally endless as the island is quite big. Unfortunately you won’t have the time to do all of them at once, because Crete is a massive island and moving around around takes time and money. So, my general advice to this is that you have to pick one area of the island and focus on that. There are literally hundreds of beaches and thousands of restaurants and cute villages you can visit. You need at least 1 week to only get a glimpse of one prefecture (Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion, Lasithi) so you should be careful on how you spend your time while being on this amazing island.

Photo of author
Pavlos Inglesis
Greek, born and raised in Athens. I have been to almost every greek island and pretty much in every region of mainland Greece. I have also been eating souvlaki and gyros since the 80s. I love being a dad to my 2 beautiful daughters and also taking great photos of the places I visit. This is my blog to help you out explore the places I have visited with my inside tips as a Greek, knowing the ins and outs of my country and culture. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section under the post you are interested in and I wIll try my best to respond asap.

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