43 Things to do in Crete

From pristine, golden beaches and warm, azure waters, to the rich history and alfresco eateries, there are plenty of things to do in Crete to keep everyone happy. Visit Europe's oldest city, hike in national parks or trek through spectacular gorges in the year-round sunshine. Here are some of our highlights.

Places to go

Your to-do list has to include the island’s stunning beaches. Get away from it all at Balos Lagoon with its powdery, white sands and shallow, glistening waters. On Crete’s northern shores, Blue Flag-awarded Vai Beach awaits, while down on the southernmost tip Elafonisi Beach will welcome you with its dazzling pink sand.

Or, if you’re on a family getaway, head to Bali or Chrissi Akti for all the amenities you need for a lazy day by the sea. Elounda, Mirabello Bay and, in particular, Aghios Nikolaos are also well worth a visit.

Away from the beaches, explore the breathtaking Samaria Gorge. At the heart of a national park, it's the longest in Europe, covering 11 miles of spectacular landscape – perfect for couples who love a good hike. Other top places to visit in Crete include the island of Spinalonga. Indulge in a spot of Venetian history and learn about its fascinating past as a former leper colony, as well as enjoying panoramic views of Crete's White Mountains.

Attractions

There are plenty of stand-out attractions in Crete but ancient Knossos and its Minoan palace top them all. Walking around the ruins of Europe's oldest city, you’ll travel back in time to the Bronze Age. Poke around in some more of the island’s long history at the iconic Heraklion Archaeological Museum, brimming with relics dating back to prehistoric times. It’s a particular hit with older couples and a must-do for anyone who wants to get to grips with Crete’s incredible past.

If you fancy a little more action or need to entertain the kids after all that history, then check out Labyrinth Park. Themed on Greek mythology, it’s got all the interactive fun a family could hope for! Explore the maze, play mini-golf, go horse riding – there’s so much there for all ages.

Or, for a water park splashabout, Acqua Plus is a winner for everyone from tots to teens and beyond. Think adrenaline-rush rides and slides, relaxing lazy river tubes, an exciting children's area and, on dry land, an adventure playground.

Got an animal-lover in your party? Make sure you visit Reptisland, home to turtles, lizards, snakes and crocodiles. You could combine it with a trip to the nearby Melidoni Cave. And say hello to the creatures at the spectacular CretAquarium, too. It’s one of Europe’s largest aquariums, so you'll get to watch all kinds of Mediterranean sea life there.

Places to visit

Soak up the atmosphere of Rethymnon’s quaint Old Town streets, stopping off for a spot of lunch at a shade-dappled taverna and popping to the Venetian fortress for a look around. This part of town’s a medieval delight!

Can’t get enough of the picturesque charm? Take a stroll along the cobbles of historic Chania, where cute cafes, shops and restaurants line the maze-like alleyways. Finish off your visit with a glass-bottomed boat trip to see the pretty harbour and its lighthouse.

And if you enjoy underground adventures or Greek mythology (or, even better, both), then discover the impressive Cave of Zeus. It’s the Dikteon Cave, legendary birthplace of the most powerful deity of Ancient Greece. There’s more to this attraction than stories, though – you can also admire spectacular stalactites and stalagmites, and maybe see the cave’s current residents, such as the Mediterranean long-eared bat.

Sticking with the myths, Mount Ida is great for a day’s hike in the summer. Peaking at 2,456 metres, it's the highest mountain in Crete, and where Zeus was said to have spent his childhood.

Read on to discover more of the fascinating highlights and unforgettable things to do in Crete. You’ll find it’s home to everything from beautiful monasteries and striking fortresses to family attractions galore.

Things to do

Best hotels in Crete

Minos Imperial Luxury Beach Resort and Spa

Minos Imperial Luxury Beach Resort and Spa

Greece, Crete, Milatos

King Minos Retreat Resort and Spa

King Minos Retreat Resort and Spa

Greece, Crete, Hersonissos

Castello Boutique Resort & Spa Adults Only

Castello Boutique Resort & Spa Adults Only

Greece, Crete, Sissi

Mitsis Royal Mare

Mitsis Royal Mare

Greece, Crete, Anissaras

Thalassi

Thalassi

Greece, Crete, Rethymnon

Mitsis Selection Laguna

Mitsis Selection Laguna

Greece, Crete, Anissaras

Angela Suites Boutique Hotel

Angela Suites Boutique Hotel

Greece, Crete, Sissi

Hersonissos Palace

Hersonissos Palace

Greece, Crete, Hersonissos

Silva Beach

Silva Beach

Greece, Crete, Hersonissos

AKASHA Beach Hotel and Spa

AKASHA Beach Hotel and Spa

Greece, Crete, Hersonissos

CHC Marilena Hotel

CHC Marilena Hotel

Greece, Crete, Amoudara

Rimondi Grand Resort & Spa

Rimondi Grand Resort & Spa

Greece, Crete, Rethymnon

Creta Royal

Creta Royal

Greece, Crete, Rethymnon

Magda Hotel Club

Magda Hotel Club

Greece, Crete, Gouves

Knossos Beach Bungalows & Suites

Knossos Beach Bungalows & Suites

Greece, Crete, Kokkini Hani