A trip to the island of Crete gives you everything you’d expect from a Greek holiday, and so much more. Think sun, sea, sand, and a rich history to explore. Wherever you’re staying, you’ll never be too far from the finest sights and sounds the island has to offer.
When it comes to what to do in Crete, sun lovers will adore the spectacular selection of beaches dotted all over the island. On the northern shore you’ll find Vai’s beautiful Blue Flag beach, while stunning Elafonisi Beach awaits on the southernmost tip of the Crete.
For the culture lovers, there’s no shortage of ancient sites to explore. If you’re looking from cultural things to do in Crete, then your holiday won’t be complete without a daytrip to Europe’s oldest city, Knossos. Learn more about Crete’s past with a boat trip to the tiny island of Spinalonga. This is a former leper colony with a fascinating, if tragic, history.
If you want to pick up the pace during your island escape, you’re in luck. Make sure you pack your walking boots because you won’t want to miss out on Crete’s lush National Park of Samaria, and the unforgettable trek through the Samaria Gorge.
Whether you want to sit back and relax on the beach, or head for the hills, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Crete; and you’ll have no trouble filling every day of your trip with something new. Let’s take a closer look at what to do in Crete.
1. Head for Balos Beach
Make your escape to a tropical paradise and venture to Crete’s glorious Balos Beach. You’ll be greeted with glistening turquoise waters and pristine white sands as you arrive via ferry from Kissamos, or on foot from the car park above. If you want to get away from it all, this is the place for you.
2. Discover the ancient city of Knossos
Knossos is a big attraction for visitors interested in finding out about Crete’s history and its very first settlers. Dating all the way back to around 2,000 BC, Knossos is thought to be the oldest city on the continent. If you’re visiting in summer, don’t forget to bring your sun cream and a hat, as there isn’t much shade here.
3. Visit Heraklion Archaeological Museum
History buffs will love Greece’s most iconic museum. It may be located in a modern building, but Heraklion Archaeological Museum is brimming with fascinating relics stretching right back to prehistoric times. You’ll find as many as 27 exhibits on show here, so you’ll want to set aside a day to see them all.
4. Trek to Samaria Gorge
Right in the heart of Crete’s verdant National Park of Samaria, you’ll discover the breathtaking Samaria Gorge. Hiking the 16km stretch is an absolute must for outdoor enthusiasts; it’ll take you around seven hours to go from the elevation just south of Omalos to the coastal village of Agia Roumeli, but it’s well worth it to experience the stunning scenery for yourself.
5. Explore the island of Spinalonga
Spinalonga, officially known as Kalydon, is a tiny island just off the coast of Crete, and we mean tiny! It measures less than 0.01km2. Here you’ll find the remains of a sleepy village, as well as spectacular panoramic view of Crete’s White Mountains.