things to do in crete

Things to do in Crete

Crete, the largest of all Greek Islands and the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, is a mountainous getaway located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea. It is rich in beauty, thanks to its alluring beaches and breathtaking gorges, as well as history, as it was the center of Europe’s first advanced society: the Minoans. Whether you’re here for a laidback summer vacation or an exciting historical adventure, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Crete!

A cultural jewel of Greece, the Mediterranean island of Crete will surprise you with its varied collection of attractions. A melting pot of numerous cultures, the Cretan landscape is painted with Venetian constructions, Ottoman buildings, and more. But at its heart, the well-preserved legacies of the Minoan civilization––Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, and more––will have you unearthing its secrets all day long. Near the sea, the old port town of Chania is the place to be to feast on local culture and spectacular sites from the harbor. Beyond it, the pink-sand beaches of Elafonissi and Balos Lagoon await. Find your way to Crete, where its solitude in the sea offers a mesmerizing escape.

Here’s a breakdown of the best ways to reach the beautiful island of Crete, Greece:

  • Most Convenient: This is the fastest and often the most comfortable way to get to Crete. The island has two major international airports:

    • Heraklion International Airport “Nikos Kazantzakis” (HER) – Located near the capital city.
    • Chania International Airport “Ioannis Daskalogiannis” (CHQ) – Located near the city of Chania.
  • Direct Flights: You can find direct flights from major European cities throughout the year, particularly during the peak tourist season.

  • Connecting Flights: If you’re coming from further afield, connecting flights through Athens are very common.

  • Scenic and Affordable: Ferries are a great option if you’re traveling from Athens or other Greek islands. The main port of Athens is Piraeus.
  • Several Routes: There are multiple ferry routes to different ports in Crete, including Heraklion, Chania, Rethymno, and Sitia.
  • Duration: The ferry journey from Athens (Piraeus) to Crete usually takes about 9-10 hours, and can be longer depending on your final destination on the island.

Choosing the Best Way to Travel to Crete

Consider these factors when deciding between flying and taking a ferry:

  • Time: If you want to get to Crete quickly, flying is definitely the better option.
  • Comfort: Flying tends to be more comfortable, especially if you don’t enjoy longer sea journeys.
  • Cost: Ferries can be more budget-friendly than flights, especially if you are traveling from within Greece.
  • Experience: Ferries offer a scenic journey with beautiful views of the Aegean Sea and other islands, which can be a great way to start your Cretan experience!

When is the Best Time to Visit Crete?


The best time to visit Crete is during the summer season, with June, July, and August as its peak. The beaches are most lively, and plenty of festivities take place during this time of the year. But if you’re not fond of the crowd, the island benefits from a mild winter season between December and February.

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