GREECE

CRETE: TOP 15 BEST THINGS TO DO!

Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands and there is SO much to see and do, but with such a vast space, it’s important to hone in on the things that are truly going to make your trip stand-out!

My week in Crete went a lil something like this…

1. Zeus Cave

  

Well, this is where it all started isn’t it?

The birth place of the Greek God himself, Zeus, was on the biggest island of Greece – Crete!

The walk up to the cave is not as steep as people are exclaiming on Trip Advisor, it’s not a flat path, but it’s definitely not as exaggerated as people are making it out to be.

When inside, the cave is very dark. I would pick the time you go wisely so you don’t feel shuffled through. I really enjoyed the drive up the mountain and seeing some of the countryside life of Crete on the day trip with explorerealcrete.com

2. Trying the Cretan Cuisine

  Crete is famous for it’s cuisine, I had some of the best dolmades and traditional greek dishes here. The best way to try some of the traditional cuisine is of course is with a food-hop! I chose to do mine in Heraklion where I was staying with greeking.me 

The day was filled with a huge variety of food, raki and quite a lot of history. We saw a lot of hidden spots around the city as well! A very well-rounded and filling way to get some great Cretan culture!

3. Cretan Cooking Class

If you’ve tried the food in Crete, you may want to step it up a notch and learn the recipes and secrets in a traditional Cretan Village to take back home and impress your family with!

I had THE. BEST. DAY at my cooking class with greeking.me – we made gemista, dolmades, tiropita, tzatziki and many more delicious and traditional items – AND – I got a certificate *insert cheesy proud grin here* as well as all the recipes to take home with me. Making it a gift for my fam too! A MUST!

4. Chania Old Town

 There is a lot of charm and romance in the city of Chania. It definitely takes on a lot of Venetian influence in both the housing and the Old Town streets.

The lighting was so beautiful peeking through the narrow walkways of the Old Town, leading you to get wonderfully lost among it’s beauty.

There are so many great restaurants and amazing stores to drop by in. I was able to explore west of Crete with statusmlb.com

5. Chania Port

After wandering through the town, more than likely you will be greeted with the port!

Buzzing with energy and lined with restaurants – all selling fresh seafood and stunning views around the port bay.

I didn’t have the time to go on a boat tour there, but I definitely was envying those boarding off and on the glass-bottom boat tours while I ate my lunch and people-watched!

6. Knossos Palace

In Heraklion you can find a lot of History of Crete, the most being the Minoan Palace.

I’m not usually one for long lectures on History, which is why I opted to explore with cliomusetours.com – the first I had ever heard of a self-guided audio tour you can pre-download to your smart phone and be able to explore at your own pace, with the luxury of skipping the line at the ticket office to as everything is easy-access on your phone!

Very much putting the simplicity back into exploring history and understanding people like to go at their own pace and not be herded like sheep in a group tour, where most the time, you miss the information! This was perfect! And, if there was any history I had forgotten, the audio tour was still on my phone to be able to go back and listen to again. Handdddyyyy!

7. Spinalonga

Home of the Lepers! I personally didn’t go across to Spinalonga but I did sit in front of it at the local beach in Agia Nikolaus. The island itself looks beautiful and you can definitely spend some good time exploring, although I don’t believe you can swim, which was why I opted for the ocean time instead.

However, it’s a great way to do something different and soak in some history on a not so explored part of Crete

8. Agia Pelagia

I really stumbled upon this gorgeous beach town as I was searching for a nice beach that was also close to Heraklion where I was staying.

And Voila! I couldn’t have found a more beautiful place to watch the sunrise and soak in the dawn.

My friend and I woke up very early and caught a taxi here, we stayed til about 11:00am and enjoyed some of the freshest squeezed juice and relaxed in the Agean seas. A very beautiful place to let time escape you!

9. Agia Nikolaus

Agia Nikolaus is very much a local life of Crete area. The beaches and restaurants are some of the most beautiful you will find in Crete.

I definitely have my heart and eyes set on a little Airbnb start-up in this area as it was honestly just a homely and completely paradisaical vibe! Definitely see myself mini-based here in the near future!

10. Lake Kournas

On exploring the west of Crete, we stopped at Lake Kournas for an hour and had some fun out on the lake. Renting water bikes/boats is the number one here and you can see why.

I couldn’t think of a more unique way to let time pass you by while exploring a different type of water therapy in Crete!

11. Rethymno

I didn’t spend a lot of time in Rethymno, but like Chania, it had a very inviting charm about it. Most specifically the people of Rethymno were incredibly inviting and I had some great conversations with locals here.

Sometimes it’s not just where you go but who you meet along the way! Rethymno is definitely on my list to visit again and explore deeper!

12. Heraklion City Centre

Choosing to stay in Heraklion allowed me to really take in the city. The markets and busy streets leading down to the pier, where the smell of fresh fish fills the air and locals are unloading imports in the port early in the morning with the sunrise literally lighting up the sky like magic.

Besides the morning, the city itself is filled with art and unique local shops and restaurants.

I had an amazing time exploring the city on my food hop with Greeking.me and also venturing in and out on my own during my week stay there.

13. Cliff Jumping

 Of course, being an adrenalin junkie, I could think of no better a send-off to say goodbye to the Agean Sea than by jumping carelessly in – without my swimwear (just a bodysuit) and feeling that amazing feeling of living life to it’s fullest!

The sea in Crete, and Greece in general, is so inviting and beautiful, it definitely brings out the fearless attitude in you.

We literally pulled over on the side of the coastal road, and jumped! I highly recommend it!

14. Samaria Gorge

I wasn’t able to visit Samaria Gorge whilst in Crete, but my friends went and said it was breathtaking and very much worth the long journey to get to! So, I have to recommend it here! Here’s a photo I pulled from Google, I’ve heard great things!

15. Hit the Best of Crete Beaches

Crete, being so large, homes many amazing beaches. I didn’t visit all, but the ones I did above blew me away! The ones I didn’t are listed here for you all to discover and report back to me on how they are!

Matala Beach: Said to be a hippie beach, spreading good vibes and great times

Elafonissi Beach: Crowded, but if you go early enough, you may just have this pink sand sand-bar all to yourself!

 

That’s it folks! Hope you enjoyed my take on Crete, I will definitely be back!

   

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1 Comment

  • Reply Joseph Hipkin September 4, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Beautiful ,, Thanks for this Great Blog Natalie-Monique!

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