Crete's stunning beauty is only matched by its rich history. The island’s vibrant shores offer blissful peace and quiet on an island getaway, but if you are looking for more of a buzz, the beaches of Hersonissos, Elounda and Aghia Marina offer an altogether different atmosphere. Thrill-seeking holidaymakers looking for nonstop adventure will love the many water sports offered across the island. Surfing, snorkeling and windsurfing can all be found in abundance on Crete. Read more...
If history is what you crave, Crete has some of Greece's best ancient monuments and buildings, and they’re all waiting to be explored. Crete has preserved its history incredibly well, and there are a number of fascinating Greek monuments to be found. Ancient ruins are all around in Crete, and all are worth a visit.
Those on a romantic getaway to Crete are sure to appreciate discovering the many secluded coves. Akorit and Stavros are great daytrip spots that offer peace, quiet, and many a romantic spot. When the beautiful beaches or ancient sites have been experienced, the picturesque ports around the island make for another worthwhile day trip.
Crete's nightlife is one that cannot be missed. Crete has a reputation as one of Greece's best party islands, and visitors to the resorts will not be disappointed by the all-night raves the island offers.
Beaches, history and nonstop parties are at your doorstep with a Crete holiday. This island escape is perfect, no matter what time of year. So jump in, and enjoy a little Crete fun in the sun.
Nestled in the northern coast of Crete, seaside town Elounda is bursting with Greek charm. The laid-back spot is a bit of a hidden gem, with holidaymakers only just starting to realise its potential, making it an attractive choice. The town centres around the main square, where traditional tavernas offer delicious local fare, and the vibrant harbour, where you can relax by day and enjoy a drink or two by night. For those who want to keep the party going, Agios Nikolaos is just a 15-minute drive away, and there is plenty of space to nurse your sore head, soak up the sun and watch the little ones splash around at Elounda’s golden Blue Flag beach the next day.
If you’re torn between a quiet getaway in a picturesque Cretan village and a lively beach holiday, Gouves is just the place. On the one hand, you have Pano Gouves, an old village nestled into Mount Ederi’s nooks and crannies. A place of pretty whitewashed houses, charming kafeinas – traditional coffee houses – and striking sea views. On the other, about two kilometres down the hill, you have Kato Gouves. The seaside town is home to everything you’d expect from a beach resort catered for tourists, including a Blue Flag beach decked with colourful umbrellas to protect the little ones from the sun. Heraklion, Crete’s capital, is a 20-minute drive away, so you also have a wealth of cultural and historic landmarks at the doorstep.
Sissi is tucked away in eastern Crete at the end of a narrow, winding road, one of the island’s few hidden gems to remain relatively hidden. Here, you won’t find the fast-paced atmosphere that often imbues decked-out beach resorts, but a lazy, leisurely vibe that sets the tone for ultimate relaxation. The long, narrow bay around which Sissi sprawls makes for the perfect romantic stroll before indulging in some delicious local fare at one of the traditional tavernas. With a pretty sandy beach and plenty of coves around, there are plenty of opportunities to soak up the sun too.
The jewel of Crete's resorts, Chania is a combination of old and new. For a taste of classic Greece, wind through the old town's maze-like streets admiring the Venetian mansions built centuries ago.
Once you have found your way out of the old town, wander to the port and sample mezza at one of the local bars or restaurants. To the resort's east you will find the White Mountains and the famous Samaria Gorge. Both are great for hiking and spending the day wandering, stopping off for a picnic and photo opportunities.
The Lasithi Region
Lasithi beaches are particularly beautiful. After catching the sun and surf at the beaches in Lasithi, view the impressive windmills or trek across the Lasithi Plateau – a vast piece of flat land dotted with white windmills, reaching all the way across to the mountains on the other side. The region contains some of the island's most intriguing ancient ruins, so history bugs will be very pleased.
Heraklion combines fantastic natural landscapes with picture-perfect city scenery. The resort also has plenty of classical Greek architecture, like the old port or the fortification walls of the old town. The city's location bang right in the middle of the Mediterranean has led to this resort having a number of different influences, and all of those influences can be seen when walking down Heraklion's streets.
For those travelling with young children, as well as marine life enthusiasts, we definitely recommend visiting the Cretaquarium, located just a stone’s throw away from Gouves. Among the aquarium’s residents you’ll find plenty of colourful fish, turtles and even sharks, as well as some exciting 3D exhibitions.
Visit the Cretan Olive Oil Farm
Forget its epic ancient history, rich mythology and beautifully rugged coastline, if there’s one thing that makes Crete famous, it’s olive oil. Located in Agios Nikolaos, the Cretan Olive Oil Farm shows you just how much this essential ingredient shapes not just the island’s cuisine, but its culture. The traditional farm is a picturesque setting to learn about the Cretan diet and watch as the owners teach you how to make favourite dishes at home. Ceramic workshops are also on hand, as well as a raki distillery if you fancy a different kind of liquid fire.
Knossos is often considered Europe's oldest city. With its impeccably maintained structures, it’s a place that manages to transport visitors back in time. Although the site is technically in ruin, it remains stunning to this day. Dating back to 7000 BC, the site wasn't actually discovered until 1878, and it wasn't fully excavated until the 1900s. Knossos allows visitors to learn all about the Minoan civilization that once called it home, and just how powerful this city once was.
The White Mountains
The White Mountains are the main feature of western Crete. Covered in snow for much of the year, it’s easy to see where the White Mountains got their name. Even in the summer time, they retain their whitish hue thanks to the limestone that forms them. The mountains are great for walking and hiking, and thanks to the lack of roads leading into them, you will get quite the workout as you explore the area.
While you're visiting the White Mountains, you'll want to check out Samaria Gorge. The area is one of Crete's most beautiful natural landscapes, but seeing it takes some effort! The hike will take around five to seven hours, so be prepared to spend the day getting sweaty as you hike over rocky terrain. However, once you get there, you'll be more than glad you made the effort. Impossibly clear water babbles (yes, babbles) over rocks. Climb over the wooden pathway that hugs the base of the gorge, and if you’re lucky you may even see a mountain goat or two!
Located in Chania, Balos Beach is often called the "Caribbean of Crete". Balos has warm, deliciously clear waters and soft white sand, perfect for lounging on. We kid you not, it’s like something out of a holiday brochure, but oh so real. There’s even a little sandy island that you can walk out to at low tide. The beach is easy to access from the different regions of Crete, so getting there isn't a problem when you’re exploring the island.
Crete's cuisine is surprisingly diverse, and some of the foods found in one region may be difficult to find in another – if possible at all. Much of the traditional cuisine of Crete is based on fresh vegetables, fruits and nuts, and you will find delicious dishes of local produce around the island.
Dakos makes a tasty lunch of bread topped with chopped tomatoes, feta and herbs. Pies are a favourite on Crete and chefs on the island create meat pies in a variety of ways using punchy Greek seasoning. Raki is the island's main spirit, and the best is typically made and served at the local restaurants.
Crete's restaurants serve some of the best salads and freshly produced foods you will find in Europe. Splashed with a hearty dose of olive oil, the island's restaurants produce gorgeous foods for customers to enjoy. Sitting outside and taking in the sea views, you can enjoy mezze while sipping a cool white wine or full-bodied Greek red. Dig into traditional moussaka at a taverna and taste the tradition of great Greek cooking.
Whether you’re looking for a fun-filled adventure holiday with friends or a relaxing break for two, enjoying Crete is possible on every budget with easyJet holidays. Booking with us allows you to make the most of flexible flight times and great value.
Is Crete not quite sealing the deal? Have a read of our other destination guides for further inspiration and temptation!