The island of Crete is a really special place. I have visited many islands but Crete is special. It has all you need for great trip – mountains, 2 seas, many historical sights and great tourism infrastructure. So today I want to share my top things to do in Crete.
Rent a car and visit a random village in the mountains
This is the best way to feel the real Crete! See how locals can drink coffee for hours in a family tavern, how they live and from what they love. (a lot of agriculture) We got lucky to stop in a place that they were growing grapes! They invited us to try them and in the end even cut some branches! And to be honest – it was the sweetest grapes I have ever eaten!
Also, with the car you can reach all the places you want! And my favorite thing to do – just to stop in the middle of the road and enjoy the views! A tourist bus will never do like this for you! And memories of driving are also great! The prices of cars start with 25eur per day, but if you are more than 2 people I would suggest to take a better car and enjoy your driving. 🙂
Visit at least 1 archeological site.
When you realise you are on the same island as civilisation 3000 years ago you should want to explore more. At least I love history and it is amazing to step in the ruins of the cities that used to be so powerful! Of course, you think ok, I go to Knossos and I see all I need. Yes, it is very important but very touristy. Aptera or Phaistos Minoan palace used to be also very important and less crowded nowadays. Imagine, some of the sights were just found! How many things we still don’t know?
Try local food
You can really feel different culture through the food. Greek salad, different cheeses, Saganaki ( fried cheese), cheese ‘’pillows’’, grilled lamb and many other things will make your trip even better. If you are on a budget try Gyros – Greek kebab. Its traditional and very cheap!
Drink a coffee with a view
Crete is very scenarios so it is easy to find a tavern with amazing view and great coffee! Greek traditional coffee originally is boiled on sand. Also, it is very small amount and comes not filtered. When ordering you can ask for sweet/medium sweet/no sugar options. Even though you prefer latte, you should try at least one Greek coffee. Another option is cold coffee – Frappe. Its is literally a foam but very tasty! Don’t forget to refill your coffee with water – just add it and you will have more of your coffee. I know, sounds weird but just try. 🙂
Swim in at least two seas in one trip!
In the north you will find Aegean sea (or Crete sea) and in the south you will find Libyan sea. In the east it is Myrtoan sea but I have not reached it so can not tell much about it. Most of the resorts are on the northern part – this is where sandy beaches can be found. Just get a car and try few beaches! Everyone just loves Balos, Georgiopouli, Bali beaches but you can always explore on your own too.
Go for a hike.
There are many options to go hiking in Crete – just to the mountains or to the gorges or just on a dried river – just be creative! Of course, the most popular is Samaria Gorge. If you want to go there you really need to dedicate one full day and next day should be more relaxed day as it is not so easy to walk a 16 km gorge. Of course, views are amazing. Just consider that you need to take a tour to get there as the road up to the mountain is not the easiest. In the end of a hike you will need to get a boat that brings you to a small village that bus can pick you up. But if you are staying on the other side of the island – check maybe there are other gorges around you? I bet there are! I found Milli gorge right where we were staying! So it was easy to reach, views were stunning and it was pretty easy so we could enjoy the time. In Milli gorge you will find an abandoned village from 1950s, watermills and you can still feel the atmosphere how people used to live there.
Go to Matala beach
In whatever side you live I think it is worth driving to Matala. I was not planning to mention particular sights but Matala is really special and it is a pity if you would miss it. It is a former roman cemetery! And I like this fact better than that hippies used to live in the caves during 60s and 70s. Best thing about caves that you can go and climb to them and explore on your own. Now they already got an entrance fee but it is very cheap and definitely worth it. After exploring the caves you can have a nice swim in a Libyan sea.