Best Places to Visit in Crete
Crete has it all – glorious sunshine, beautiful beaches and some of the most delicious fare in the whole of the Mediterranean. As the fifth-biggest island in the Mediterranean and the largest in Greece, there’s plenty to explore, including ancient civilisations, majestic gorges, mountain vistas and white-sand coastlines. However you like to spend your holiday, Crete is abundant in treasures to discover. Here are some of the best places to go in Crete!
If you’ve already decided on one of our villas based in Chania, like Villa Aggeliki, you’ll have so much to discover right on your doorstep. When you feel like heading out and away from your private pool and gardens for the day, Gerani Beach is just 300 yards away, and the nearby Platanias Resort is just a short drive away, offering plenty of restaurants to choose from and a mini-market so that you can cook up a feast back at your villa.
As one of Crete’s four provinces, Chania is an ancient town that dates back to Venetian Rule, and is surrounded by the epic White Mountains natural park, which takes up much of the western quarter of the island. Lose track of time wandering around the alleyways and winding roads of Chania Old Town, taking in majestic churches, Venetian mansions, souvenir shops, museums and architecture. Chania’s harbour and municipal gardens are also worth a visit in the sunshine. If you love great food, Chania has plenty on the menu for you to enjoy, including mini cheese pies, lamb with chicory and eggs with stàka. Should time allow, visit one of the many wineries located in the region for a tasting tour, where you will learn about different Cretan varieties and vintages – making Chania undoubtedly one of the best places to go in Crete for couples.
Take a drive to the south of Crete and discover the tranquil seaside village of Matala. This region’s most popular attraction is the Minoan Palace in nearby Phaistos, which dates back to 1900-1700 BC. It was excavated by an Italian archaeologist called Halbherr at the start of the 20th century, and offers a fascinating glimpse into life during its time. History lovers will also appreciate the nearby famous archaeological sites of Gortys, Phaistos and Agia Triada, which is a Minoan villa.
The village of Matala offers visitors a quieter pace, and is one of the best places to see in Crete if you want to get away from the busier resorts. Visit the Grottes de Matala, Matala or Red beaches for warm and calm waters that are great for swimming, sunbathing and water sports, without the crowds. There isn’t a large nightlife scene here – just a few bars and hotels offering live music and cocktails up until a respectable hour.
Positioned east of Heraklion, Hersonissos is one of the best places to go in Crete for families. Once a sleepy town, this is one of the most buzzing resorts in Crete, and is home to around 3,000 permanent residents from abroad. Even outside of peak season, when the resort quietens down, there is still plenty to see and do. After a relaxing morning having breakfast on your private pool terrace at Villa Danae Blue, indulge in a spot of shopping at the many markets, shops and stores offering everything from handmade jewellery to clothing and Greek clay pots. You’ll also be spoiled for choice when it comes to food, with a range of tavernas offering British, Italian, Greek and Mediterranean fare for even the youngest and fussiest of eaters.
An ideal place to stay with children, Hersonissos boasts the Labyrinth theme park, complete with a crazy golf course, maze, pottery workshop and eco-garden, as well as the Hersonissos Aquarium and Cretaquarium, hosting more than 2,000 organisms across 60 tanks.
Have we tempted you to book your next getaway? Discover more of our luxury villas on the stunning island of Crete.