When you stand on the shores ofHeraklion or escape from the Cretan capital by bus, cab or car to explore Crete, you’re bound to spot this wild island, not far off the coast, shaped like a crocodile asleep on the surface of the water. This island is Dia Island, or one of holidaymakers’ favorite excursions. A wild place to walk, sail, swim and snorkel… We usually spend a day there, no more, and immediately dream of returning…

Where is the island of Dia in Crete?

The island of Dia, just a few kilometers north of Crete, is a prime destination for those looking to escape the noise of the tourist towns. It’s 5km long and 3km wide, almost 6 miles off the coast of Heraklion to the south. Get ready for an unforgettable day out!

Surrounded by crystal-clear waters and coral reefs, Dia is an unspoilt island far from the hustle and bustle of tourism. With its fine sandy beaches and unspoilt marine life, it’s a true paradise for nature lovers.

Don’t forget to bring your mask and snorkel. During your excursion, you can observe the multicolored fish that populate the seabed around the island. And who knows, you might even catch a glimpse of dolphins playing at the water’s edge.

The island of Dia was created by Zeus!

According to mythology, the island was created by Zeus himself!

Greek mythology tells us that Zeus looked down on his native Crete from Mount Olympus and saw the Cretans chasing his favorite goats (kri-kri). These goats were the kids of Amalthia, the goat that had fed him while he was hiding from his father, Saturn, in the cave of Dikteon. In a fit of rage, he decided to kill all the Cretans. He blew a bolt of lightning into the sea and a giant monster emerged. Poseidon, God of the sea, reminded him of the protection the Kourites had given him as a child. Zeus finally decided to strike down the monster, which was transformed into a stone monster, and the island of Dia was born!

How do I get to Dia Island?

What to do on Dia Island

A trip to Dia involves a short boat trip from Heraklion, the capital of Crete. Shuttles usually leave from Heraklion harbor, and the excursion lasts about an hour.

However, Crete Autrement informs you that two other towns in northern Crete, east of Heraklion, can take you to Dia on a day or half-day excursion: Gouves and Hersonissos!

From the ports of these 3 towns, it will take you less than an hour by boat, sailboat or motorboat, depending on the excursion you choose, to reach Dia.

If you prefer a more intimate trip, you can also hire a private boat. Many rental services are available in Heraklion and Chania, another popular town in Crete. The advantage of this option is that you can sail at your own pace and discover other islands and beaches not far from Dia.

Where to stay in Dia

With the exception of a white-and-blue Greek chapel that stands proud and watch over Dia, and two small houses that can shelter you from the sun, the island of Dia is completely wild! It was therefore impossible to find a place to sleep on site.

We recommend you book a hotel in Heraklion or a hotel in Hersonissos to visit the island! Click on the links and discover our favorite hotels in the two northern cities of Crete.

What to do on Dia Island 5 good ideas

1. Explore Dia’s unique topography

What to do on Dia Island

No other Greek island is quite like Dia. It rises to 220 metres and offers magnificent views from its cliffs plunging into the sea. You can immerse yourself in this remarkable topography by hiking along the trails that criss-cross Dia. Don’t forget your camera, as the views from the heights are incredible.

2. Snorkeling!

Dia is an ideal spot for snorkellers. The crystal-clear waters are home to a wide variety of marine life. Small bays such as Aginara, Agrielia, Kapari and Panagia are ideal for exploring the seabed. You’ll have the chance to swim among colorful fish and coral formations, so don’t forget to wear a mask and snorkel.

Where to go snorkeling in Crete?

3. Stroll along secluded beaches

Each of Dia’s small, secluded beaches has its own charm. You’ll find your own piece of paradise, whether you prefer to relax in the sun or take a leisurely stroll on the sand. For an unforgettable relaxation experience, be sure to visit the golden sand and pebble beaches that line the island.

Don’t hesitate to come early to “colonize” your own private beach and be more at peace by the water.

4. Sail off into the perfect sunset

Renting a sailboat for a day can be an unforgettable experience. There are plenty of tours to choose from!

Travel around Dia and discover the island’s natural beauty. Meet up on deck with a glass of Greek wine in the evening and watch the sun set behind the cliffs of Dia. It’s a play you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

5. Discover the history and culture of Dia

The culture and history of the island of Dia are distinct. To learn more about the island’s heritage, be sure to visit the picturesque port of Agios Giorgios and the church of Analipsi. The authenticity of these places will enchant you.

When should you go to Dia island?

For its beauty, you can visit the island of Dia all year round. But for a chance to dive in, we recommend a visit from June to the end of October!

Here’s the weather from January to December!

MonthAverage temperature (°C)Minimum temperature (°C)Maximum temperature (°C)Water temperature (°C)