In 2023, Crete is and will remain one of the favorite vacation destinations for French and European tourists. There are many reasons for this: a cheap stay, the charm of the Greek islands, simplicity, the sun, the paradisiacal beaches and above all, many things to see!
What to see in Crete in 2023 Find out EVERYTHING there is to know!
Why visit Crete? 6 reasons
Crete is known for :
- Its bewitching beaches: starting with Balos Beach, this pink sandy beach and incredibly photogenic, with the appearance of a lagoon.
- Its enchanting villages. Clinging to the Dikti Mountains, Kritsa offers fine stores, a lively old town and a church with beautiful Byzantine frescoes.
- Its Greek gastronomy with 1000 flavors
- Its ancient sites such as the Palace of Knossos obviously
- Its archaeological museums
- Its many outdoor adventures: hiking in the Samaria Gorge, hiking in the west of the island, skiing in winter, sailing cruises…
The island of Crete is the largest in Greece and has a truly magical atmosphere of its own. Big enough that you can easily spend a full vacation exploring its hidden corners, tasting the best of Greek cuisine and basking in the magical Mediterranean light.
With cities like Chania, the colorful old town, Hersonissos, Agia Galini or Agios Nikolaos(pictured above), Crete proves that it is worth visiting even if you are not looking for a typical sunny vacation.
Crete is generally a safe, friendly and hospitable place. No theft or insecurity on site!
Where to stay in Crete?
For this, nothing could be simpler. Crete Autrement offers you 3 options.
1. Find a hotel in Crete
To find the perfect hotel on the island of Candie, visit the Booking map below:Booking.com
2. Find a cheap hotel in Crete
You can also try to book a cheap hotel on the Greek island, thanks to the good deals and promotions Booking below:Booking.com
3. Rent a villa with pool
For a dream vacation, you finally have the option of renting a villa with a pool and/or sea view:
What to do in Crete in 2023? Top 13 activities
Let’s get down to business now and discover with us all there is to do on the island of the Gods!
1. 7 must-see places in 2023
To make your job easier, we suggest 7 must-see destinations in 2023: head to the guides below!
👇 CLICK ON THE IMAGES BELOW TO DISCOVER OUR TRAVEL GUIDES AND TIPS 👇
Crete is warm, so take summer clothes such as shorts and tank tops. If you plan to do a lot of walking, make sure you pack comfortable sandals or trainers.
No matter where you decide to spend your island holiday from these 7 destinations, you won’t be bored. You’ll find :
- beautiful beaches with a Caribbean feel,
- crystal clear water,
- majestic mountains,
- traces of ancient Greek culture,
- the best olive oil,
- aromatic thyme honey,
- the most delicious oranges
- and an excellent Greek wine!
2. Rent a boat with your friends!
Or with the family of course!
Crete, like Greece in general, is a Mecca for boat trips. Motor, sailboat, catamaran… You absolutely must see the island from the sea, its clear blue water, its creeks, its heavenly beaches…
- For a day or a longer cruise.
- With or without a skipper…
This is one of the must-do activities on the Greek island! So book now:
3. Visit Heraklion, the island main city!
The island’s capital, Heraklion, is located in the north of the island. It is a lively city with many bars, restaurants and cafes. There are many historical sites to see, such as the Palace of Knossos, the Archaeological Museum and Koules Castle.
The beaches of Heraklion are amongst the most popular on the island. They are ideal for relaxing, sunbathing and scuba diving. The most popular beaches are those of :
- and Kokkini Hani.
If you want to book other activities in Heraklion:
4. Discover Agia Pelagia, a perfect holiday destination
Agia Pelagia is a small and beautiful city located about 20 kilometres northwest of Heraklion. It is a quiet place with a beautiful sandy beach.
You can enjoy beautiful sunsets, especially at Psaromoura and Ligaria Beach!
You can also book activities in Agia Pelagia here:
5. Spend the day in Rethymnon
Rethymnon is a small town in the centre of the island. It is a charming town with many restaurants, bars and cafes. The old town is particularly beautiful with its narrow streets and colourful houses.
You can visit many historical sites, such as :
- Fortezza castle
- The Archeological Museum
- The Arkadi monastery
The beaches of Rethymnon are less crowded than those of Heraklion, making them ideal for those looking for a quiet place to relax. The most popular beaches are :
- Rethymnon beach
- Missiria (5km away from the city)
- Perivolia (2km)
You can also book other activities in Rethymnon:
6. Crete and its great history: inevitable
Crete is a beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Greece. It is famous for its sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and numerous caves. Crete is also known for its many archaeological and historical sites.
Crete is an island rich in history and culture. Numerous archaeological sites have been discovered here, testifying to the presence of many civilizations throughout history. Crete has been occupied by Minoans, Dorians, Byzantines, Venetians, Ottomans and Greeks. Each of these civilizations has left its mark on the island.
The site of Knossos (pictured above), located in the south of the island, is one of the most famous archaeological sites in Crete. It is known for its numerous remains of the Minoan civilisation. The site of Phaistos, located in the south of the island, is also known for its numerous remains of the Minoan civilisation.
You can book your tour to visit Knossos:
And don’t forget to learn about the myths associated with the Greek island when you get there:
- The Minotaur
7. Crete and its caves
There are still many hidden treasures to be discovered on the island of Crete. The island’s caves and caverns are home to many natural and historical wonders.
Psychro Cave, or Zeus Cave (pictured above) located on the west side of the island, is one of the most famous caves in Crete. It is known for its numerous stalactites and stalagmites.
Melidoni Cave, located in the north of the island, is also a famous cave. It is known for its numerous frescoes and statues.
To visit Zeus Cave, book here:
8. A cruise to Santorini from Heraklion
There are at least 2 daily ferry crossings from Santorini to Heraklion during the summer months, with an average sailing time of 2 hours.
However, the shortest crossing between Santorini and Crete is in Heraklion with Sea Jets and takes about 1 hour 40 minutes, while the longest crossing is in Heraklion with Aegeon Pelagos: it takes about 6 hours.
Don’t worry, it’s quite doable. It will be a long day but you will have the opportunity to see one of the most unique places in the world.
The distance between Crete and Santorini is 148 km.
Best things to do in Crete for couples
4 places to see absolutely
The best romantic destinations in Crete for couples are for us:
- The old town of Chania – the most romantic and popular place in Crete.
- The fishing village of Loutro – one of the most romantic and hidden destinations in Crete.
- Falassarna – The beach with the most beautiful sunset views in Chania.
- The old town of Rethymnon – The romantic Renaissance setting for your love story.
Where to stay in Crete for couples? Top 2 places to try
Find and book your hotel in Chania below:Booking.com
One of the most beautiful places to stay in Crete for the first time. Very typical, colourful and charming. Chania is both an ancient city and one of the four provinces of Crete. It offers you an excellent choice of hotels to stay in! Chania (pronounced “Hania” and sometimes spelled Xania), with its old Venetian streets, is the jewel of Crete and its most beautiful city. The town is situated at the western end of the northern coast, with the peaks of the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) as a spectacular backdrop.
2. Hersonissos !
Find and book your hotel in Hersonissos below:Booking.com
Hersonissos is the largest seaside resort in Crete, it is a large and lively town with activities for all tastes and budgets. It can be as quiet or as noisy as you like. There are 3 main beaches and a long seafront area full of seafood restaurants, bars and clubs.
What to do in Crete for 7 days?
This is our ultimate week-long itinerary in Crete:
- Nice boat trip to the Balos lagoon.
- Full day hike in the Samaria Gorge from Chania (photo above).
- Day trip to Elafonisi beach from Chania.
- Day trip to Santorini from Heraklion.
- Palace of Knossos with priority access and guided walking tour.
- Discovery day in Spinalonga
Book your activities below:
How to get around in Crete in 2023?
Crete is a huge island, it has very good bus connections but a car is the best solution in my opinion. It will give you the freedom to be independent of bus schedules and you can also visit places where bus connections are not so frequent. Crete is easy to explore by bus – they are reliable, cheap, comfortable and have air-conditioning in most cases.
The main towns on the north coast of Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos all have bus stations where you can then access many of the rural areas of the island.
No Uber in Crete unfortunately.
Are taxis expensive on the greek island?
Taxis in Crete use a distance-based taximeter to calculate the cost of your journey. These rates are highly regulated by the Greek government. You can expect to pay :
- a basic rate of €1.20,
- then a rate per km of €0.74 during the day (from 05:00 to 24:00)
- and €1.29 at night (from 24:00 to 05:00).
When to visit Crete?
As with many popular tourist destinations, we obviously recommend visiting Crete around the months of July and August
- Either may-june
- Or september-october
The perfect times to enjoy the not too harsh sun, and not too many people. Crete is a large island with so much to offer. You are surrounded by beautiful beaches, archaeological sites, small islands, gorges and historic towns. To see all the “best sites” will take a minimum of 10 days – 2 weeks, however, you could easily spend 4 weeks and still have more to see.
July is generally the hottest month with an average temperature of 30°C and it receives a minimum of rain during the summer.
The south of Crete is generally a few degrees warmer (but the water temperatures are roughly similar). The east of the island has less rain than the north and especially the northwest.
What’s the best part of Crete?
Heraklion or Chania for the beaches
If you like beaches, Heraklion is not the place for you as there are basically no beautiful beaches in the city. You will have to go to Ammoudara beach or even better to Paleokastro beach, however, you will have to rent a car or a scooter. Chania is a better option, especially because of the very Venetian charm of its harbour as you can see in the picture above.
West of Crete
Generally speaking, the west of Crete is often considered the most beautiful part of the island.
Why is that?
Probably because of its landscapes. Starting with the colourful lagoon of Balos Beach, which we have already mentioned. A wonderful place with crystal clear water similar to that of the Caribbean.
Or the island of Gramvoussa, not far from Balos.
Another heavenly lagoon in the west of Crete is Elafonisi. One of the most beautiful places on the island, without a doubt (photo below)!
Finally, the west of the island also has some very beautiful towns, such as Kissamos, Chania or Paleochora!
How long should you stay in Crete?
Two weeks is a great length for a Greek holiday. You’ll have plenty of time to see many of the mainland’s islands and historical sites, taking part in cultural and outdoor activities along the way.