Mini Guide to Crete

Formally the heart of the Minoan civilisation, Crete is the largest and most populated Greek island. With a vast history of culture it’s a must see destination in the Aegean.


Flickr: BruceHH

When to go to Crete

The best time to go to Crete is mid-may to late June or the month of September. You get the benefit of good weather but avoid the crowds that dominate the beaches in July and August.

Getting to Crete

Flying to Crete is relatively easy. It has three airports and there are many airlines that fly there from UK airports. Try Thomas Cook for flights:

Getting Around the island

Public buses on the north coast between the main towns are frequent but transport around the hills and south coast are scarcer. Taxis are good value for money if the cost is split between passengers. Car hire can be expensive ranging from 35 to 80 euros a day depending on who you book with. Watch out for extra charges for picking up your vehicle at one airport and dropping off at another.

Things To Do In Crete


There are a bunch of beach options on the island of Crete. Vai is a golden sandy beach surrounded by a palm grove. Even the 1970′s beach ad was filmed here. Paleóhora is one of the better beaches on the south coast. It is an ideal spot for windsurfing. Also consider a trip to the Gávdos islet for a spot of dolphin or whale watching. Another popular beach is Mýrtos which has a kept a bohemian vibe which stems from it’s history as a hippie haven. Try a spot of kayaking in this spot.


Big Fish – A popular waterfront venue playing both international and Greek hits catering the younger crowd.

Fagotto – A long operating jazz and blues bar.

Maridatis – A popular choice for live music showcasing Greek acts on Friday and Saturday nights.

Tapas y Vinos – A unique sight for the island of Crete is this authentic Spanish wine bar. Sangría anyone?

Knossos Palace

The largest preserved Minoan palace lies at Knossos, an anciet site just south of Heraklion. This was home to the famous King Minos and the mythical Minotaur. With an entry fee of only 6 euros it’s well worth a visit.

Samaria Gorge

One of the longest gorges in Europe, the Samaria Gorge is a 16km walk through gorgeous National Park. The gorge is open from May until October and you should allow roughly 6 hours to complete the hike. At the end of this walk you’ll be rewarded with a view of the Libyan Sea from the coastal village of Agia Roumeli.

Chania Old Town & Harbour

On the north coast of Crete lies Chania. It’s a charming place with cobbled alleyways and lots of cafes. It has a similar vibe to Barcelona. Feel free to get lost and you’ll discover quaint craft shops and hidden gems. The town is steeped in history and you can learn about it by visiting the Archaeological museum and the Maritime Museum.

Lake Kournas

If you fancy a break from the sea, try Lake Kournas, the only natural freshwater lake on the island. Set against a background of mountains and bright vegetation, it’s an ideal place for a swim or to hire pedalos during the summer.

Basic Info

UK Embassy, Ploutárhou 1, 106 75 Athens: tel 210 7272 600

Ambulance 166 Urban fire brigade 199 Forest fires 191 Police 100

Currency: Euro Telephone country code: 0030

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