The island of Crete is not only the largest island in Greece, but also a dream holiday destination – especially in summer. After all, there are numerous sights to discover, food to taste and great people to meet. We have put together a list of other insider tips that Crete has to offer.

Arrival to Crete

On the plane and off to paradise! At least that’s the decision most travelers from Germany who are drawn to Crete make. No wonder, because a flight to the Greek island takes between 2 hours 50 minutes and 3 hours 30 minutes, depending on the place of departure in Germany. You land at one of the two airports on the island – either in the west of the island, in Chania, or in the north near Heraklion. If you don’t like flying, you can also take the ferry to Crete. This runs from Athens, for example, but the journey takes between eight and nine hours. Including the journey to Athens, you’ll be on the road for quite a while. For the ferry you have to reckon with costs of around 100 euros per person.

Overnight stay in Crete

If you are drawn to Chania for your vacation, we have a special Crete insider tip for you. Because it does not always have to be a great and expensive hotel, but sometimes an idyllically located AirBnB can also be something special. Like this pearl, in the middle of Chania’s old town and only a few minutes’ walk from the port. Here you will experience modern facilities, but also the typical Mediterranean flair of the Greek city of Chania. I myself stayed there on my honeymoon with my husband and I can only recommend this accommodation!

Alannah Benfer

Absolute hotel tip for Crete: Happy Cretan Suites in Agia Pelagia

Warm staff, great rooms, delicious food and an incredible view of the sea – all this is available at a fair price in the Happy Cretan Suites near the small village of Agia Pelagia, only about 20 minutes from Heraklion Airport. Not only have I spent three holidays there myself, but also friends and family members. Hotel manager Dimitris and his team welcome you with a bottle of Prosecco and there are small delicacies almost every day when you come to your room in the afternoon. Because most holidaymakers go on day trips, the hotel grounds (25 rooms) are pleasantly quiet and you can relax wonderfully on the daybeds with a wide view of the sea. For those who want it more luxurious: There are also rooms with their own jacuzzi. And currently even new suites with their own pool are being built, which are scheduled to open in 2023.

You can book the hotel here on

Which cities in Crete do you absolutely have to visit?

Crete is an island that not only has really beautiful beaches to offer, but also many cities worth seeing. We introduce you to the three best cities on Crete and tell you which highlights you can discover there.

  • Chania: Welcome to the second largest city on Crete. Chania is located in the northwest of the island and not only impresses with the harbor but also with the old town, where there are not only many hidden and great restaurants, but also its very own leather market.
  • Heraklion: The largest city in Crete is an absolute must-see during your vacation! Here you can not only marvel at the old harbor fortress, but you will also find a number of shopping miles and you should also visit the Palace of Knossos nearby!
  • Rethymnon: The new port city, the numerous clubs and great restaurants make the place a meeting point for young and old. The city is also one of the two locations of the University of Crete and there are the typical kombolois here – one of the most famous souvenirs on the island. These are chic pearl bracelets.

With all the excursions on Crete you should not forget to bring plenty of sunscreen, because especially in summer it gets really hot on the island. If you do get a sunburn, we have a few tips in the video that can help.

Sights in Crete

Of course, among the Crete insider tips there are also a few special sights that you should take a look at during your vacation. You may already know some of them, and others are small and large attractions that are not (yet) considered typical tourist hotspots, but are at least as worth seeing.

  • the palace of Knossos
  • the Samaria Gorge
  • the island of Spinalonga
  • the Zeus Cave on the Lassithi Plateau
  • the white mountains “Lefka Ori”
  • the village of Matala
  • the ruins of Gortyn
Laura Jaen Kästner

Secret beaches and lakes in Crete

Many people think of “Elafonisi” when they think of the beautiful beaches in Crete, but if you don’t want to be crammed into a small island with hundreds of other tourists, you might want to check out some of the more secretive beaches. This is exactly what my husband and I did on our honeymoon in Crete. And what did we find? One of the most beautiful beaches we have ever seen! Hidden behind cliffs and a rocky path down is Kedrodasos (‘Cedar Forest’) beach (left image). The beach is only about 1 km away from Elafonisi and is an even bigger highlight than the island, which is unfortunately far too crowded.

What should not be missing during a holiday on Crete is a trip to one of the most beautiful and clearest lakes there is. Lake Kournas (right picture) is considered to be the only natural freshwater lake on the island of Crete and is located on the western side of the island, near the town of Georgioupoli. Especially nice: Rent a pedal boat here and ride it across the lake. It is so much fun!

Museums in Crete

In addition to historical sites such as the cave of Zeus, there are a few more places on the beautiful island that convey a lot of culture and these are the numerous museums on Crete. And yes, there are quite a few of those on the Greek island. But which museums are the most worth seeing?

  • the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion
  • the Lychnostatis open-air museum in Hersonissos
  • the Natural History Museum of Crete
  • the Maritime Museum of Crete

Insider tips Crete

In addition to all the sights, museums and the like, there are of course a few things that you should definitely put on your to-do list before your vacation. We’ll tell you here which insider tips Crete has to offer for you.

  • Boat tour in Chania: At the port of Chania there are numerous small boats that you can rent and you should. A little further awaits you caves with crystal blue waters, secret beaches and some snorkeling included in the tours!
  • Olive Oil Farms: There are countless olive oil farms near Agios Nikolaos and you should definitely visit them on a tour… and of course take a bottle of olive oil with you!
  • Rent a car! You should definitely explore Crete by car. While there are some high country roads here that you should be careful of, it is an amazing feeling to explore the mountains of Crete on a little road trip.
  • Palace of Phaistos: If the palace of Knossos is too crowded for you, there is of course an alternative.
Laura Jaen Kästner

The waterfalls of Piges Argiroupolis

Of course there are also one or two highlights on Crete for (hobby) hikers. For example the waterfalls of Piges Argiroupolis. Almost in the middle of the forest, a waterfall meanders down the mountain. Quite idyllically next to it is a restaurant from which you can hear the splashing of the water. And: If you are really ambitious and not afraid of heights, you should climb the path up along the waterfall. There is not only a small cave, which is also a mini temple. From the top you have a fantastic view of the landscape!

What to eat in Crete

Let’s get to one of the most important questions of all when it comes to holidays on Crete: WHERE IS THERE DELICIOUS FOOD? In general, you can enjoy great dishes almost everywhere on Crete. A tip: don’t miss the tsatsiki! But we from the editorial team also have our very own insider tips on Crete when it comes to restaurants and co. We’ll show you where you should definitely go to eat something!

  • Spiliaraki: Speaking of Tsatsiki – the best is probably in a small and inconspicuous mountain village near Kissamos. From here you have an incredible view of the canyons and you get home-cooked food.
  • Seramis Restaurant in Chania: Fancy one of the most amazing restaurants in Chania? At Seramis you’ve come to the right place. The restaurant is so popular that you either have to make a reservation there or wait in line for quite a while. But it’s worth it. Here you sit in the middle of the old town and enjoy delicious Greek food.
  • Merastri: A touch of luxury and a great selection of Mediterranean dishes awaits you in Heraklion! By the way: the olive oil used for cooking here comes from the restaurant owner’s olive grove.
  • Thalasses: If you are looking for a very expensive restaurant, you will find it at Thalasses in Rethymnon. Here you’ll find delicious seafood and an incredible view of the water!
Alannah Benfer

Pure hospitality at Taverna Bar Vasilis in Agia Pelagia

If you also like to get to know the country and its people while eating, then the Taverna Bar Vasilis spot on. The family-run restaurant is located in a small bay directly on the beach. After three holidays there, I have tried the traditional menu up and down and can say: Not only is the food the most delicious here, but also the best value for money! Really every table can look forward to a greeting from the kitchen as a starter, an opulent dessert plate and lots of raki – and that on the house. At the same time, the waiters take time for all their guests, chat and toast together (and not just once :D). Of course, word has gotten around about the great ambience and the delicious food, so it’s almost impossible to get a table in the evening without a reservation. So it pays to plan ahead! Finally, my food tip for all seafood lovers: the seafood pasta. Or you can have your own fish or seafood platter put together.

Which areas of Crete should you avoid?

If you travel to Crete for a holiday, you can go on holiday without hesitation. Apart from typical tourist traps such as pickpockets or the occasional high price, there is hardly an area on the island that is dangerous and should be avoided. However, you should mark a notorious area in red on the map, because heavy drug trafficking and the like has made the area between the towns of Anogeia, Zoniana and Livadia (the so-called “Devil’s Triangle”) a dangerous place, even for police officers. Locals call this area “the supermarket” because you can buy almost any drug there.

In general, you don’t have to worry about your vacation, because the island is so spacious and in many places so safe that you can relax on Crete.

Well, do you fancy a nice holiday on Crete now? Or are you more drawn to a particularly beautiful family resort where you can have a great time with your children? Then we have put together the most beautiful family resorts in Europe for you in our gallery.

Image Credit: Getty Images/Gatsi

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