Crete is the biggest island of Greece and is one of my favourite places to holiday. So here are 8 reasons why Crete is worth visiting; once you get there though, expect to discover many more and fall in love with it like we have.
The weather in Crete makes it possible to visit at any time of year. However the best time to visit is April – September, when the sun shines all day and temperatures can be anywhere between 20 and 30°C!
With over 600 miles of coastline to play with, there is no shortage of beautiful beaches and scenic views.
One of our favourites is Preveli Beach – You can get to the beach by car and then walk down a very steep path, or you can take a boat from Plakias or Agia Galini. The upside to parking in the car park at the top of the mountain ridge and walking down (15-20 minutes ish) the very steep steps is that you have to walk back up again (in our case in 36 ° heat) but the upside is that you can arrive before the boats and thus when its quiet. Those people we saw walking back up at 11am definitely had seen the best of the beach and had enjoyed it with relatively few people and before the heat took hold.
Gorgeous old towns like Chania and Rethymno with their colourful combination of Venetian and Ottoman architectural elements. Stroll along their narrow alleys and streets, stop by and have a coffee, snack or meal in the traditional cafes and tavernas.
The best meals are to be found in traditional Greek restaurants often independently-run by Cretan families. Try moussaka, slow-roasted lamb or homemade tzatziki dip with a greek salad. We love finding small tavernas and on our last trip we easily fed 10 people for less than 100 Euros.
Lake Kournas is a huge freshwater lake with pedalos and kayaks and tavernas around the side. It cost €30 for us to hire a pedalo for 5 with a slide for 2 hours.
The lake was the perfect temperature to swim in, and at the other side of the lake there is even a rare species of turtles to find if you’re quiet and have a little bit of patience.
It’s a really lovely afternoon out and the sunshades on the pedalos, and the temperature of the water means its actually quite a refreshing afternoon out.
Have you heard of the international bestseller by Victoria Hislop The Island? The book was inspired by the island/fort of Spinalonga, just off the coast of Elounda a short ride from the picturesque Agios Nikolaos in the Eastern part of Crete. The little island was fortified by the Venetians for defence purposes, but what has turned the island into a ‘legend’ are the stories from the 20th century when it became a leper colony.
Samaria Gorge National Park
This beautiful national park is one of Crete’s most famous sights, ideal for nature lovers to explore. There is a hiking route through the gorge and although it’s not an easy walk the scenery is well worth it!
The locals are extremely friendly and welcoming towards visitors. Remember that nobody knows a place better than the locals themselves, so ask advice on things to do; they will be glad to share their knowledge!
We have in the past stayed at GK Beach Hotel with Simpson Travel when in Crete and you can read our reviews here.
Why not PIN this post about 8 REASONS TO BOOK A HOLIDAY IN CRETE