Kournas Lake is the only freshwater lake in Crete. The lake with crystal clear water is surrounded by mountains, which makes for a beautiful view. Take a refreshing dip in the lake or rent a pedal boat along the shore. Along the shores, with some luck and patience, you can spot turtles and many species of fish!
The Lassithi plateau is a real attraction in Crete. It lies sandwiched between the Selena and Dhikti mountains. Because of all the beautiful views, the road to it is already fantastic! In the 50s/60s it functioned as a wind farm as one of the first in Europe. The plateau is about 10 kilometers long and 5 kilometers wide. The views there are spectacular and there are many hiking trails.
The Dikteon Cave is one of the most beautiful caves and one of the highest caves in Crete. It is the birthplace of the god Zeus, hence it is also called the 'Cave of Zeus'. In the village of Psichro you can park your (rental) car, here are also several tavernas to find. Through the footpath you come to the entrance of the cave (entrance fee + / - 5 euros), to which you via a staircase slowly into the cave full of stalagmites walks. It is really magical to see!
Note: The path to the cave is a steep climb by the many rocks / stones and height. It is about a fifteen minute walk. Along the way you do enjoy the beautiful views of the Lassithi plateau! Look carefully at the opening hours.
Definitely worth visiting during your stay in beautiful Crete are the archaeological highlights of the island. Visit the ruins of the Greco-Roman cities of Festos and Gortys, from Festos you have a cool view over the island. The Palace of King Minos in Knossos is also worth a look, this palace is no less than 4000 years old. The Archaeological Museum in Heraklion exhibits include finds from 3500 BC, Egyptian vases and gold jewelry.
Off the coast of Elounda lies the rocky islet of Spinalonga. Here the Venetians built, on the remains of an ancient acropolis, a fortress of which to this day the remains are preserved. Spinalonga was formerly designated by the government of Crete as a leper colony, where people with leprosy were exiled to and where they had to live isolated from the outside world. From the harbor depart many excursion boats with which you can explore the island and its surroundings.
Vai beach is one of the most famous sandy beaches in Crete. It is a so-called "Blue Flag" beach and has umbrellas and sunbeds. The uniqueness of this beach is that it is located in front of a palm grove, you can enjoy the shade. The azure blue sea, the palm trees and the beach provide a beautiful picture. South of the beach you will find a restaurant with a terrace and beautiful views over the beach. You can also walk up the stone steps to the lookout point to get an even better view.
Elafonissi beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete. The water is very shallow and because of the shells the sand is colored light pink, fantastic to see! The sea water is incredibly clear and has a turquoise color. This colorful beach is fully equipped, there are umbrellas with sun beds, showers, food and changing rooms available. Near the beach you can park your rental car.
500 meters from the small village of Istron is Voulisma beach. You can park at the top of the street and take the stairs to the beach. There is a restaurant at the top of the stairs, where you can enjoy a refreshing drink. It is a popular beach because of its turquoise sea water, fine sand, sunbeds with umbrellas and many water activities. It is a fairly large beach, so there is almost always a spot where you can drop your towel. It is recommended to go to the beach in the high season towards the end of the afternoon, it is then quieter and the temperature is very pleasant.
In the northwest lies the beautiful Balos beach, this beach is only accessible by boat from Kissamos but is definitely worth a day trip. This beach is also called the most beautiful beach in the Mediterranean. The colors of the sea water vary between azure and green and the beach consists of white sand. The lagoon is located in a bowl-shaped bay and connects Gramvousa with the islet of Tigani.
Beaches West Crete
For beautiful dream beaches with azure waters and white sands, you need to be on the west coast of Chania. Here you will find the beaches of Elafonisi and Falassarna. In the southwest of Crete, the beaches of Paleochora and Fragokastello are very popular. Would you prefer a day at the beach not too far from Chania? Visit the beaches of Platanias, Agia Marina and Georgioupolis.
A lovely hidden spot on Crete. On this small beach you can enjoy complete tranquility. You can find shade under the umbrellas, laze in the hammock, sunbathe on the sunbeds and take a refreshing dip in the beautiful turquoise water. The taverna by the beach is also a must. Delicious bruscettas with feta and tomato, shrimp in raki, freshly made tzaziki and zucchini fries. You can also come here for breakfast, the Greek yogurt with honey and fresh fruit is delicious.
Crete has several water parks for children and others! Watercity is the largest of these. In this water park you will find 26 different slides, a Lazy River and swimming pools. This water park is fun for young and old. Your belongings can be safely stored in the lockers. Keep in mind the waiting times during high season.
In this water park real adventurers are in the right place. Children can have a great time here, on the slides, between the waterfalls and caves and on the various playgrounds. The lazy river is no less than 206 meters long! A separate children's pool with water slides is also available. At the water park you can have a nice lunch together at the restaurant and the pirate bar, and then go down the most spectacular slides with new energy!
Aquaworld is the ideal place for animal lovers. In this aquarium, captive-born and abandoned pets have found a home. You have a lot of interaction with the animals here and can even take pictures with them. The aquarium is full of different species of fish that are also found in the Cretan sea, as well as snakes, lizards and turtles. The aquarium is open from April 1 to October 31.
Through assignments and games, children learn all about dinosaurs. In the dinosaur 'General Hospital' young (and old) fans of the dinosaurs can see how the dino is born. In the games room you can playfully search for as many dinosaurs as possible. You can also watch themed movies in 5D and 7D. A Dino Snack Bar is also present.
In this maze park, you must find the exit through towers, stairs and air bridges. However, this park has more to offer than just a maze. You can play miniature golf, make pottery, ride a quad, archery and the park has a typical Greek village in miniature! You can't get bored here and the park is fun for young and old.
The Amazons Park is a small park with monkeys, lemurs and exotic birds such as parrots. For a fee you can buy fruit to feed the monkeys, they come and sit on your shoulders. It is a small sanctuary, so the visit takes about 1 to 2 hours. Good to combine with other activities!
The Kritsa Gorge is a good alternative to the Samaria Gorge. If you, for example with children, are looking for a nice walk with some challenge in nature with a somewhat shorter walking distance then the Kritsa Gorge is very suitable. It is still an adventurous path where you through ladders and ropes to climb up, very nice to do! After 2 to 3 kilometers you already have the first possibility to leave the gorge. The walk in the beautiful Kritsa Gorge is even with small children to do.
The Richtis Gorge is located in one of the most unspoiled regions of Crete. As a nature lover, you will feast your eyes while hiking. The hike starts at the Lachanas Bridge, a beautiful stone bridge from the 19th century. You will be surrounded during your hike by all the greenery of the area. Also many animals feel at home here, such as butterflies, lizards and different species of birds. Halfway through the hike you will come to the beautiful waterfall. Take a break while enjoying a refreshing drink or take a dip in the water.
Note: at certain points in the gorge there is a lot of climbing to be done, also you will encounter obstacles from time to time. Put on good walking shoes and take plenty of fluids with you!
What better way to explore the island than by bicycle! Crete offers many opportunities for cycling/mountain biking throughout the year. It is a beautiful and versatile island with a wonderful climate. You can choose to explore the surroundings on the paved roads, but the off-road roads are the most fun!
Snorkeling and diving
The underwater world of this beautiful island is magnificent. With your mask and snorkel, discover the underwater world of Crete! The sea is full of exotic fish, aquatic plants and a wide variety of corals. The seas of Crete are perfect for snorkeling, the crystal clear water provides a beautiful view. Not only above water, but also under water! The water has a fine temperature, which makes it pleasant to snorkel for a longer time. Examples of beaches where you can snorkel well are: Elafonissi-, Fournoti-, Bali-, Gerani and Balos beach.
Hiking Samaria gorge
A well-known sporting activity in Crete is the walk through the breathtaking Samaria Gorge. The walk is about 16 km long and takes an average of 7 hours. During your walk you will encounter one unique spot after another. Remarkable landscapes, wooden bridges, heights, wild goats, forest and more. If you start the hike from the north, you'll hike downhill for much of the way (this can be tough on your knees). During your hike you will encounter 9 fresh water springs, there are many opportunities to take a break. Hiking through the gorge is a unique experience!
- Make sure you wear comfortable hiking/sports shoes
- Bring swimwear if you want to take a refreshing dip in one of the freshwater springs
- Bring enough sun protection (SPF 50, sunglasses, hat)
- Bring enough drinks and snacks
The gorge is open from May to October.
In Crete you can play golf on beautiful golf courses. Crete Golf Club in Hersonissos is the only 18-hole golf course in Crete and is also one of the most impressive golf courses in the Mediterranean. At the Porto Elounda Golf Club you can learn to play golf under the guidance of professional instructors. You can choose from lessons for beginners or advanced.
While visiting Lake Kournas you can have a delicious meal at Lygaria Kournas. The best thing is to choose all kinds of different things from the menu and share them with each other, there is plenty of choice. For example, you can choose a Greek salad, fresh fish dishes, fried zucchini fries and bread with tzaziki. The large glass of fresh orange juice is the perfect refreshing drink during the warm weather. All with a beautiful view of Lake Kournas!
When you stay in Elounda you can eat delicious seafood at one of the seafood restaurants on the waterfront. From this cozy restaurant with a beautiful terrace you can enjoy the view of the island of Spinalonga. The atmosphere at the restaurant is wonderfully relaxed. The menu is very extensive, with of course many fresh fish dishes.
The owners are very passionate about the food they serve and are happy to tell you what your dish entails. You can enjoy Greek food in the cozy garden. Also dishes that you normally would not order will surprise you. It is therefore fun to ask the waitress to put something on the table for you, share everything and taste something! Kares is located in the village of Krasi, where a large, old sycamore tree stands.
This cozy restaurant is located in the village of Psichro, from where you can also visit the Dikteon Cave. From the terrace you have a beautiful view of the Lassithi Plateau. The juices are super fresh, especially the grapefruit juice is delicious. Just cool off after your walk to the Dikteon Cave with a beautiful view, how nice is that! The owners are very friendly and welcoming. You can park your (rental) car in front of the door.
For special occasions, Avli in Rethymno is highly recommended. In the fairytale-like courtyard you can enjoy an atmospheric evening with very good quality food. The staff is very hospitable and will gladly tell you something extra about your dishes. You can choose a 5 course menu or individual dishes from the card.
Chania is the former capital of Crete and is easily one of the most attractive cities in Greece. Today, traces of a turbulent history can still be found in the old part. Turkish minarets, narrow alleys and buildings in Venetian style characterize the street scene just behind the cozy harbor.
The old town of Heraklion has recently been restored to its former glory: beautifully restored mansions with gardens and squares with fountains alternate with trendy furnished eateries and Greek coffee houses. Stroll through the narrow streets of this old town or play a game of "backgammon" with the Greeks on one of the many terraces.
The surroundings of Elounda are definitely worth a visit: green valleys and quiet bays characterize this region. In the evening you can eat delicious fish in one of the many good fish restaurants. Elounda is a lively village on the coast. Off the coast lies the rocky island of Spinalonga, from Elounda several excursion boats depart for the island.
This is one of the most beautiful parts of Crete. You have everything you need here: breathtakingly beautiful nature, green valleys surrounded by mountains, a nice center with a fine bakery and some good taverns where you can eat. Vamos also has a rich history. The village was already discovered in the 8th century by Arab pirates. Today you can still see the beautiful cultural heritage such as the Mary Chapel from the 13th century and the Karidi Monastery from which you have a spectacular view. Beautiful old towns like Chania and Rethymnon are nearby and with a 10 minute drive you can reach the beautiful beaches of Georgioupolis.
Mochos is a traditional Cretan mountain village at an altitude of four hundred meters. The center is cozy with several restaurants and cafes. There is also a large church in the village. For nice souvenirs you can go to the souvenir store on the corner, here are many nice kitchen items from olive wood to find.
On the south coast of Crete lies the seaside resort of Matala, a popular place among many. In the 60s Matala was the village of the hippies, they stayed in the holes of the chalk cliffs. The village is colorful and cozy, you can eat at the waterfront and there are many stores where you can buy clothes, souvenirs and herbs. From the azure bay and the beautiful beach you have a great sunset every night.
Krasi is een klein Kretenzisch bergdorpje op 8 kilometer van Mochos. Leuk dus om een bezoek aan beide dorpjes te combineren! Het is een traditioneel dorpje met een aantal tarvernes, restaurantjes en cafés. In het dorpje groeien olijfbomen, walnotenbomen en een grote, oude plataan. De waterbronnen in Krasi behoren tot de mooiste waterbronnen van het eiland. Het is een leuk dorpje om doorheen te wandelen en een hapje te eten!