Interesting Facts About Crete Greece
Top 18 Things to Do in Crete Greece
If you are looking for the best things to do in Crete, Greece, you have come to the right place. This island is the largest in Greece and fifth in size in the Mediterranean Sea. It is also the most populated Greek island and is located 100 km southwest of Anatolia, the southernmost part of Turkey.
1. Hike the Gorge of Richtis
Richtis Gorge is a natural wonder of Crete. It is a gorge located in the eastern part of the island. The gorge is a protected nature reserve and is home to several species of birds, reptiles, and plants. There are some great hiking experiences in this area and you should take advantage of them if you visit Crete.
One of the best things to do in the area is to hike to Richtis waterfall. This is a relatively easy hike that will take you about 1.5 to 2 hours, but if you want to save some time, you can drive to the waterfall.
You can also visit the Toplou Monastery, which is an important religious site. Other interesting places to visit include the Vai beach on the eastern coast of the island.
Richtis gorge is a short drive from some of Crete’s most famous beaches. If you plan to drive to the gorge, be sure to arrange for a pick-up from the beach. Otherwise, you may have to walk the gorge.
2. Swim In The Hippie Beach of Matala
Matala is one of the most famous hippie beaches in Crete. The beach was once a sleepy fishing village that became an oasis for hippies in the 1960s. Today, it is a tourist destination.
There are lots of reasons to visit Matala. Aside from the legendary beach, you’ll also find a number of archaeological sites and other things to see. One of these is the Odigitria Monastery, which has a large museum. This monastery is among the oldest in Crete, dating back to the Bronze Age.
Another reason to visit Matala is the annual Matala Beach Festival. Every year, the festival attracts thousands of visitors. It has a number of interesting features, including art workshops, light clothing, and music.
The beach has a lot of hippie appeal, but you don’t need to become a member of the movement to visit it. In fact, you’ll be surprised at how clean the beach is. And you’ll be impressed by the lifeguards and the water sports on offer.
You’ll also want to check out the hippie caves of Matala. These are carved into the soft white limestone rock. They were used as troglodytic habitats in the prehistoric era, but have been used for meeting and lodging by hippies in the 60s and 70s.
3. Arkadi monastery
One of the best things to do in Crete is to visit the Arkadi monastery. The monastery is situated on a hilltop plateau. It is known for its religious character and is surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, and olive oil mills.
One of the most famous monasteries in Greece, the Arkadi Monastery has a rich history. It was one of the richest monastic communities in Crete, and its buildings spanned the island from the coast to the summit of Mount Ida.
The monastery played a major role in Cretan history. In particular, it was a site of revolution during Turkish occupation. After the Ottomans had occupied the island for several centuries, a group of 260 Cretan warriors barricaded themselves at the monastery. They were refused to surrender.
Since then, the monastery has become a symbol of sacrifice and freedom. Visitors can take a tour of the grounds, which include a museum, and see the remains of Cretans who died during the Cretan Revolt of 1866.
The monastery is well-preserved, but there are only a few monks who still live there. Outside the monastery, there is an ossuary that houses the bones of those who died during the war.
4. Nightlife in Malia
Malia is one of the most popular destinations for young travellers on the Greek island of Crete. The city boasts ancient Greek ruins, sandy beaches and a lively nightlife.
Nightlife in Malia is best experienced during the summer months. There are a number of bars, clubs, restaurants and shops to choose from. If you like live music and great DJs, you will enjoy Malia. Its nightlife is known to be the best in the Mediterranean.
The Malia Strip is the place to be for young partygoers. Several bars and nightclubs cluster along this strip, and a visit to one of these is a must.
One of the biggest and most well-known clubs in Malia is Zig Zag’s. This is a multi-level club with an eye-grabbing light show and pumping sound system.
Another notable bar is Premier Bar. It features a range of cheesy anthems and 80s classics. It also has over 1000 karaoke songs to choose from.
For a more low key experience, there’s the Kaza Pub. This bar is a great place to watch live sports, play darts and ping pong and have a few drinks. You can also enjoy a wide variety of local and European dishes.
5. Holy Trinity monastery
The Monastery of the Holy Trinity (Agia Triada) is one of the most significant monasteries in Crete. It is also one of the most difficult to reach. A steep trail leads to the monastery, which is a 10-minute walk from Kalabaka.
Despite its remote location, the monastery offers spectacular views of the town of Kalabaka and surrounding cliffs. In addition to the main chapel, there is a smaller chapel dedicated to John the Baptist.
Visitors can admire the beautiful church of the monastery, which was decorated by Byzantine iconographer Frangos Kastellanos in 1548. If you’re lucky, you may even spot the nuns, who sometimes offer hand-made embroidery for sale.
To get to the monastery, you’ll need to hike up about 140 stairs. Although it’s not as difficult as other Meteora monasteries, it can be tricky. On top of that, sleeveless clothing is prohibited for men, so be prepared.
The monastery is built on top of a rocky pillar. You can climb it by following a long, winding path, which can be a bit tricky. There is a small museum at the entrance.
6. Rethymno Old Town
Rethymno is the third largest city in Crete. A quaint coastal town, it is home to the Venetian Fortezza and an impressive array of historical buildings. Known for its beautiful beaches, the city has also been the site of a number of important monasteries.
The town is a good base for exploring the island. Its harbour is a popular place for boat rides and late night drinks. There are many tavernas where you can sample traditional Cretan cuisine.
Old Town, Rethymno, is one of the most preserved old districts in the island. The area was developed from the port in 1300. Since then, its streets have retained their colour and character. You can find Venetian-style mansions, Ottoman mosques, and other historical landmarks.
If you plan to visit, take a walking tour to introduce you to some of the town’s main sites. You can also explore the surrounding seaside villages and beaches.
Another must-see is the Venetian Port. This is one of the oldest parts of the city and one of the best places to watch the sunset. You can reach the port by bus or a ferry.
7. Samaria Gorge
Samaria Gorge is a large canyon in the White Mountains of Crete. It is one of the biggest in Europe. The gorge is one of the best hiking trails in Crete.
Hiking through the gorge is a challenging journey. It is considered to be the most difficult hike in Crete. You can expect to spend five to six hours hiking. If you decide to do this route, make sure you have sturdy shoes and plenty of water. Wear a sun-protection cream and take small amounts of food.
During your hike, you will pass by some of the area’s most rare animals. There are 14 species of endemic animals on the trail. These include quails, partridges, ibex, golden eagles and turtle-doves.
This scenic spot is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Visit the gorge between May and October to enjoy the lush vegetation.
The entrance to the Samaria gorge is free for children under 15. However, you must have a valid ticket to enter the park.
Depending on the weather, the gorge may close during the summer. For the safest experience, you should plan on visiting on a clear day.
8. Heraklion Archaeological Museum
The Heraklion Archaeological Museum in Crete is one of the best museums in Europe. It houses a wide variety of Minoan artifacts and Neolithic era items. These artifacts are all well-preserved and give you a good glimpse of the history and culture of the island.
Visitors can also take a tour of the city’s historical sites. They include the Cathedral of St. Minas, which is dedicated to the patron saint of Heraklion. This church has extensive religious iconography.
During the 16th century, a famous school of religious icon painters was founded in Heraklion. One of them was El Greco, who became a world-renowned artist. His style is dramatic and intense.
Heraklion is known for its beautiful waterfront, which is a popular spot for tourists to relax and enjoy. A lot of seafood restaurants are located along the seafront. For those who want to try something different, there are a number of nightclubs as well.
There are also a few museums that can be found in the area. These include the Historical Museum of Crete and the Natural History Museum of Crete. Both museums are located near the Old Harbor.
9. Explore Ancient Knossos
The ancient city of Knossos is situated in the north-western part of Crete. Located just three kilometers from the modern town of Heraklion, it is considered to be the largest Bronze Age archaeological site in Greece. During its time, it was an important economic center, as well as a ceremonial center of the Minoan civilization.
Aside from its architectural importance, the palace of Knossos is associated with Greek mythology. It is said that the labyrinth here was constructed by King Minos to hold his Minotaur. Although it is believed to have been built during the Bronze Age, it is also known that this city existed earlier in the Neolithic period.
The palace of Knossos was the largest settlement in Bronze Age Crete. In fact, it was the largest palace in Europe. There are over 1,300 rooms in the palace. These rooms include a banquet hall, shrines, and cisterns.
One of the main features of the palace is the throne room. This stone room mimicked a wooden structure, and was situated on the north side of the sacred apartments.
10. Catch a ferry to Loutro
Loutro is one of the most remote and offbeat destinations on Crete. The coastal village is situated on the south coast of the island. It is home to the Venetian Castle of Loutro, which offers amazing views.
While the area is quiet and peaceful, there are plenty of things to do while visiting the area. You can hike the Imbros gorge, explore the secluded beaches and enjoy the beauty of the coastal countryside.
There are also day trips to archaeological sites and virgin beaches. There is also the opportunity to visit a ruined Venetian castle. These are just some of the best ways to spend a day in Loutro.
Hiking is a popular activity in the region. If you want to explore the coastline, you can go by foot or by kayak. By renting a canoe, you can enjoy the tranquil bay and its secluded beaches.
There are plenty of restaurants and tavernas in the waterfront of Loutro. Aside from these, there are also coffee shops and mini markets. For a relaxing break, you can take a dip in the clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
11. Admire the Turkish Architecture in the Old Town
If you are traveling to Crete, you may want to take some time to visit the town of Rethymno. This beautiful Venetian port town is full of interesting sites. The town is divided into neighborhoods with various styles of architecture. You’ll find plenty of Ottoman monuments and monuments of Venetian architecture.
If you’re looking to learn more about the island’s history, you can visit the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. It houses the most precious relics of the ancient palace of Knossos.
Visitors can also hike the awe-inspiring Samaria gorge. They will have the chance to see the mountains as well as enjoy the natural vegetation.
Another popular attraction in Crete is the Firka fortress. It was built in the late sixteenth century to protect the Chania harbour. During the Ottoman conquest of the island, the fortress was used as a barrack. Today, part of the fortress is a maritime museum.
Aside from the fortress, the museum has a fascinating collection related to the Battle of Crete in 1941. Visitors can also learn more about traditional shipbuilding.
12. unbathe on the Palm Tree Beach of Virginia
The Palm tree beach of Vai in Crete is the place to go for a relaxing and fun family vacation. The beach is well protected and has plenty to offer. There are many restaurants and bars to choose from along with watersports and activities like snorkeling, sailing, and hiking to the surrounding villages.
Its no wonder that the palm tree beach of Vai is a favorite among tourists. For those looking for a more serene setting, the Livikon Hotel in the nearby town of Iligas is a good choice. Similarly, Sundance Apartments and Suites in the resort town of Analipsi has two swimming pools and is a convenient place to unwind.
If you’re in the mood for something a little more high tech, consider staying at the Stella Island Luxury Resort and Spa. This upscale beach destination has a lagoon style pool and an international cuisine restaurant. Plus, it’s less than five miles from Hersonissos, a popular destination for couples and groups.
While it may not be the best place to take a dip, the beach is a popular venue for nudists. Despite its size, the vai has a surprisingly large horde of nudists.
13. Explore the Local History in Arkadi Monastery
The Holy Monastery of Arkadi is a sacred site in Greece. This historic monastery has a rich history and is one of the most important sites in Crete. It was a center of learning in the 16th and 17th centuries, which was renowned for its gold-embroidery workshop and its 200 monks.
The monastery was built on the site of a 13th century Byzantine church. During the 16th century it became known as the richest monastery in Crete. However, the monastery suffered great loss when it was bombed in 1866.
The monastery is also home to a museum. This museum contains a variety of historical relics. A cloister is also located inside. Visitors can examine the cloister to learn about how the monastery’s life was inside.
The monastery is surrounded by a thick fortified wall. There is also a cafe that serves refreshments throughout the day.
The monastery was also a focal point of the Cretan Revolution. When the Turkish invasion began, the population of the island rose against the Turks. These uprisings were followed by an oppressive regime. Eventually, the population of Crete was incorporated into modern Greece.
14. Falassarna Beach
Falassarna Beach is one of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in Europe. The water is turquoise and crystal clear. It has a wild feel and is a favorite with surfers and windsurfers.
This beach is located in the western part of Crete. You can reach it by car from Chania or Rethymno. In summer, the Falassarna bus runs from the Chania bus station to the village of Kolymvari, where you can then continue along the coast road.
There is a small gorge in the area, and it is popular for hiking. If you don’t want to hike, there are tavernas and shops along the beach. For a more relaxed experience, there is a small family run hotel at the south end of the main beaches.
15. Lake Voulismeni
Lake Voulismeni is a beautiful lake in Crete. It is located in the town of Agios Nikolaos. The lake is surrounded by cafes, shops and eateries.
Locals often refer to it as “The Lake”. The lake is a popular destination for tourists. Many local legends have been associated with it. One legend says that Greek goddess Athena bathed in the lake. Another tells that the lake is bottomless.
If you are looking for a quiet seaside vacation, consider visiting Ierapetra. It is a pleasant, uncrowded beach town that is perfect for a day trip from Agios Nikolaos. In addition to its pristine water, Ierapetra is also home to a number of ancient buildings.
For a more active holiday, consider a boat tour of the Greek coastline. Boat tours are a great way to explore the hidden beaches of Crete. Each trip is guided by an experienced guide and will take you to the secluded spots of the coast.
16. Balos Lagoon
Balos Lagoon is one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. It is located on Crete’s Gramvousa Peninsula. The lagoon is filled with different species of fish and sea creatures.
The best time to visit Balos is in the summer months. But it’s also worth visiting in the fall. If you are looking for an idyllic beach that’s not overrun with tourists, then you should consider visiting Balos.
The easiest way to access Balos is by boat. Boat tours leave from the port of Kissamos. They usually arrive at the beach around noon, and stay for about two hours. Alternatively, you can go by car. However, the traffic during the summer can be rather heavy.
A good option would be to hire a private cruise. You’ll be able to customize your trip, including a meal and wine. Private cruises are ideal for groups of 6-10 people.
17. Lychnostatis Open Air Museum
Lychnostatis Open Air Museum is an open-air museum in Crete, Greece. The museum has a unique collection of artifacts pertaining to Cretan culture.
Visitors to the museum can explore an ancient loom, a dyeing mill, and various other everyday items. There is also a 20-minute film that gives an introduction to the museum’s history and purpose. It also includes an audio device that informs in German about the various exhibits in the museum.
One of the most famous caves in Crete is the Dikteon Cave. The natural history wonder is home to spectacular stalactites and stalagmites.
Another popular museum on Crete is the Hersonissos Museum. This museum focuses on the traditional folk culture of Crete. You can learn about life in the countryside during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The museum is located in the Municipality of Hersonissos in Heraklion.
18. Chania’s Venetian Harbour
Chania’s Venetian Harbour is one of the top attractions in Crete. It’s an excellent place to relax, with many restaurants and cafes. The area is also home to the Chania Lighthouse, a popular attraction.
One of the best things to do in Chania is to take a walk around the harbor. Here you’ll find cafes and bars along the water’s edge, as well as historical sites. If you’re looking for a unique experience, try a boat trip.
If you’re looking for a more peaceful time, there’s no better way to visit the region than to spend a day at Gramvousa beach. This beach has a crystal-clear blue sea, and it is surrounded by a 16th-century fort.
You’ll want to visit the Maritime Museum of Chania if you’re interested in learning more about the region’s naval history. At this museum, you’ll learn about Greek and Venetian naval warfare. There are also models of ships, relics, and photographs to view.
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