The 8 Best Local Experiences in Crete

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Welcome to the beautiful island of Crete! With its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, rugged mountains, and ancient history, Crete is a must-visit destination for any traveler. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a bit of both, there is something in Crete for everyone. In this post, we’ll share with you the best attractions and things to do on this mesmerizing Greek island. From swimming in turquoise waters and exploring fascinating ancient ruins, to feasting on mouth-watering local cuisine and soaking up the sun on some of Europe’s most beautiful beaches, there is no shortage of thrilling experiences awaiting you on the island of Crete. So, let’s get started and discover how you can make the most of your trip to this breathtaking island.

The 8 Best Local Experiences in Crete

  1. Chania Sightseeing Tastings Tour
  2. Knossos Palace Admission and Guided Tour from Heraklion
  3. Rethymno Roundtrip Bus Transfer to the Gramvousabalos Boat
  4. Crete Acqua Plus Water Park
  5. Chania Private Boat Fishing Trip
  6. From Kissamos Port Private Boat Cruise to Balos Gramvousa
  7. Land Rover Safari from Rethymnon Explore a Shepard S Hut
  8. Heraklion Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour

The 8 Best Local Experiences in Crete

1. Chania Sightseeing Tastings Tour

Find what makes Chania, Crete’s cultural capital so marvelous with the Chania Sightseeing Tastings Tour. This tour will take you on a journey through the city’s history and cultural influences while listening to tales, myths, and legends of the Old Town. Explore the town’s old market with a local and taste local mezedes while sipping raki in a historic neighborhood. Take a stroll around the old Turkish and Jewish Quarters and discover the “Street of the Knives” and other off-the-beaten-path corners. Meet local artisans in their workshops, learn about their work, and try your own skills. The tour begins at the Dimotiki Agora (Municipal Market) which denotes the old and new town boundary where you will sample local delicacies while exploring the market, and discover why Crete is home to one of the healthiest diets in the world. After satisfying your taste buds, you’ll stroll around the old town district, passing through layers of history and cultural influences. This is a tour you don’t want to miss!

2. Knossos Palace Admission and Guided Tour from Heraklion

Explore the fascinating ruins of the ancient Minoan civilization with a skip-the-line admission ticket and guided tour of the Knossos Palace. Constructed between 1700 and 1400 BC, the palace features state-of-the-art architectural techniques, sprawling corridors, a theater, and extensive storerooms. Walk among the 1300 rooms and learn about the history of the palace and the Minoan civilization from a licensed archaeologist guide. The tour includes a skip-the-line entry ticket and free admission and guided tour for children from European countries. With this tour, you’ll experience the rich history and stunning architecture of the Knossos Palace like never before.

3. Rethymno Roundtrip Bus Transfer to the Gramvousabalos Boat

Make your cruise to the Gramvousabalos Boat worry-free with a roundtrip transfer from Rethymno to Kissamos port in an air-conditioned bus. Enjoy the convenience of a pre-booked door-to-door transportation service and travel in comfort aboard the bus with plenty of legroom. Your local driver will take care of the navigation, allowing you to relax and enjoy your trip. An onboard guide will accompany you during the trip.
The tour includes a roundtrip bus transfer and boat cruise with an entrance ticket (approx. €29 – cash payment required on-site). Enjoy a hassle-free transfer and cruise experience with this tour.

4. Crete Acqua Plus Water Park

Spend a special day at one of the largest water parks in Crete. With over 50 different rides, slides, and attractions, there is something for everyone. Feel the adrenaline rush as you slide down 47-foot high water slides or explore the Aqua Slalom and Black Holes. For a more relaxing experience, float on a lazy river or take a swim in the azure waters of the main pool. Visitors of all ages will love this family-friendly destination, and with friendly and helpful staff, all your needs will be taken care of. Book your entrance ticket to Acqua Plus Water Park, located approximately 26 kilometers east of Heraklion, for a day of fun and adventure.

5. Chania Private Boat Fishing Trip

Experience a private boat fishing trip off the coast of Chania with some of the best fishermen in Crete. Departing from shore, your experienced skippers will take you out to open water, where you’ll learn new fishing techniques such as jigging, spinning and bottom fishing. Your main targets will be groupers, snappers, dentex, squid and other smaller fish. Your guides will provide you with all the necessary fishing equipment and after fishing you’ll be treated with snacks, soft drinks and water. A great opportunity to fish for fun and small catches or go professional fishing for big catches. Enjoy sightseeing and the magnificent coastal views of Chania during the trip. Please note that this tour is not suitable for pregnant women.

6. From Kissamos Port Private Boat Cruise to Balos Gramvousa

Board a speedboat and travel from Kissamos towards Gramvousa Island. As you make your way along the shore, admire the Venetian Fortress of Gramvousa. On this private boat cruise, enjoy local wine and a fresh Cretan salad as you cruise the Aegean Sea. Take a swim and snorkel in the turquoise waters of the Balos Lagoon. The tour includes an experienced skipper, liability insurance, snorkeling gear, hotel transfer, entry fee to Gramvousa, and a meal of Cretan salad and seasonal fruit. It’s the perfect day trip for those who want to relax and explore the beauty of the Aegean Sea.

7. Land Rover Safari from Rethymnon Explore a Shepard S Hut

Embark on a guided Land Rover safari tour and discover the history and traditions of Crete. Drive through the villages of Halepa, Garazo, Faratsi and Veni, which are known for their fresh aromas, unique views and dense vegetation. Take a break at the historic Halepa Monastery, which was once a refuge for Cretan rebels during civil wars, and capture the amazing mountains and valleys that surround you. Continue your drive and relish the panoramic view while attempting to spot wild eagles and goats.

Then, arrive at a mitato (shepherd’s hut), where you will learn about the shepherd lifestyle and cheese-making. Watch a live cheese-making demonstration and taste the freshly made cheese. Later, savor a traditional Cretan lunch with local food and wine. Throughout the tour, our experienced guides will provide you with information about the local history, customs and traditions, and you will have the opportunity to meet locals, see nature, and embrace the renowned Cretan hospitality.

8. Heraklion Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour

This open-top hop-on hop-off tour is perfect for those who want to discover and explore Heraklion at their own pace. With an unlimited-use 1-day ticket, you can board the double-decker bus at any of the 10 stops around the city. Choose to hop off at any of the stops that catch your interest, such as the ancient Palace of Knossos or Koules Venetian Fortress. You can also see other top attractions like Heraklion Archeological Museum and absorb the panoramic views of the city from the onboard audio commentary. Enjoy audio commentary in eight languages and receive a free city map for your personalized sightseeing itinerary. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make use of this tour to discover the best attractions and things to do in Crete.

Everything You Need To Know About Crete: Tourist FAQ’s

Crete is one of the most beautiful Greek islands with a rich history and diverse culture. It’s worth visiting for the beautiful landscapes, archaeological sites, and welcoming locals. Below are some frequently asked questions about Crete that can help you plan your trip.

1. What Is The Best Time To Visit Crete?

The best time to visit Crete is between April and June or from September to mid-November. These months offer pleasant temperatures, fewer crowds, and lower prices on accommodations. July and August are the peak tourist season, and the island can be very crowded and hot.

2. How Do I Get To Crete?

The easiest way to reach Crete is by air. There are two international airports on the island – Heraklion airport and Chania airport. You can also take a ferry from Athens to the ports of Heraklion and Chania, but it can take up to nine hours.

3. What Are The Must-See Attractions On The Island?

There are several must-see attractions on the island that should be on your itinerary. These include:

The Palace of Knossos

Knossos is an archaeological site where the ruins of a Bronze Age settlement called the Palace of Knossos can be found. It’s considered to be Europe’s oldest city, and it’s estimated that the original palace was built around 2000 BC.

The Samariá Gorge

The Samariá Gorge is a 16km long canyon located in the Samariá National Park. It’s considered to be one of Europe’s most spectacular natural wonders and the longest gorge in Europe.

The Elafonisi Beach

Elafonisi Beach is located on the southwest coast of Crete and is one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. It’s known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and its pink sand.

Gramvousa Island and Balos Lagoon

Gramvousa Island and Balos Lagoon are located in the northwest of the island. The island has an impressive Venetian castle, while the lagoon features turquoise waters and a lagoon with shallow water.

4. Where Should I Stay On The Island?

There are several towns and cities on the island where you can stay, depending on your budget and preferences. These include:


Heraklion is the capital of Crete and the largest city. It’s the perfect place to stay if you’re interested in history and want to explore the archaeological sites.


Chania is the second-largest city on the island and is known for its charming old town and Venetian harbor. It’s the best place to stay if you want to enjoy the beaches and go shopping.


Rethymno is a beautiful town situated between Heraklion and Chania. It has a Venetian harbor, a fortress, and a picturesque old town. It’s a great place to stay if you want a more laid-back atmosphere.

5. What Are The Best Places To Eat In Crete?

Crete is a food lover’s paradise, and there are several traditional dishes that you should try while you’re there. Some of the best places to eat in Crete include:

Taverna Kostas in Chania

Taverna Kostas is a family-run restaurant that offers traditional Cretan dishes. It’s located in the old town of Chania and has a cozy atmosphere.

Inka restaurant in Heraklion

Inka is a traditional Cretan restaurant that offers a wide range of dishes. It’s located near the center of Heraklion and has excellent reviews.

Taverna Psaraki in Elounda

Taverna Psaraki is a seafood restaurant that offers fresh fish and seafood. It’s located in the small village of Elounda and has a beautiful view of the sea.

6. Are There Any Cultural Events In Crete?

Crete has a rich cultural heritage, and there are several events throughout the year that you can attend. These include:

Cretan Diet Festival (June)

The Cretan Diet Festival celebrates traditional Cretan cuisine, and it takes place in the village of Vamos.

Rethymno Renaissance Festival (July-August)

The Rethymno Renaissance Festival is a cultural event that celebrates the rich history and heritage of the island.

Crete Half Marathon (October)

The Crete Half Marathon is a popular event that takes place in the city of Chania. It’s a great opportunity to explore the city while participating in a sporting event.

How to Spend Your Time as a Tourist in Crete

Crete is the largest island in Greece, and it’s no secret why it’s a popular destination for tourists from all around the world. Filled with history, culture, stunning beaches, and delicious food, Crete has something for everyone. Here are some ideas on how to make the most of your time as a tourist in Crete.

1. Visit the Archaeological Sites

Crete is home to some of the most impressive archaeological sites in Europe, with a rich history that spans thousands of years. The most famous of these are the Palace of Knossos and the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.The Palace of Knossos, located just outside of Heraklion, is an ancient Minoan palace that was built around 1900 BC. This site is believed to be the center of Minoan civilization, and it’s a must-visit for anyone interested in Greek history. The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, on the other hand, is home to a vast collection of Minoan artifacts, including pottery, jewelry, and sculptures.

2. Spend Time on the Beaches

Crete is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, with crystal-clear waters and stunning scenery. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Elafonisi Beach: This pink-sand beach is located on the southwestern coast of Crete and is perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
  • Balos Beach: Another beautiful pink-sand beach, Balos is slightly more secluded and requires a hike to reach, but it’s well worth it.
  • Falassarna Beach: This long, sandy beach is one of the most popular in Crete, with plenty of amenities and activities for visitors to enjoy.

3. Taste the Local Food

Cretan cuisine is known for its use of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and its emphasis on healthy eating. Some must-try dishes include:

DakosA salad made with dried bread, tomato, feta cheese, and olive oil.
SouvlakiSkewers of grilled meat (usually pork or chicken), served with pita bread and tzatziki sauce.
Lamb with StamnagathiA traditional Cretan dish made with lamb and stamnagathi, a wild green that grows on the island.

4. Explore the Mountains

Crete is home to some stunning mountain ranges that are perfect for hiking and exploration. The most famous of these is the Samaria Gorge, which is the longest gorge in Europe and a popular destination for hikers. Other popular hikes in Crete include the Imbros Gorge and the White Mountains.

5. Experience the Nightlife

If you’re looking for a vibrant nightlife scene, Crete won’t disappoint. Some popular destinations include:

  • Heraklion: The capital of Crete is home to a variety of bars and clubs, with a particularly lively atmosphere in the summer months.
  • Chania: This charming town is home to a mix of traditional bars and trendy clubs, with plenty of options to suit all tastes.
  • Malia: A popular destination for young party-goers, Malia is known for its lively nightlife scene and bustling beach bars.

Final Thoughts

Crete truly has something for everyone, from history buffs to adventure seekers to foodies. With so much to see and do on the island, it’s worth taking the time to plan your itinerary carefully to make the most of your visit. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore ancient ruins, or party the night away, Crete won’t disappoint.

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The 8 Best Local Experiences in Crete

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!