The beautiful island of Greece features mesmerizing natural wonders all around – white sand beaches, refreshing blue waters, stunning landscapes, and gorgeous man-made structures. This peaceful vibe of the region attracts a staggering number of around four million tourists annually! The majestic architecture of Greece is not new to many since it is the trademark of the country. Yet, it still is worth checking out. Crete houses many well-preserved structures, such as monuments, museums, and, of course, places of religion. With this, expect to find historic and picturesque monasteries that you can visit. Surrounded by a tranquil landscape, these religious venues will put you at ease. These are the must-visit monasteries to visit in Crete, Greece.
1. Gouverneto Monastery
Gouverneto Monastery is one of the most famous monasteries in all of Crete because of its distinctive Venetian design and adventure it holds. The religious venue has wonderful natural sites for hiking with views – a creek, the rocky Avlaki Gorge, religious artifacts on display, more interesting chapels – all on the way to the sea!
Did you know that this historic site was built way back in the 15th century? It is regarded as a destination for people going to Crete, so it is not to be missed. Note that the opening times of this monastery are strict compared to others, so plot your time carefully to make the most out of this beautiful religious site.
Address: Chania 731 00, Greece
Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 5am - 12pm & 5pm - 8pm; Mon, Tue & Thu: 9am - 12pm & 5pm - 7pm (closed Wed & Fri)
Price: 2.75 USD
2. Arkadi Monastery
Being one of the earliest Eastern Orthodox monasteries, Arkadi Monastery is the most famous monastery in the whole of Greece. Visitors and pilgrims from all over the world visit this religious historic site because of its unique natural beauty and the significant historical events that took place here. During the Turkish occupation, the monastery served as a place of revolution and a cultural center for the Greeks. To this day, the region’s tragedies and victories are displayed through artifacts and manuscripts.
For present-day activities, you’ll be able to learn more about the region’s agriculture, including the production of fine oil and wine. There is much to be explored in this noteworthy monastery.
Address: Arkadi 741 00, Greece
Website: Arkadi Monastery
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 3.30 USD
3. Varsamonerou Monastery
The Varsamonerou Monastery is gigantic and it took a century to build it from the temple to the aisles. After the Second World War, its restoration began and the structure signifies the region’s culture and religion that has stood the test of time. As of now, the monastery is inactive, so there are no strict rules regarding time to visit and no entrance fee. With this, you can explore this place at any time.
Address: Faistos 700 02, Greece
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
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4. Toplou Monastery
Since the 15th century, the Toplou Monastery has been a place of refuge and it holds a turbulent yet remarkable history. Back then, it was heavily fortified, shielding itself from invaders. Inside this huge monastery, laid out on a barren land, you will find exhibits displaying the artifacts, manuscripts, and engravings that reflect Toplou Monastery’s significant role during this pivotal historical period. Get to know the stories from the monks and explore the many facilities in this unique area.
Address: Τοπλού 723 00, Greece
Opening hours: 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm (daily)
Price: 2.70 USD
5. Vosakou Monastery
To get here, you will need to dedicate some time and effort. Unlike the usual easily accessible monasteries around Crete, this one is located off the beaten path in a valley. Although it might be difficult to get here, the silence and fascinating views that will greet you are simply irreplaceable.
Since there are no guards in the area, make sure to close the gate upon your arrival. It is said that this monastery was in use until around 1960, when the last of its monks died. See the artistic features of this monastery and learn about its history.
Address: Geropotamos 740 57, Greece
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
6. Agia Triada Monastery
To find interesting displays reflecting the Renaissance period, visit the Agia Triada Monastery. Designed with distinctive Doric columns, the monastery plays an important role in the ecclesiastic, as well as the economic life of the island.
Check out the beautiful, towering, well-preserved structures. Learn how they cultivated organic vines and olives here, producing a variety of wine and olive oil. The produce is famous internationally, so visit the shop to find some of these exceptional local products.
Agia Triada Monastery
Address: Μόνη Αγίας Τριάδος των Τζαγκαρόλων 731 00, Greece
Opening hours: 5am - 6pm (daily)
Price: 2.19 USD
7. Agarathos Monastery
Situated in central Crete, near the quiet village of Sgourokefali, the Agarathos Monastery is still a working religious site, in spite of being one of the oldest monasteries on the island. Much of history’s turn of events also took place here, being a refuge during the Ottoman domination. Right now, many locals and tourists flock to the area to see the cells, temples, and ecclesiastical museum, featuring historical items, displays, and manuscripts.
Address: Epar.Od. Karteros - Moni Agkarathou, Moni Agkarathou 700 08, Greece
Opening hours: 8:30am - 6pm (daily)
8. Chrysoskalitissa Monastery
Have you ever heard of the legend of the Golden Step? It was a long-time belief that one of the steps in the stairway of the monastery is made entirely out of gold, which can only be seen by someone pure of heart! That is just one of the many reasons to visit the Chrysoskalitissa Monastery.
If you plan to go to Elafonisi Beach, pay a visit here to complement your trip. Located in a picturesque spot on the island, the monastery features lots of churches and chapels – they are almost impossible to count!
Address: Moni Chrisoskalitissis 730 12, Greece
Opening hours: 7:30am - 7:30pm (daily)
Price: 2.20 USD
9. Kapsa Monastery
Head to the southeast coast of Crete to find this remote monastery. Even though it is quite far away, locals and tourists visit to celebrate the monastery’s festivities or to simply worship. Inside, a lively atmosphere fills the place, which has mostly natural views.
The Kapsa Monastery clings to a vertical rock, with decorative mosaics and antiques adding to its aesthetic appeal. From here, you’ll enjoy fascinating views of the Libyan Sea and Koufounissi Island!
Address: Μόνη Κάψα 720 59, Greece
Opening hours: 7am - 12:30pm & 3:30pm - 8pm (daily)
10. Gonia Monastery
In the western part of the peaceful bay of Chania, the beautiful Gonia Monastery has been standing since way back in the 13th century. What’s intriguing about this place is its artifacts and fantastic natural views. The monastery was a shelter for rebels during the Turkish and German invasions. Although this part of Crete was regarded as safer during these periods, it was not safe from the brutality, as evidenced by the cannonball stuck in the east wall.
Address: Kolymvari 730 06, Greece
Opening hours: 9am - 2pm & 4pm - 6pm (daily)
Price: 3.28 USD
The tranquil and picturesque monasteries of Crete
Find peace and feel the wonder as you explore these wonderful monasteries in Crete. Learn from their religious practices and humanitarian acts. Though these places are simply majestic to look at, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to monasteries and it is fascinating to be introduced to their inner workings. A bit of exploration will give you insight into their people and their cause, perhaps a community project, and much more. Witness how the local monks live and visit these must-see monasteries while in Crete, Greece.
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