25 Best Things To Do In Crete Region, Greece - Updated 2024

| 11 min read

Crete is the largest island in Greece known for its rich cultural and mythological heritage. According to Greek mythology, it is on this particular island that the great Greek god Zeus was born. The fine sands and picturesque mountains in Crete will captivate any traveller. The turquoise blue beaches are a feast for the senses and the transparent waters reflect the charming atmosphere of this beautiful Mediterranian jewel. Visit the iconic Heraklion Archeological Museum in the capital city of Heraklion and marvel at the Minoan artefacts. Stop and admire the Palace of Knossos and learn about the Minoan civilization and culture. With plentiful places to visit, finding the right spot in Crete can be a bit of a hassle. Lucky for you, we’ve got you covered on fun things to do in Crete Region, Greece.

1. Explore the interesting War Shelter of Platanias

Posted by Καταφύγιο Πλατανιά on Friday, 5 April 2013

Visit the World War II ruins at the Water Shelter of Platanias. Here you will find unique artefacts relating to World War II and the battle of Crete. Outside the museum, you will find a large artillery tank as a gory reminder of the gruesome incidents that took place during the time of war. If you are in Creta Region, this is a good place to learn about the past and remember the brave ones who sacrificed their lives for the country.

War Shelter of Platanias

Address: Platanias 730 14, Greece

Website: War Shelter of Platanias

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 12pm, 5:30pm - 7pm (closed on Sun)

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2. Spend a day at Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Centre

Posted by Aquaworld Aquarium Hersonissos Crete on Monday, 19 June 2017

The Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Centre is a natural history museum located in the capital city of Heraklion. The museum is home to aquatic creatures and reptiles that were rescued and encouraged to survive in their recreated natural habitat. The place also encourages hands-on interaction with many animals and is a fun attraction to enjoy with your family. Visitors can take interesting pictures of the aquatic life around them and spend an adventurous day in this place.

Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Centre

Address: Filikis Etirias 7, Chersonisos 700 14, Greece

Website: Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Centre

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 5:15pm (closed on Sun)

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3. Go hiking in the Samaria Gorge (from USD 43.14)

things to do in crete greece | go hiking in the samaria gorge

Uncover the incredible landscapes and the majestic peaks by taking a hiking tour in the Samaria Gorge. Journey through the longest gorge in Europe which is 18 km (11.2 miles) long and then relax in the fishing town of Agia Roumeli. Visit old-fashioned taverns and take a dip in the crystal clear water of the Libyan Sea. If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping experience, this 12- to 16-hour tour is a great option for you.

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Crete: Hiking Tour in Samaria Gorge

Duration: 12.0 to 16.0 hour

111 reviews

4. Stroll along the scenic Old Venetian Harbour

Old Venetian Harbour in Rethymno 03
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Xxlstier used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Venetian Harbour is located in western Crete and is one of the most photographed places in this area. The old wharf was built by Venetians during the 14th century. The place is a hub of local eateries, traditional taverns, bars, and pastry shops. Stroll along the enchanting streets of the Old Venetian Harbour and enjoy the scenic view of the monuments constructed during various historical stages. The harbour has a mixture of Cretan, Ottoman, and Venetian features that depict the diverse cultural influence on this place. If you’re looking for a good place to spend the evening with your peers, visit the Old Venetian Harbour.

Old Venetian Harbour

Address: Agiou Markou 8, Chania 731 32, Greece

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5. Go sunbathing at Elafonissi Beach (from USD 43.0)

Visit the Elafonissi Beach on a nine-hour day trip and sunbathe in the hot sands of the beach. Travel southwest through the foothills of White Mountains and climb the golden steps to get a stunning view of the sea. You can dabble in the shallow ends of the beach to reach or traverse the waters to nearby Deer Island. The tour includes air-conditioned transport to keep your travel experience comfortable. Elafonissi Beach is a great place to get picturesque views of the white and pink sands and also to take a shallow swim in the crystal clear waters.

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Elafonissi Beach Crete Day Trip

Duration: 9 hours 30 minutes

5 reviews

6. Marvel at the views from Lake Voulismeni

Lake Voulismeni, Agios Nikolaos, Crete
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user ArtemiyPavlov used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Lake Voulismeni, or simply “the lake” as referred to by locals, is located at the centre of the city of Agios Nikolaos. Locals believed that the lake was created by a volcanic activity because of the presence of a wall reminiscent of a volcanic crater. Though theory has lost ground, the lake has become a popular spot among tourists and locals alike. There are numerous shops, eateries, and cafes set around the lake. If you’re looking for mesmerizing views of the lake, head to the little park above it.

Lake Voulismeni

Address: Konstantinou Paleologou, Agios Nikolaos, Crete 721 00, Greece

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7. Travel back in time at Monastery of Arkadi (from USD 75.5)

things to do in crete greece | travel back in time at monastery of arkadi

Journey into the secluded parts of Crete and explore the archaeological remains of the exquisite Arkadi Monastery. This monastery played a critical role in the resistance movement against Turks. Here you can see important artefacts like icons, clerical items, and weapons that are kept for display inside the museum. Take a bus ride to Margarites to watch a pottery demonstration and learn how Cretan people lived and worked traditionally. Then you can walk through the Cave of Melidoni and wade in the crystal waters at Bali Beach. The entire tour will last for eight hours.

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Crete: Arkadi Monastery e-Bike Tour with Lunch

Duration: 6.0 hour

16 reviews

8. Visit the Greek National Football Museum

Posted by Μουσείο Εθνικής Ελλάδος - Γαλανόλευκος Φάρος on Friday, 14 December 2012

If you are a football enthusiast, visit the Greek Football National Museum located in the Chania town. It is a unique museum with over 1000 exhibits and displays official shirts of legendary players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, and Pelé. Visitors can get to hold the cup and take pictures with it. The place also has umpteen collection of Greek National Football Team’s relics and has signed relics from the Euro 2004 Winners. This museum is a treasure for all the football fans who can connect with the artefacts displayed here.

Greek National Football Museum

Address: Tsouderon 40, Chania 731 32, Greece

Website: Greek National Football Museum

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 7pm; Sat: 10am - 3pm (closed on Sun)

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9. Delight in Greek cuisine at Peskesi

Όλα τα χρώματα της Κρητικής Γης σ' αυτό το πιάτο.. Ειναι ευλογία να μας χαρίζει ο τόπος μας τις περισσότερες από τις...

Posted by Peskesi on Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Spoil your taste buds by indulging in authentic Greek cuisine at the Peskesi, located in the capital city of Heraklion. The restaurant serves Greek food made with local, quality ingredients. The restaurant uses traditional ingredients and aromas to capture the same flavours that existed a long time ago. If you’re looking to dine on exquisite green food and try cocktails made with Cretan flair, visit Peskesi.


Address: Kapetan Haralampi 6-8, Heraklion, Crete 71202, Greece

Website: Peskesi

Opening hours: 1pm - 2am (daily)

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10. Enjoy the nightlife at Whisky Bar

Celebrating Sinking!

Posted by Whisky Bar Crete on Sunday, 25 June 2017

The nightlife doesn’t get any better without whiskey and what better way to get it than to visit the Whiskey Bar located in Kokkini Hani, Crete. The place is run by Paul and Fiona, a lovely couple who are very hospitable and caring to guests. It is packed with all kinds of whiskey like scotch whiskey, bourbon, single malt, and others. The free WiFi service along with a lovely patio with beachfront views make this place an interesting location for travellers. The hosts are connoisseurs of whiskey and will give you all the knowledge you need about the identification of scotch and other types of whiskey.

Whisky Bar

Address: Beach Road, Kokkini Hani 71500, Heraklion, Crete 151 24, Greece

Website: Whisky Bar

Opening hours: 11am - 12am (daily)

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11. Make a splash at Acqua Plus Water Park

Posted by ACQUA PLUS Waterpark on Monday, 28 August 2017

Discover exhilarating water rides and games at the Acqua Plus water park located 26 km (16.1 km( east of the capital city of Heraklion in Crete, Greece. The park boasts 50 different rides, games, and facilities to make your day a memorable one. Get an adrenaline rush at various slides like Acqua Slalom and Crazy River. You can sunbathe and relax at the lazy river and also have your photographs taken in action. Their main attraction is a hydromassage pool that can be enjoyed by all age groups. There is also a 262-foot (80 meters) hydro tube to turn your watersport adventure into a thrilling experience.

Acqua Plus Water Park

Address: Kastelli Road, Chersonisos 712 00, Greece

Website: Acqua Plus Water Park

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 30 USD

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12. Tour the fantastic Matala beach

Matala Beach R03
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user MJJR used under CC BY 3.0

Wade in the crystal clear water and sunbathe on the brown sands of the beautiful Matala beach. Located in Matala, Crete, the beach packs a ton of interesting activities like enjoying a breathtaking view under a straw umbrella and sunbed, visiting the local eateries and cafes set around the beach and dining on some local delicacies, and of course, going for a swim. The beach is surrounded by caves and rocks on one side and a beautiful city on the other. It is a go-to if you’re looking to spend a day out under the sun and near the sea.

Matala beach

Address: 702 00, Greece

Website: Matala beach

Opening hours: 8am - 7pm (daily)

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13. Offer prayers at Agios Minas Cathedral

Agios Minas Cathedral 01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bernard Gagnon used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Agios Minas is a distinctive Greek Orthodox Cathedral located in the capital city of Heraklion and serves as the seat of Archbishop of Crete. The small church which formerly stood here did not meet the religious norms of the growing Christian community and a new church was erected in its place. The construction of the new church began in 1862 under the supervision of Athanasios Moussis. The church has cruciform architecture with a central dome and elements of the three-aisle basilica present inside the church. Visit the Agios Minas Cathedral and marvel at the beautiful architecture of this Greek Orthodox church.

Agios Minas Cathedral

Address: Heraklion 712 01, Greece

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14. Explore naval history at Nautical Museum of Crete

Naval Museum of Chania in Crete 001
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Moonik used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Nautical Museum of Crete is a naval museum located in Chania. The museum collects models of ships, instruments, historical photographs, and war relics. The artefacts are sorted chronologically starting from the bronze age up to the current time. It was erected in the year 1973 and is staged at the western end of Venetian Harbour. A part of this museum has a separate section dedicated to remembering the German Invasion of Crete. Learn about nautical instruments and maritime history at the Nautical Museum of Crete.

Nautical Museum of Crete

Address: Akti Kountourioti, Chania 731 00, Greece

Website: Nautical Museum of Crete

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sun)

Price: 3.3 USD

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15. Scale the mythological Mount Ida

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jerzy Strzelecki used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This mountain with many names like Idha, Ídhi, Idi, Ita and now Psiloritis is located in the Crete Region and stands at the height of 2,456 m (8,057.7 feet). The majestic mountain is a popular destination among tourists and locals alike. According to Greek legend, this is also contested to be where the mighty god of thunder, Zeus, was born. Hike the rough terrains of this breathtaking mountain and expect phenomenal views from the summit. You might want to gear up and bring all the hiking essentials you need before scaling this mythological mountain–it’s a long way up.

Mount Ida

Address: Kouloukonas 740 51, Greece

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16. See the ancient ruins of Gortina

The Temple of Apollo Pythios, Gortyna, Crete
Source: Photo by user Carole Raddato used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Gortina or Gortyna is an ancient archaeological site located 45 km (28 miles) away from the capital city of Heraklion. It was an important centre of Crete during the early Byzantine period and holds the credit of being the first Cretan city to embrace Christianity. The important monuments around the site include the Odeion, the Gortyna Law Code, the Temple of Apollo Pythios, the Praetorium, and others. See the ruins up close and learn about the early Minoan settlements that once flourished in this region.

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17. Delve into local history at Natural History Museum Of Crete

Natural History Museum of Crete Bldg
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Lourakis used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Natural History Museum of Crete operates under the advocacy of the University of Crete and is located in the capital city of Heraklion. This museum aims to study and preserve the flora and fauna of this Mediterranean region. Earlier, this museum building used to be an electric power plant but then it was restored to serve as the Natural History Museum. Learn about the local culture and history of Crete at this amazing museum.

Natural History Museum Of Crete

Address: Leof. Sofokli Venizelou, Iraklio 712 02, Greece

Website: Natural History Museum Of Crete

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 9pm; Sat - Sun: 10am - 9pm

Price: 5.5 USD

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18. Swim in the shallow waters of Balos Lagoon (from USD 35.0)

Enjoy a a full-day tour to the western part of Crete and pass the time basking in the beautiful turquoise blue beaches. Take a bus ride to the sandy beach of Falassarna and dip your feet into the white sand and crystal clear water. Reach the Balos Lagoon by taking a boat and then go swimming in the shallow waters of this beach. Balos Lagoon is also one of the most photographed beaches in the Crete Region so you can also snap beautiful photographs against the gorgeous background.

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Imbros Gorge From Rethymno

Duration: 9 hours

19. Set sail on a scenic cruise to Spinalonga fortress (from USD 21.57)

set sail on a scenic cruise to spinalonga fortress

Take a cruise on a luxury boat to the Mirabello Bay to venture into the Spinalonga fortress dating to the Venetian period. Learn about the last leper colonies of Europe and the story of the Venetian castle that still stands the test of time. Walk around the fort and be amazed by the breathtaking view of the bay. From the boat, you can see the legendary cave of pirate Barbarosa and the Cretan Kri Kri goats at the ancient city of Olous. Relax and sunbathe, then take a dip in the crystal clear waters of Kolokytha beach.

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Agios Nikolaos: Boat Trip to Spinalonga with Swim Stop

Duration: 4.5 hour

1651 reviews

20. Explore the mythical Psychro Cave (from USD 120.2)

explore the mythical psychro cave

The Psychro Cave holds a deep significance in Greek mythology because this is the place where the Greek god Zeus was born and raised. Take a full-day tour to this mythological cave as you ascend to Lasithi Plateau. This plateau is known for its windmills which act as water pumps and help to irrigate the fields in this region. You will also get to taste six different Cretan wines with complimentary snacks, all from multiple award-winning wineries. Learn about the importance of Psychro Cave in Greek mythology and also about excavations found from the Minoan and Neolithic period.

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Winery Tour & Tasting, Lasithi Plateau and Psychro Cave

Duration: 7 hour

10 reviews

21. Enjoy a retreat in Chrissi Island (from USD 68.81)

enjoy a retreat in chrissi island

Set sail on a 12-hour day trip to Chrissi Island located in the south coast of Crete Region. Spend your day in the sequestered island of Chrissi and explore the natural beauty around this place. Laze on the boat as you make your way through the Libyan sea and fill your eyes with breathtaking views of the shore. Wander into the thick canopies of Europe’s largest natural forests of Lebanon cedars. When you arrive at the beach of white and coral pink sand, you can go snorkelling with your gear and then finish the tour with a visit to the Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas.

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Day Trip to Chrissi Island from Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos

Duration: 12 hour

36 reviews

22. Stroll through the cobblestone alleys of Rethymno Old Town (from USD 159.66)

stroll through the cobblestone alleys of rethymno old town

Uncover the culinary traditions of Crete in a four-hour walk through the cobblestone alleys of Rethymno Old Town. Here, you can dine on the real Cretan food like the classic kalitsounia and freshly baked baklava. Watch how traditional Crete coffee is made on the sand and take a sip of the local beer or ouzo. If you’re up for more, you can make your way into a secret location and try the signature raki cocktail. The cobblestone alleys are a tapestry of exquisite food with a lively ambience woven into it–don’t miss it.

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Crete: Gourmet Trail of Rethymnon Small Group Tour

Duration: 4 hour

2 reviews

23. Discover the fascinating Knossos Palace (from USD 61.0)

Learn about Europe’s oldest civilisation in a five-hour tour to the fascinating palace of Knossos. Ride an air-conditioned coach and upon arrival, marvel at the beautiful pillars and structures of the Knossos Palace dating to 2nd century BC. You can tour the ancient rooms, storerooms, and royal quarters located inside the palace. The tour also includes a free lunch and a coach tour around the capital city of Heraklion.

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Crete, Heraklion City and Ancient Palace of Knossos Tour

Duration: 6 hours

10 reviews

24. Explore the Minoan artefacts of Heraklion Archaeological Museum (from USD 86.0)

Bypass the crowd with a skip-the-line admission ticket and get a glimpse of the Greek capital at Heraklion Archaeological Museum. The place usually receives a long line of visitors but you can get past them with the help of a fast-track ticket. Make use of the additional time to fully explore the artefacts reminiscent of the Minoan civilisation. The museum has 27 galleries which include audio-visual displays, modern laboratories, cafeteria, and much more.

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Archaeological Museum of Heraklion Tour

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

6 reviews

25. Embark on off-road buggy adventures (from USD 161.0)

Tour the rugged interiors of Crete and embark on a full-day, off-road journey in a buggy. Drive through the rough terrains and trails to the Lasithi Plateau and Dikti Mountains. Then stop by at the Kera village and enjoy the bird’s eye view from the plateau. Visit the Kardiotissa monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary and stop at the mountain and reservoir points. You can enjoy a tasty lunch at a traditional bar in Psyhro and buy souvenirs and keepsakes at the local shop. If you’re looking for a quick retreat and keen to drive or ride a four-wheeler buggy, then this is the best pick for you.

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Off-Road Buggy Adventure in Crete

Duration: 7 hours

262 reviews

Crete, a Mediterranean jewel

Crete is filled with beautiful beaches, ancient archaeological sites, and picturesque mountains. If you’re planning for a holiday retreat, consider Crete, Greece. If you have trouble finding interesting things to do in Crete, come back to this article and go through the above-mentioned listings.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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