Stop 7: Crete, Greece
Where to go
How to get there
I found the cheapest flights into Greece are Athens or Crete airports so start your Greek Island hopping adventure at one of these two destinations. I flew EasyJet which I found to be affordable.
Getting around the island: The island is much bigger than we anticipated. I recommend that if there is a way for you to rent a car (get your international license) you would save money and see the most on the island. Adam and I used the bus system to get from city to city which was not that bad (1 hour rides $5 & 3 hour rides $15). While in Heraklion there is a free public bus that takes you around the city.
What to see
Like I said, Crete is very large with a lot to offer so do your research on what you are interested in. The west coast has Chania (old historic city), the Samaria Gorge, and beautiful beaches. As you move east, there is the huge city of Heraklion, Malia (party town), and more beautiful beaches. I would recommend flying into Chania airport and staying there for while, then going to Heraklion for a few nights to see the city, and after take the ferry out from Heraklion to another island. Malia is pretty far to the east coast so I would only recommend going there if you’re looking for a “Cancun party vacation.”
While in Chania: Stay at this AirBnb it was literally steps away from the downtown square by the port, had everything we needed, and the host was very accommodating. My favorite city square on the Island was Chania’s, it was right on the water and had tons of narrow streets with little shops and cafes. The port has a long walk way out into the water, grab some drinks and a snack and watch the sunset out on the end of it.
There are many tours to choose from, I would book through Elafonissis Travels and go to Elafonisi Beach. It was the most incredible beach I have ever seen by far. If you want to hike through the longest gorge in Europe I would also book through Elafonissos Travel and hike the Samaria Gorge. It is 16 km long so it would be quite the hike to go through the gorge and back again. Included in your tour you are provided with a boat that will bring you back so you don’t have to hike back through.
While in Heraklion: Plan to do some shopping at the markets throughout the city. In the mornings the narrow market streets are lined with fresh caught fish, handmade jewelry, and fruits & vegetables. Spend most of your time in the square where you will find some historical monuments. Take a walk down to the port and watch the sunset, see some more historical buildings, and look at the sailboats coming in from a day of fishing on the Mediterranean Sea.
Fun fact: Many restaurants in Heraklion bring you authentic alcohol and a little dessert as a present after you eat!
While in Malia: Stay at this AirBnb which is again, steps away from the Main Street and a 5 minute walk to the beach. It also had a clean bathroom, porch, and comfortable beds. Spend your days on the beach, there are tons of restaurants right on the water, beautiful views, and lots of water sports. For dinner, I loved Old Town Malia which had more of an authentic Greece feel to it. Downtown Malia there are tons of bars and clubs open all night so there is a lot to do.
Adam and I did not know too much about Crete before we left for our trip so we planned on learning as we traveled. We made some mistakes that we would’ve done differently if we had been before. Lucky for you, I have written those in this Post so YOU can have the perfect trip to Crete!
Crete has a lot of culture, history, and beauty….I am excited to keep exploring more of the Greek islands!