Sovereign’s Guide to Crete

Greece’s largest island, Crete offers a fascinating blend of history, stunning landscapes, and mouthwatering cuisine. Wondering what to do in Crete? To help you get started, below is a guide to our favourite things in Crete… 

Things to do in Crete

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Visit the Palace of Knossos

Explore the ancient ruins of the Palace of Knossos, the legendary home of King Minos and the Minotaur. Immerse yourself in the rich history and mythology of Crete as you wander through the labyrinthine corridors and marvel at the intricate frescoes. As the legendary centre of the Minoan civilisation, this site transports you to days gone by, allowing you to imagine what life was like back then. Whether you’re a lover of archaeology, a history enthusiast or simply looking to uncover the mysteries of the past, Knossos is a must.

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Explore Samaria Gorge

Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a memorable trek through Samaria Gorge, one of Europe's longest and most stunning canyons. This 16-kilometre-long gorge offers a unique experience where you can soak up the scenery with flora and fauna at every turn. Witness breathtaking natural beauty, spot rare wildlife, and feel a sense of accomplishment as you reach the end of the gorge and dip your toes in the Libyan Sea.

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Head to the Cave of Zeus

Journey to the Cave of Zeus, located on Mount Ida, the highest peak in Crete. According to Greek mythology, this is the cave where Zeus, king of the Greek gods, was born. Explore the chambers as you embark on an adventure through history and legend, as the magic of this site comes to life with every step. Marvel at the impressive stalactites and stalagmites as you delve into the depths of this mythical site.

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Enjoy Chania Old Town

Wander through the charming streets of the Old Town of Chania and lose yourself in its Venetian architecture, Ottoman influences, and bustling waterfront. Explore the Venetian harbour, visit the iconic lighthouse, and savour traditional Cretan cuisine in one of the many tavernas. With pastel-coloured houses and buildings, Chania is like a postcard brought to life with a captivating blend of Greek culture and beauty.

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Relax on the Beaches

Indulge in relaxation on Crete’s pristine beaches where golden sands meet crystal clear waters matched with breathtaking sea views. A haven for beach lovers, Crete is home to a number of beaches, each with their own charm. Head to Elafonissi on the southwest coast of the island to find pink sand, a natural wonder created by crushed seashells, offering a unique seaside experience. Or for a quieter spot, find a hidden cove for some privacy and moments of relaxation.

What is there to eat in Crete?

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The largest of the Greek islands, Crete enjoys a rich and diverse culinary tradition. Reflecting the island's unique history and geography, the Cretan diet consists of a wide range of delicious dishes and ingredients. Dakos is a Cretan meze-style dish consisting of dried bread topped with feta cheese, olives, tomatoes, and olive oil, perfect as an appetiser. Lamb is also a popular meat choice commonly found in Cretan dishes. It’s prepared in various ways such as slow-cooked with herbs and oil or roasted on a spit (souvla).

Where should I stay in Crete?

Domes of Elounda - Autograph Collection, Crete
  • Spectacular hillside location and magical sea views
  • Great dining experiences and warm hospitality
  • Perfect for the whole family
  • This 5* luxury resort will leave a lasting impression
Grecotel Lux Me White Palace, Crete
  • Eight saltwater pools across the resort to cool off in 
  • Exquisite dining options with buffet and a la carte choices 
  • Beachfront location with close links to the pretty town of Rethymnon
St Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas, Crete
  • A member of the ‘Small Luxury Hotels of the World’ 
  • Featuring a luxury spa with an extensive treatment menu 
  • Unique location set in six stunning acres of gardens  
  • Ideally situated in a secluded, peaceful beachfront location 
  • Personable and attentive Greek hospitality
View all hotels in Crete
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Louise Burling-Cooper

Elounda Town - A lively port with plenty of shops, tavernas and bars. If you fancy some retail therapy for holiday trinkets, go one morning for a coffee and a pastry. Or get a taxi into Elounda after dinner for post dinner drinks.

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Helen Lippe

Aghios Nikolaos - Stroll into the town’s centre, the famous lake and shopping district. Visit the nearby villages of Elounda, Plaka, Kritsa and Limnes. Visit the fortress of Spinalonga at Plaka, the Lassithi Plateau, the Cave of Zeus, the Knossos archaeological site, the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion, Monasteries, and many more.

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Leanne King

Explore the alleys and the Turkish architecture in the old town of Rethymnon. As well as the Arkadi Monastery.

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Caitlin Keeping

Spinalonga Island – Definitely worth a visit to this iconic island made famous by the novel “The Island” by Victoria Hislop. Take the hotel speed boat over to Spinalonga, A UNESCO World Heritage site, for a step back in time. The hotel can organise the speed boat and the private guide (optional) at a cost. Best to go in the afternoon around 3 pm as cooler and less busy.

For more information, call our Personal Travel Planners on:

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