7 Things You Can Only Do in Crete

30/01/2023Holly Keates

As the largest of the Greek Islands, there are many unique things that you can only do in Crete.

The blue waters in Crete.
Fantastic scenes in Crete. Photo by Elena Dimaki on Unsplash

This vibrant Greek island is full to the brim of culture, delicious cuisine and plenty of history. If you are looking for a bit more than just lazing around the pool or soaking up the sunshine, why not plan a trip to Crete?

As a destination which you can visit repeatedly and still find new things to do, we’re here to help create a bucket list of activities. All unique to Crete, the diversity of the island makes for an incredible adventure.

So, let’s get your bags packed and your list at the ready – we’re off to Crete! 

Unique things to do

  1. Elafonisi Beach
  2. Cave of Diktaion Andron
  3. Chania
  4. Sissi – The Fishing Village
  5. Knossos Palace
  6. Samaria Gorge
  7. Arkadi Monastery

Subscriber Exclusives

Elafonisi Beach

In the southwestern most tip of Crete you will find the beautiful Elafonissi Beach. Popular for it’s areas of pink sand, the beach itself is very photogenic.

With clear shallow waters and soft sand, it’s clear to see why so many people make their way to this beach during their trip. 

The pinkish hues which appear across the sand are due to the colour of the millions of crushed shells. Dependent on several factors such as the tide and weather, you may find on some days that there are only small areas of pink.

But still, with or without the pink, the beach is still a beautiful area to visit. You can spot various rare animals and plants, along with enjoying time in the warm waters.

Cave of Diktaion Andron

The most famous of the 3,000 caves in Crete is the Cave of Diktaion Andron. Believed to be the birthplace of  Zeus, the God of Thunder, it has been one of the more popular caves since the 19th century.

There are two trails which allow you to reach the caves, and today you will see many people making the journey there. Covered in stalagmites and stalactites, it really is a sight to see.

At the lowest point of the cave you can gaze upon a lake and the Mantle of Zeus. This is a stalactite which hangs over the lake, resembling a chandelier.


There is plenty to keep you busy on the island city of Chania. From the old town to the beautiful beaches, you can spend the whole day exploring this incredible place.

 At the main market there are plenty of goods to browse upon. From herbs and spices, to souvenirs and clothes. Or, make your way through the narrow streets of the old town and enjoy the small boutique shops.

The main landmark of Chania is the lighthouse at the old harbour. Restored by the Egyptians in the 19th century, it provides the perfect lookout point. 

If you are interested in learning more about the history of Chania, the Archaeological Museum of Chania and the Folklore Museum of Chania are great places to start.

Chania lighthouse
Mesmerising settings in Chania. Photo by Eleni Afiontzi on Unsplash

Sissi – The Fishing Village

The charming fishing village, Sissi, is a must-see on your trip to Crete. You will find a much more serene atmosphere, and a lack of tourists here.

For all of the nature lovers out there, there are beautiful mountains, picturesque sea views and hiking paths. You can even stay overnight on a camping ground to experience the full natural surroundings.

Being a fishing village comes with big advantages too, that being the best seafood on the island. Head to one of the tavernas to indulge yourself in the delicious fish dishes.

Of course, there’s also a beach area to enjoy the crystal clear waters. Despite being just a small beach, it’s still picture-perfect.

Knossos Palace

Named as one of Europe’s oldest city, Knossos is the largest Bronze Age site in Crete! A place of complete history, it was inhabited for several thousand years. 

Unfortunately after its destruction in 1375 BC, it was abandoned and it came to an end along with the Minoan civilisation. However, there are still ruins standing tall.

Revealed during its excavations by Sir Arthur Evans, the Minoans actually had a highly sophisticated way of life. From verandas keeping rooms cool in the summer time, to advanced drainage systems.

Today you can take a tour of the site and discover original ruins along with restorations of certain areas.

The incredible ruins. Image by Leonhard Niederwimmer from Pixabay

Samaria Gorge

This one is for the hikers and outdoor lovers out there. Samaria Gorge is located in the National Park of Samaria, in the White Mountains of West Crete.

The walk through the gorge can last for about 6 to 8 hours, so if you’re planning a visit – be prepared! Comfortable footwear and a certain degree of fitness is needed for this one.

Although with that being said, the views on the hike are magnificent and definitely worth it. From the rugged mountains to the pine forest. Along halfway through the gorge you will be met be the abandoned village of Samaria. This resorted village is a great way to see traditional Cretan architecture, along with a deserved break from the walking.

Occasionally you may also spot the beautiful birds which live around the gorge. Significantly the rare Bearded Vulture, that is one to grab your binoculars for!

View between the gorge. Photo by Gunel on Unsplash

Arkadi Monastery

Finally, we have the Arkadi Monastery. This sacred monastery has an incredible structure that is one to see with your own eyes.

But that’s not all this site has to offer, it’s also a national symbol of Crete’s heroic struggle for liberation. With its large importance and fascinating history, the Arkadi Monastery welcomes visitors to see it’s magnificence. 

You will find a few monks who look after the church and the building that surround it. Alongside a small souvenir shop selling handcrafted items and a café.

Arkadi Monastery
The Monastery has a beautiful exterior. Photo by Leonhard Niederwimmer on Unsplash

Be Crete-d by beauty

Are you ready to be greeted by the beauty of Crete? We don’t blame you! These unique things to do are just the beginning of a whole host of activities.

If you’re looking for even MORE to do whilst in Crete, check out 12 incredible things to do in Chania by clicking the button below.

Prev Post

10 Unforgettable Things To Do In Mauritius For Under £50