5 Trendiest Places to Visit in Crete 

words Alexa Wang

A gem in the Mediterranean Sea, Crete is Greece’s largest island. Once home to the ancient Minoan civilisation, Crete is rich in culture, history, myths, and legends. It also has gorgeous beaches, fascinating natural sights, rugged mountains, and lush countryside. As one of the top destinations in Greece, the vast island will surprise you with numerous attractions to suit diverse tastes and hidden gems. Below, check out some of the trendiest places to visit in Crete.

Trendiest Places Crete 

  • Rethymno

Rethymno is a picturesque city lying on the northern coast of Crete. It’s home to some of the island’s most beautiful beaches, Byzantine churches, and archaeological sites. Head to the old town, and you’ll find elegant Venetian-style architecture and a Venetian harbour filled with fishing boats and surrounded by tavernas.

As one of the trendiest areas of Crete, Rethymno exudes a laidback atmosphere and is what a Greek town is and more. It’s one of the country’s best-preserved towns and among Crete’s most beautiful cities. Once a bastion of the Venetians who left behind some beautiful buildings, Rethymno is a fun place to explore on foot. Aside from the Venetians, Rethymno was also under the Turks for a time, as evident in the Ottoman domes and minarets from some of the old buildings.

Aside from admiring the gorgeous buildings and discovering the city’s rich history, enjoy delicious Cretan food from the city’s best restaurants. Of course, don’t forget to order a glass of local wine to go with your dish. 

  • Chania

Chania is a charming city along the northwest coast of Crete. Steeped in history, you’ll find Ottoman and Venetian influences all over the place, intermingling with local traditions, making for a unique and unforgettable experience. 

Walking through the Old Town’s narrow streets is the best way to get to know the city and discover Crete’s rich culture and history. The Archaeological Museum of Chania is the best place to discover the island’s past, where you’ll find exhibits showcasing the island’s history from the Neolithic times. It’s housed in a former monastery with a lovely courtyard, offering the perfect place to relax as you admire the beautiful architecture.

As the trendiest city of Crete, Chania has so much to offer, from outdoor adventures to historical landmarks and delectable cuisines. The Old Town’s maze of narrow streets is full of colourful shophouses and restaurants. 

Follow the road leading to the Old Venetian Harbour, one of the picturesque parts of the city, where you can relax with the breathtaking views of the sea in the background. Consider taking a boat ride along the harbour to venture into the nearby islands or relax in one of its many restaurants and cafes. Order a Cretan delicacy paired with a glass of local wine.

  • Agios Nikolaos

As one of Greece’s most popular tourist destinations, Crete has everything that a tourist needs. In fact, there are plenty of beautiful places to stay in Crete, great for visitors looking to explore more of the island. When going around Crete, one of the places worth a stop is Agios Nikolaos, a lovely coastal city in the East of Crete and the capital of the Lasithi region.

Different from all other cities in Crete, Agios Nikolaos manages is a sleepy, yet bustling place built atop ancient remains of bygone homes. It’s a medium-sized city that gives off a small-town feel but has plenty to offer. 

The Voulismeni Lake is one of its highlights. It intermingles with the sea through a narrow canal surrounded by lush vegetation and red rock formations. Like many things in Crete, Voulismeni Lake is known for its legends. According to Greek mythology, it was here that the goddesses Athena and Artemis bathe. Around the lake are several bars and restaurants, offering a perfect spot for relaxing and enjoying a few drinks.

cool Places to Visit Crete 

  • Samaria Gorge

Those who love nature and adventure will find Samaria Gorge a perfect place to visit in Crete. It’s in the Samaria National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, surrounded by the White Mountains of Crete, drawing thousands of visitors each year lured to its spectacular hiking trails. While Samaria Gorge is not the only gorge in the area, it’s the biggest and one of Europe’s largest canyons.

Walking the 10-mile trail of the Samaria Gorge is a popular activity in Crete, especially among avid hikers. With towering cliffs surrounding it, it features sweeping views and Crete’s rich flora and fauna, eventually ending in Agia Roumeli. The trail’s narrowest point, called “The Gates,” is about 13 feet wide and almost a thousand feet tall, offering an incredible hiking experience.

Hiking in Samaria Gorge is only possible in late spring and summer, coinciding with the peak tourist season in Greece. It opens from May until October, although it would depend on the weather. But the best time to be here is in spring when wildflowers are in full bloom, and temperatures are more favourable than in the mid-summer months.

  • Heraklion

Heraklion is a city rich in culture, history, and stunning natural beauty. It lies on the northern coast of Crete and is the island’s largest city. A popular destination for visitors in Greece, Heraklion is a trendy city offering many things to see and do. From discovering ancient ruins to feasting on traditional Cretan cuisines, Heraklion has something to offer for every traveller.

Make your way to the Palace of Knossos, one of the country’s most significant archaeological sites and an ideal place for history enthusiasts. Located only a short drive from Heraklion, the ancient palace was the centre of the Minoan civilisation and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Strolling the streets of the Old Town of Heraklion is fun. It’s a maze of narrow streets and alleyways, with bustling squares home to some of the city’s most impressive architecture. Check out Venetian Loggia, once the meeting place for the city’s nobility. The old town is also home to some of Crete’s many restaurants, cafes, and shops selling local handicrafts and souvenirs.

 

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