Crete, Greece Travel Guide

A holiday before the pandemic!

Crete is the largest and most populous island in Greece. It’s one of the most well-known Greek islands and is also one of the most visited, especially in the summer months. Crete is a diverse land packed with ancient ruins, there are so many things to do in Crete that it can be kind of overwhelming deciding where to go on the island! 

Crete’s location provides a lovely warm climate and  just a few hours’ flight from most major European airports. If you’re planning on visiting Crete, here is everything you need to know before you travel!

CURRENT TRAVEL & ENTRY REQUIREMENTS 

  • Public Health Travel Declaration and Passenger Locator Form ​(PLF)
  • PCR certificate from a testing laboratory, for a Covid-19 test taken no later than 72 hours before arrival or a negative antigen (rapid) certificate taken no longer than 48 hours before arrival OR
  • A valid vaccination certificate 
  • A valid passport and/or visa  (please click here for more infor regarding visa requirements)

GETTING TO CRETE, GREECE

The easiest way to get to Crete is by air. There is an airport on the main island, which is located a short distance away from Heraklion. There are regular flights here from many major European airports year-round.

WHERE TO STAY                

We decided to stay in Hotel Apollonia Beach Resort and Spa located in Amoudara.  This small village is just a few kilometers away from Heraklion and is considered the second-longest flat sand beach  in Crete.  Hotel Apollonia has bungalows, suites, and rooms surrounded by lush foliage beside a long stretch of white sand.  

Crete, Greece Travel Guide

The Hotel has a wide range of facilities;  main pool, with two smaller-sized children’s slide pools and two baby pools.  A game room, TV area, and an activity area. There’s even a mini-disco that the kids enjoyed while the parents enjoyed a relaxing drink.  

WHAT TO DO / WHERE TO VISIT

Since Crete is the largest island in Greece, It could be overwhelming deciding where to go . So here are some of the things to see and do in Crete, Greece

 MATALA BEACHCrete, Greece Travel Guide

Matala Beach is one of the infamous beaches of Crete because of its rich history. Mythical folklore says that the Greek God Zeus took a form of a white bull and seduced Europe to go to the Matala Beach Spot. Another reason is Matala Beach was the Hippie capital from the 1970s until today, has maintained its Hippie vibe. Lastly, its towering caves cut through the soft limestone, giving it a unique landscape.

We walked through the colorful footprint artworks and vibrant murals surrounding this cozy town. I got to sample some Cretan delicacies in the taverns and browsed through the quirky souvenir shops. The beach is usually crowded with people, but we enjoyed the almost empty surroundings without the hassle of beach congestion. 

Looking at the crystal-deep waters from the shore vantage point, we couldn’t help but stop in awe at the backdrop of Roman Caves carved in white soft limestone. We were told that there are underwater caves that have rooms, stairs, beds, and windows which suggests that sometime in the past, a community of people lived there too.  

TOUR OF RETHYMNO TO KNOSSOS

It only took us about half a day to tour the different areas, starting with Rethymno port town towards Knossos. We went through the third-largest populated town of Crete, Rethymno port town. You can’t help but notice the dominant Venetian and Ottoman architectural influences on public buildings, neoclassical houses, fountains, city walls, and fortresses. You’ll see narrow lanes lined up with many flowers that surround the old town Venetian castle.

When the Ottoman Empire captured the town during the Cretan war, they occupied the town for three centuries. It was renamed Resmo in Turkish, setting up the sanjak, which is the administrative part of the province.   

We proceeded to Knossos, referred to as Europe’s oldest city dating back to the Neolithic period.  The Knossos Palace is where you find the heart of the Minoan people. They are called mythical people from the Bronze Age of 4,000 years ago, and their civilization is displayed in the Archeological Museum of Heraklion. The recently renovated museum is a testament to the glorious prehistoric past of Crete, which mentions King Minos, Minotaur, and the labyrinth.

We went around the Archeological museum and browsed through the early Neolithic collection of clay and stone spools for clothing, as well as weapons made of colored stones in greenstone, jadeite, and diorite. I was fascinated with the small items of animal and human figurines and found out that the standing females represent the mother goddess of the Minoan religion.   

We went around the Archeological museum and browsed through the early Neolithic collection of clay and stone spools for clothing, as well as weapons made of colored stones in greenstone, jadeite, and diorite. I was fascinated with the small items of animal and human figurines and found out that the standing females represent the mother goddess of the Minoan religion.   

Crete, Greece Travel Guide

HERAKLION PORT

Heraklion port is usually very crowded and busy with cruise and ferry activity. What we saw was a somber scene in the port. The area itself is an easy walking distance to the city where shops and restaurants are located. The pedestrians use the marked yellow sign, allowing us to enjoy the stroll on the seafront going towards the old town enjoyed by tourists.

AQUAWORLD AQUARIUM

A change of pace from Crete’s historical ruins and beautiful landscapes, this  attraction is recommended for those who have children with them. 

Aquaworld’s aquarium has a descent size so it will not be to overwhelming for the little ones. The highlight on this attraction is  the possibility to handle harmless reptiles. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

A week-long stay in Crete should be enough to soak in the tourist sites of Crete.  The city it is filled with a rich ancient history, which makes this a unique place to visit. Let’s not forget the beautiful white sand beach and the warm sunny weather during the summer.

Looking back, I’m glad we pushed through with our plans to visit Crete because travel will never be the same as before. Our vacation is something I remember with fond memories of the beach, sand, sun, and beautiful surroundings.


Please check out my other Travel articles HERE.

6 Comments

  • We are considering Crete for a half-term break with our two daughters ages 6 & 8. I’m very satisfied to read your blog.

  • Lovely blog post again Jenevive, highly informative and your pictures are stunning! I hadn’t considered Crete for a vacation but now I want to do more research and maybe check it out with my family!

    • Thank you Liz. Crete is really beautiful especially the beaches and the locals were very friendly! You should definitely try local food, you will not be disappointed.

  • The Crete beaches are simply stunning – golden sand (pink at Elafonisi) and turquoise waters – the full Mediterranean vibe. Your post has further piqued my interest on this large Greek island. The four regions seem to compliment the island in their own way. A vacation centered around history, culture, and beaches sounds perfect. To top it off, I would surely have to sample every Village cheese! ? I really enjoy your Travel blog posts. You feature destinations that I hadn’t thought of but are an absolute must.

    • Thank you so much Kimberly! I did enjoy our short but memorable trip there. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of cheese, so never really thought about it 🙂 I am glad that you liked my posts, it inspires me to create more posts about our travel adventures. Thank you again for dropping by!

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