Crete is a beautiful Greek island with something to offer everyone. Whether you're looking for stunning beaches, ancient ruins, charming villages, or delicious food, you'll find it all in Crete. We also talk about our little problem we encountered, which could have turned into a nightmare and a lesson to remember always, more on that later on!
In this blog post, VacayClub share our Travel plan for a week-long vacation in Crete. We visited some of the island's most popular tourist attractions, including Balos Beach, Elafonisi, Falasarna Beach, the Minoan Palace of Knossos, Rethymno, Heraklion, and Chania. We also stayed in a lovely apartment in Kato Stalos, booked through Booking.com
We arrived at Chania Airport (CHQ) early in the day at 10am. Picked up our rental car, from Voyager in Crete, which we'll talk about a little later. We then drove to our apartment in Kato Stalos about 30min drive, a small village located just west of Chania Town. We booked it through booking.com based on reviews, location and price. Gianthea studios & Apt was a very nice and clean, big room with a kitchen and two balconies. We also had access to the pool area of the next door luxury hotel Crete palm.
Gianthea studios & Apt, where we stayed
After checking into our apartment, we went for a walk around the village and had dinner at a local taverna. There are a lot of good restaurants near by all along the beach, most of the restaurants have direct beach access and sunbeds to chill and take in the sun.
Beach restaurant in Kato Stalos
We visited the town of Chania, located on the northwestern coast of the island. Chania is a beautiful town with a Venetian harbor, charming streets, and a lively atmosphere.
To get to Chania, we drove from Kato Stalos. The drive takes about 20 minutes.
Once we arrived in Chania, we spent the day exploring the Venetian harbor, visiting the Archaeological Museum of Chania, and shopping for souvenirs in the Old Town.
In the evening, we had a dinner at a restaurant on the waterfront, where we enjoyed delicious lamb chops and banana split while looking at the stunning views of the Venetian harbor.
Chania old town and harbor
We started our day with a visit to Balos Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete. Balos Beach is known for its white sand, crystal-clear water, and stunning views of the Gramvousa Peninsula.
To get to Balos Beach, we took a boat trip from Kissamos Port. The boat trip takes about 30 minutes and costs around €20 per person. The boat also offers foods and drinks which you can buy on your trip. We booked the boat trip at www.cretandailycruises.com You can also go by car but the road is not great and can be dangerous and most car rental companies won't allow you to drive there anymore, otherwise you will lose all the insurance and will have to pay for all the damages.
Once we arrived at Balos Beach, we spent the day swimming, sunbathing, and exploring the surrounding area. Balos Beach is one of the most stunning beaches i have ever seen!
The cruise also took us to the near island called Gramvousa, the island of pirates. The island has a shipwreck as well near the beach and you can do some snorkeling there. We hiked up to the top of the Gramvousa Peninsula for stunning views of the beach and the surrounding islands and enjoyed one more swim before returning to Kissamos port.
The Shipwreck at Gramvousa
On our third day in Crete, we visited Elafonisi Beach, another beautiful beach located on the southwestern coast of the island. Elafonisi Beach is known for its pink sand, crystal-clear water, and shallow waters that make it ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
To get to Elafonisi Beach, we drove from Kato Stalos to the village of Elafonisi. The drive takes about 2 hours and you get some amazing views of the mountains and the Sea.
Once we arrived at Elafonisi Beach, we spent the day swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. Here i recommend you to bring either a sun tent or an umbrella for shade so you do not spend all day in the sun, makes it much more comfortable to be there.
View of the Elafonissi Beach
On our fourth day in Crete, we visited the Minoan Palace of Knossos, one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. The Minoan Palace of Knossos was the center of the Minoan civilization, which flourished on Crete from around 2600 BC to 1100 BC. Knossos is believed to be the site of the Labyrinth, the mythical maze that was home to the Minotaur, a half-man, half-bull creature. The palace is also associated with the story of King Minos, who ruled Crete during the Bronze Age.
To get to the Minoan Palace of Knossos, we drove from Kato Stalos to the village of Knosos. The drive takes about 2 hours.
Once we arrived at the Minoan Palace of Knossos, we took a guided tour of the site. The tour guide explained the history of the palace and showed us some of the most important features, such as the throne room, the megaron, and the storage rooms.
We also visited the city of Heraklion, the capital of the island. Heraklion is a large city with a mix of old and new. It is home to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, which houses a vast collection of artifacts from the Minoan civilization.
To get to Heraklion, we drove from the Knossos palace. The drive takes about 15 minutes.
Once we arrived in Heraklion, we visited the Heraklion Archaeological Museum and spent several hours exploring its vast collection of artifacts. We saw everything from Minoan pottery and jewelry to Minoan frescoes and sculptures.
After visiting the museum, we ate at a traditional Greek taverna in the Old Town. Then, we spent the afternoon wandering the narrow streets of the Old Town and shopping for souvenirs.
We visited the town of Rethymno, located on the northern coast of the island. Rethymno is a charming town with a Venetian Old Town, a long sandy beach, and a lively nightlife scene.
To get to Rethymno, we drove from Kato Stalos. The drive takes about an hour.
Once we arrived in Rethymno, we spent the day exploring the Old Town, visiting the Fortezza of Rethymno, eating at the beach restaurant and relaxing on the beach.
On day six, we woke up and had a chill morning. Ate at the apartment and decided that we will head to the famous Falassarna Beach. Our car was parked on the side of the road last night, which is very usual in this area especially. And this is the image of the moment i saw the car...
Our rental car
While we were sleeping, some drunk driver had crashed the parked car from the fully opposite lane. The car was pushed to the side walk like this when i found it. Some locals came and told it happened around 2am, they had heard a huge crash and woke up to it.
At this point i was very grateful that i had booked the full insurance, which you always should take as you can see. Although this wasn't my fault you should still always have the full insurance in cases like these. I was thinking at this point that this will ruin the rest of the vacation and we will not have a car.
I called the police, since there was no note left behind, and then i called the rental car company as well. Police arrived and said had been there at 2am and caught the drunk driver. Voyager in Crete send their insurance guy to make their report of the situtation.
Once the insurance report had been made and the car towed away. The rental car company came with a new car and delivered it to me. All in all Voyager handled everything quickly and i got a new car delivered the same day in 3 hours.
They didn't seem to care too much about the car but said that they are glad i was not in the car. I didn't have to obviously pay anything for the damages as i had full insurance but also it wasn't my fault at all. Thank you voyager! Best car rental company ever. Will for sure book through them when we come to Crete again!
After 3 hours we had a new car and the time was only around 2pm, so we decided to ahead with the original plan and drive to Falassarna Beach. Drive there is about 50 minutes.
Falassarna Beach club
At Falassarna we ate at the beach club, i had one the best shrimp risottos there. It was a fairly windy day which was nice in the 35°C/95°F weather. The waves were massive and we had a fun time floating and fighting the waves. Lifeguards were constantly whistling for other people to come closer to the shore since it was fairly dangerous to go too far out. Water temperature in Crete and most Mediterranean at this time of the year in July is at around 28°C/82°F. Very warm but still refreshing to swim in.
In the evening we went to eat in this panorama restaurant over looking the Falassarna Beach and since it's on the west coast of the island you can see some of the best sunsets here!
Sunset at Falassarna Beach
Falassarna is definitively a place i would love to stay in next time around when traveling to Crete. The place has multiple hotels and apartment's with sea views so i can only image how great it would be to see these sunset every evening from your private balcony or the infinity edge pool over looking the sea
On our seventh and final day in Crete, we stayed in Kato Stalos. Since we had to return the room at 11am and our flight back home wouldn't leave until 9pm we still had essentially all day to do whatever. I had booked yesterday some sunbeds in a beach club called Red Havana Premium. I thought it was best to go there since we wanted to chill on the beach but this place had it all from food to a shower so we could clean up before the flight.
Red Havana Premium
At around 6pm we returned the car at the airport and checked in for the flight. Our Vacation was over.
Our week-long vacation to Crete was an unforgettable experience. We visited some of the island's most popular tourist attractions, including Balos Beach, Elafonisi, Falasarna Beach, the Minoan Palace of Knossos, Rethymno, Heraklion, and Chania. We also enjoyed the island's delicious food, friendly people, and stunning scenery. We had small hiccup but all turned good in the end and we have a great story to tell!
If you're planning a vacation to Crete, we highly recommend visiting the places we mentioned in this blog post. You won't be disappointed!
We hope you enjoyed our travel blog post about Crete, Greece. If you have any questions or tips, please leave them in the comments section below. VacayClub can help you build your dream vacation! Check our products and book our travel planning service! VacayClub: Your time is valuable. Spend it traveling, not planning. Lets create memories that will last a lifetime.
Tips for Planning Your Own Trip to Crete:
- The best time to visit Crete is during the shoulder seasons of May-June and September-October, when the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds.
- If you're renting a car, be sure to book it in advance, especially if you're traveling during peak season. Remember to get Full insurance!
- Crete is a large island, so it's important to plan your itinerary carefully. Decide which places you want to visit and how much time you want to spend at each one.
- Be sure to pack for all types of weather, as the weather in Crete can change quickly. Summer is hot so drink a lot of water and it's best to bring your own shelter for many beaches so you are not in the hot sun all day. Beaches that don't have shelter is Balos and Elafonissi (if you go early you might be lucky with a sunbed in Elafonissi, but there is so much more there to explore so i do not recommend it.)
- Don't forget to try the local food! Crete is known for its delicious cuisine, including fresh seafood, moussaka, and souvlaki.
We hope you enjoy your trip to Crete as much as we did!