Must-see attractions in Crete

  • Tourists looking at the Phaistos Disc inside the archaeological museum of Heraklion in Crete that hold the most important and complete collection of the Minoan civilisation of Crete on the 28th of August 2022 in Crete, Greece. Many of the artefacts  in the museum come from Knossos, the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on the Greek island of Crete. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In pictures via Getty Images)
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    Heraklion Archaeological Museum


    This state-of-the-art museum is one of the largest and most important in Greece. The two-storey revamped 1930s Bauhaus building makes a gleaming showcase…

  • Aerial drone view of an old Venetian fortress island and former Leper colony (Spinalonga, Crete, Greece); Shutterstock ID 1809885124; your: Barbara Di Castro; gl: 65050; netsuite: digital; full: poi

    Spinalonga Island


    Tiny Spinalonga Island became a leper colony in 1903 and catapulted into pop-cultural consciousness thanks to Victoria Hislop's 2005 bestselling novel The…

  • The main church of Arkadi Monastery, symbol of the struggle of Cretans against the Ottoman Empire , Rethymno, Crete, Greece.; Shutterstock ID 586702175; your: Barbara Di Castro; gl: 65050; netsuite: digital; full: poi

    Moni Arkadiou

    Rethymno Province

    The 16th-century Arkadi Monastery, 23km southeast of Rethymno, has deep significance for Cretans. As the site where hundreds of cornered locals massacred…

  • Elafonissi beach with pink sand on Crete.


    Hania Province

    Tucked into Crete’s southwestern corner, this symphony of fine pink-white sand, turquoise water and gentle rose dunes looks like a magical dreamscape. As…

  • Turkish medieval fortress at Ancient Aptera in Chania, Crete, Greece.; Shutterstock ID 1575956149; your: Barbara Di Castro; gl: 65050; netsuite: digital; full: poi


    Hania Province

    The ruins of the ancient city of Aptera, about 13.5km east of Hania, spread over two hills that lord grandly over Souda Bay. Founded in the 7th century BC…

  • Chania, Greece - April 15, 2017: Exposition of Archaeological Museum of Chania, Greece.
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    Hania Archaeological Museum


    The setting alone in the beautifully restored 16th-century Venetian Church of San Francisco is reason to visit this fine collection of artefacts from…

  • The path to the cave of Zeus; Shutterstock ID 1827561248; your: Barbara Di Castro; gl: 65050; netsuite: digital; full: poi

    Ideon Cave

    Rethymno Province

    Although just a huge and fairly featureless hole in the ground, Ideon has sacred importance in mythology as the place where Zeus was reared by his mother,…

  • ELEUTHERNA, CRETE, GREECE - March 19, 2019. Inside the museum of the archaeological site of ancient Eleutherna, Rethimno; Shutterstock ID 1387762328; your: Barbara Di Castro; gl: 65050; netsuite: digital; full: poi

    Museum of Ancient Eleutherna

    Rethymno Province

    A must-see for anyone visiting the ruins of Eleutherna is the accompanying modern museum that contextualises the ancient city through the exhibition of…

  • Melidoni Crete September 1 2019-Melidoni cave, an amazing historical and archaeological cave with the impressive formations of the stalactites and stalagmites.; Shutterstock ID 1501663331; your: Barbara Di Castro; gl: 65050; netsuite: digital; full: poi

    Melidoni Cave

    Rethymno Province

    About 2km outside the village of Melidoni is this stunning cathedral-like cave, an evocative underworld of stalactites and stalagmites. A place of worship…

  • Exotic Chryssi island at the south of Crete, with the amazing Golden Beach, Greece; Shutterstock ID 2084304211; your: Barbara Di Castro; gl: 65050; netsuite: digital; full: poi

    Chrissi Island


    Ierapetra is the launch pad for boat trips to uninhabited Chrissi Island (also known as Gaïdouronisi or Hrysi Island). It is famous for its golden beaches…

  • Chania, crete greece - 05 12 2022: Venetian harbour of the pittoresk cretan town with colorful old houses; Shutterstock ID 2227253445; your: Barbara Di Castro; gl: 65050; netsuite: digital; full: poi

    Venetian Harbour


    There are few places where Hania's historic charm and grandeur are more palpable than in the old Venetian Harbour. It's lined by pastel-coloured buildings…

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    Moni Agias Triadas

    Hania Province

    Akrotiri Peninsula’s major cultural site, the impressive and beautiful 17th-century Moni Agias Triadas, is an active monastery with a rich library and is…

  • Koules fortress in the old Venetian harbor. Heraklion, Crete, Greece; Shutterstock ID 2256844939; your: Barbara Di Castro; gl: 65050; netsuite: Digital ; full: poi

    Koules Fortress


    After six years of restoration, Iraklio’s symbol, the 16th-century fortress called Rocca al Mare by the Venetians, reopened in August 2016 with a brand…

  • Archaeological Museum of Rethymno


    Set inside the atmospheric Venetian-built Church of St Francis, this well-curated museum features a stunning collection of well-preserved relics unearthed…

  • Manousakis Winery

    Hania Province

    A family-run business for over 25 years, this pretty winery in the village of Vatolakkos – 16km southwest of the centre of Hania – is well worth a visit…

  • Historical Museum of Crete


    If you’re wondering what Crete’s been up to for the past, say, 1700 years, a spin around this engagingly curated museum is in order. Exhibits hopscotch…

  • A man walks down to the water at Balos Lagoon.
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    Hania Province

    The rugged Gramvousa Peninsula cradles the lagoon-like sandy beach of Balos, whose shallow, shimmering turquoise waters draw huge crowds in summer. This…

  • Beautiful Falassarna beach on Crete, Greece
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    Hania Province

    This broad sweep of beach has magical-looking pink-cream sands and teal waters and is known for its stunning sunsets. Along with superb water clarity,…

  • Venetian fortress Fortezza in Rethymno on Crete, Greece; Shutterstock ID 436424554; your: Barbara Di Castro; gl: 65050; netsuite: digitl; full: POI



    Looming over Rethymno, the star-shaped Venetian fortress cuts an imposing figure with its massive walls and bastions but was nevertheless unable to stave…

  • Lissos

    Hania Province

    The ruins of ancient Lissos are a pleasant 3.5km hike from Sougia on the coastal (though not waterfront) path to Paleohora, which starts at the far end of…

  • Ancient Eleutherna

    Rethymno Province

    The archaeological site of Ancient Eleutherna is a Dorian-built settlement that was among the most important in the 8th and 7th centuries BC, and also…

  • Monks Quarters at Moni Preveli - Rethymino Provence, Crete

    Moni Preveli

    Rethymno Province

    Historic Moni Preveli cuts an imposing silhouette high above the Libyan Sea. Like most Cretan monasteries, it was a centre of resistance during the…

  • Night-life: Fishing boats moored in the harbour, while people eat out along the waterfront - Rethymno, Rethymno Province, Crete

    Venetian Harbour


    Rethymno’s compact historic harbour is chock-a-block with tourist-geared fish tavernas and cafes. For a more atmospheric perspective, walk along the…

  • Preveli Beach

    Rethymno Province

    Also known as Palm Beach, dazzling Preveli is one of Crete’s most celebrated strands. At the mouth of the Kourtaliotiko Gorge, where the river…

  • Cretan Brewery

    Hania Province

    Established in 2007, Charma was the first beer to be produced in Hania and you can sample the excellent brews at the slick operation here, set up by a…

  • Firkas Fortress


    The Firkas Fortress at the western tip of the harbour heads the best-preserved section of the massive fortifications that were built by the Venetians to…

  • Sweetwater Beach

    Hania Province

    West of Hora Sfakion, lovely Sweetwater Beach is accessible by a small daily ferry, by taxi boat (one way/return €25/50) or on foot via a stony and partly…

  • Polyrrinia

    Hania Province

    The wonderful mountaintop ruins of the ancient city of Polyrrinia lie about 7km south of Kissamos (Kastelli), above the village of the same name. Sea,…

  • 23 May 2016: Exterior of the historic mosque in the old port of Chania.
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    Mosque of Kioutsouk Hasan


    One of the prettiest and most dominant vestiges of the Turkish era is this dusky-pink multidomed former mosque on the eastern side of the Venetian Harbour…

  • Military Museum of Chromonastiri

    Rethymno Province

    Offering a sobering account of the Battle of Crete – one of WWII's most infamous battles, which was waged in 1941 in this very area – is this small war…

  • Diktynna

    Hania Province

    At the eastern tip of Rodopou Peninsula are the remains of a temple to Diktynna, Cretan goddess of hunting, who was worshipped fervently in the west of…

  • Armi Square

    Rethymno Province

    This peaceful square is anchored by a statue of an unknown solider that honours Anogia's role in WWII. As the main centre of resistance against Nazi…

  • Moni Gonias

    Hania Province

    Founded in 1618, Moni Gonias was damaged by the Turks in 1645 but rebuilt in 1662 and extended in the 19th century. The monastery houses a unique…

  • Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete

    Hania Province

    On the main Hania–Omalos road south of Fournes, the excellent Botanical Park is well signposted about halfway between Fournes and Lakki. It was created by…

  • Mili Gorge

    Rethymno Province

    A popular hike from Rethymno is through this lush, leafy gorge that spans 4km along a scenic stream. Along the route you'll encounter stone houses from…

  • Klados Winery

    Rethymno Province

    While Iraklio gets all the plaudits as Crete's main wine producer, Rethymno has the honour of being the first place in Greece to be named a 'European City…

  • Late Minoan Cemetery of Armeni

    Rethymno Province

    Wandering around this leafy cemetery created by the Minoans between 1600 and 1150 BC, you can practically sense the presence of uncounted souls once…

  • Sfendoni Cave

    Rethymno Province

    Here guided tours take you 270m below ground and through seven chambers with such fanciful names as Sanctuary of the Fairy and Zeus’ Palace. All teem with…

  • Byzantine & Post-Byzantine Collection


    In the impressively restored Venetian Church of San Salvatore, this small but fascinating collection of artefacts, icons, jewellery and coins spans the…

  • Agios Pavlos

    Rethymno Province

    Agios Pavlos' main beach comprises a brown arc of sand that's topped by steep dunes, and a rocky bluff that resembles a recumbent dragon. When the sun's…