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Welcome to Crete! This Greek island offers visitors far more than just beautiful beaches and the chance to unwind: for visitors who want to explore there are plenty of historical sites, areas of natural beauty, and entertaining attractions to discover.
Anneliese O'MalleyBy Anneliese O'Malley

The 10 Best Things to Do in Crete

Whether it’s your first time visiting Crete or you’re back and looking for new things to do, we’ve collected our ten favorite activities and attractions. Pick and choose the things that suit your interest and built your perfect itinerary.
Knossos
1

Discover Knossos

The Palace of Knossos is one of the most impressive archaeological sites on the island of Crete. According to legend, it was the home of King Minos and the minotaur in the labyrinth. According to archaeologists, it’s an important site for understanding the Bronze Age Minoan culture. It’s well worth a visit in either case.
Cruises in Crete
2

Relax on a Cruise

Crete is the largest Greek island, and it’s the perfect place to discover nearby islands in the Aegean or the Mediterranean Sea. Some cruises take a full day and include lunch, while others are shorter trips along the beautiful coastline of Crete. Vessels vary from speedboats and cruise ships to old-fashioned sailing boats, you’re sure to find something that’s perfect for you.
Cruises & Water Tours
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Heraklion Archaeological Museum
3

Get Historical at Heraklion Archaeological Museum

If you’re interested in ancient history or you just want to escape from the summer heat, the Heraklion Archaeological Museum is the place to be. It’s one of the world’s most significant collections of Minoan artifacts, some of which date back to 2700 BCE.
Seafood
4

Take a Food Tour

Greek food is delicious, and Crete has its own twist on the cuisine that you’re bound to enjoy. Take a food tour or go wine tasting with an expert guide to learn all about the range of food on offer, including home-grown olive oil, olives, and local cheeses.
Food Experiences
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Rethymno
5

Explore Rethymno

The city of Rethymno was founded during the Minoan era, so it’s been around for more than 4000 years! While it’s grown since its foundation, visitors should make sure to take a walk through the Venetian Old Town, which hosts festivals and celebrations on key dates throughout the year.
Balos beach
6

Get Outdoors

Crete is a brilliant location for those who love outdoor activities, with a range of sports and pursuits available. Hiking is particularly popular, with Samaria Gorge being a great option for intrepid explorers who enjoy being out in nature. Snorkeling is available in the summer months, as are Land Rover safaris.
Outdoor Tours & Activities
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Elafonisi
7

Hit the Beach on Elafonisi Island

The island of Elafonisi is a beautiful spot to visit in the summer months, separated from the main island of Crete by a shallow stretch of water. Visitors can wade across to discover stunning pink sand beaches or take a boat tour that stops at the island. The shallow water makes this an ideal spot to swim with younger children.
Watercity Water Park | Wiki Commons: Pkioupakis CC BY-SA 4.0
8

Visit a Water Park

If you’re an adrenaline junkie then have no fear: Crete is home to two large waterparks that are sure to scratch that itch. In addition to exciting slides, both Watercity Water Park and Acqua Plus include children’s pools, so even the youngest family members can enjoy the day.
Landscapes in Crete
9

Go Cycling

Crete is a wonderful place to explore by bike, especially in the spring and autumn. Take a tour with a guide who can show you the best paths for cyclists, or rent yourself a set of wheels and explore by yourself! E-bike tours are also available if you’re not sure you’ll be able to keep up.
Bike Experiences
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Cretaquarium
10

CretAquarium

If you’re looking for a fun way to entertain your children, then the CretAquarium is an educational and fun excursion! Its tanks feature more than 2,500 animals from 250 species including stingrays, sharks, and octopuses.
Cretaquarium
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Day Trips
Family Friendly
Crete at Night
Workshops & Classes

The 10 Best Things to See in Crete

There are plenty of interesting sights and attractions in Crete. We’ve made a list of our favorites so that you can plan your ideal visit to the Greek Island.
Knossos
1

Knossos

The ruined Palace of Knossos is one of the most popular sights in Crete. According to Ancient Greek myths, it was the home of King Minos, the terrifying minotaur, and the labyrinth. Whether there’s any truth in the legend or not, it’s still a fascinating place to discover the Bronze Age Minoan culture.
Heraklion Archaeological Museum
2

Heraklion Archaeological Museum

The archaeological museum in Heraklion is home to one of the world’s most impressive collection of Minoan artifacts, which date back over 3000 years. It also houses a collection of ancient Greek and Roman artifacts, and you’ll also be able to see the ruins of a Venetian monastery.
Chania
3

Chania

The city of Chania is the second largest in Crete and might well be a base for many visitors to the island. Even if you’re not staying in Chania, it’s worth visiting to see the picturesque Old Town, with its Venetian harbor, or to take part in a food tour.
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Elafonisi
4

Elafonisi

The island of Elafonisi is a beautiful spot to visit in summer, separated from the main island of Crete by a shallow stretch of water. Visitors can wade across to the stunning pink sand beaches or take a boat tour that makes a stop at the island. The shallow water makes this an ideal spot to swim with younger children.
Cretaquarium
5

CretAquarium

The CretAquarium was designed for research and education as well as recreation, and a trip to visit the 250 species will ensure that you learn plenty about the incredible creatures on this planet. It’s a particular favorite with younger children, who will enjoy spotting the animals they recognize, including sharks, rays, and octopuses.
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Samaria gorge
6

Samaria Gorge

This nature reserve in southwest Crete is home to several rare species of plants and animals. The path through the gorge is 10 miles long and is a reasonably challenging hike for the adventurous. It’s not the easiest place to get to, so look out for group tours that will drop you off at the start and pick you up at the end.
Palaiochora
7

Palaiochora

This beautiful little town might not be on most people’s list of places to visit, but those who do will be rewarded with the chance to explore a ruined Venetian fortress, stunning beaches, and inspiring hiking routes.
Acqua Plus
8

Acqua Plus

Acqua Plus claims to be the largest water park in Crete, with 11 more extreme slides and rides plus several smaller rides and pools for younger children. They also offer massages and a fish spa, if you’re looking for a more relaxing experience.
Psychro Cave
9

Psychro Cave

This out of the way site has been thoroughly explored by archaeologists. According to legend, it’s the birthplace of the Greek god Zeus, and it was definitely in use as a burial site and place of worship, all the way back to Minoan times. It’s definitely an interesting spot to visit if you’re exploring the island.
Watercity Water Park | Wiki Commons: Pkioupakis CC BY-SA 4.0
10

Watercity Waterpark

This water park has 18 different pools and slides to choose from, including slides for thrill-seekers and for younger kids. There’s also a beauty salon on-site for visitors who want to let the rest of their family play while they relax.
More sights in Crete
Heraklion187 tickets & guided tours
Balos23 tickets & guided tours
Imbros Gorge8 tickets & guided tours
Preveli Beach1 tickets & guided tours
Anneliese O'Malley
Written byAnneliese O'MalleyAnneliese is a former Londoner, keen traveler, and total word nerd. As a Content Management Specialist she knows the TicketLens inventory inside out and curates, matches, and writes about the most interesting attractions worldwide.
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