If there is a paradise on Earth, it most likely looks a lot like Crete. The gorgeous Greek island is becoming a more popular travel destination by every year, and while some areas are more touristic, it is still possible to experience the beauty of the authentic Greek way of life. But to have a positive experience, there are a few things you should keep in mind. With our help, discover tips for visiting Crete for the first time.
Crete has no shortage of great sites and natural wonders that will impress even the most experienced adventurers. But if you don't have a car, getting around and seeing all the magic it has to offer will be quite tricky.
Renting a vehicle is the best option to see as many places as possible. While you can rent a car straight at the airport, typically, it is more expensive than choosing one from a local rental agency in the city. Once you have arrived, pay a visit to their office, and within a few minutes, you will be able to hit the road.
Greece's largest island has a handful of big cities. In fact, when you think of Crete, Chania, Rethymno, or Heraklion might be the first places that pop into your mind. But there is so much else to discover on the magical island.
The bigger cities tend to be packed with tourists, so they are also noisier and more crowded than other parts of Crete. If you wish to get a real feel for what life in Crete really is like, don't be afraid to get off the beaten path and explore smaller towns and villages. Not only is it cheaper but it is also a great opportunity to meet locals.
Once you arrive in Crete, you might be confused by the mix of Greek and English languages. For example, as you travel around the island, you might see Heraklion, Iraklio, and Ηράκλειο when it is all the same place. That, of course, can be confusing, so make sure you recognize both spellings whenever you are adventuring around Crete. Towards bigger cities, you will most likely see English being used more often.
It may be tempting to book a hotel stay. After all – having room service is great. However, you will get much more value by choosing a vacation rental. You will have more space and privacy, plus it is also a better way to get a feeling of community.
Instead of loud TVs, swarms of people, and door slamming, listen to the chirping of the birds and sounds of the nearby towns. Our villa Nepenthe is located on top of a hill in the south of Crete. Overlooking the vast ocean, beautiful olive orchards, and distant mountains, it will feel like a home away from home.
Your adventure will most likely start in one of the bigger cities – Chania or Heraklion. That is where the biggest airports, harbors, and resorts on the island are. While spending a few days in these cities isn't a bad idea, make sure to pay a visit to the south of Crete as well.
Due to its wall of high mountains, the area is cut off from the island's more touristic part, and that is what makes it so special. By staying south of Crete, you can discover the island in a more traditional way. Sparkling waters, deep canyons, green forests – the beauty is sure to take your breath away.
Going on hikes is one of the best things to do in Crete. With so many impressive gorges and such wild mountain terrain, heading on adventurous walks is a 'must'.
If you enjoy an active way of traveling, make sure to bring a good pair of shoes with you. Unless you feel comfortable, you won't be able to enjoy the experience fully. There really is nothing worse than blisters spoiling the fun, so remember to be prepared! Ideally, pack a light pair of hiking shoes or sturdy pair of sneakers with you.
In Greece, many museums and historical attractions have discounts for students. Some are even for free. For this reason, don't forget to bring your student ID because you will most likely have to show it at the entrance.
The islands of Greece have been continually ranked amongst the most beautiful places in the world. Crete is guaranteed to surprise you with its turquoise waters, heart-warming people, and stunning landscapes. But don't just take our word for it, book a stay at our vacation rental and experience the magic for yourself!
Just be careful – once you come here, you won't ever want to leave!