Can’t pick between a beach or cultural vacation? Well, don’t worry because in Crete there’s entertainment for all kind of travelers, whether you are adventurous, a beach lover or a cultural traveler. As for me, I am more of a beach and adventurous person when it comes to traveling. During our trip we rented a car to visit the beautiful places (mostly beaches) in Crete. Crete is the largest island in Greece, so you really need some time to visit the whole island. In September 2016 we visited this beautiful island. We stayed for a week (7 days) and unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to visit the whole island, we only visited half of the island.
We stayed in Chrispy World Hotel in Rapaniana-Kolymbari, a 4 starts all-inclusive hotel. It’s about an hour away from the city “Chania”. I have to say, this hotel is kind of in the middle of nowhere, so renting a car was a must for us. It took about an our by bus to get there from the airport in Chania. Despite the location, this hotel was really good (service, food, room and any other facilities). Eventhough if you prefer to stay in the hotel the whole day, there will be enough activities to do in the hotel to keep you entertained. However, it would be a waste to not go on adventure on this beautiful island.
What to do in Crete
Crete is a super touristic island, so don’t worry you will get bored, they have plenty of touristic activities for all type of travelers. We would strongly recommend to rent a car or scooter to explore Crete. Some places are only reachable by car. Buttt… don’t drive when you have fear of heights, since you will be driving on mountains for like 70% of the time. Some roads can be pretty small and scary.. well at least that’s how I have experienced it hehe.
Balos, Blue Lagoon
This place was absolutely breathtaking and is also one of our favorite places in Crete. It has a beautiful white beach and blue water. It’s one of the pink beach in Crete. The pink sand is causes by a lot of little corals with a pinky body shell. I have to say that the pinkness wasn’t really visible that day. I think it has to do with the seasons.
The only way to get there is by car or scooter. The way to Blue Lagoon is already an adventure itself, because of the long and bumpy road. Be aware that you can’t reach the beach itself by car or scooter. Once we got there we had to park our car along the small road on the mountain. The rest of the path to the beach we had to walk and please be prepared for this! We didn’t expect this at all, that’s why we didn’t prepare anything. Walking on a path full of rocks and sand with flip-flops is not really comfortable. The walk took about 30 minutes. But everything will be so worth it once you reach the point with the view over the Blue Lagoon beach. At that moment, we were so excited and couldn’t wait to to get down there as fast as we can.
This beach is kid-friendly since partly of the water is super shallow. But I guess carrying you kid down there is a huge hassle.
I think there are some excursions that also brings you to Blue Lagoon beach by ship. We saw a ship dropping tourists here. Later we saw a flyer about this excursion. The ship will go to different places before it goes to Blue Lagoon. For people who prefer not to spend energy on the walking or driving part, this could be a good alternative. Since Blue Lagoon is a typical touristic place, it will get pretty crowded during peak season.
This is another pink beach in Crete, similar to Blue Lagoon. The pink sand here was more visible than in Blue Lagoon. It was my first time seeing a pink beach and I was kind of fascinated by it. I couldn’t stop looking at it. Compared to Blue Lagoon, Elafonissi is more accessible. A local from our hotel told us she likes this beach the most, because of its accessibility and the shallow water for kids.
There is a huge parking lot nearby the beach and super easy to reach by car. However, the parking lot can get pretty crowded during midday, so I would recommend to go there in the morning. Walking distance from parking lot to the beach is about 5 minutes. No hiking shoes needed! haha
Elafonissi is also a well known touristic place, so it will be crowded during peak season.
Rethymnon is a really nice place with a touch of Venetian feeling.
We stopped by here for just a short time, because we also planned to visit other places the same day. It’s really nice to grab a coffee on a terrace with such a nice surroundings.
There is a lot of sightseeing in Rethymnon, but to be honest we are not that much into the sightseeing part. We did not spend much time on sightseeing. But for the sightseeing lovers, this is definitely a nice place to visit during your stay in Crete.
I think we were having the hardest time to reach Seitan Limania beach, but it’s definitely my favorite beach in Crete. In the end it was totally worth all the effort to get there. I think the only way to reach Seitan Limania is either by car or scooter. I think the way to the beach is kind of similar to Blue Lagoon, but tis one is even harder to walk (climb). First of all, we had to drive on a pretty scary and steep downhill road. Once you got on the parking lot, you will still have to climb down the mountain to reach the actual beach. It doesn’t take as long as Blue Lagoon, but it’s definitely more steep and more difficult to walk.
The beach was superrr nice, the water was crystal clear and there was almost no waves. The water here is getting pretty deep, it’s ideal for people who loves cliff jumping. It was my first time doing cliff jumping and I really liked the adrenaline kick from it. If I have the opportunity to go to Crete again, I would definitely visit Seitan Limania again despite the climbing.
Ohh and by the way, don’t forget to bring your hiking shoes! We only packed flip-flops for our vacation so we had no choice but to wear flip-flops.
We just discovered this beach by accident. It’s located along the highway. When we saw it, we decided to stop by to take a look. We were amazed by how quiet this beach is compared to the other beaches in Crete. We really enjoyed it here, because we are not a big fan of crowded places. The reason why this beach is so quiet, is because it’s not a popular touristic place. It hasn’t really been discovered yet by tourists. I wouldn’t say this beach has a “wow” factor like the beaches I mentioned before, but it’s absolutely worth visiting. Nothing is more relaxing than having a moment for yourself while enjoying the sound and smell of the sea. If you like to relax in a quiet surrounding, you should absolutely visit Georgiouspolis beach.
Have you ever been to Crete? And what was your favorite place?