What to see in Crete? Tourist attractions, monuments and places of interest

Crete is the largest Greek island, attracting primarily with its warm climate, summer lasting until the middle of October and rich tourist infrastructure. Additionally, this Greek island is known for its tourist attractions, ancient monuments, interesting places and a variety of cultural influences and ancient remains.

It attracts with its varied landscape with a high mountain range and beaches of unprecedented beauty, but also tasty and healthy Mediterranean cuisine.

There will be plenty of attractions for families with children and groups of friends.

Crete is known not only for its monuments, but also beaches, bays and beautiful views!
Crete is known not only for its monuments, but also beaches, bays and beautiful views!

Family resorts, tourist towns that are mainly nocturnal, or sandy beaches with a gentle entrance to the sea are waiting here for tourists.

In Crete, you will find everything you’ve been dreaming of!

So let’s start the virtual tour of the biggest tourist attractions in Crete in a truly Hitchcock style: start with the earthquake and later it will only get better 🙂 Therefore, we invite you to watch this video:

And now we will tell you about specific monuments, interesting places and other tourist attractions in Crete:

Ruins at Knossos

Crete is considered the cradle of Minoan culture and it is here that the ruins of the palace featured it the ancient tales of King Minos, the maze of Minotaur and Theseus with the thread of Ariadne (more on this topic here) are located.

The Knossos Palace is a must-see for every tourist.

The ruins are extensive, controversially restored and quite expensive (a normal ticket of 15 euro), but it’s worth checking out.

Balos Lagoon

Balos lagoon is the most photographed place in Crete. It is located in most guides and on postcards from the island. This sandy beach is distinguished by white, soft sand, amazing views and blue, warm and shallow waters, where you can relax with whole families.

Getting to Balos is not easy, it is best use a cruise ship or get a rented car, though the gravel road is rather demanding.

Look how beautiful it is there:


Heraklion is the current capital of Crete. It is worth visiting the Archeological Museum with an exhibition of remnants of the Cretan culture. You can walk along the Venetian defensive walls and see the bastion of Martinengo and the fortress of Koules.

Among the sacred monuments, the Agios Titos cathedral and the Agios Marcos basilica (currently an art gallery) are worth seeing.

See also other tourist attractions on this island:


Spinalonga, the leper island. You can get here by ship from one of these towns: Agios Nikolaos, Plaka or Elounda. You can admire a huge Venetian fortress with defensive walls from 1579, in which a leprosarium, or a colony for people suffering from leprosy, was built.


Elafonisi beach

Elafonisi beach – with sand in pink color. The second most popular beach, next to Balos in all of Greece. It is located in the western part of the island. What attracts the most here is the unusual color of sand, the blue shade of water and warm shallow waters. This place was on the list of Natura 2000, also for the sake of the sea turtles’ habitats occurring here.


Chania is one of the most beautiful cities in Crete. It is famous mainly for a large Venetian port with a lighthouse, surrounded by colorful tenement houses. It is worth visiting the Maritime Museum, going to the Turkish (Topanas) and Jewish (Evraiki) districts and to see the Janissary Mosque – the oldest Turkish church on the island, which now houses an art gallery.

The Samaria Gorge

The Samaria Gorge is the longest dry gorge in Europe, located in the Lefka Ori (White Mountains). 5-6 hour hike to reach it requires not only good condition, but also appropriate footwear. In some places the walls of the ravine reach 500 meters in height, and the width between them narrows to barely 3 meters. It is an area that is a mainstay for many species of animals, including the wild Cretan goat (agrimi, kri-kri).


Rethymno is a town distinguished primarily by the Venetian buildings and a large urban beach. It is worth seeing the Rimondi fountain from 1628, the gate of Megali Porta and the Venetian Lodge. However, the biggest monument towering over the city is without a doubt Fortezza fortress, built by the Venetians. On its site is the Sultan Ibrahim Mosque.

It’s not everything. See what else is worth visiting in Crete:

Current tourist guides and maps of the island of Crete

The island of Crete is a paradise for tourists who thirst for attractions, monuments and hidden interesting places. That’s why you should have an up-to-date travel guide at hand, which will take you to all corners of the island:

Dikti Cave (Zeus Grotto)

Dikti Cave (Zeus Grotto) – considered the birthplace of Zeus. This cave is located in the eastern part of the island, on the Lassithi plateau. You can reach it on foot, through a quite steep and stony path. Inside there are various forms of dripstone and a small pond to admire. Everything is clearly visible, because the cave is highlighted.


Cretaquarium – is one of the largest and most modern aquaria in Europe. In several buildings there are tanks that can be viewed through panoramic windows. There are 2,500 species of marine animals, including sharks. The aquarium is located in an old military base in Gournes, 15 kilometers from the capital of Crete.

Current map of Crete

Most of the interesting places and tourist attractions are listed on the following map:

For useful information related to the island of Crete, please visit the official website, where you will find what you need.

We invite you to do a joint list of monuments and tourist attractions that are worth seeing in Crete. If you have your favorite places not mentioned in our guide to Crete, we invite you to comment and give us your suggestions to the list of the most interesting places to see in Crete.

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