Top Cities to Visit on Crete Island

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Crete is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea and it is certainly the largest island in Greece. Because of its size and gorgeous landscape, there is no shortage of wonderful things to do while here.

People can hang out at one of the island’s beaches, eat some of the delicious and healthy food that is found here, engage in water sports, and see the sites. There are also some great cities on the island that are also worth your time.

Here’s more information about the cities you can visit and what you can do when there:


As the modern-day capital of Crete, Heraklion boasts busy beaches and plenty of attractions. Heraklion is home to the ruins of two palaces, Knossos and Phaistos. Close to Knossos travelers will find the Labyrinth of Crete, which is an over two-mile system of caves from Greek mythology. This city also has excellent weather conditions for watersports. Windsurfing and kitesurfing are popular activities, along with scuba diving. The city has lots of bars with live music so that visitors can enjoy the local culture long into the night. The jewelry in the marketplace is a must-see for eclectic shoppers.


The former Venetian capital of Crete, Chania, is full of remnants from not only the Venetian period but also the Ottoman empire. The harbor is home to a lighthouse built by an Egyptian architect and draws a regular stream of visitors. Built by the Ottomans, the town mosque is also a major attraction. The city retains its history through several historical and archaeological museums. Nearby, athletic tourists can hike through the more than nine miles of the Samaria Gorge, the largest gorge in Europe. Chania is also known for its eclectic markets, boutiques, and restaurants in the town center.


Rethymno is the city to visit in Crete for travellers with an interest in history. Located on the western portion of Crete, the city has well-preserved relics and architecture from its Venetian and Byzantine past. The Venetian fortress above the city allows for thrilling views and photo opportunities of the town and the sea. The Rimondi Fountain, located in Platanou Square, dates back to the 1600s and is a marvel for its intricate Corinthian design. Just walking around the harbor gives visitors a chance to see the history of the island.


The eastern Crete city of Lassithi is a relatively unknown region marked by small villages and beaches. The most popular beach is Vai. It is also the largest beach in Crete. Travelers can also go hiking through the large palm forest leading out to the beach. For an even more remote adventure, visitors can go to the small, uninhabited island of Chrysi. It has a beach with few tourists, white sand, and room to roam. Exploring inland leads visitors to the Cave of Zeus, the mythical birthplace of the Greek god Zeus. Once an ancient site of worship, the cave now serves as a place for tourists to admire unique cave formations.

From ancient ruins to modern nightlife, Crete has a diverse mix of attractions. Each city offers a different view of island life. You should definitely spend time in these cities while in Crete!

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