My Top 5 Destinations in Crete

Post from the Travel category

Sea at Nissos Chrissis, Crete, Greece This summer, I have spent three weeks in Greece, mostly in the island of Crete (Creta). I had been dreaming about doing a roadtrip around this island for many years since I planned to do it with some friends and they bailed out last minute.

For a more detailed itinerary, I wrote a sort of travel journal which you can find here: Two Weeks Doing a Roadtrip Around Crete. In this entry, however, I am going to share the highlights I shared with friends and my team at MarsBased.

Let's get started!

I spent the first five days in a good resort to "decompress" from a pretty rough first start of the year: I had written my first book "Camino al éxit(o)", we increased our team with four extra team members, we delivered a kickass edition of the Startup Grind conference (two in barely five months!), I had to push sales for MarsBased hard, had some family issues and a few other things that have made me not enjoy this first half of 2019 as much as I would've wanted.

This is the hotel:

I remember that when I landed, I was still thinking about work and couldn't decide on what road to take for the roadtrip, but that quickly vanished after 3-4 days, so on the 5th, I rented a car for two weeks and started the trip.

Crete is beautiful all around. The north is more touristy but also has got better beaches, whereas the south is more "authentic" and almost no tourists. I even managed to find places where no one spoke English, in the south, which is ultra-rare in a country where everyone speaks English.

I will recommend a the top 5 things - in no particular order - I liked, for those planning to go there eventually:

1. Matala

Matala beach Matala beach

One of the biggest towns/cities in the south, if not the biggest. Really good city beach, with cool caves, and then a couple of hidden spots / hard to reach small beaches at walking distance. I remember it fondly as my first stop on the roadtrip. I also ate the best grilled octopus ever.

Red beach in Matala Red beach in Matala

Sunset at the Red Beach, a 25-min hike from Matala. Really beautiful and it had only 5 people in it.

2. Nissos Chrissis

Also in the south, a 40-min boat ride from Ierapetra, Nissos Chrissis is a small uninhabited island where you can only stay during the day. Most people disembark and stay right at the beginning of the Golden Beach, but if you just walk 5-10 min away you've got the entire beach for yourself. The best beach of this trip. My entire trip to Crete was worth it just for this beach. It's that mindblowing.

Nissos Chrissis beach Nissos Chrissis beach

3. Spinalonga

This Venetian city on a small island was built to bring all lepers to live there, confined by walls so they wouldn't escape in a sort of quarantine city.

The city has got a fortress on top which provides spectacular views. This is one of the most interesting spots in the north of Crete.

View from Spinalonga Views from Spinalonga

4. Elafonisi beach

Also in the north, it's well famous for its pink sand.

Pink sand beach in Elafonisi Pink sand beach in Elafonisi

5. Balos

The jewel of the crown. Extremely touristy but the beach is so HUGE there's place for everyone.

Balos beach Balos beach

This is probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Too bad I had really bad luck with the weather and it was terribly windy. So windy, it was hard to enjoy it, but I will go back. It's just THAT good. Worth the 1.30h drive from the nearest town and the 40 min hike afterwards.

DEFINITELY recommending Crete. If you plan to go, let me know, as some of the other famous places are not worth it and it's easy to incur in countless hours of useless driving (Vai, Seitan Limani, Zeus Caves, etc.).

Less is more ;)