Where to go in Crete: the highlights in every region

Are you planning your summer vacation and wonder where to go in Crete? Well, this question is more complicated than you may think as Crete is significantly larger than any other Greek island. That means it is better to choose one prefecture and explore this area, unless you have 3-4 weeks for your holidays. The best thing to do is to rent a car in Crete, stay in the large town or a touristic resort of this prefecture and organize day trips to see the best points of interest all around. We gathered for you here the top of the top highlights for every region to know what to expect in every region. This touristic overview can help you to get the most out of your trip in Crete, but we encourage you to find on your own even more places!


The star of Crete in the western side of the island is characterized by stunning beaches and the multicultural and cosmopolitan town of Chania.
Beaches: Inspiring Balos Lagoon with its turquoise waters; Elafonissi with the pink sand and the cedar trees; Falassarna the golden exotic beach
Town of Chania: The Venetian harbour of the Old Town, multicultural Splatzia Area, the lighthouse
Nature: The famous Samaria Gorge
Day trip: untouched island of Gavdos
Time to dedicate: 5 to 8 days


The prefecture of Rethymnon is considered one of the less developed places in Crete, and thus it is ideal for authentic vacation away from mass tourism.
Beaches: Preveli Beach, where the river flows into the sea inside a forest of palm trees
History: Monastery of Arkadi, the symbol of the battle of the Cretan people to gain their freedom against Turks
Nature: Ideon Cave, the place where Zeus was raised by a goat; Lake Kournas, the only freshwater lake in Crete
Rethymnon Town: The castle (Fortrezza) and the famous mosque inside; the Ottoman Baths in the Old Town
Villages: Anogeia, the settlement with the most authentic Cretan character
Time to dedicate: 4 to 6 days


Heraklion is the most touristic prefecture of Crete, full of resorts as well as significant historical sites.
Beaches: Matala with its caves; family-friendly Agia Pelagia; Malia full of beach-bars
History: Knossos and Phaistos Minoan Palace
Heraklion Town: The Archaeological Museum
Touristic resorts: Stalis, Matala and Malia
Time to dedicate: 4 to 7 days


Lassithi is the most exotic region in Crete, close to Libyan Sea.
Beaches: The palm forest of Vai; touristic Zakros beach
Day trips: Spinalonga islet, the former leper colony; Chrissi, the islet with the pristine beaches
History: Archeaological Site of Lato
Agios Nikolaos Town: The Archeaological Museum; the sea lake
Touristic resorts: highly prestigious Elounda; exotic Ierapetra
Nature: Lassithi Plateau
Time to dedicate: 5 to 7 days