Would you like to visit Crete, but the island is so large that you don’t know where to start from?
We recommend 5 very suggestive places along the northern coast of Crete that you MUST absolutely see:
Follow our tips to organize your holidays in Crete with intelligence. Find the hotel in Crete that best suits your needs and enjoy a wonderful stay in this stunning island of Greece.
The island of Crete
Crete is the largest island of Greece, the fifth in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily and Sardinia in Italy, Cyprus and Corsica in France. Crete is so vast that it seems almost a nation apart, with plenty to see. Therefore, organize your trip to Crete with intelligence and attention is crucial for the successful outcome of the trip.
What to see in Crete: our proposal
Today we are going to show you an itinerary along the Northern coast of the island which will take you to unveil some of the most beautiful destinations in this part of Crete.
A stay of 8 days, possibly even 10 if you have more time, can be enough to explore this area in detail and with calm.
From Maleme in Chania, passing to Platanias
Maleme is a small village located along the north-western coast of Crete, about 10 miles from Chania, which is the second city of the island, after the capital Heraklion or Candia.
Until recently it was essentially a rural area, but in the last few years the situation has radically changed and the village has become a very appreciated tourist centre with all the necessary infrastructure, in particular hotels, apartments to rent and holiday homes, as well as numerous bars and restaurants.
In Maleme it is well worth paying a visit to the German Cemetery dating back to the Second World War (the town is famous for having been the site where hundreds of German paratroopers landed during the invasion of the island in 1941: many of them died during these military actions) and the tholos tomb dating back to the Minoan period, one of the best preserved Minoan funerary monuments in the island.
Maleme is ideal for anyone who wants to be near the sea and enjoy a well-deserved relaxing time on the beach.
Right from the beach you can enjoy a wonderful view over the neighboring island of Thodorou or Agios Theodoros: the so-called Cretan goat, a subspecies of the domestic goat, lives in this tiny island.
If you are looking for an accommodation in Maleme, we recommend the Hotel Futura, a 3 star hotel with swimming pool and free private parking, located directly on the beach and, precisely for this reason, one of the most appreciated hotels in Crete by our users.
For those who want to enjoy a bit of nightlife, remember that the town of Platanias is only 1 mile away.
Platanias is one of the most popular seaside destinations all around Crete and we recommend it especially to young people or to groups of friends, even though there are also many attractions for families travelling with children.
Platanias is mostly appreciated for its beaches: over 4 miles of sandy coast extending on both sides of the village. It is also worth a visit to the Old Town with the acropolis from where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the landscape around.
Chania is situated about 9 miles from Maleme and it is definitely worth a visit. Once there, our tip is to roam the streets of the old town, without a destination in mind: also, it is worth it to go and see the sinagoga Etz Hayyim, the only evidence of the Jewish community that settled in Crete.
For a good meal, we recommend a side trip to the restaurant To Karnagio (we are still in the old part of the city) where you can enjoy some great traditional food: delicious octopus, sublime lamb and very good stuffed zucchini. In any case, in the area of the harbour, there is a good selection of restaurants and bars to choose from.
Georgioupolis is a charming village of fishermen located along the northern coast of Crete, between the cities of Chania and Rethymnon (the latter is just 15 miles away). The landscape around is worthy of the most suggestive postcards: mountains on the one hand, crystal-clear sea on the other hand, golden beaches, the green of the trees, the placid flow of the river Almyros, the port …
Today, Georgioupolis is a coastal resort much appreciated by European and international visitors who choose the beaches around the village for their holidays in Crete: over 5 miles of sandy coastline where they can enjoy the perfect relaxing vacation.
In Georgioupolis you cannot miss to see the church of Aghios Nikolaos, located on an islet that can be reached only through a trail of rocks and cliffs.
Just 3 miles away from the village, you find Lake Kournas, the only lake basin of the island: it is the ideal place for a day trip, perhaps with an outdoor picnic and a pleasant walk in the nature of place.
In the vicinity of the lake, you can find many bars, restaurants and tavernas where you can taste some typical food; otherwise, you can rent canoes, pedal boats and bicycles for venturing to the discovery of the hidden corners of the place.
Among the hotels in Georgioupolis, we recommend the Metropol Sea, a 3-star hotel, right in front of the village’s beach, where guests can also enjoy a swimming pool and a wellness centre.
For those who get to Georgioupolis from Chania, we suggest a stop at Gavalochori, about 8 miles from Georgioupolis, to visit the Museum of the local folklore.
About 9 miles from Georgioupolis, along the road that leads to Rethymnon, you can visit the waterfalls in the area of Argiroupoli.
Milatos is a small coastal village located in the north-eastern part of Crete, exactly on the opposite side with respect to the locations considered above, i.e. Maleme and Georgioupolis.
Just think that it is about 93 miles from Georgioupolis to have an idea of how large the island is.
We are at about 30 miles from the capital Heraklion.
Apart from its beautiful beaches, Milatos is appreciated also because, at a short distance from the village, there is the entrance to the so-called Cave of Milatos. To get there, just follow the directions you can find on the road: starting from Milatos, proceed by car for about one and half mile eastward and then walk along a path that leads upwards directly at the entrance of the cave (about 10-15 minutes depending on the pitch). The cave of Milatos is sadly famous for the siege held by the Turks against the local Greek population which took place back in 1823. The cave also has a remarkable geologic value.
If you want to spend the night in Milatos, among the most popular hotels you can opt for the Minos Imperial Luxury Beach Resort & Spa, a superb 5-star resort with 8 restaurants, swimming pools, solarium, Spa and gymnasium.
How to get around in Crete
One of the best ways to get around in the island is no doubt renting a car. Some people however may not feel safe driving along unknown roads which are often very winding.
A good alternative could be to use the local transport that will take you almost anywhere on the island. It goes without saying that in this case you will have to rely on someone else timetable.
When go to Crete
The beautiful season in the Greek island goes on up to October, which is definitely one of the best period to go there, also because the number of tourists is much lower if compared to July and especially August. Also the end of May, June and September are good periods to plan a holiday to Crete.