Crete Travel Guide: DIY Travel Itinerary to Crete (Greece)

Crete is the largest island in Greece. It has varied terrain ranging from fine-sand beaches to mountains.

It has a rich history starting from its Minoan roots, the Venetian and the Ottoman occupations and also German occupation of the Second World War.

If you love Greek mythology, then Crete is the place to visit. It is the birthplace of the Greek God, Zeus.

Two caves in the mountains of Crete vie for the honour of being known as the birthplace of Zeus, these are the Diketon Psychro Cave in south-central Crete and the Ideon Cave on Mount Ida.

DIY Travel Itinerary to Crete- Palace of Knossos
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Zeus was one of six children. The story goes that his mother (Rhea) fearing for the fate of her unborn child (the other siblings were eaten by their father Cronus), hid in the mountains of Crete and brought forth the child in secret.

If history or Greek mythology is not your thing then the beaches of Crete may interest you.

There are too many beautiful beaches in Crete to mention them all. Amongst the most popular beaches are Balos beach in Chania, Vai beach in Lassithi and Preveli beach in Rethymno, to name but a few.

With swimming from April to November, Crete has one of the longest seasons in the region. We stayed in Crete for one week in Hersonissos, which is a town in the north of Crete bordering the Mediterranean/ Aegean Sea.

Hersonissos is the largest tourist resort in Crete and a modern town with dozens of shops, restaurants and bars. There is enough in Hersonissos to suit every taste.

Visa Requirements

For Ph Passport Holder:

Schengen Visa is required.

If you are travelling from the Philippines, you have to apply for a Schengen visa. There are various flights from Manila to Athens, then you have to get another local flight to Athens to Crete.

For British Passport Holder:

No Visa required. Direct flights to Crete are available in all the major airport in the UK.
Check Skyscanner for cheap flights to Crete.

Trip Budget

Travel EssentialsDescription ( Cost)Total Amount Spent ( GBP & PHP)
ActivitiesPsychro Cave, Venetian Fortress, Knossos and Fortezza (pp)£30 | PHP 2,028
AccommodationComplimentary provided by Travelopo.com
Car hire7 days inclusive of the fully comprehensive insurance£272 | PHP 18,380
Santorini Day tripAll transport costs included (pp) (ferry and bus)£113 | PHP 7,635
FlightsManchester – Heraklion – Manchester (pp)£218 | Php 14,730

Suggested Accommodation

We stayed in Erofili Apartment in Hersonissos in collaboration with Travelopo. The apartment has all the amenities that we need. Our apartment hosts are very helpful and welcoming. The location of the apartment is very accessible even by public transport.

It is also close to the high street and restaurants. We are truly happy with our stay.

Disclaimer: Our accommodation in Crete was provided complimentary in return for an honest opinion about the place and the apartment. All other activities, expenses, images and opinion are my own otherwise stated.

Travelopo Crete Apartment with our hosts
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Book your apartment in Crete with Travelopo

Master Bedroom in our Crete Apartment by Travelopo
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travelopo Crete apartment
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Second Bedroom in our Crete Apartment by Travelopo
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Suggested Activities

Here are the various activities you can enjoy during your visit to Crete.

Ancient Palace of Knossos Tour | Lassithi plateau and Zeus cave Tour | Full-Day Santorini Island Trip from Crete | Crete Food Tour of Chania Old Town

I’ve written a blog post about the different points of interest in Crete.

Itinerary Details

DAY 1:

We departed from Manchester airport for an afternoon flight.

Due to the flight delay, we arrived in Crete past 11 pm.

After we picked up the car rental, we headed towards Hersonissos to check-in in our Travelopo apartment in Hersonissos.

We were welcomed by our apartment host with lovely Cretan wine and pastry as our welcome gifts.

DAY 2:

Since we had a very late and long day yesterday, we all decided to just roam and explore the neighbourhood where we were staying.

Hersonissos is a lovely coastal town in Northern Crete, and not far from Heraklion.

DAY 3:

We went to explore the Eastern side of Crete.

We visited the Psychro Cave where the Greek God Zeus was born and carried on our trip further east to the colourful town of Agios Nikolaus.

Day 4:

After our hectic day yesterday, we didn’t go far from Hersonissos.  We visited the capital of Crete, Heraklion to see the Venetian fortress by the Heraklion port.

After our trip to Heraklion, we had a relaxing afternoon back in our apartment in Hersonissos. The apartment has a lovely rooftop terrace where you can just hang out and enjoy the mountain and sea view.

Day 5:

We went to visit the western side of Crete. We set off for an early morning drive and our first stop was in Bali.

Yes, Crete also has a popular beach called Bali. A relaxing place to chill out and enjoy the sun and the stunning seascape view.

Our next stop was Rethymno,  We went to visit the Fortezza of Rethymno and saw a stunning view of the whole city. The Fortezza has a glimpse from the past during the occupation of the Ottomans and the Venetians in Crete.

Our last stop for the day was the beautiful coastal town of Chania.

I thought I was in Burano in Venezia when I saw the colourful buildings in the Old Venetian Port of Chania.

From Chania, we set off to finish our day with a 3-hour drive to Hersonissos.

Day 6:

It was an impromptu day trip to go to Santorini.

It was the last week of the season, hence we decided to grab the chance and head for a 2-hour ferry ride to the gorgeous island of Santorini.

I will make another blog post about our trip to Santorini.

Day 7:

We went back to Heraklion to visit the ancient palace of Knossos and the archaeological museum.

It was a great day learning the historical side of Crete.

Day 8:

Our last day in Crete.

We checked out of our Travelopo apartment in Hersonissos around midday.

The Cretaquarium was our last stop, it’s one of the best places to go in Crete for families. After our visit to the Cretaquarium, we head towards Heraklion airport to catch our flight back to the UK.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ryazan Tristram EverythingZany Author Bio
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Ryazan Tristram

Travel Writer & Photographer

Ryazan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She also has more than 10 years of work experience gained from working in the hotel and travel sectors in Asia and Europe. Her work has been featured and published on Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Discovery Channel, World Travel Guide, MSN, CNBC, GMA, Lonely Planet and many more. She is currently living in the UK as a dual citizen (British – Filipina). Join her on travelling around the globe with a mission to share the best of the world.

Hersonissos Port in Crete Greece
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18 thoughts on “Crete Travel Guide: DIY Travel Itinerary to Crete (Greece)”

  1. Ryazan Tristram you create a amazing article . Greece is beautiful country. Feeling heppy after reading this. Thankyou for such valuable content.

    Reply
  2. Crete would be interesting for me just for the ‘birth of Zeus’ story. Mythology is always intriguing, no matter if you believe in it or not. Beaches are a bonus.

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  3. We loved our cruise port stop in Crete. We spent most of the day in the town. Sorry we missed Zeus’ caves. We love that you can move between the Greek islands by ferry. A food tour would be a fun day activity.

    Reply
  4. Crete looks so beautiful! Love the blue and white contrast. Crete has a beach called Bali! I would have never guessed. The apartment looks cozy and airy. Especially loved the outdoor seating.

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  5. You had me at: swimming runs until November. Also, I didn’t know Zeus was born here. I love all the images you have – and how honest you were in your itinerary. Sometimes you just want a day to recover.

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  6. We have seen a lot of caves in our travels, but never one that a god was born in! Well Crete has too many great beaches to mention them all, so I am sold and ready to visit. The pictures you took are amazing and it looks so beautiful there.

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  7. I had no idea before that Crete is the birthplace of Zeus! I have yet to make it to Greece but Crete is definitely on my list. Greek mythology has long been fascinating to me so hopefully I will visit this beautiful country soon. Thanks for sharing the detailed information and super beautiful pictures!

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  8. This is such divine timing. I’m planning on visiting Greece within the next 12 months and was looking for an island rich in history to explore. Good to know about Crete and good to know it was the birthplace of Zeus. Such gorgeous pictures and so glad to see that it’s pretty easy to move around. I can’t wait to visit…thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  9. I’ve always wanted to see Crete just because of all the gorgeous photos I’ve seen, but now that I know Zeus was born there I want to go more. What an insane story about Cronus eating his children. Zeus is lucky he made it out alive. Seriously though, you have some great travel advice here.

    Reply
  10. I am a beach person and I would love to visit Crete. I can’t believe I did not go there on my first trip but it’s on my list for my second trip to Greece. However, I also want to visit some off-beat islands, far away from the crowds and not touristy at all. So funny Crete has a beach called Bali 😀

    Reply
  11. I’d love to travel to Crete, especially now that I know Zeus was born there. What a grizzly myth about Cronus eating his children. The Greek Islands are so stunning and Crete looks as if it’s one of the most beautiful.

    Reply
  12. This is such a detailed post! I’ve always wanted to go to Greece and I hope that when I do that I can go to Crete as well. I love you you broke everything down. This will definitely make it easy to plan my future trip! 🙂

    Reply

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