Places you cannot miss in Crete

Samaria Gorge

Samaria is one of the most nicely preserved gorges in Europe, situated in the southwest side of the island, quite near to the city of Chania and has two entrances: One from the north (which you can reach by bus or car from Chania) and one from the south (which you can reach by using a small ferry of sea-taxi from Sfakia). Going from the north makes more sense, however which ever entrance you choose, have in mind that you will end on the other side, unless you decide somewhere in the middle to call it a day and return to where you began.

If you begin you journey from the north, have in mind that you will have to make a 18 km hike through the Gorge, which begins at Xyloskalo on the Omalos plateau at 1200m high. The scenery is excellent, and you can find a large number of designated stops where you can drink fresh water from the "Lefka Ori" (White Mountains) springs and ask for help/guidance from the state guides who work there. Although this area isn't inhabited, remnants of ancient settlements exist (with a number of old churches being easily spotted). The more recent Samaria settlement which was abandoned when the gorge was proclaimed to be a National Park can also be explored - it is where a small cafe/tourist shop can be found, where you can spent a bit of time to resurrect your strength. At this point, we will not go into further detail, however it would be a mistake not to mention the narrowest point named "Portes" or "The Gates". It is the most photographed part of the gorge because steep cliffs rise dramatically to a height of over 300m with a very narrow passage of only 3.5m. You won't miss it!


Old Venecian Harbour of Chania

If you arrive in Chania airport and live near the city, this is a place you will definately visit. It is situated in the northwestern part of the town, in the outskirts of its old side. The scenery is beautiful and you should take a walk in its narrow roads (in most of which no vehicles are allowed, simply because the streets are too narrow), visit the archaeological museum and the naval museum (located in the Firkas Fort). We suggest that you go there in the late afternoon and walk around without moaning: You will be fully repayed by the scenery and the sight of the venecian lighthouse standing on its entrance. If you are lucky you will catch an exhibition in "Neoria" (the old byzantine shipyards) or in "Yali Tzami" (Glass Mosque). You can enjoy a drink or food as well - the scenery is magnificent!


Elafonisi (Deer Island) is small island situated in the western side of Crete, which can be reached on foot from the island's coast via a very narrow strait. The islet cannot be easily approached by boat due to water-streams. So this "waterpath" is the easiest way: In its deepest places reaches a depth of 1-1½ m, but it changes a great deal depending on the current conditions. With a little luck you may see pink "sand" by the water's edge - the "sand" in fact being crushed shells. During the Turkish occupation it was a stronghold for Cretan revolutioners, who used the islet to protect their families and had it as a base for the raids. The legend says that the Turks found out how to reach by observing a horse which after a battle where his owner was killed, returned to the islet following its usual path. This happened in 1824 and resulted in the massacre of more than 850 people - mainly women and children you found refuge there. On the north side of the island you will find a small lake, which was named after the Agia Irini church which stands nearby and was rebuilt in the 1960s after having been destroyed in the 1830s by the Turks.



The sight lays claim to being the place where Zeus, god of hospitality, fell in love with Europa, a princess of unsurpassed beauty. Their offspring were the Minoan race of kings and sages who ruled Crete from their elegant palace at Knossos. Just south of the present city, it is one of Heraklion's unmissable sights.

The Palace of Knossos is the oldest settlement yet found which belonged to the Minoan civilisation and was excavated in the early 20th century. It is the place where the fabled minotaur of Ancient Greek myth is said to have lived, in a labyrinth in the gardens of King Minos, and one of the must-see ancient sites in Greece.