Learn more about the top attractions on the greek island of Crete in this article! Crete may be a small island, but it packs many must-see attractions onto its gorgeous coastline. The biggest Island in Greece is home to a wide variety of attractions, from the colorful history of Hania to the profound symbolism of the Moni Preveli.
1. Top Attractions on the Greek Island of Crete: Knossos Palace
You may find the Palace of Knossos, the great capital of Minoan Crete, 5 kilometers south of the city of Iraklio and is Crete’s most well-known historical site. The ruins and recreations are stunning, with features including a huge palace, courtyards, private rooms, baths, and colorful paintings, all in an atmospheric location.
2. The Museum of Ancient Heraklion
3. Top Attractions on the Greek Island of Crete: Phaestos
You may see stunning views of the Messara Plain and Mount Psiloritis from Phaestos, the second-most-important Minoan palace city after Knossos. Locals erected it approximately 1700 B.C. over an earlier palace that had been demolished and was designed around a courtyard. Fewer frescoes were found there than at Knossos because the walls were probably plastered with white gypsum. In the second century BC, Phaestos lost to Gortyna. The ruins are less mysterious because of English-language panels and visuals placed strategically throughout the site.
Excavated elephant tusks and oxhide ingots reveal that ancient Zakros, the smallest of Crete’s four Minoan palace complexes, was involved in maritime commerce with the Middle East. Locals organized Zakros around a central courtyard with royal quarters, shrines, ceremonial halls, storage chambers, and workshops on each side, much like Knossos, Phaestos, and Malia. While there aren’t a ton of ruins to explore, the location in the middle of nowhere makes up for it. There are informational panels to assist in sparking your creativity.
5. Top Attractions on the Greek Island of Crete: Island of Spinalonga
7. Top Attractions on the Greek Island of Crete: Aptera
About 13.5 kilometers east of Hania are the remains of the ancient city of Aptera, which stretch over two hills and look down majestically on Souda Bay. Established in the 7th century B.C., it was a thriving metropolis until an earthquake in the 7th century A.D. wiped it off the map. The Byzantine conquest of Crete in the 10th century brought new life to Aptera. It was elevated to the rank of the bishopric. To get here, you’ll need to drive yourself.
The star-shaped Venetian castle overlooking Rethymno is impressive due to its high location and thick walls and bastions. However, the turks defeated it in 1646. A little town sprung up on the land, but much of it was wiped out during the war. There are great vistas of the town, the Mediterranean, and the mountains from this vantage point, and it’s enjoyable to explore the surrounding walls, palm trees, and remnant structures, including the massively domed Sultan Bin Ibrahim Mosque.
9. Top Attractions on the Greek Island of Crete: Venetian Harbour
The ancient Venetian Harbour in Hania is one of the best examples of the city’s historic beauty and allure. Stores and taverns are scattered throughout its labyrinth of little streets, framed by pastel-colored houses. The wonderfully rebuilt Grand Arsenal homes the Centre of Mediterranean Architecture. At the same time, the domed Mosque of Kioutsouk Hasan dominates the eastern side as an exhibition hall.
10. Agias Moni Triadas
The Moni Agias Triadas, a functioning monastery from 17th century, is the cultural highlight of the Akrotiri Peninsula. Tourists know the monastery for its altarpiece, Venetian-influenced domed front, and Cretan School icon paintings. Jeremiah and Laurentio Giancarlo, two monks from Venice who converted to Orthodoxy, established it. You may sample the excellent wine, oil, and raki produced in the monastery and purchase some to take home.