what to do in crete

Take a dip in the clear blue water. (Photo: Marriott International)

Greece

Can’t Sit Still? This Is Your Ultimate Crete Adventure Itinerary

Gorgeous beaches, crystalline waters, fertile valleys and traditional villages; visitors to Crete can look forward to a slower pace of life.  

Locals cannot wait to share their Cretan hospitality, with their renowned olive oil, wine and rich produce, among the best in Greece.  

But with its dramatic landscape — mountains, deep gorges and caves — Crete is a playground for adventure seekers.

Where to Stay in Crete?

Tucked between the small fishing villages of Plaka and Elounda is Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection. The Mediterranean-style architecture and gardens at this luxurious retreat blend effortlessly into the surrounding landscape.  

The waterfront location offers a spectacular view of Spinalonga Island. With influences from the Venetians, Turks and the Ottomans, Spinalonga’s history and architecture echoes Crete’s own heritage, but it is most well-known as a former leper colony (1903-1957).  

Gaze at this national monument and surrender to the wild beauty of the region at Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection.

what to do in crete
Hike or sail around the island. (Photo: Marriott International)

Morning: Explore the Water and Plaka, a Nearby Fishing Village

The calm, clear waters of the Cretan Sea are ideal for exploration. At Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection, you can mosey down to the private beach and take in the fresh air. When you’re ready to adventure more, consider signing up for one of the hotel’s signature experiences, like a guided boat trip or other water sport.

Just a mile away from the resort is the charming traditional fishing village of Plaka. Sit down for a freddo cappuccino in the village square and look across the bay to Spinalonga. Walk past the brightly colored fishing nets to the end of the pier and you can actually see the island’s abandoned houses.

Lunch: Dig Into a Waterfront Meal at Topos 1910

Grab a table at Topos 1910 — either on the beach or the pier overlooking the water — and take in stunning views of the olive trees and sea. Listen to the sound of the waves and tuck into the award-winning restaurant’s dishes, which include freshly caught, local seafood.

Afternoon: Hike to Richtis Gorge Waterfall or Sail to Spinalonga

A scenic drive round east Crete’s rugged coastline will take you to the remote Richtis beach and gorge. If you park in Richtis beach car park, it’s a 45-minute hike to the spectacular Richtis gorge waterfall. Follow red and yellow signs into the gorge, passing through fields of fragrant herbs and wildflowers.  

Top tip: The winding drive down to the beach is an adventure itself! This is for confident drivers only or consider booking a tour with the concierge.

what to do in crete
Set sail for Spinalonga Island. (Photo: Marriott International)

If you prefer an adventure at sea, set sail on a traditional Caique and explore the Mirabello Gulf. Discover remote coves and visit Spinalonga Island where you’ll wander through an abandoned village and get a sense of what life was like for those exiled onto the island but condemned to live within sight of the mainland.  

Top tip: Before you arrive, read Victoria Hislop’s bestselling novel, “The Island,” for a dramatic re-imagining of one fictional family’s experiences on Spinalonga.

Evening: Experience a Mediterranean Feast at Makris Elounda Fine Dining Restaurant

Sit down to an exquisite meal at Makris Elounda Fine Dining Restaurant and enjoy the eatery’s contemporary twists on classic Greek flavors. Choose from a list of fine wines to complement each dish — and don’t forget to raise your glass to a magical day in Crete. 

Up for a nightcap? Swing by Grand Domes Bar, where the opulent décor provides a glittering backdrop for a delicious cocktail, mocktail, or glass of wine before calling it a night.