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Chania, Heraklion or Rethymno. Which Cretan city should you visit?

Crete is the largest Greek island, is incredibly easy to access compared to other islands
and a beautiful European holiday destination for a reason. Here you can enjoy mild weather, picturesque beaches, historical architecture, breathtaking natural wonders, hiking and outdoor activities as well as the ultimate in culinary experiences. You really are spoiled in Crete when it comes to holidays in Greece.

When people are deciding on their holiday destination within Crete you will often hear people debating between travelling to Chania, Heraklion or Rethymno. We are going to take you through these destinations to help you decide on your next holiday location in Crete.

Things to do in Chania

Chania is the largest island in Greece. Easily accessible and attracts tourists from all over the globe year after year. Highlights of Chania include:

Old Venetian Harbor: This iconic centrepiece of Chania is one to be explored on foot. The streets are charming, clean and home to many vendors. Here you will find locally made products, souvenirs, bars and restaurants. You can spend the whole day enjoyably exploring this area and never get bored. The atmosphere is very unique and this brings people back time and time again.

The Venetian Harbor is considered one of the most notable historical landmarks in Chania and even Crete. It was built sometime between 1320 and 1356 AD by the Venetians during their occupation of Crete. A historical site that has to be seen to be believed.

Elafonissi Beach: Often listed as one of the best beaches in the world and for good reason. The waters are a beautiful turquoise and the sand is pink. The small island is home to an array of vegetation and natural wonders, which is internationally recognised as a nature reserve. You don’t find beauty like this very often.

It is a popular destination for people to enjoy some time by the Ocean but you’ll still find the space to lay down and relax on the sand which is like fine dust. Quite the unique beach for a region that is known for shingle or pebble beaches. This is a “must visit” destination for anyone whether you’re a solo traveller or large family.

The lighthouse of Chania: Built in the 16th century to protect the Chania harbour, this lighthouse is now an attraction in Crete that is well loved. Experience the views when walking the grounds and the beauty of the restored architecture of this iconic structure. In the evening the light shines bright, adding to the ambiance of the port.

Things to do in Heraklion

This port city is the capital of Crete. It is known for the famous site of Knossos and has many museums and art exhibitions to enjoy. Highlights include:

Knossos: This palace became the political and ceremonial centre of the Minoan civilization. Called Europe’s oldest city, this incredible Bronze age archaeological site is the largest in Crete. It has a long history of being inhabited from around 7000 BC until it was destroyed and abandoned in 1375 BC, this signalled the end of the Minoan civilization. You will be captivated by the beauty and rich history of this palace. Some of the artefacts can also be found in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. If you want to visit both sites you can always purchase a combination ticket to save you some time and money.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum: Get ready to be blown away by the incredible artefacts from the civilizations that had once called the island home. You will see everything from statues to jewellery, paintings, weapons and more. This is a museum you want to make sure you have time for because of the sheer volume of exhibits to see.

Castello Del Molo: The Koules Venetian fortress of Heraklion is a coastal stronghold that is located near the entry of the harbour. This fortress was built between the 9th and 10th century and has seen a lot in those years, now it is restored and open for the public to see and appreciate. The ground floor contains 26 rooms that were used as barracks, a prison and a water reservoir. At certain times of the year you can also enjoy special events and exhibitions.

Things to do in Rethymno

Rethymno is the third largest town in Crete, after Heraklion and Chania. It is located at the base of the Psiloritis mountain range. Highlights of Rethymno include

Old Town: here you can explore one of the most alluring and preserved mediaeval cities. You’ll find a combination of Venetian architecture and Turkish influences here. There is an array of different shopping experiences to be had. Whether you’re looking for some affordable souvenirs or a high quality handbag you’ll find something to take home from Old Town. Bring your appetite because there is an abundance of restaurants to choose from.

The Venetian Fortezza: An expansive fortress full of history and a great example of Roman architecture. It is a captivating beauty to witness but there is a lot of it so you will want to pack the right footwear and for those hot days you should plan ahead to keep cool. Take in the panoramic views of the city as well as the ocean from the perimeters of the building.


Monastery of Arkadi: The exact time this historic treasure was built is debated but it is thought to have been founded by the Byzantine Emperor Arkadios back in the 12th Century. This Monastery features both Roman and baroque architectural elements. Today the Monastery has become a national sanctuary, and UNESCO has determined it to be a European Monument of Freedom. In 1866 it was destroyed but then restored to its current beauty. Today it is a symbol of resilience and an attraction for both locals and visitors.

All of these regions are beautiful locations in Greece but we believe that Chania is the ideal destination for a holiday in Crete. It is the biggest Greek island and is very easily accessible either by plane or ferry. Here you will enjoy an abundance of activities that range from leisure to adventure. Whatever you’re looking for you’ll find in Chania, this is why Chania is the ideal choice.

If you want to stay at our luxury resort in Chania, explore our room options. We look forward to hosting you!