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Crete's more commercial resorts lie along the north coast, also home to its largest towns, Heraklion, Hania and Rethymno, while the south coast remains relatively wild and inaccessible. The mountainous interior, with peaks as high as 6,500 feet, is perfect for back-to-nature experiences.

Things to do in Crete

Boutari Wine Tasting

Greece’s largest wine producer, Boutari, gives tours of its Fantaxometoco vineyard and cellars in Kato Archanes, 5 miles from Heraklion. The purpose-built visitor’ centre offers an audio-visual presentation, wine tasting and a shop.

Heralkion, Kato Archanes, 011-30-28107-31617, (Greek only)
Tags: things to do | tour | wine

Clubbing in Platanias

Platanias, which lies just six miles west of Hania, hosts about a dozen open-air seaside dance clubs that from early June to early September. One of the largest and most popular is Mylos.

Mylos, Platanias,
Tags: trendy | dancing | things to do | open late

Crete Golf Club

Four miles inland from the seaside resort of Hersonissos lies the ultramodern Crete Golf Club course, which is backed by stunning mountains. It stays open all year.

Hersonissos, 011-30-28970-26000,
Tags: golf | things to do | outdoors

Hania Old Town

On the north coast, the historic center of Crete's second largest town and former-capital (before Heraklion took its place in 1971), Hania is packed with centuries-old monuments that testify to the island’s years spent under Venice and the Ottoman Turks.

, 011-30-28102-31940
Tags: family | things to do | culture | architecture | history


From May through October, intrepid trekkers tackle the dramatic Samaria Gorge, hiking 10 miles from the starting point at Xiloskalo (served by early-morning bus from Hania’s main bus station) down to the coast. Allow 5 to 8 hours, depending on how fit you are.

Forest Guardhouse, Xiloskalo, 011-30-28210-67179
Tags: sports and adventure | things to do | outdoors | national park

Knossos Palace

Crete’s most visited archaeological site is this 4,000-year-old palace, with its labyrinth of partially-frescoed rooms built around a vast central courtyard. Head to the nearby Heraklion Archaeological Museum (011-30-28102-26092) to see items like gold jewelry from the site.

3 miles south of Heraklion, 011-30-28102-31940
Tags: things to do | culture | history


Crete’s top party resort, Malia, caters to 18- to 30-year-olds on package deals, with a neon-lit strip of late-night discos, English-style pubs, and fast food kiosks.

Tags: trendy | dancing | things to do | open late

Scuba diving

From April through November, Diver’s Club at Caspis Beach Hotel in Agia Pelagia, near Heraklion, offers diving programs, including PADI, CMAS, and NITROX courses. Explore underwater treasures like the 98-foot El Greco Cave and the Messerschmidt plane wreck.

Caspis Beach Hotel, Agia Pelagia, 011-30-28108-11755,
Tags: sports and adventure | things to do | diving

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