2 Weeks in Crete: An Ideal Crete Road Trip Itinerary

Here are the best places to visit on a road trip in Crete. Enjoy incredible beaches, stunning scenery and ancient sites during a road trip in Crete.

A look at the highlights of a 2 week road trip around Crete in Greece.

Spending two weeks in Crete, Greece, is an unforgettable experience. This stunning island in the Mediterranean Sea offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.

With its sunny weather and crystal-clear waters, you'll have plenty of opportunities to relax on the beach or explore the scenic countryside – Crete is the ideal road trip destination.

In just two weeks in Crete, you can visit ancient ruins like Knossos Palace and Herakleion Archaeological Site, wander through charming villages like Chania and Rethymno, and hike through the breathtaking Samaria Gorge.

You'll also have the chance to sample delicious Cretan cuisine and connect with the friendly locals. So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure – two weeks in Crete is sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

entering arkadi monastery through the arched gateway

Crete in 2 Weeks – The Perfect Greek island?

Ask somebody that doesn't live in Greece what their favourite Greek island is, and they might answer Santorini. Ask people who live in Greece though, and many will answer Crete.

There's many reasons for this. Perhaps it's a sense of admiration for the independent minded people of Crete, or the wild like feel the south of the island still has. Perhaps it's the weather, the beaches, or the food? Most likely, it's a combination of all these things.

Personally, I love it, and have visited several times now. Most recently, I took a road trip in Crete, and whilst I did, I came up with this guide to the best things to do in Crete.

I use my own car when I travel to Crete, but if you're coming from overseas, you might need to rent one. You can find an excellent selection of car rentals in Crete at: Discover Cars

Let's start with how to get to Crete from Athens on the ferry.

Taking The Ferry From Athens to Crete

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, and the ferry takes about 8 hours to get there from Athens (Piraeus port). Only two companies make the route, and during the summer they offer day and night services.

We took the overnight ferry to Heraklion with Minoan Lines going out. On the way back, we used the day ferry with Anek Blue Star Ferries from Chania to Piraeus. The total price for this including the car, two passengers and numbered seating, was about 290 euros.

Check out my guide on how to get from Athens to Crete.

Book ferries online: Ferryhopper

Arriving by plane in Crete

If you are flying out to Crete and intend to hire a car there, your best choice is to get a flight to Heraklion airport. From there, you can collect a hire vehicle and then head out onto the roads of Crete.

Read this guide to renting a car in Greece

Photos from out 2 weeks in Crete road trip

Back to our story!

The aim of our 2 week road trip around Crete, was to combine beach time with a little sight-seeing. Crete is too big to ‘do it all’ in 2 weeks, and even if it was possible, I wouldn’t want to. This was a vacation, after all!

Instead, we picked a route which took in some of the major places of interest in Crete, whilst leaving enough to see next time. Yes Crete, we will be back!

Here then, are some of the highlights of our road trip featuring some of the best things to do in Crete.

1. Knossos and Archaeological Museum

Dave Briggs visiting Knossos Crete with Vanessa when researching this travel guide to the palace of knossos


Knossos is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Greece, and is one of the best places to visit in Crete for mythology buffs. It has long been connected with the myth of King Minos and the Minotaur. Some people even consider it to be the Labyrinth itself.

The site is interesting to spend some time at, and there is also an archaeological museum in Heraklion which helps make sense of it all. There's some great artefacts on display there, including the famous Phaistos Disc which still remains undecipherable until this very day.

I first visited here over 35 years ago as a kid with my parents. Maybe it was those early vacations which gave me the travel bug? You might find this article interesting if you want to find out more about the Palace of Knossos – Tips for visiting Knossos in Crete.

We stayed in Heraklion for a couple of days. Take a look here for hotels in Heraklion. You might also like to check out these other great things to do in Heraklion.

2. Dikteon Cave and Lasithi plateau

Things to do in Crete - Visit the Dikteon Cave in Crete

I have a thing for caves. There is something very other-worldly and timeless about them. According to the Mrs, I have too many Neanderthal genes! Anyway, legend has it that Zeus was either born or sheltered in the Dikteon cave. He then hid here as a child to escape his cannabalistic father Cronus who had already eaten his other siblings!

When visiting the Dikteon cave in Crete, you certainly get the feeling that it was a fitting place for a Greek God to live.  The cave can be found on the Lasithi Plateau, and it is one of the Crete points of interest I would recommend to anyone with their own transport.

3. Spinalonga Island Crete

Spinalonga island is another place you should include on a 2 week road trip around Crete

Visiting a former leper colony might not immediately sound like one of the fun things to do in Crete, but it is an interesting experience. Another popular sight-seeing destination for people touring the north of Crete, it is reached by a day trip.

The island is complete with the remains of a castle, and has a sad recent history as a leper colony. Even if you don't get a chance to visit Spinalonga which is one of the Crete top attractions, I suggest you read The Island by Victoria Hislop. Very moving.

4. Milatos Cave in Crete

Milatos cave in Crete

At the start of our 2 week road trip around Crete, it seemed that we visited more caves than beaches! Milatos cave was very special though. 

During the Ottoman occupation, it acted as a refuge for the local population which ended in tragedy in 1823. Now, there is a small chapel built inside the cave.

You can reach Milatos cave very easily, and explore inside. You will need to bring a torch with you to make the most of it.

There is also a slightly eccentric ex-pat who sits outside in the mornings, and hires torches out for a euro a time. We picked him up hitch-hiking on the way back down to the town of Milatos!

5. Diskos Beach (Near Lentas)

This was our favourite part of Crete, and a place we could have spent much longer. Located in the more isolated south of the island, the beach was just amazing!

I am not going to include photos here, because it was a part nudist beach. By the way, no I didn't! I burn easily at the best of times, and that is the LAST place I want to get sunburn!

If you are interested in staying in the area, you can free camp on Diskos beach. There are also a couple of hotels on the beach area and in the wider area. Searching out quiet beaches is one of the fun things to do in Crete when you have a car!

6. Crete Historical Sites – Gortyna and Phaestos 


These two Crete historical sites can be visited on the same day. My favourite was Gortyna for the scale, but Phaestos had the best views. In some respects, I found these sites to be more interesting than Knossos. They certainly hadn't been so badly reconstructed as Knossos is!

These two sites are best reached by your own vehicle, so are perfect for visiting on a road trip in Crete. If you don't have access to a vehicle of your own, a tour could be booked from your hotel. They're certainly worth adding onto you list of things to see in Crete.

7. Matala Caves – Flintstone Caves in Crete!

Matala caves in Crete. Very Fred Flintstone!

Looking for a Yabba-Dabba-Doo time in Crete? The Matala Caves could be just for you! The caves date back thousands of years, and appear to have been used throughout all periods of antiquity. More recently in the sixties, a collection of hippies seeking the simple life moved in and made them home.

The hippies are long gone now, but the caves remain an interesting tourist attraction and one of the must see Crete sights. A small entrance fee must be paid to gain access as it is classed as an archaeological site.

8. Triopetra Beach in Crete

Triopetra beach in Crete

I have to say, I love the south of Crete! There are endless miles of isolated wild beaches, and it is the perfect place to relax.

I have included Triopetra beach here, but could have included any of the other countless beaches we visited. If you are planning a road trip around Crete, make sure to check out as many beaches as you can!

9. Frangokastello


We more or less stumbled on this area by accident. It is a quiet bay area, backed by a castle. For us, the attraction was the location, and the great room we had.

The room at Maria's Studios was the best we had for the trip, and we liked it so much, we stayed an extra day! A somewhat off the beaten track attraction, but only because there is so much to see and do in Crete it gets missed out!

10. The Pink Sands of Elafonisi

Elafonisi beach in Crete

Elafonisi is perhaps the most famous beach in Crete. You will most likely have seen photographs of its pink sands. I'm not exactly sure where they get those photos from though, because it didn't look that pink to me!

Also, it was a bit too crowded for my tastes. We had to walk a good 20 minutes to find a quiet spot, which you can find pictured above. Still, no trip to Crete is complete without visiting Elafonisi really!

11. Kedrodasos Beach in Crete

Kedrodasos Beach in Crete. This is one of the best beaches I have ever been too.

Right next to Elafonisi Beach is Kedrodasos Beach in Crete. You have to walk to get here, and directions are at times vague. Once there though, a beautiful beach complete with dunes and cedar trees reveals itself. This is a beach known for free camping and naturists, but not all that well visited.

The problem with this beach, is that the free campers have left a lot of rubbish to blow in the wind. Why spoil paradise? I don't get it. When we visited, we were fortunate to have it mostly to ourselves. Whilst one part of me wants to recommend this as a great place to visit in Crete, another part of me wants to keep too many people away from it!

12. Chania in Crete

Chania in Crete

Our 2 week road trip around Crete finished in Chania. This is a very pretty Venetian port town, with an interesting ‘old' section.

We spent our time wandering around the streets, and also had a great meal at To Koutourouki.

Chania was very busy with tourists when we visited in early September. I would suggest visiting it during the off-season periods to really soak up the ambience.

If you're planning to visit Crete, then you might find Chania is a good place to be based for a few days. Not only is there plenty to do in the area, but you can also take day trips from Chania to other attractions in Crete.

Related: Hottest Greek Island In October

Pin this Crete road trip guide for later

2 weeks in crete - an ideal road trip itinerary


Planning your road trip for 2 weeks in Crete

I hope that gives you enough inspiration to either plan your own road trip, or put together a Crete sightseeing itinerary.

I also have a HUGE resource here about planning a road trip to include the best places to see in Greece. If you have any questions, would like any advice, or would like to share your experiences, please leave a comment below!

Related: Travelling by Car: Advantages and Disadvantages

Looking for more travel inspiration about places to see in Crete? Take a look at this guide to Chrissi Island – A perfect Greek island paradise!

Dave Briggs: Writer at Dave’s Travel Pages creating Greece travel guides, Greece travel planning tipsDave Briggs
Dave is a travel writer living in Athens Greece since 2015. In addition to writing these travel tips for anyone planning a 2 week road trip in Crete, he's created hundreds more itineraries and travel guides to destinations all over Greece. Follow Dave on social media for more inspiration from Greece and beyond:

10 thoughts on “2 Weeks in Crete: An Ideal Crete Road Trip Itinerary”

  1. I loved your trip around Crete. I just inherited a house I Pitsidea from my Germane aunt. She was one of those 60 hippies in the M caves . Plan on visiting Crete, ASAP.

  2. Hi Dave, I will be visiting Athens. Santorini and Crete in September. I have enjoyed reading your immense information and your writings are so enjoyable to read! I am interested in transportation getting from Crete to Santorini and Santorini to Athens. I have not yet come across this information in your newsletters. Can you advise me where to find information on regional flights and hydrofoil boats? Thank you. Never stop writing.

  3. Thanks for the guide, excellent ideas and tips! We’ve been thinking of taking a holiday to Crete, but maybe we’ll do a little road trip too!

  4. Great place, after doing a weekend there in February I’m itching to get back and explore more in better weather… Thanks for the inspiration, what was your favourite spot?


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