Best Tours in Crete – Excursions and Experiences

Taking a tour is a great way to get to know Crete whether you are on a short holiday or spending several weeks in this wonderful island. Here's the best tours in Crete.

The best tours of Crete

Crete is a magical island and there's nothing like exploring it by boat, kayak or on foot. This article will introduce you to the best tours in Crete that we recommend for every taste and budget.

Crete Tours

Taking a tour is a great way to get to know Crete whether you are on a short holiday or spending several weeks in this wonderful island. Your time is precious so don't waste it by getting lost and missing your chance to see the most iconic places. Instead, let experienced guides show you where to go and what to see.

These are the top-rated Crete tours and activities you shouldn't miss out on:

Knossos Palace: Skip-the-Line Entry with Guided Walking Tour

Do you love the idea of a guided tour but hate waiting in line? Cruise past long lines to the Palace of Knossos and immerse in Greek history. Use this same ticket to enter the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion later!

The Palace of Knossos in Crete

This is an excellent way for families with children, couples or friends who want to explore more than one sight together while still enjoying VIP privileges. 

Explore Knossos, considered Europe's oldest city, and Crete's most famous archaeological site. Enjoy a guided tour and get the chance to see the original throne of “Minos”, mystifying sanctuaries, lavish quarters for royalty and more! 

This is an astonishing palace with more than 1500 rooms and the heart of Minoan culture in Crete. The labyrinthine ruins are filled with original thrones, mystifying sanctuaries, luxurious domestic quarters of the royal family.

More here: Knossos Guided Tour

Day Trip to the Pink Sand Beach of Elafonisi from Chania

The small island of Elafonisi is a true gem. It's one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece famous for its unique pink sands.

Elafonisi beach in Crete

Spend a relaxing day on the pink sand beaches on this small island. A full-day tour from Chania is just over an hour away and includes time to enjoy lunch, swimming in crystal clear waters, breathtaking views, coffee tasting, exploring villages with chestnut trees and more!

More here: Elafonisi Day Trip from Chania

Gramvousa Island and Balos Bay Full-Day Tour From Chania

Visit the westernmost part of Crete on a scenic bus-boat trip to Gramvousa island, swim in the crystal clear waters of Balos bay.

Trip to the westernmost point of Crete, Gramvousa island. This is a full day trip with stops at Gramvousa fortress (17th century), Balos bay with its unique sand beach, crystal clear waters for swimming, great views from Venetian fortresses on both islands. 

The tour includes boat transfer between Chania port and Gramvousa port using small ferry boats or fast water taxis with capacity up to four cars each. The return journey is by bus back to Chania port.

More here: Gramvousa Island and Balos Bay Full-Day Tour

Olive Oil and Wine Tastings: Day Tour from Chania

Enjoy the best wines of Crete on this day trip. Visit family wineries and an olive oil factory, before diving deep into nature’s miracle as you taste award-winning local wines at Kissamos region vineyards. Cross to Balos Bay by boat for a swim in crystal clear waters.

More here: Crete Wine Tasting Trip

Chania: Old Town Highlights Private Tour with Street Food

Want to explore the historic streets of Chania as if you were living in Greece centuries ago? You'll find this private tour an ideal way to get up close and personal. With a local, learn about the area’s history and culture, see famous landmarks, enjoy traditional Cretan street food.

Chania in Crete

More here: Chania Walking Tour

From Chania: Full-Day Samaria Gorge Trek Excursion

Discover the natural beauty of Samaria gorge. Marvel at its stunning views and ancient forests all while experiencing a fun hike that will be sure to get your blood pumping!

This full-day Samaria Gorge tour offers an unforgettable experience. Marvel at natural wonders, from the White Mountains to a thousand-year-old forest. Experience a challenging trek in Samaria Gorge and admire the stunning natural beauty on your drive there.

Walking the Samaria Gorge in Crete

Late in the afternoon, board a boat for the trip from Agia Roumeli to Sfakia where you will be met by bus transportation back to Chania.

More here: Samaria Gorge Hike

Full-Day Land Rover Safari Experience

Cretan culture is rich with history, natural beauty and culinary delights. Join a full-day safari tour that includes visits to an old village, the White Mountains, family wineries, taverns and more! Learn about Cretan herbs while tasting homemade Greek food at lunch from a family tavern. Immerse yourself in the local culture you'll find only during these tours of Crete's hidden gems. 

More here: Crete Safari Organized Tour

Day Tour of Spinalonga, Agios Nikolaos, Elounda & Plaka

Explore the history of Kolokitha and the former leper colony of Spinalonga during this day trip. Visit Agios Nikolaos, walk around Lake Voulismeni, enjoy views of Elounda Lagoon and Gulf of Mirabello, visit Plaka with its fishing village charm before taking a short boat ride to Spinalonga Island. Round off your tour at Elounda for an idyllic experience in Crete.

Spinalonga island is another of the Greek landmarks you can get to from Crete

More here: Spinalonga Tour

From Agios Nikolaos: Day Tour to Zeus Cave & Lasithi Plateau

This is a lovely day trip to see a different and unique side of the island. More, you'll get to discover the ancient birthplace of Zeus and see where he was born according to tradition. Explore the Cretan mountains, meet locals, enjoy observing eagles soaring over the mountain range and goats grazing near roadway.

Visit Kritsa village for an amazing Byzantine Church with a history that goes back hundreds of years. You can also enjoy meeting locals in this traditional town who are happy to show you around their home away from home.

More here: Lassithi Plateau

From Rethymno or Agios Nikolaos: Day Trip to Santorini

Experience the beauty and romance of Santorini on a day trip from Crete. After a high-speed ferry, take an air-conditioned tour by bus. Marvel at the island's blue and white buildings. Discover the beauty of Santorini and its fantastic views by air-conditioned bus with this guided tour that includes views from Oia village, a refreshing swim off the black sand beach in Perissa, catch boat to Caldera volcano…and more! Santorini is perhaps the most famous of the Greek islands, and you'll love your time there!

More here: Santorini day trip from Crete

Chania: Boat Trip with Guided Snorkeling & Stand-Up Paddling

Snorkel the crystal blue waters off the coast of Almyrida and discover stunning marine life. Set sail across clear, warm Aegean Sea water on a 3 hour guided boat trip from Chania.

Swim in the Mediterranean sea off Crete or snorkel at secluded locations only accessible by boat. Get free photos and videos to commemorate your experience as souvenirs! Learn how to stand up paddleboard for an unforgettable adventure you can't find anywhere else!

This package includes all equipment needed – just bring yourself, your swimsuit and towel!

More here: Chania Snorkel Trip

The Matala Caves in Crete always remind me of somewhere the Flintstones might live

Crete Excursions

These excursions can be either day trips, half-day trips (4 hours) or overnighters (overnight stays). Depending on your time constraints, you can choose between visiting one of Crete’s most famous archaeological sites such as Knossos Palace, Chania town with its Venetian fortifications and medieval churches; taking an afternoon trip to a beautiful beach just a short drive from Heraklion city center; going south to see the spectacular gorge at Samaria ; or traveling to the White Mountains for a horseback ride or hike.

Crete Experiences

Make your vacation truly special by adding an experience to it such as learning how to make Cretan dishes, attending a traditional Cretan dance performance, going on a gastronomic tour , or taking a cooking class in Heraklion

Tours of the beautiful island of Crete offer you the opportunity to really get off the beaten track and discover parts of Crete that are often missed by visitors who only come for short stays, or who stay mainly on beach resorts. Experiencing new places is one of the best things about traveling.

Crete is the largest island in Greece, and has plenty to offer in terms of culturally-rich tours that will immerse you into the fascinating history and mythological tales of ancient Greek Gods. The island's mythology is a direct reference to humankind’s deep connection with nature, a crucial value shared by the Minoans and the Cretans who combined science and nature to their daily lives.

Related: Best Greek islands to visit in October

FAQ About Ways To See Crete

Readers planning a trip to the Greek island of Crete often have questions similar to these:

What should I not miss in Crete?

Some of the top things to do in Crete include seeing the archaeological ruins of Knossos, exploring the Venetian fortifications and medieval churches in Chania town, swimming at one of the many beautiful beaches, hiking in the White Mountains, and going on a gastronomic tour.

Is 5 days in Crete enough?

It really depends on what you want to see and do. If you're mainly interested in beaches and relaxation, then 5 days may be enough. However, if you want to explore more of the island and its history, then I would recommend spending at least 7-10 days.

How many days do you need in Crete?

It really depends on what you want to see and do. If you're mainly interested in beaches and relaxation, then 5 days may be enough. However, if you want to explore more of the island and its history, then I would recommend spending at least 7-10 days.

What is the best area to stay in Crete?

There is no one best area to stay in Crete – it really depends on what you're looking for. If you're interested in beaches and relaxation, then staying on a beach resort is the best option. However, if you want to explore more of the island and its history, then I would recommend staying in either Chania or Heraklion.

Crete Best Tours

Dave Briggs visiting an island in GreeceDave Briggs
Dave is a travel writer who has been living in and writing about Greece since 2015. As well as writing this guide on the best tours of Crete, he's written many more travel blog posts about destinations all over Greece. Follow Dave on social media for travel inspiration from Greece and beyond:

2 thoughts on “Best Tours in Crete – Excursions and Experiences”

  1. Hey, Dave. I love your travel pages! My husband and I are thinking about doing an extensive trip to Crete, Rhodes, Cyprus and Israel. Do you have any recommendations for a tour company that could handle a private tour to all or part of this?

    Thank you!

    • Sounds like a great trip you have in mind!
      For companies – I’ve heard some people recommending Fantasy Travel of Greece, but I have no direct experience with them. Might be worth reaching out to them.


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