Travel Crete with a car
These are some of the best destinations that Cretarent suggest for you to visit, so don't wait rent a car at Heraklion airport or even from Chania, get your Gps navigation, and explore all the beauties and history of these amazing places!. These destinations targeting visitors who would like to know a little of bit of Crete, a small piece from the island that the Cretans know. My beautiful island of Crete! Meet Crete from a unique way. Rent a car in Crete, meet its mountains, its villages, its people, and tasteful cuisine.
We offer our experience, the instruments (car rentals services) and our love for the place we live.
1. Elafonissi Beach, Elafonissi
To the southwest coast of Crete lies one of the most magical beaches. Elafonisi is one of the most exotic beaches of Crete, situated about 80 km from Chania, is characterized by dunes of white sand, crystal clear shallow waters, tranquility and peace that it offers. The landscape refers to exotic beaches and shallow waters often continue for several meters into the sea. The landscape in Elafonissi riveting as it is rare to meet in Greece beach with its own characteristics. To get to Elafonissi you can take the bus or better by renting a car. Surely your visit to the beautiful beach Elafonissi will be unforgettable! After a few minutes' walk to the west you can easily reach the beach and the Cedar forest.
2. Balos Lagoon, Kissamos
To the northwest of Crete is Gramvoùsa. It is a peninsula in the west of which lies the beautiful beach of Balos. In the peninsula of Gramvousa is a castle which was built by the Venetians and was used as a fortress against the conquerors who occasionally want to trespass. Eventually the Turks managed to conquer the castle bribing the Venetian commander! Balos beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean. Very fine white and red sand, shallow waters and at some point a lagoon with crystal clear turquoise waters. To reach this Gramvousa and Balos beach, you can get one of the boats that starting every day from the port of Kissamos (Kastelli). Balos beach is accessible by land. Following a hard drive dirt road until you reach a specific point, and from there will begins the descent on foot, a chance to see many of the beauty of the Cretan Island.
3. Samaria Gorge National Park
The Samaria Gorge Farranga or as the locals call it, is located 43 km south of Chania. The entrance of the gorge is situated at an altitude Xyloskalo 1227 meters. H Xyloskalo position took its name from a wooden ladder that was there again and facilitated the descent into the canyon. Also in this area (just before Xyloskalo) is a small road which leads to the ski resort in Kallergis 1680 meters in altitude. The descent of the gorge begins Xyloskalo, with steps at the beginning and then a small path. The descent is quite difficult and takes 6 to 8 hours. Those who intend to cross the gorge should wear athletic shoes and hat. Water does not need it during the journey there taps. The gorge was declared a National Park to protect the rare flora and fauna and especially the Cretan wild goat (kri - kri, as the locals call it) who lives here.
Recently, Samaria was awarded by the Council of Europe as one of the most pristine and beautiful natural areas of the old continent. Sources are abundant in FarangiKonta the entrance is the chapel of St. Nicholas, surrounded by trees and water sources olodrosero. Here believed that there was an ancient temple of Apollo and a short distance of the ancient city "Kaino." Half way is the old village of Samaria, who abandoned a few years after the proclamation of the gorge as a National Park (1962). There is the Byzantine church of Saint Mary of Egypt, where he derives the name "Samaria" which are nothing else than a corruption of: Blessed Maria - Siamaria - Samaria. Now the abandoned settlement of a telephone, a police station, pharmacy, heliport for emergency etc. Also during the journey are: first aid kits and fire extinguishers. The crossing of the gorge is a unique and compelling experience.
The hiker is surrounded by nature and the wild beauty and rewarded for hard hiking in the rugged, steep land with a majestic, primitive spectacle without any human intervention. Cretan wild goat (Kri - Kri) Impressive and imposing is the point called the "Door", because the vertical sides are too close together (3 - 4 meters). As you finish crossing the gorge seems remotely Agia Roumeli, where there the hiker will encounter one of the most beautiful beaches of southern Crete. Agia Roumeli is built on the ancient city of Tara. Cut off (by car) from the rest of Crete. Connected only by sea (small boats) to Sfakia in the east, Sougia and Paleochora in the west and from there by bus to Chania and Rethymno.
4. Chrissi Island, Ierapetra
The Chrissi ''Golden Beach'' is one of the 81 uninhabited islands of Crete and is approximately 8 nautical miles south of Ierapetra. No cars allowed! Locals call it "Gaidouronisi" (donkey island) or simply "Island". The length of the island is 5 km and a width of 1 km the highest point is called Kefalas and with a height of 31 meters. This is an earthly paradise of golden beaches and white sands, crystal waters, olive cedar and countless small shells in many places on the coast! Throughout the length of the island, mainly in the center, there is a cedar forest with trees that exist there for over 200 years! West of the island there is the chapel of St. Nicholas was probably built in the 13th century, the salt lake that still has salt, the tombs of the Roman years, the lighthouse and the sleeve of the ancient harbor. The sea around the Golden beach is very rich in fossils on volcanic rocks, which are there since the island was submerged in the sea! Many of these fossils are still in the area around Chrissi. On the northern coast of the island, namely beaches Belegrina, Chatzivolaka and face to face, there is an enormous number of small shells which at first gives the impression of small pebbles. But when you put in your palm and look closely, you will see with surprise only small shells! Most of the coast swarmed with small shells! Those beaches are sunbeds and umbrellas for hire and a beach bar with snacks and refreshments. East of Golden, about 700 meters, is a small rocky island in Mikronisi.
5. Spinalonga, Elounda
Spinalonga is a small island north of the gulf of Elounda in Lassithi. The ancients called Kalydon when the Venetians occupied called Spinalonga. The fortified and made sure to highlight the beauty of the island and the surrounding area. This is an excellent cosmetic fort that held up very well till today! In 1574 began the fortification of the Venetians because of the beginning of Turks raid. So they wanted to protect the island from invaders but they were also interesting in taking the salt of Elounda. In 1649 Crete was conquered by the Turks but Spinalonga remained in Venetian for 65 years, during which many rebels Cretans used the island as a refuge.
A very important historical period for Spinalonga was the 50 years which used as a leper colony. From 1905 all the lepers of Crete moved to the island after their isolation in Miskinia in Heraklion. In 1957 after the discovery of antibiotics the leper colony of Spinalonga closed. After then the island filled each year by tourists and Greeks who want to see the beauty, the deep blue sea and the imposing amphitheater fortress. The beautiful streets and vacant homes and buildings that are there can transfer you to another era. Spinalonga can be reached by boat which leaves every hour from Saint Nicholas, Plaka and Elounda. The nearest route is from the Plaka village which is about 800 meters from Spinalonga.
6. Matala, Red Sand Beach
Matala is situated in southern Crete in Heraklion, about 70 km from the city. This is a small fishing village with the famous, beautiful, sandy beach. The clear, blue waters combined with the small artificial caves are carved into the rocks are the elements that make the unique beach of Matala! Matala has no infrastructure such as apartments, hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes. The beach is organized and easy access! Really worth to visit the beach of Matala! The landscape that you will see will amaze you! It is known around the world that there's the 70 insurgents fled the new era, so-called hippies. Among the famous artists and some of the time from the scene of rock music like Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, and Cat Stevens. Some years later, when the ''xounda'' ruling Greece, by order of Bishop Gortyna, the hippies were removed from Matala. Since the caves of Matala protected by the Archaeological Service. Matala in Minoan times was the port of Phaistos and Gortyn Roman. There are many shipwrecks that have been found. The most important is that of Menelaus allegedly took place between Matala and Kommos. Throughout the region there are traces of habitation from ancient times. Inside the caves were the tombs of pre-Christian and Greco-years, while some speculate that the caves used as dwellings in prehistoric times.
7. Palace of Knossos, Heraklion
With large excavations made in Heraklion Crete at the late 19th century and later came to the surface of the ground the remains of a phenomenal civilization, The Minoan civilization which is the first high civilization in Europe in about the years 2800 to 1000 BC. The Arthur Evans, the English archeologist of Knossos, named this culture Minoans, the name comes from the famous King Minos. After the excavations have exposed in the middle of the site of Minoan the actual palace of King Minos rich deposits, the royal apartments to religious sites, the huge central courtyard and finally the throne room where they discovered the "throne Minos, "The throne of King Minoas is the oldest in Europe". In the third millennium (somewhere between 2800 and 2600 BC) in Crete starts a new era, the Bronze Age, characterized by the manufacture of copper and widespread use of metals. The Minoans are known from the paintings, where we see the virtual image, and their works, where we admire their skills. Anthropological classified by some researchers in the Mediterranean race, which typically is the small stature, black hair and eyes.
8. Sacred Monastery of Arkadi, Rethymnon
The monastery of Arcady is located about 70 kilometers from Rethymnon city and has a great history related to the Cretan revolution in 1866. When the monastery was build was just not accurate. It is said that according to tradition founded by Heraclitus and rebuilt by the Byzantine emperor Arcadius in the 5th century from whom it took its name. The monastery was founded by a monk Arcadius so it took the name "Arkadi monastery". The Remains, however, are kept in the northwestern part of the enclosure. There is a story, which certifies that the original temple was dedicated to Saint Constantine. What is said by some travelers that the name of the monastery comes from the ancient city of Arcadia in Crete is wrong. Because this city was too far away from the area that the monastery of Arkadi builded. At the end of the 16th century (1587) was a renovation of the monastery and was built in the same position as in today. There is a museum inside the monastery with collections from Byzantine. In the main area there is dedicatory construction dedicated to the Cretan people who fight and died in this place.
9. Loutro, Chania
To the southwest of Crete, in Chania, is the Loutro. This is a small, traditional fishing village where you can reach only by boat from Sfakia and Agia Roumeli, or walk Anopoli Sfakia and Agia Roumeli. The history in this place is very strong, the old city of Phoenix a significant port at roman and Hellenic periods. The beaches are clean in Loutro with crystal waters and accessible either by foot or by boat. Some of these are also available for nudism. If you need relaxation, we recommend you to visit Loutro. It is definitely a destination not to have touched the ugly side of tourism development. There you will find a few rooms and a few taverns and cafes. Some of the rental rooms don't have electricity and use only oil lamp which makes it for a more romantic atmosphere!
10. Phaistos, Heraklion
Phaistos was the second largest city of Crete in 2000 BC, after Knossos, and is now an important archaeological site. Located about 62 km southwest of Heraklion, Crete, south of the river of Geropotamos. Built on a low hill at an altitude of 100 m above sea level, surrounded by towering mountains of Psiloritis and Asterousia the Lasithiotikon mountains, while a short distance away is the town Tympaki. East and north of Phaistos is the Lithaios, where the inhabitants were supplied with water. Many authors have reported ancient Phaistos. The first mention of Phaistos is in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, indicating the involvement of Phaistos in the war of Troy and describes as a "well populated" city. The ancient historian Diodorus Siculus attributes the foundation of Phaistos, and Knossos and Cydonia, to Minos. Information about the history of the ancient city came to light after Italian archaeological excavations. The name is pre-Greek and signs of Knossos Linear B is Paito (attic type Phaistos) and the etymology is from F (F) = tissue brilliant, glorious.
It is one of the 3 significant cities created by Minos and was the second most vital center of Minoan civilization era. According to mythology, Phaistos reign in the dynasty founded by Rodamanthys, son of Zeus and brother of Minos. Phaistos was inhabited since the Neolithic era and prospered enormously in the mid third millennium BC, the Bronze Age.The site of Phaistos is never packed and you can wanter around the encient Palace and discover the habitation in your own time go through some of the greatest remarkable sights that Crete has proposal.
11. Cretaquarium Thalassokosmos, Heraklion
The aquarium "Thalassocosmos" in Heraklion, Crete offers its guests a new experience for a trip to the mysterious world of sea and marine organisms of the Mediterranean. The Aquarium of Crete aims to inform and educate on issues concerning the marine environment, to lead the respect and solidarity with the unique Mediterranean world and inspire kids and adults to be sensitized and mobilized on issues related to healthy future marine environment. Its location is also prime Thalassocosmos since developed on the waterfront of the former American Base Gournes, 15 km from Heraklion city and very close to most tourist area in Crete ranging from Gournes Heraklion, to Hersonissos and Aghios Nikolaos .
The visitor who arrives at the aquarium in principle faces a modern building, the architectural design evokes a ship facing the bow towards the western horizon of the sea. After entering the extensive reception area may choose to tour the site of the aquarium-tanks, you can enjoy lunch or coffee in the restaurant and snack bar, or you can attend screenings and events in the multipurpose room. The tour is estimated to last approximately 1 hour if the visitor wishes to explore all organisms and exhibits. The Aquarium is open to all, young and old, families and especially children, research spirits, the romantic, the lovers, the experts and all those who want to learn about the marine environment of the Mediterranean, relax in a pleasant environment and spend a special day.
12. Melidoni Cave, Rethymnon
The Cave of Melidoni is about 1,800 meters northwest of the actual village of Melidoni and it is of big interest because of the archaeological finds, some of which are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Rethymnon. The cave Melidoni otherwise called "Gerontospilios" (the oldman Cave). He was one of the greatest worship caves, and a Minoan worship cave at the bronze period, giant Talos of Crete, who was in charge of the safety and protection of the island, according to mythology. It is very important from the archaeological and historical sided, since the Melidoni cave was a shelter for 370 women and 30 warriors, who try to escape the Turkish reign in October of 1823. Historical facts indicate that the Bay Hussein, encircling the cave, with his army, and called the Cretans to surrender. They refused of course and the Turks threw flammable materials from the top opening of the cave and put it on fired. In January 1824 Women and warriors, they left their last breath in the damp cave. The arched entrance to the cave welcomes us and leads us to the first room of the fabulous cave called "hall of heroes." A complex of stalagmites begins and unfolds before us. After the main room we arrive in another huge hall with stalagmites and stalactites, creating a magnificent complex offering a fabulous sight to the visitor.
13. Vai Beach, Lassithi
East of Sitia about 25 km from town and 6 km from Palekastro, on the Iron Cape, is the beautiful beach of Vai. It is unique in Europe thanks to the rich palm of that combined with the turquoise waters of gives the feeling that you are on a tropical shore. The beach is clean with fine sand and pebbles, organized and has received many awards and the Blue Flag of European Union. The campsite is not allowed. The view that you will see arriving on the beach of Vai, is unique. This is an area that differs from the usual aesthetic beaches in Greece. Crowd gathers each year and is definitely a destination worth visiting. Close to Vai beach you can find Itanos and Toplou well as.
14. Eleftherna, Rethymnon
On the northwestern slopes of Mount Ida and just 30 km from Rethymnon, the archaeological site of Eleftherna spans 3,750 acres, there are still excavation carried out currently at 55 of them, which were purchased from the University of Crete. The findings are mainly from the Geometric period to the Early dating, although the residential area is starting from the Minoan era and has continued until today in villages. Till now the archaeologists have extracted the acropolis, a necropolis and very recently a "gold" grave with a "Rich" shroud, consisting of 3,000 sheets of gold, covered a young couple!
15. Morosini Fountain (Lion's Fountain), Heraklion
The Morosini Fountain located at Eleftherios Venizelos Square in the center of Heraklion, Heraklion, but for this name is unknown and is commonly referred to as the Square Lions or Lions for short. It is now one of the most important monuments of the city and is one of those who bequeathed it to the Venetians. Its construction was carried out by Francesco Morozini in 1628, which through a complex system of pipes brought water to the city from the sources of Archanes. From the mountain Giouchtas Arhanes, water arrived in Heraklion with a 15 km long pipeline. To complete the project took 14 months and was inaugurated on April 25, 1628, feast day of St. Mark, patron saint of Venice. The reservoir of the fountain is located on a circular platform and consists of eight lobes, which helped shape more people to fill their pitchers at the same time. In the center of the fountain sit four lions from their mouths running water. At the top of the fountain was a huge marble statue of Neptune Triainoforou( The man who carries a trident) as yet there is not remains today.
16. Falasarna Beach, Chania
17 km from Kissamos (Kastelli) to the northwest of Crete, is the beautiful beach of Falassarna. This is one of the cleanest beaches in Crete with crystal waters and has several times awarded as the best beach in Greece and one of the best in Europe! The white and red sand and the views of the majestic mountains that surround, make Falasarna as one of the must visit if you visit the site. In Falassarna are the old town and harbor, as are other beautiful beaches. You can lay on the beach with your own beach towel or rent an umbrella. Try not to miss the sunset is unique and magical. There are some taverns and nice accommodation to eat and stay. To reach Falasarna follow the road connecting Chania to Kastelli and before the village Platanos, turn right. Public transport is limited in this area of Crete so try to hire a car for exploring
17. Lake Kournas, Chania
Lake Kournas, a painting adorns the prefecture of Chania. The only natural lake of Crete, is located 30 km from Chania near the borders with Rethymnon, between hills, a great destination for winter and summer. Its name derives from the Arabic word which means Kournas baths or haunted lake ... and that's common for a lake ... The legend tells of a blonde girl who many years ago in an attempt to save himself from the sexual appetites of her father wished the whole region to sink and become a lake. As it happened ... and then ... they tell stories of a young woman sometimes makes its appearance of sitting on a rock in the lake and combing her blond hair.
In modern times ... the lake has an important habitat. The banks are green and white sand in them, makes it ideal for swimming and sunbathing. You can also rent paddle boats or canoes for a romantic time in the lake. The shores of Lake Kournas know major tourist development. Tourists who visit can enjoy views of the lake along with Cretan delicacies at the many shops that operate in the region. Nearby, at the beginning of Rethymnon are the sources of Argyroupolis. A green oasis with running water. Their sound, are the ultimate soothing sound. light a candle in the chapel of the Holy Force, located within a rock, try and follow one of the many beautiful trails routes. This exercise opens the appetite. Do not worry, you will find several restaurants in the area. Then you can visit the village of Argyroupolis, built on the ruins of ancient Lappa, a large Doric and Roman city.
18. Lassithi Plateau
Natural fortress between the mountains Selena, Master Christ and divine Dikti, nestles the Lassithi Plateau. In this natural and safe place, with the amazing views of beauty and isolation and friendly people Region: Its capital is the beautiful seaside town of Agios Nikolaos . It also has attractive touristy routs and resorts with up-to-date services, mountainous villages where you can still find the old-style Cretan way of life, the traveller can find old and new windmills and wonderful seashores. Lassithi is beautiful in summer but in winter season as well.
19. Venetian Fortezza, Rethymnon
The famous Fortezza is the most prominent building in Rethymnon. It rises on a rock hill Palaiokastro on the west side of town and overlooks the picturesque Venetian port. On the Fortezza there was once an ancient temple of the goddess Artemis.
After the terrible attack of Algerian pirates Ouloutz Ali in 1571, which gave the town of Rethymno literally on fire, the Venetians decided to fortify the city and the sea, and built the fortress Fortezza, the largest and most fortified castle that had built up then in Crete! The fortress was constructed for 15 years (1537-1588). The total length of the walls of the fort reaches 1307 meters and is reinforced with 4 bastions. The castle was not inhabited by locals ever: there remained only the Venetian governor and garrison. Above the fort was built public buildings, stores of ammunition, the barracks and a hospital. The Fortezza fell to the Turks on November 4, 1646.
At the foot of the Fortezza now lies the old town with its picturesque narrow streets and Venetian buildings as well. From the fortress of Fortezza survive today the mosque of Sultan Ibrahim Khan with a large dome, the ruins of Government House, which was the residence of advisers "rector" (the Venetian prefect), the church of St. Theodore, tanks, circular angles and the walls, which in many places have been restored.
20. Preveli Beach, Rethymnon
The beach is located south of Rethymno, within a green area at the end of Kourtaliotiko gorge. As you leave the Monastery of Preveli with your car you have to park it and start walking to the beach with palm trees. After walking into the forest of the unique palms lies the sandy beach of Preveli with its magnificent waterfalls that pour into the sea. You can take a short walk or rent a waterbike will help you discover the beauty of the area. Lake Preveli is one of the most beautiful sights. The scenery looks tropical and is definitely a trip that will offer you a surprise! Many characterize the region of Preveli, as an earthly paradise!
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