Ever wanted to visit Crete but not sure what the beautiful and rich island has to offer? Below you can read a summary of all the most beautiful and worth-visiting spots in Crete.
Special weather conditions and enormous geological contradictions have indeed made Crete into a unique landscape with loads of naturals spots. Different views, sensations, and colors accompany visitors at every step. There are rocky summits, emerald beaches, verdant mountains and gurgling rivers that not only reflect the development of different ecosystems but show great contrasts.
All you need to do is rent a villa in Crete and explore the beautiful nature that is to be found only in Crete. Get ready for carefree holidays amidst natural beauty and memorable experiences.
Here are some of the top nature spots to explore and enjoy in Crete. Every nature lover would love top explore Crete that offers innumerable walks and excursions. You will find plenty of Instagram-worthy spots while exploring the nature.
Explore the long trekking Samaria Gorge
Thousands of tourists flock to Samaria Gorge which is the most famous of all. The gorge is located at the South of Chania Prefecture, and the length of the gorge extends to 18 km. It was created by a small river that runs between the White Mountains and Mountain Volakias. Depending on trekking speed, it takes about 4-7 hours to hike from Omalos to Agia Roumeli. The best time to explore the gorge is the spring when the vegetation is at its best, and the weather is still cool.
The rare endemic species of Cretan Date Palm
Cretan Date Palm is also known as the palm of Theophrastus. It grows in rocky areas and sandy plains near sea level. The largest palm grove in Europe is located in East Crete in the Vai. There are other smaller species of palm groves such as Martsalo Gorge, Agios Nikitas, and Lake Preveli. The Cretan palm usually produces offshoots and can reach a height of up to 15m. However do not eat the fruit as it is not edible.
Numerous caves in Crete
The rugged topography of Crete boasts of several caves. In fact, there are more than 4.500 mapped caves and sinkholes here. The prehistoric carvings in the caves show that thousands of years ago, people lived in caves. Many tribes worshipped their deities in caves. Many of these caves carry high ecological significance and are open to visitors. Some of the most famous caves are Diktaean Cave, Gerontospilios, and Sfendoni. The areas where one can find a maximum number of caves include Stroumboulas, Geopark, Geopark and Melidoni area in the White Mountains.
The large Cretan mountains
The vast mountain ranges are the most distinctive feature of Crete. Those mountain ranges are grouped into the Dikti range, the Ida range, and the White Mountains. Timios Stavros on the Psiloritis range is the highest peak in Crete. Other essential mountains include the Asterousia range, Mount Yiouchtas, Mount Kedros and the Talean range. The white Mountains is an impressive range that boasts of more than fifty peaks.
Get inspired by Cretan beaches
Crete offers the ultimate combination of the hidden beaches in the wild gorges and the emerald bays and lagoons. The lagoon of Balos is the most photographed beach in Crete and a favourite among the tourists. Even Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Balos in their private yacht once. Another exotic beach is Falassarna, which is located in the western part of Cape Gramvousa. Elafonisi beach is oblong and lies in the southwestern most point of Crete. Kedrodasos beach is filled with juniper trees, and sand dunes is simply a fantastic beach. Crete welcomes thousands of visitors every year thanks to its famous beaches.
Hundreds of small and high waterfalls
When the rivers on the rugged terrain of Crete meet large faults and make deep descents through the canyons, they form hundreds of small and high waterfalls. There are still many waterfalls that the locals are not aware of, as they lie hidden in the impassable gorges. The falls of Kourtaliotis are the most famous waterfalls. The large fault of the Asterousia Range forms impressive waterfalls and the fall Lichnistis at Maridaki is one of the most famous. Another impressive waterfall is Ambas by Paranymfi. It is impossible to cross the gorges of Crete with high waterfalls without technical guide and equipment.
Dense Mediterranean forests
The most beautiful landscapes in Crete remain covered with dense forests. However, logging, overgrazing, and fires have damaged the forests. Still, the remaining forests are a typical sample of the Mediterranean vegetation of the island. Each province of Crete carries its own characteristic trees. For example, the Apokoronas and Sfakia provinces are covered with cypresses while Thrypti has mainly pines, while Kissamos is covered with chestnuts. The White Mountains are home to oaks. National Reserve of the White Mountains showcase the most essential cypress woods. Various parts of the island woods boast of special tree species.
The rivers of Crete
Crete has few rivers because of its small width. Most of the rivers have water only during the winters and start from the mountains of the island and end in the Libyan Sea. Almiros spring located at the northeastern side of Psiloritis runs off the maximum water quantity in Crete. The sacred river of the Minoans, Geropotamos, gathers the water of Mesara Plain. River Platis Potamos carries a lot of water and goes through dense vegetation. There are several stone bridges along the banks of the river. Aposelemis River, the longest rivers in Crete, is fed by the groundwater of Lassithi and the springs of Fleges. River Anapodaris is another favourite river that is located in Heraklion.