The Samaria Gorge, the longest in Europe, is an exhilarating visit. The trail covers 18 kilometres (11.1 miles) of spectacular landscape and scenery. You may even catch a glimpse of one or two endemic animal species such as the Cretan badger or the spiny mouse. And while it may be a bit strenuous to complete this hike during the warm summer months, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views over the Libyan Sea at the end of your journey.
Samaria Gorge, Crete, Greece, +30 2821045570
Elafonissi is a small paradise on Earth. Located approximately 70 kilometres (43.4 miles) from Chania, Elafonissi is a Natura 2000 Protection Program listed area blessed with natural beauty, shallow crystal clear waters and fine sand beaches. In some places, the sand looks pink, taking the unusual colour from the thousands of crushed shells. A marvellous playground for everyone, Elafonissi is a stunning place where you can spend the day sunbathing or exploring the hidden coves.
Off the coast of Elounda, Spinalonga is a small rocky island also known as the Leper Island, as it was a leper colony until 1957. Now abandoned, the island is a major attraction for visitors who want to explore the ghost town and plunge into its tragic past.
Located in western Crete, Balos lagoon is a must-visit. Quite similar to Elafonissi, it is one of the most photographed spots in Crete. Its exotic scenery, stunning beaches and shallow turquoise waters are what make it a sought-after destination. But if you don’t want to spend the entire day soaking up some vitamin D, you can also visit the small uninhabited island of Gramvoussa, famous for its Venetian castle.
Visitors will find the Psychro Cave, also known as the Diktean Cave, in the eastern part of Crete, just outside the village of Psychro. If it weren’t for its mythological importance, the cave wouldn’t be much different from the other 3,000 caves located on the island. But the Psychro Cave is much more than a simple cave. Legend states that it was the place where the goddess Rhea gave birth to Zeus. With such significant importance, it’s no wonder that the cave still attracts thousands of visitors today.
The highest mountain in Crete, peaking at 2,456 metres (8,057.7 feet), Mount Ida, or Psiloritis, is considered to be a sacred mountain. Legend has it that this was the childhood home of Zeus. Also located there is the Cave of Zeus, in the Nida Plateau. Part of the E4 European walking path, the mountain is perfect for hikes, where you will see beautiful nature and discover small mountain villages.