Need some inspiration on how to spend one week on the Greek island of Crete? Filled with charming towns and villages, delicious food (and wine!), picture-perfect beaches, historic ruins, and jaw-droppingly beautiful mountains, Crete is a vibrant destination with tons of things to do and see. Take a look at how I spent seven days exploring Chania, Sougia, Loutro, Balos Beach, and more!
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When visiting Crete, there’s often the question of which side of the island to spend your time at. For a Greek island, Crete is huge.
In fact, it’s the largest of the Greek islands and takes several hours to drive across the island from one side to the other, making it especially important to determine how long you should spend there and which side of the island to stay on.
When Dan (the wanderful husband) and I were planning our one week trip to Crete, we decided to stay on the west side of the island, as this has some of the best beaches, views, and villages.
Not to mention, it was super easy to fly into, as the Chania airport has well-connected routes to not only the rest of Greece, but internationally.
Personally, we flew from Athens after spending a few days in the Greek capital and then flew direct to Manchester at the end of our trip.
Within the seven days we had on Crete, we spent our time across the remarkable destinations of Chania, Sougia, Loutro, Balos Beach, Agii Apostili, and so much more. Check it each destination below and make sure to add Crete to your must-visit list ASAP!
ONE WEEK IN CRETE, GREECE
Day One: Agii Apostili
The first four days of our one week Crete trip was spent around the region of Chania, more specifically the area of Agii Apostili, which seems to be known for its resort-like atmosphere and stunning beaches (there are four crescent-shaped beaches around here!).
We stayed at the Golden Bay resort, which was not the best experience but is ideally located and has easy access to picturesque beaches, delicious restaurants, and Chania (the Old Town is within easy driving distance of Agii Apostili and well worth a visit!).
The first day of our trip consisted of flying into Chania, picking up our rental car, navigating our way to the hotel, exploring Agii Apostili, and catching the sunset with a drink at our hotel’s restaurant, Golden Bay Bar.
Our rental car was a teeny tiny little Fiat Panda, which we rented through Kayak for a ridiculously low price of $150 total.
Since Crete is so large and there are so many things to see and do here, I highly recommend renting a car for your trip! If you fly into Chania or Heraklion, you can find cheap manual cars, as well as automatic cars if you can’t drive a manual (like me!).
Day Two: Balos Beach
Our second day on Crete featured Balos Beach, one of the most popular and famous beaches on the island and throughout Greece. Balos Beach is reached by driving for two miles down a precarious road situated on the edge of a cliff.
Once you get to the parking area and park the car, you then have to walk about a mile and are welcomed with unbelievable views of the beach and ocean!
We spent around three to four hours at Balos Beach before heading back to our hotel for dinner. Seriously, guys, this place is incredible and one of the best things to do on Crete.
Day Three: The Miracle of Wine and Olive Oil Tour
As you drive and explore the wondrous island of Crete, you’ll notice it’s covered in olive trees and vineyards.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that Crete has a vibrant wine and olive oil scene! We wanted to learn as much as we could about these delicacies and get the most out of wine tasting (with no driving!), so we booked a day tour from Chania through GetYourGuide.
It was spectacular! Our exceptional guide, Giannis, took us to a well-known olive oil factory where we had the opportunity to taste renowned olive oil.
Next, we visited a couple wineries and tasted everything from fruity and dry white wine to sweet and heavy-bodied reds.
In addition to the wine and olive oil, we had some delicious local foods, like breads, olives, fruits, and vegetables. There was also some cheese and meats, but as we are vegan, our fellow tour attendees at those!
While on the tour, we also visited the oldest olive tree in the world (or supposedly)! All in all, we had a great time on this tour and highly recommend it, especially if you want to try some local wines and not have to drive.
Click Here to Check Out The Miracle of Wine and Olive Oil: Day Tour from Chania
Day Four: Chania Old Town
On our last day in Chania, we drove to the city center and explored Chania Old Town.
Filled with vibrant-colored buildings, beautiful architecture, the incredible Old Venetian Port of Chania, local restaurants serving up flavorful dishes, cute little shops, and much more.
Over the course of four or five hours, we ate a delicious vegan lunch at PULSE Vegan Restaurant, strolled through the picturesque streets of Chania, explored the old port, visited the Maritime Musuem of Crete, and drank a few local Cretan beers at a small cafe.
It was lovely! Chania Old Town is must do when you’re putting your together your Crete itinerary.
Day Five: Sougia
After spending four days around Chania, we made our way down to Crete’s southern coast to stay near the seaside village of Sougia.
We stayed at the gorgeous Monastery Estate hotel, which featured a crystal clear private pool, stunning views of the surrounding mountains, a relaxing spa and sauna, restaurant and bar, and a super welcoming staff who made our stay amazing.
This small and intimate hotel is well worth it if you’re looking for a more luxurious stay on the island of Crete! There are only 10 rooms and each has its own private pool or hot tub, which is why we booked it. (Click here to check out the Monastery Estate Hotel.)
After checking into our hotel, we ventured down to Sougia to see what this small Greek village had to offer. We discovered an abundance of restaurants, a lovely beach, great hiking trails, and easy ferry access to nearby seaside villages, like Loutro.
All in all, Sougia is a great place to base yourself if you are visiting southern Crete.
Day Six: Loutro
Hands down, Loutro is my favorite Crete destination on this one week Crete itinerary!
A tiny seaside village on the south side of Crete, Loutro is only accessible by boat or foot and features unbelievably blue waters, relaxing sunbathing, wonderful snorkeling and kayaking opportunities, great restaurants, and jaw-droppingly beautiful views.
We got to Loutro by taking the ferry from Sougia, with a short stop at Agia Roumeli. The ferry ticket was €20 per person round trip. It takes a couple hours to get to there but it’s completely worth it, as Loutro is like nowhere else!
Day Seven: Lissos Gorge and Beach Hike
Our last full day on Crete took us to Lissos Beach, a remote beach near Sougia that is reached either by foot or boat. (This is also a naturist–or nude–beach!)
We opted to hike there via the 3.5 mile out-and-back trail, which starts from Sougia, goes through the amazing Lissos Gorge, past the historic Lissos Archaeological Site, and ends at Lissos Beach.
It took us around an hour to get to the beach from Sougia and we spent about an hour at the beach, relaxing in the sun and swimming in the refreshing, crystal-clear waters.
After relaxing on the beach, we explored the Lissos Archaeological Site, an ancient city that dates back to Minoan times and was once a port for the Dorian city of Elyros. There are many ruins around the site, including those from numerous temples, tombs, and ancient homes.
Once we were done exploring the area of Lissos, we headed back to the Monastery Estate hotel to recharge and relax in the sun by our room’s private pool. It was heavenly!
After spending seven days visiting Chania Old Town, Agii Apostili, Balos Beach, Sougia, and Loutro, it was time to depart Chania and head back to England!
Our last day on Crete was spent checking out of the Monastery Estate hotel and driving across the island from Sougia to Chania airport. This drive is absolutely stunning and boasts beautiful views of the mountains, tiny Greek villages, and endless roads that twist and turn through the rugged landscape.
All in all, our one week trip to Crete was incredible! This island was a great place to spend our honeymoon.
Not to mention a great place to eat a ton of delicious Greek vegan food, like Greek fava dip, vegetable gemista (stuffed peppers), dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), briam (roasted vegetables), and athoi gemistoi (stuffed zucchini blossoms). As vegans, we were spoiled for choice!
Tell me, are you planning a trip to Crete or Greece? Which destinations are on your must-visit list? Share your thoughts and travel plans in the comments below!
Fern BundeJanuary 12, 2023 4:27 pm
I enjoyed this beautiful trip by the way you described it. Only wish I was as young as you. It sounded like a fairytale the way you describe each place. Looking at the pictures I can imagine all the great things you said. Thank you so much for this interesting week.