Hello – we are Sydney & Davis. Welcome to our blog on the 10 reasons to fall in love with Crete this summer. Sydney grew up in Virginia just outside of Washington D.C. and Davis grew up in Los Angeles, California.
We met in college while out dancing one night and were married after less than a year of dating. Sydney was studying Chemical Engineering and Davis was studying Opera Performance. It was during our time in college that we decided to get married and build our lives together.
When we first graduated, we went on a month-long trip to Southeast Asia and bought our first DSLR camera. After this trip we officially caught the travel bug! But then we moved to Houston to start our careers.
At the time, travel filled our dreams but we didn’t know how to make it our jobs. Sydney was working in marketing which meant she was on a plane every week flying around the US to meet clients. Most of her time was spent in meetings rather than seeing the destinations.
She grew tired of always being away from Davis and spending her life inside conference rooms doing something she wasn’t really passionate about. One day she just decided that she wasn’t going to let her life pass her by. So, she quit her job to focus on a new travel business full time.
What we love most about travel is learning just how diverse the world is. We are reminded time and time again that we are all human beings and all deal with a lot of the same fears and joys – no matter where we come from.
Inspiration to Visit the Beautifully Diverse Crete
On our first trip to Greece before starting our travel business, we visited the stunning island of Santorini. It was one of our best travel experiences. After getting a taste of Greek life, we wanted to come back as quick as possible.
We heard that Crete was the largest Greek island offering amazing diversity such as beautiful beaches, epic mountains and cute villages. So we were eager to visit and explore the many facets of this island for ourselves.
Our trip was 4 days long and we spent most of our time on the western side of the island. We landed in Chania and rented a car. This made it easy to explore the island in freedom whenever and wherever we wanted.
Seitan Limania beach was our first stop due to its proximity to the airport. We were stunned at just how gorgeous this initial journey was on the island. The next couple of days were spent exploring different beaches including Balso, Elafonisi, Georgioupolis, Rethymno, Matala and Heraklion.
The diversity of Crete was nothing short of amazing with shoreline’s reminiscent of French Polynesia. Then there were the villages lined with cobblestone streets and fresh flowers, and mountains lurking on the horizon. We loved the different black, white and pink sand beaches.
The people of Crete were also generous and willing to teach us about the culture. It is a very warm and welcoming place. The Greek people have such big hearts and treated us as if we were all part of one big family.
Favourite Place in Crete – Balos Beach
We loved every aspect of Crete and wish we had more time to soak it all in. Our favourite place that we experienced in our 4 days was Balos beach. We arrived early in the day and had some peaceful morning hours alone on the beach. But the actual journey there was what made it special.
Traversing the dirt roads that wind their way through the sweeping coast of northwest Crete was amazing. We even got stuck behind a herd of goats along the way. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to roll down the windows and listen to the goat bells clang as we followed them.
And then, when we arrived, the view of the beach was hidden from us at the parking lot. We were only able to soak in the views once we started hiking down. The water was many different shades of turquoise with gorgeous white sand – and we could see the iconic island on the horizon.
It was hands down one of the best beaches we have ever seen!
10 Best Things To Do in Crete
Crete offers a rich tapestry of summer experiences that can’t be matched anywhere. From idyllic beaches and vibrant cities, to wonderful cuisines and exciting festivals – there are endless possibilities on this charismatic island. See our top 10 reasons to fall in love with Crete this summer below.
1. Spend a Day at the Beautiful Balos Beach
Balos beach was our favourite place in Crete and it’s easy to see why people fall in love with this destination. For starters, the view of the different bays on the hike down is priceless. We loved spending the day here – swimming in the pure turquoise waters and enjoying the wild natural beauty.
2. Visit the Stunning Elafonissi Beach of Crete
Elafonissi beach is full of coves and clear shallow waters. Combine the turquoise waters here with the unique pink-coloured sand and you have one of the most stunning beaches in Crete. The beach is located around 2 hours drive from Chania, making it a fun road trip to get there.
3. Wander the Quaint Streets of Heraklion
We loved the twists and turns in the streets of Heraklion. It felt like we were in the epitome of a traditional Greek town. This is the largest city of Crete and one of the major urban centres in Greece. Highlights include visiting the Venetian Harbour, Knossos, Koules Fortress and more.
4. Watch the Sunset from Charming Rethymno
There’s a cool vibe in Rethymno, especially at night when restaurant-goers fill the marina. The town combines the charm and history of traditional Greek streets with proximity to a nice long beach. This makes it an attractive place to visit. It’s also a serene destination to watch the sunset.
5. Discover the St. Nicholas Church at Georgioupolis
The path out to the church of St. Nicholas is super picturesque and can be a transformational experience. It was a beautiful spot to soak in the ocean surroundings and admire the classic white church architecture. St. Nicholas church is one of the most photographed places in Crete.
6. Explore the Caves of Matala in Crete
The Caves of Matala offer so much history. Indeed, hiking around the cliffside caves felt like we were going back in time. These rocks were carved out thousands of years ago in the steep cliffs that rise above the north side of the beach. Many believe that they are Roman or Early Christian tombs.
7. Take a Lovely Boat Ride to Loutro
Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to visit this gem but we heard so many amazing things about Loutro. It’s a peaceful village that offers stunning views and nothing more than a few hotels, taverns, mini-markets, blue houses, a pebble beach and fish taverns. It’s a magical little spot.
8. Swim at the Unique Seitan Limania Beach
Seitan Limania beach is probably the place you have seen the most photos of. The shape of the bay is totally unique (like a zig-zag) and the water is electric blue. We have never seen anything quite like this on a beach. We recommend spending at least one afternoon here, swimming and relaxing.
9. Stop at a Roadside Fruit Stand for a Snack
We love tasting local produce wherever we go and the roadside fruit stands in Crete gave us this opportunity. The fruit on this island is ridiculously fresh. Make sure you try the oranges made in Maleme, cherries from Gerakari, bananas from Arvi and apples from Lassithi Plateau.
10. Swim in the Ocean Everyday in Crete
Our last reason why you will fall in love with Crete is an obvious one. Swimming in the ocean is a typical summer experience and Crete is blessed with many beautiful beaches. The temperature gets quite high in summer so make sure you cool off whenever you can.
Beautiful Moments at Rethymno
Our favourite memory from our trip was watching the sunset in Rethymno. We were out on the jetty, watching the sunset over the ocean. The sky was a fiery orange for about half an hour and then a small silver moon came sparkling out. Meanwhile, the nearby restaurants started to fill up.
We listened to the atmosphere of the restaurants coming to life along the marina and watched the city light up as the sky grew darker. It was our last night in Crete – so we were doing our best to soak in the atmosphere.
What you Need to Know Before you Go
The first tip we can give is to try the local cuisine of Crete. Greek food is one of our favourites and we love the light Mediterranean flavours. From charcoal grilled vegetables to crisp Greek salads covered in herbs and olive oils. We would have this combo almost every night in Crete.
Definitely rent a car so you can explore the largest Greek island by yourself. Depending on the amount of time you have, we recommend focusing on one side of the island at a time. We stayed on the western part of Crete but can’t wait to explore the east coast on our next trip.