Crete
History & Heritage

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Our most recommended Crete History & Heritage

Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Entry with Guided Walking Tour

1. Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Entry with Guided Walking Tour

Join a guided tour of Knossos, a complex of more than 1500 interlocking rooms, once an astonishing palace built for a mighty king of the Bronze Age. Knossos is considered Europe’s oldest city. As you wander through the labyrinthine ruins, get the chance to see the original throne of ‘’Minos”, the mystifying sanctuaries, the luxurious domestic quarters of the royal family, Crete’s treasures pantries, and the water-management systems. The first palace of Knossos was erected soon after 2000 BC. In 1700 BC, a catastrophic earthquake destroyed the Palace. A new palace was built immediately, the most monumental of all, and for over 300 years it represented the pre-eminent center of power in Bronze Age Crete. The new palace was an imposing complex with important architectural innovations, splendid frescoes adorning the walls, hundreds of rooms distributed in four storeys, impressive storage areas, specialized workshops, and spacious courts hosting ceremonies and feasts. Learn how during the last decades of the 14th century BC, a series of earthquakes led to the final destruction of the palace. 

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Knossos Palace: Pre-Booked E-Ticket & Smartphone Audio Tour

2. Knossos Palace: Pre-Booked E-Ticket & Smartphone Audio Tour

Enjoy an exciting visit to Knossos, Crete’s most famous historical attraction with a skip-the-line e-ticket, which includes a compelling audio tour downloadable on your phone and a detailed map of the site. Visit the grand capital of Minoan Crete, located just south of Heraklion, and see the evocative setting, complete with impressive ruins and brightly-colored frescoes, come alive through an engaging narrative that sheds light on various elements of Minoan culture. The cupbearers and procession frescoes at the South Propylaeum, which depict scenes from everyday life and the ceremonial activities in Minoan Crete, provide a great insight into the aesthetic ideals of the time. Follow the evolution of Minoan fashion, learn about the popular hairstyles of the people, and discover the beauty products locals used to touch up their look. At the West Magazines, where the storage facilities of the palace are located, gain an understanding of the well-organized bureaucracy that supported the palace organization, the earliest forms of linear writing, as well as the Minoan economy and trade networks. Discover the copy of the “Prince of the Lilies” at the South Entrance Corridor and gaze out on Mount Juktas, perfectly framed by the eroded walls of the palace. Visit the Queen’s Megaron, embellished with famous blue dolphins fresco and equipped with a bathroom and a toilet room, where you can find out everything about the bath habits in the Minoan era.

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Georgioupolis Full-Day Land Rover Safari Experience

3. Georgioupolis Full-Day Land Rover Safari Experience

Hop in a 4x4 vehicle for a full-day safari adventure and learn about Cretan traditions while indulging in delicious food. Tour the paradisical countryside and swim in the clear water of the South Cretan Sea. Climb to an altitude of 1,200 meters and experience the quietness of the White Mountains and Cretan dances in a fascinating landscape. Keep an eye out for vultures that will take your breath away with their imposing appearance. Visit an old village with a Byzantine Church and a café stocked with Cretan products, including herbs, raki, and honey. See a castle and swim in the pristine waters of the South Cretan Sea before heading to a tavern to try traditional dishes. Visit a family-owned winery and learn how wine is produced on the island. Discover the secrets of Creten olive oil at an old factory and learn how to identify various grades of olive oil. Step into the island's past with visits to historical museums.

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From Rethymno: Full-Day Trip to Gramvousa Island & Balos Bay

4. From Rethymno: Full-Day Trip to Gramvousa Island & Balos Bay

Depart Rethymno at approximately 07:45 and travel by bus along the new national road towards the westernmost tip of Crete. Pass the bay of Souda and the former Cretan capital of Chania before your arrival in Kissamos. Upon arrival, climb aboard a boat and cross to Balos Bay at the northernmost tip of the peninsula. Relax on the 1-hour boat trip, and get 2.5 hours at Balos Bay to enjoy the soft white sands and unique blue and green waters of the lagoon. Next, take a 20-minute boat ride to Gramvousa Island for plenty of time to enjoy an unforgettable swim in the crystal clear waters. If you are feeling energetic, take an optional 137-meter climb up to the 16th-century Venetian Fortress for an incomparable view of the surrounding surroundings. Enjoy approximately 1.5 hours at peace on Gramvousa Island, and then take a 1-hour boat ride back to Kissamos. Upon arrival, continue to Rethymno by bus at the end of the laid-back tour.

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Boat Cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa from Kissamos Port

5. Boat Cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa from Kissamos Port

The boat departs from Kissamos Port and sails for about an hour in the bay, against a stunning backdrop of steep cliffs and rocks, incredible secluded beaches and the infinite blue. Have the chance to see a large cave, which is thought to be an ancient shipyard. At the end of the bay, the boat will sail between Gramvousa Island and Cape Vouxa. The landscape is breathtaking against the backdrop of Valenti, Pontikonisi, Balos Lagoon and Imeri Gramvousa. The boat shall arrive at the small port of Gramvousa, where you shall stay for about 2 hours. The location of Gramvousa, the Cretan nature, the legends and the turbulent history of the area exude a magical aura. The landscape is spectacular and the beach is adorned by a lonely shipwreck. The highest point on the island, atop a steep rock, at an altitude of 137 meters, is dominated by the famous castle of Gramvousa. You may also swim in the area next to the Church of Agioi Apostoloi, stay on the ship to relax or have some fun on the water slide. After a 2-hour stop on Gramvousa, the boat will depart for the Balos Lagoon, which will be reached after approximately 20 minutes. Balos is listed as one of the best beaches in the world. This exotic beach-lagoon and rare natural monument is situated between the Gramvousa Peninsula and Cape Tigani. You can swim in the lukewarm, turquoise blue waters, relax on the pink sandy beach or admire the natural beauty, the rocks and the cliffs rising above you. You will have the chance to stay in this paradise for about 3 hours. 

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Heraklion: E-Bike Historical Sightseeing Tour & Greek Meze

6. Heraklion: E-Bike Historical Sightseeing Tour & Greek Meze

Head to the meeting point and get kitted out with the necessary bike gear while listening to a safety briefing. When you’re ready, hit the road with your local guide and set off on your sightseeing adventure. Glide alongside the city’s imposing Venetian Walls as you make your way to Koules Fortress. Hop off your bike to take some photos of this impressive landmark and learn about its history. From here, ride into the Old Town district to see monuments of the Second World War as well as some of the city’s more modern sights. Pass by the city’s Orthodox church and mosque next, and learn about the influence of religion in Heraklion. You’ll also get a better insight into the city’s history with the Ottoman Empire. Later, cycle thorough the narrow streets of Iakkos and soak up views of this picturesque neighborhood. Once you've worked up a bit of an appetite, enjoy some delicious Greek meze and learn about traditional cuisine. Finally, stop at one of the city’s ancient markets before heading back to the meeting point where the tour ends.

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Chania: Luxury Tour to Balos and Falassarna Beach with Lunch

7. Chania: Luxury Tour to Balos and Falassarna Beach with Lunch

Visit two of the most famous beaches in Greece, Balos lagoon and Falassarna beach. Be guided up to the lagoon viewpoint by an experienced guide. Admire panoramic views and stunning skylines from the coastal viewpoint. Snap your own momentous memories to share with your family and friends. Hop in an air-conditioned 4wd and head to the next beach. Swim and snorkel in the crystal clear Mediterranean Sea at Falassarna beach, a favorite destination of the locals. Have sunbeds and umbrellas already reserved for when you arrive at the beach for a smooth and easy trip. Finally, savor a delicious lunch at a nearby restaurant for lunch. Taste traditional food and wine at your reserved table and enjoy the lively atmosphere.

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Day Tour: Spinalonga, Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, & Kolokitha

8. Day Tour: Spinalonga, Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, & Kolokitha

You will be picked up from the Heraklion area and taken along the picturesque northeast coast through the gorge of St George, reaching the small fishing village of Elounda. Today Elounda is a popular holiday resort, often visited by celebrities for the luxurious white beaches. From there, take the boat to the small island of Spinalonga. The history and the culture of Spinalonga are laced with different diverse strands of history. In Ancient Greek times it served as a natural guard for the city of Olous; later it was used as a hide-out for Saracen pirates, turned into a fortress by the Venetians, and later settled by the Turks.  After your guided tour of the island, escape to the small sandy pirate bay of Kolokitha, where the boat will be anchored. Swim in the crystal clear waters, and then savor a delicious barbecue served on board. Later the boat returns to Elounda, where you take the bus to go to the picturesque town of Agios Nikolaos. Enjoy shopping, exploring and marveling at the bottomless lake there. At the tour's end, the bus will take you back to Heraklion area.

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Chania: Old Town Highlights Private Tour with Street Food

9. Chania: Old Town Highlights Private Tour with Street Food

Meet your guide in Chania’s bustling market, then set off into historic Old Town. Unravel the history of Chania as you stroll around the streets and admire the impressively well-preserved architecture. Stroll along the cobbled narrow paths of the city, and learn about Chania’s Venetian past, renaissance heritage, and Ottoman influences. Pass by famous landmarks and soak up the charming atmosphere as you mingle with the locals. As you explore, discover the flavors of Cretan cuisine, stop at colorful food shops and taverns, selling wine, olive-oil, cheese, herbs, spices, and more, and enjoy street food samples along the way.  

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From Rethymno/Chania: Imbros Gorge Hike

10. From Rethymno/Chania: Imbros Gorge Hike

Discover the Imbros Gorge, which runs parallel to the more famous Samaria Gorge. Although the Imbros Gorge is smaller, many people prefer to cross here because it offers a very different hiking experience than the Samaria Gorge. Of the 11 kilometers, 8.5 kilometers are suitable for hiking. Discover the exquisite beauty of nature in this narrow passage and learn about the stunning rock formations.  According to legend, the name Imbros was given to the village, and subsequently the gorge, because two Greek brothers chose to live here after they were banished from Imbros Island when it was connected to Turkey. For many years, the Imbros Gorge served as part of the trail that connected the city of Chania to the Hora Sfakion village. It is notable that during World War II, after the Battle of Crete was lost by Greece and her allies, many thousands of British soldiers passed through the Imbros Gorge towards South Crete in order to get to Egypt.  After the hike, take a swim in the stunning refreshing Libyan sea. Eat lunch with the locals in the taverns. 

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What people are saying about Crete

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,676 reviews

I had a great trip and learned a lot about Cretan culture, history and food :) Our guide Yannis was very knowledgeable and kind! I totally recommend this tour!

It was a great experience, the audio really brought the site to life. Very easy to use and the skip the line feature is great. Would definitely recommend!

It was a great experience, the audio really brought life to the site and the whole process is very easy. Would definitely recommend!

Really enjoyed all the experience. Very interesting info and helpful to have the audio guides on your phone.

Fascinating site, really helpful stories and easy app.