10 Days in Crete: The Ultimate Itinerary + My Best Tips


The Best Itinerary for 10 days in Crete

You’re planning to visit Crete for 10 days?

Great idea!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you this 9-10-11 days itinerary in Crete.

In this itinerary, you will visit 2 emblematic places like Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion and also the Palace of Knossos or the Samaria Gorge.

And since your 10-day trip to Crete wouldn’t be complete without spending time on the most beautiful beaches in the West of the island, you will also enjoy time at Balos Beach, Elafonissi and Preveli.

In addition to the must-see attractions for each stage of your itinerary, I will also give you all my best tips and accommodation suggestions depending on your budget.

So, how to spend 10 days in Crete? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

1) Chania and its surroundings (5 days)

Day 1 – Arrival at and visit of Chania

To visit Crete in 9-10 days, I have chosen an arrival in Chania*.

*Note that you can also make this itinerary from Heraklion. Just start with this article at leg 3 of Heraklion and follow the same circuit (Heraklion – Rethymnon – Chania – Matala). The visits and the stay durations are the same.

Chania (just like Heraklion) is the most practical city to start this 10-day tour in Crete, as you can get there by plane. You must compare the flight prices at the end of this article, in the section “Going to Crete”.

To do this tour, it’s essential to rent a car. For this, regardless of the destination (Sardinia, Corsica, Greece), I always use the website Booking.com Cars.

If I’m telling you this, it’s because it’s the most convenient way to compare rates of all rental agencies present at the airport.

If you don’t have insurance included with your credit card, the site also offers a full coverage insurance that covers expenses incurred in the event of an accident or theft of your vehicle (it is much cheaper than the one that will try to sell you on-site).

If you already know your travel dates for your 10-day stay in Crete, I suggest you book your car without further delay to get the best price.

And since modification or cancellation are often free, this does not commit you to anything!

Click the button below to compare prices now:

La Canée port Vénitien
Chania Venetian old port – Visit Crete in 10 days

For this first day of your holiday in Crete, you can take the following walking route to visit the old town of Chania:

1) Discovery of the covered market where you will find stalls offering local Cretan products such as wine, spices, olive oil, raki and many types of cheese.

2) Go and see the Orthodox Greek cathedral located in a pretty square

3) Walk through the alleys of the old town at random to do some shopping in the souvenir shops. There are also plenty of shops selling jewellery or leather goods.

4) Visit the Old Venetian Port on the seafront. It is lined with beautiful houses with colourful façades and restaurants with charming decors.

5) Check out the Firkas fortress where you can go on the ramparts for free to admire the view of the Old Port and the lighthouse of Chania. You can also visit the maritime museum located inside the fort (€3 entry).

6) Cross the Old Port and go to other places to see in Chania:

  • Kiutsouk Hasan mosque (recognisable by its pink dome)
  • The great Venetian arsenal
  • The ancient boat hangars
  • San Rocco Church
  • Agios Nikolaos church and the minaret.

Very picturesque, Chania is the emblematic city to visit in Crete in 10 days.

Chania Crete
Visit Chania – 10-day itinerary in Crete

If you have time and want to relax a little, I suggest you go to one of the beaches around Chania.

I prefer the Eastern Gulf beach and its neighbour, the Agii Apostoli beach, which are bordered by pine trees, but you also have the Nea Chora beach, which is closer to the centre (much less beautiful).

Spend the night in Chania.

For more details, you must read my article dedicated to the city: Chania – The definitive guide.

Voyage Tips - Advice

As the old town of Chania is only for pedestrians, you will find a large car park for a fee near the stadium, near the covered market.

If you would like to take a guided tour of Chania, I recommend ( click on the orange link to book):

Where to stay in Chania?

  • Cocoon City Hostel: Youth hostel located in the heart of Chania. Dormitory bed from 18€, breakfast at 5€. Strong points: cleanliness, ambience, warm welcome.
  • Kedrissos Hotel: Located 2 km from the historical centre of Chania. Comfortable and warm double room with balcony from 70€, breakfast included. Strong points: swimming pool, cleanliness, friendly staff, excellent breakfast
  • Irida Hotel: Located 20 minutes on foot from the historical centre. Double room with balcony and sea view from 80€, breakfast included. Strong points: friendly staff, close to the beach, ideal location to explore Chania on foot.
  • Royal Sun: Located between Chania and the Akrotiri peninsula. Modern and comfortable double room with balcony/terrace and sea/pool or garden view from 90€, breakfast included. Strong points: quiet, beautiful pool area with views over Chania, private parking, variety of breakfast options, shuttle to the city centre. It’s my favorite for its setting and excellent value for money! 
  • Kydon The Heart City Hotel: Located close to the covered market. Spacious rooms with balcony and comfortable bedding from 130€, breakfast at 15€. Strong points: the location, the excellent breakfast, the warm welcome and the parking. This is my recommendation for an upscale stay in Chania!
  • Chania Flair Deluxe Boutique Hotel: Located 10 minutes from the Old Venetian Port, this 5* hotel offers sumptuous rooms from 250€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: Spa and wellness area, excellent location, exceptional breakfast, valet service, private beach. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Chania!
La Canée vielle ville
Chania old town

Day 2: Balos lagoon

On the second day of your 10-day road trip in Crete, you will discover one of the most beautiful places on the island: Balos lagoon. 

Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete, the lagoon offers a heavenly setting where you can spend a relaxing day. The agenda is very simple: swimming in the shallow, turquoise waters! 

Balos Beach is located about 1h30 away from Chania but you have 2 options to get there:

1) By car but you should know that the last part of the road leading to Balos is in fact strewn with stones and potholes.

Due to the condition of the road, no car rental company insures the vehicles to go to Balos, which means that if you happen anything or have an accident in the last 8 kilometres, you will have to pay for everything, without any hope of a refund.

I would like to point out that the road is still crossable (there is no need for a 4*4) provided that you drive slowly and without staying very close to the vehicle in front of you to avoid stones from pelting your vehicle.

Arriving at the car park, you can park your car for free if you arrive early enough (before 11:00am) but if it is full, you will have to leave your car on the lower side of the road. The later you arrive, the more you will have to walk to get to the beach.

Indeed, from the car park, the lagoon of Balos is only accessible by a 1.2 km path that descends quite abruptly (and is therefore a bit more complicated when returning at the end of the day😅).

But, taking this path also gives you the unique opportunity to enjoy a splendid view of the lagoon! Photo evidence below. 👇

Lagon de Balos
Viewpoint over Balos lagoon – Best things to do in Crete in 10 days

2) Getting to Balos by boat

If you don’t want to drive on the road or walk too long to get to Balos, I have the perfect solution for you: a boat trip!

Reach the port of Kissamos by car (38 km from Chania) and embark on a magnificent one-day cruise.

This boat trip in Balos must be be booked in advance by clicking on the green button below:

You will first go along the west coast of Crete by boat to the island of Gramvoussa where you will stop for about 2 hours.

This will be the opportunity to go up to the 16th century Venetian fortress or enjoy a swim.

The boat then leaves for Balos for a 20 minute crossing. You will then have all the time you need to swim in the lagoon and sunbathe.

From the lagoon, you can take 2 walks:

  • Along Cap Tigani (linked to the lagoon by the sandbar)
  • The path leading up to the car park. It’s halfway there that you’ll find the best view of Balos, which I told you about before. You won’t regret having made the effort to climb there.

If you don’t have a car, you will need to opt for the guided tour from Chania. It includes the boat trip mentioned above + transportation from your hotel. 

It needs to be booked here:

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you want a more intimate cruise, just for your family or friends, you can also book a private boat trip to Balos.

Here are the different possibilities below. Just click on the orange link to view the details:

plage Balos Crete
Balos beach – 10 days in Crete

For those who have arrived in Balos by car* and do not necessarily want to spend the whole day there, you can also 2 other places to see in the afternoon.

A 40 minute drive south of the lagoon, head to Falassarna beach. I found this long, sandy beach with translucent waters really nice. There are several Beach Clubs that rent deckchairs and sunshades.

After Falassarna and taking just a short detour on the road before arriving in Chania, you can also visit the Crete botanical garden.

Built on a mountainside, a 2.5 km trail will lead you to discover the various plants and fruits of the island and the world.

You will also see several peacocks roaming free and there is a small lake at the bottom of the garden with a few animals.

After the walk, you must try the garden restaurant, which in addition to offering a magnificent panoramic view of the surrounding mountains, serves delicious local cuisine.

Practical information: Entrance ticket to the botanical garden € 6 + 1 small bottle of water offered per person.

*If you have taken the boat trip, you will probably return a little late to go there but you can include these visits the next day.

Return to spend a second night in Chania. 

Voyage Tips - Advice

For more information about Balos Beach, read my dedicated article: How to visit the lagoon of Balos?

How about a change for this day: by car, access to Balos costs 1€ per person and on site there are paid toilets (€1).

You must plan a picnic and have some water. There is just a small snack bar at the car park and you will pay much more than in any supermarket.

For those who have opted for the cruise, it is possible to buy food on the boat, but the same, it’s more expensive.

Jardin botanique Crète
Crete botanical garden – 10-day trip to Crete

Day 3: The Samaria Gorge

The next day, to continue this 10-day itinerary in Crete, you must go on the best known hike on the island: the Samaria Gorge.

From Chania, drive to Xyloskalo, a 1 hour drive away. You can park your car in the paid car park (€5) or on the roadside for free.

Entrance to the Samaria National Park will also set you back €5 per person, to be paid by the shack from the path. Keep your ticket, you’ll be asked to return it when leaving, to ensure that no one is left in the park at the end of the day.

The hike starts at an altitude of 1230 metres and takes you down to the seafront, passing through the forest and then to the bottom of the Gorge.

Since the route is 16 km long, you should keep aside between 5 and 7 hours for the walk, and thus arrive at the entrance of the Gorge before 10:00am. 

It is imperative to have a pair of hiking shoes or at least sneakers with grip sole (forget about Converse, canvas shoes and particularly flip-flops – which are forbidden-).

You will have to be particularly careful when descending the first 4 km because it is here that the difference in height is greatest and the steps carved in the path are quite slippery.

Halfway through, at 7 km, you will find the main rest area (there are others before and after) where you can have a light picnic. You don’t necessarily need to bring a lot of water, as you can fill your bottle at the different drinking water points.

From there, you will discover the most impressive part of the Gorge, following the path that passes through the imposing rock walls. At 11 km, at the place called “The Iron Gates” which is the narrowest passage there, only 3.50 metres separate the 2 walls.

At 14 km, if you are tired, you can take a minibus (€2) for the last 2 km or end the journey on foot.

In any case, the hike ends at the village of Agia Roumeli which has a few taverns, grocery stores, souvenir shops and a beach where you can refresh yourself after this long walk.

Samaria Crète
Samaria Gorge – Best places to visit in Crete in 10 days

And if you’re wondering how to get to the car park, rest assured that you don’t have to walk the other way! However, it does require a little organisation beforehand.

From Agia Roumeli, you will first have to take one of the 2 boats that go up to the village of Sougia (between 45 minutes and 1 hour crossing):

  • The first leaves at 5:00pm from the dock at the end of the village, a 10 minute walk from the town centre. Tickets must be bought in the morning before starting the hike in the tavern next to the Xyloskalo car park.
  • The second leaves at 5.30pm from the jetty located in the heart of Agia Roumeli, next to the beach. The ferry company Anendik manages the crossing, so you can book your ticket online  by clicking here  or buy it directly from Agia Roumeli.

Be careful, if you don’t plan enough time for hiking and you miss the boats, you will have to spend the night in Agia Roumeli*. There is no other way to get back to the car park until the next day.

Once you arrive in Sougia, you will then have to take a bus that takes about 1h to reach the Xyloskalo car park.

Bus tickets can be booked in advance on the official KTEL website (click here), or at the car park tavern. At the boat landing pier in Sougia, there is also a shack that sells tickets.

Once you have your car back, all that’s left is to go to Chania and spend a well-deserved night of rest!

*In case you took longer than expected for the hike and the boat left without you, you can book a room in a small hotel. Here are my recommendations (click on the links below):

For more details on this famous hike when travelling to Crete for 10 days, you must read my complete guide: How to visit the Samaria Gorge?

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you don’t feel like driving and bothering with booking the boat and the bus back, you can opt for an organised trip to Samaria from Chania. The return bus trip is included.

You must book in advance by clicking on the button below:


If you have knee or ankle problems, you can replace the Samaria hike with (you can choose) one of the following 2 hikes, which are shorter:

  • The Imbros Gorge hike: 8 km from Imbros with a gentle slope down to the bottom of the Gorge.
  • The Agia Irini Gorge hike: 7.5 km path from the village of Agia Irini and along the river.
Samaria Gorges - Crete
Samaria Gorge – Crete

Day 4: Elafonissi beach

Today, you must explore one of the most beautiful beaches where you can swim during this 9-10 day trip to Crete: Elafonissi beach.

It is located in the extreme south-west of the island, an hour and a half drive from Chania.

Getting to this beach is much easier than for Balos as you will find a huge free car park and you can reach the beach in just 5 minutes on foot.

All you have to do is drop your towel on the beach or rent a deckchair/parasol (€7 for 2) and enjoy a quiet day.

The beach is famous for the particular colour of its sand, which has pink reflections on the waterfront. With the turquoise waters in the background, the scene is very beautiful.

As the main beach is very busy, if you want to a more peaceful setting, I recommend that you cross over to the island of Elafonissi, located just opposite. Depending on the tide and the season, you can walk on the sandbar or cross in waters up to your knees.

You will find lots of pretty little coves, always with pink sand and translucent waters but no the crowds! And the further you go to the right, the more you’ll be alone.

If your legs are still up to it after yesterday’s hike, you can also walk to the end of the island where there is a chapel. 

Just like for Balos beach, if you don’t have a car, you will need to opt for the guided tour from Chania to visit Elafonissi.

It includes transportation from your hotel, so it’s very convenient!

It needs to be booked here:

For all the practical information on the beach, you must read my dedicated article: Elafonissi: the definitive guide.

Elafonissi pink sand beach – 10-day tour in Crete

You can spend as much time as you like in Elafonissi, or even the whole day, but I think you should take the time to visit the nearby beach: the Kedrodasos beach.

To get there, it takes only 5 minutes by car followed by a ten minute walk. You will discover a superb stretch of shallow turquoise waters bordered by a forest of junipers. 

Apart from a few naturists and wild campers a bit further back, Kedrodasos is completely wild and preserved. The ideal place for one last swim (bathing suit optional!).

Then take the road back to Chania.

If you didn’t have time to visit Crete’s botanical garden on the second day after Balos lagoon, you can also stop there on the way back.

Spend another night in Chania.

Voyage Tips - Advice

On the road before arriving at the beach of Elafonissi, you can stop and see the cave of Agia Sofia (free entry but donations welcome).

After a short hike, you will discover a chapel built in the rock and a cave with stalactites and stalagmites. Not to mention that from the entrance of the cave, the view of the Topolia Gorge below is excellent.

Just after the cave, a 10 minute drive away, there’s the Chrysoskalitissas monastery, which is sold as a must-see sight in the island’s tourist guides.

To be honest, I found that even for the €2 entrance ticket, it’s not worth it because the tour is done in 2 minutes. There are undoubtedly more beautiful monasteries to see in 10 days in Crete.

plage elafonissi Crete
Elafonissi beach, in Crete

Day 5: Akrotiri peninsula

For today’s agenda, you should stay near Chania and explore several places of interest of this 10-day tour in Crete.

This is also very practical because they are all located on the Akrotiri peninsula (where Chania airport is located, where you landed on the first day).

The tour that I recommend takes you on a circuit goes all around the peninsula over the day. These spots are mainly beaches, so do not hesitate to stop on the ones you like the most to swim.

In chronological order when leaving Chania, you must go and see:

  • Stavros beach: perfect if the weather is a bit windy because it is normally well sheltered
  • The Agia Triada monastery (€2.50), which unlike the one near Elafonissi, is really worth the visit. I really liked the flowery garden and the well laid out courtyards, and you can visit the church, the small museum, the wine cellar and taste the wine made by the monks.
  • The Governto monastery, which could not go inside because it is closed between 12pm and 5pm and also for the whole day on Wednesdays and Fridays. Learn from my mistake! 😅
  • The ruins of the Katholiko monastery are accessible by a path which takes about 90 minutes for a round trip (significant altitude difference) that starts from behind Governto (even if the monastery is closed, you can go inside).
  • The Seitan Limani beach, very well known in Crete because it is a small photogenic cove located at the bottom of a canyon. Take note that the path to the beach is narrow and stony and the waters are often rough, turning the place into a wave pool.
  • Marathi beach, ideal if you are making this 10-day stay in Crete with children, as the path to it is simple and the water is calm and shallow.
  • The Loutraki beach , which I found quite beautiful but unfortunately it has a huge hotel complex on one side. And so, there are tons of people in this small cove!

Last night in Chania.

Agia Triada Monastery Crete
Agia Triada monastery – Crete

2) Preveli and Matala (1 day)

For the second leg of this 10-day itinerary in Crete, the first stop of the day: the Preveli monastery.

From Chania, you should expect a 1 hour and 35 minutes drive. About ten kilometres before arriving in Preveli, you will pass through the Kourtaliotiko Gorge. You can stop at the marked places on the road to admire the landscape and take a break to click photos.

You can also take the steps down to the bottom of the Gorge and see the waterfall.

After this first stop, continue to the Preveli monastery, which you can visit for €3. The church is pretty and there is a small museum with beautiful icons.

Historically, during World War II, the monastery hid many soldiers who later managed to escape the island in a submarine.

Then drive for 5 minutes and park in the paid car park (€2) at the Preveli beach, the second stop on the schedule. With Balos and Elafonissi, Preveli is also one of the most beautiful beaches to visit Crete in 10 days.

The path to the beach is steep, followed by a staircase (about 15 minutes downhill) but you will already have a view of Preveli, 5 minutes from the car park.

Once you have descended, you will find a beautiful sandy beach bordered by the palm grove and a river crossing through.

There is a path along the beach, crossing through the palm tree forest. And you can of course spend as much time on the beach and swim.

plage de Preveli
Preveli beach – Things to see in 10 days in Crete

In the afternoon, continue the journey to reach the last stop of the day: Matala, a 90 minute drive from Preveli.

Matala is known for its caves carved into the cliff. They were used as tombs during the Roman times and more recently as a squatting spot by a community of hippies. The site can be visited for €3.

The beach below the caves is also ideal for a dip.

Matala also has a second beach, Red Beach, which you can reach by a path that starts from behind the village (opposite the cliff where the caves are located). It takes about 30 minutes on foot.

Even if you don’t want to go to Red Beach, I suggest you at least start on the trail for 5 minutes and turn right to go up and admire the view of Matala in its entirety.

Spend the night in Matala.

Voyage Tips - Advice

On the road between Preveli and Matala beach, if you don’t mind taking a detour, you can go and see the Triopetra beach.

It is known for its stratified rocks on the left side but I would advise you not to swim there ( very windy, strong current and deep water).

In Matala, you must dine at the Bystronomie restaurant.

I wanted a little change after tasting the Cretan specialities and I enjoyed an excellent burger. The restaurant also offers risottos, sushi and fresh pasta. Everything is homemade and really good!

Where to stay in Matala?

  • Hotel Orama Matala: Located 10 minutes on foot from the centre. Double room, simple but comfortable, from €55, breakfast included. Strong points: the warm welcome, calm atmosphere, swimming pool.
  • Matala Bay Hotel Apartments: Located 500 metres from the beach. Spacious double room with comfortable bedding from €70, breakfast included. Strong points: location, swimming pool, excellent breakfast.
  • Nikos Hotel: Located 100 metres from the beach. Double room with balcony from €70. Strong points: warm welcome, private parking, near the beach
  • Valley Village: Located 15 minutes on foot from the centre of Matala. Double room from €60 or bungalow suite at €80, breakfast included. The suites are super spacious, with 2 terraces and a jacuzzi. Strong points: swimming pool, quiet atmosphere, private parking, full breakfast. It’s my favorite for its excellent value for money in Matala!
Matala Crete
Matala – Road trip in Crete

3) Heraklion and its surroundings (2 days)

It would be a shame to go to Crete for 10 days without visiting Heraklion! From Matala, you can reach the island’s second most famous city in just 1 hour and 10 minutes.

To make sure you don’t miss any of the unmissable activities, here is my recommended itinerary.

1) Start with the historic museum of Crete (€5) which will allow you to discover the history of the island with the help of an English audio guide. 

2) Continue with a visit to the fortress of Koules (€4) that has an exhibition on the history of the building and the city.

3) Stroll around the old town of Heraklion, taking the Rue 25 Avgostou and forking into the surrounding streets. Among the main places of interest to see, you will find the Agiou Titou square, the town hall, the basilica, the fountain of the Morosini lions.

4) Visit the archaeological museum of Heraklion, the most famous museum to visit in Crete in 10 days! The 27 very modern rooms, which cover a period from Neolithic to Roman times, house numerous objects and frescoes of the Minoan civilization found at the Palace of Knossos.


5) Go to the Palace of Knossos, 5 km from the city centre to discover the ruins of the most famous archaeological site of Crete. At the time the vast complex consisted of royal apartments, residences of priests and officials, warehouses, baths.

All the details to visit Heraklion and Knossos can be found in my 2 other articles here:

Spend the night in Heraklion. 

Voyage Tips - Advice

The archaeological museum and the Palace of Knossos are very touristy and therefore there is a fairly large queue. To not waste time, you must book your tickets in advance for these 2 sites.

The best option is to opt for the combined ticket which gives priority access to both sites and includes an audioguide (in English for now). Book by clicking the green button:

If you prefer, there are also other tickets available (links in orange):

Knossos Palace

To continue this 10-day road trip in Crete, head to Elounda, 1 hour drive from Heraklion. From the port of Elounda, you can board a boat that will drop you off on the island of Spinalonga.

Boats leave every 1/2 hours in peak season and the trip takes just 1/4 of an hour and costs €12 per person (round trip).

Access to the island is also charged: €8

Spinalonga is known for 3 reasons:

  • The fortress built on the island by the Venetians in the 16th century was one of the last bastions of resistance during the Ottoman invasion. The besieged people resisted for nearly 50 years before they were forced to surrender.
  • Spinalonga served as a leper colony between 1904 and 1957. In Crete, lepers were tracked down and automatically deported to the island. More than 500 people are estimated to have been trapped there.
  • The island was made famous by the novel “The Island” by Victoria Hislop, which tells the story of a young woman who goes to Crete in search of her origins. She discovers that her grandmother died in Spinalonga in the middle of a leprosy epidemic. The book was adapted as a series and a comic book.

During your visit, you can explore the fortress, the old buildings of the village, the leper hospital and the church.

It is possible to explore the entire island on foot in about 1 hour, but you should take the time to climb up the hill to enjoy some nice views of the Cretan coast.

You can then take the boat back and have lunch in one of the many taverns in Elounda.

Spinalonga island

In the afternoon, you can discover another beautiful beach during this 10-day trip to Crete: Kolokitha beach. 

It is located on Spinalonga peninsula, a 5-minute drive from the centre of Elounda and a 10-minute walk away. With its shallow turquoise waters, Kolokitha is really a great beach for swimming and relaxing.

This was one of my favourite places of this holiday in Crete of 10 days.

If you wish, you can also walk a little on the peninsula on both sides of the beach.

For the return trip to Heraklion, you can take the same road that you came or go via the Lassithi plateau to discover a more rural area of the island.

If you opt for this option, you will first have to reach the town of Agios Nikolaos (10 km south of Elounda) and then fork inland.

On the way, you must visit the cave of Zeus (or “Psichro cave”) where the king of the Greek gods is said to be born. The cave is only accessible by foot, after a 10 minute climb followed by a rather long staircase leading down to the bottom of the cave. There are a lot of big stalactites and stalagmites.

Paid parking at €2.50 + entrance to the cave = €6

And if you’re interested in Greek mythology, after the cave, you can also visit the Greek Mythological Park, located next to the car park. The scenes are well recreated and there is even an audio guide available in English. 

Go back to Heraklion for another night.

Voyage Tips - Advice

For the second day in Heraklion, instead of Elounda and the island of Spinalonga, you also have the choice between several great activities:

For more information, read my article: What are the things to do in Heraklion?

Where to stay in Heraklion

  • Intra Muros Hostel: Hostel located a 5-minute walk from the old town. Dormitory bed from 21€. Strong points: comfortable, warm welcome, cleanliness, roof terrace. The best choice for cheap accommodation in Heraklion!
  • Kronos Hotel: Located just next to Heraklion fortress. Double room with impeccable cleanliness and balcony (some with a sea view) from 65€, breakfast included. Strong points: the location is perfect for visiting Heraklion, good breakfast and friendly staff.
  • Atrion Hotel: Located in the historical centre. Comfortable and warm double room with balcony from 85€, breakfast included. Strong points: excellent location and excellent breakfast. It’s my favorite hotel for its excellent value for money in Heraklion!
  • DOM Boutique Hotel: Located in the heart of the old town. Modern, spacious and elegantly decorated double room from 110€, breakfast included. Strong points: excellent breakfast, attentive staff, setting, very good bedding. This is my recommendation for an upscale stay in Heraklion!
  • GDM Megaron: This 5-star hotel is also located in the centre of Heraklion, not far from the Venetian port. The hotel offers beautiful rooms with a balcony from 190€, breakfast included. Strong points: rooftop swimming pool, wellness area, exceptional breakfast, great staff. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Heraklion!
Kolokitha beach
Kolokitha beach, Elounda

4) Rethymnon (1 day)

This morning, continuing with the 9-10 day itinerary in Crete, leave Heraklion and head to Rethymnon.

You must first visit Mélidoni cave , which I found particularly beautiful with magnificent stalactites and stalagmites. For €4 and free parking, it is definitely worth stopping by.

Then continue to the village of Margarites, 12 km away from the cave, known for its numerous pottery shops. You can see the potters in action and leave with a beautiful hand-made pottery, which is not very expensive (bowls from €3).

From Margaritès you can go to the monastery of Arkadi (15 km away). For €3, you can visit the 16th century Venetian church and the small museum displaying relics.

In its history, you should know that the monastery had hidden many people fleeing the Ottoman domination. Besieged by 2,000 soldiers, the Cretans chose to set fire to the barrels of powder stored in the wine cellar rather than surrender. Everyone died, including the soldiers.

Arkadi monastery
Arkadi monastery

Then head back to Rethymnon, which is a 30-minute journey away.

You can spend the rest of the day walking around the old town. Along with Chania, I found this city the most pleasant for a quiet walk. There are lots of little alleys with pretty shops and taverns.

Among the things to see in Rethymnon, you must visit:

  • The Venetian fortress – €4 entrance
  • The Old Venetian Port
  • The Rimondi fountain
  • The Neratze Mosque
  • The workshop of the last filo pastry maker
  • The archaeological museum
  • The grand gate and other religious buildings of the city such as the Four Martyrs Church, the Veli Pasha mosque and the Kara Mussa mosque.

And for the second last day of your 10-day trip to Crete, why not end on a romantic note with a sunset cruise? 

Book by clicking the button below:

Spend the night in Rethymnon. Note that if your plane takes off very early the next day, you can also spend the last night in Chania instead of Rethymnon.

If you want to know more about Rethymnon, you can read my dedicated article: Visit Rethymnon.

Where to stay in Rethymnon?

  • Elina Hotel Apartments: Located next to the port and close to the beach of Rethymnon. Apartments with lounge and kitchenette from 50€ per night. Strong points: location, cleanliness, friendly staff.
  • Omiros Boutique Hotel: Located 50 metres from the beach. Modern and tastefully decorated double room from 75€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: jacuzzi, swimming pool, comfortable rooms. It’s my favorite hotel for its excellent value for money in Rethymnon!
  • Bellagio Luxury Boutique Hotel: Located next to the archaeological museum. Warm and comfortable double room, mix of modern and ancient from 75€, breakfast at 8€. Strong points: perfect location to visit Rethymnon, generous breakfast, quality of the bedding.
  • Menta City Boutique Hotel: Located 10 minutes walk from the old town. Bright and spacious double room with balcony from 125€, breakfast included. Strong points: swimming pool, excellent homemade breakfast, the rooftop and its view over Rethymnon.
  • Atlantis Beach Hotel: 5* hotel located 1.5 km from the historical centre and just next to the beach. The hotel offers elegant rooms with a balcony and sea views from 150€, breakfast included. Strong points: private beach, swimming pool, great staff. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Rethymnon!
Rethymnon old town

5) Return to Chania (1 day)

Now we are at last day of this 10-day road trip in Crete. It is time to go to Chania, a 1 hour drive from Rethymnon to catch your return flight.

Depending on you flight timings, you can make a small detour midway to pass by the Kournas lake. It is the only natural lake in Crete. You can swim or take a paddle boat ride to see the turtles.

Voyage Tips - Advice

For a 9-day stay in Crete, you can remove the day at Akrotiri peninsula or the second day at Heraklion.

For an 11-day tour in Crete, spend an extra day in one of the 3 main cities: Chania, Heraklion or Rethymnon.

10 days in Crete staying in one place

Would you prefer to spend 10 days in Crete in one place?

No worries!

You will find all the details to organise your stay in my detailed articles on the different cities. Just click on the links below.

10-Day tour in Crete – With a travel agency

On Voyagetips.com, I give you all my best tips and itineraries to plan your trip to Crete by yourself. (All my Crete guides are here)

However, if you prefer to book a Crete tour with a travel agency, I recommend you to check the 10 best Crete tours by clicking the button below:

Do not hesitate to give us your opinions and suggestions on our 10-day itinerary in Crete!

If you have any questions for organising your 10 day tour in Crete, please feel free to ask me in the comments.

Renting a boat in Crete

If you want to rent a boat for a nice day at sea during your stay in Crete, you should book it with Samboat.

Motorboats, sailboats, yachts, small boats without a license, with or without a skipper: they simply have the most complete offer for boat rental!

So, what are you waiting for to book your boat trip in Crete? 😊

10 Days in Greece: flights & ferries prices

By plane

  • To reach Chania, the quickest option is to take a flight.

Chania airport is located on Akrotiri peninsula, 14 km from the city centre.

  • To get to Heraklion, the best is to take a flight.

Heraklion Airport is just a 10-minute drive from the city centre.

As always, you should book your plane tickets as early as possible to get the best prices. You have to know that the flight prices to Corsica can vary a lot throughout the year!

So to check the rates and schedules, you can use our flight comparator, in partnership with Skyscanner:

By ferry

  • Chania can be reach by ferries from the port of Piraeus in Athens. However, it takes 9 hours for the crossing.
  • Heraklion can also be reached by ferries from the port of Piraeus in Athens. It’s 8h30 to 9h30 journey.

You can also get to Heraklion from many Greek islands of the Cyclades archipelago: Santorini, Naxos, Paros, Mykonos, Tinos.

And lastly, there is a boat that allow you to get to Heraklion from the island of Rhodes.

To check prices and schedules of ferries to Crete, simply click on the button below:

Book your trip now and save money!

You’re traveling to Crete? These articles will help you!

Discover all my articles about Crete: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Crete are listed there.

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Crete itinerary 10 days
Crete itinerary 10 days

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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