2 weeks in Crete: The Ultimate 14-15 Days Itinerary + My Best Tips


2 Weeks in Crete: The Perfect 14-15 Days Itinerary

You’re planning to spend 2 weeks in Crete and you’re looking for the best itinerary?

You’re at the right place!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you this 14-15 or 16 days itinerary in Crete.

During your trip, you will visit both West and East Crete and discover the best places to visit  such as Chania, Balos beach, Elafonissi, Heraklion, Samaria Gorge and a lot more!

A quick note before starting: if you prefer to spend 15 days in Crete staying in just 1 place, you can click here.

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 2 weeks in Crete?

Let’s find out!

1) Chania and its surroundings (5 days)

Day 1 – Arrival at and visit of Chania

To visit Crete in 14-15 days, here’s an itinerary from Chania* so that you can tour the whole island in a circuit.

*Note that the same 2 week tour in Crete is possible from Heraklion. You just have to go directly the Heraklion leg and complete the circuit from there.

You can reach Chania (or Heraklion) by plane or by ferry. You can compare prices in the section “Going to Crete” at the end of the article.

And as you may imagine, to drive around Crete, you will need a vehicle, you must go through the website Booking Cars for your rental.

I’ve used it for all my trips ( Corsica, Sardinia, Thailand) and I found it very convenient to compare the rates of rental companies at the airport of Chania.

The site also offers an option of taking a comprehensive insurance which covers expenses in case of an accident or theft of your vehicle. If you don’t have insurance included with your credit card, it’s very useful and it’ll cost you less than the one offered by the rental agency at the counter.

If you already know the dates of your two-week stay in Crete, click on the button below to compare prices:

La Canée port Vénitien
Chania Venetian old port – Visit Crete in 2 weeks

Then you must start with a walk in Chania.

Here are the things to see in the city:

  • The covered market and its local products (raki, cheese, wine)
  • The old town, very picturesque with its narrow streets lined with shops
  • The Venetian Old Port for a drink on the terrace overlooking the lighthouse of Chania
  • Fort Firkas offers a beautiful panorama of the Old Port and the lighthouse
  • Visit the Sea Museum of Crete (in Fort Firkas).

And if you want to end the day at one of the beaches around Chania, you must go to the Eastern Gulf beach or its neighbour, Agii Apostoli.

All the details about these places can be found in my article: Visit Chania.

Spend the first night in Chania.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If the hotel you’ve chosen is too far from the historical centre to walk there, you must park your car in the paid car park next to the stadium and not far from the covered market.

If your plane landed too late to visit Chania on the first day, don’t worry, you will stay there for several days in a row, which will always give you time to walk around.

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
Stroll in Chania old town – Best things to do in Chania

Day 2: Balos lagoon

The next day, it’s time to start this 2-week road trip in Crete by discovering one of the most beautiful beaches on the island.

Head for the lagoon of Balos, located an hour and a half away by car from the centre of Chania. With its turquoise waters and fine sands, there’s no better place to go in Crete to swim and enjoy a relaxing day.

To get to Balos beach, you have 2 options:

1) By car + on foot.

You have to be particularly careful if you drive to Balos because the last part of the road (8 km approx) is a track with big potholes and lots of stones. You will need to drive slowly and keep your distance from other cars to avoid the pelting rocks.

Note that during these 8 km, it will be stipulated in your car rental contract that you are not insured. If your tyre is stuck, or if you have an accident, you will have to fend for yourself and pay for everything.

The road can be covered with a normal car (no need of 4*4 as I have read elsewhere) and you will soon notice it when you arrive at the free car park which fills up very quickly. If you arrive after 11:00am, you will probably have to park at the edge of the track, as there will be no more spots.

From there, you still have to take the 1.2 km path down to the beach (warning: the climb is harder in the sun😅).

plage Balos Crete
Balos beach Crete – 2-week itinerary in Crete

2) By boat.

If you want to avoid these inconveniences or you don’t want to risk damaging your car, no problem, you can reach Balos directly by boat.

The cruises to Balos leave from the small port of Kissamos, 38 km away from Chania. In addition to the lagoon, you will also have the chance to stop off on the island of Gramvoussa, which is just nearby.

The boat returns to Kissamos at the end of the day.

You must book this boat trip to Balos Beach in advance by clicking on the green button below:

And 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:

Do not deceive yourself, as Balos is one of the best spots to see in Crete in 15 days, do not expect to be alone on the boat. But if you prefer a small group cruise, you also have several options (click on the orange links for details):

More details about Balos can be found in my dedicated article: How to visit Balos lagoon?

For those who went to Balos by car, before returning to Chania in the afternoon, you can also see:

  • Falassarna beach, a long stretch of sand that is very pleasant for swimming
  • The botanical garden of Crete which has many species of plants and fruits from Greece and the whole world. €6 entry (and water bottle offered!).

Spend another night in Chania.

Voyage Tips - Advice

The best view of Balos can be had halfway along the path that goes down from the car park. If you have taken the boat, you must go up there because you can take the best photos of the lagoon from there.

Make sure you have brought these items for the day:

  • Change for the paid toilets and car access, costing €1 per person.
  • Your picnic materials and water. The only little snack bar is located next to the car park and the boat also sells food and drinks, but this is definitely more expensive.
  • There’s no shade at Balos but you can rent deckchairs/sunshades on the beach for just €10 for 2.
Lagon de Balos
Balos lagood – A must-see during your 2 weeks in Crete

Day 3: The Samaria Gorge

To continue with this 15-day Crete itinerary, today you should go hiking in the Samaria Gorge.

To organise your day in Samaria, here’s what you need to know:

  • The departure point is the trail at Xyloskalo (1h drive from Chania), at 1230 metres above sea level
  • Entrance cost for the gorge is €5 per person
  • Total trail length: 16 km – it takes between 5 and 7 hours on foot
  • A significant slope (downhill) for the first 4 km – Your knees and ankles will suffer, so be careful if you already have problems in these joints
  • There are several rest areas including 1 main area at km 7 – Drinking water available along the trail + toilets (basic)
  • After km 7, you will arrive at the bottom of the Gorge. The path becomes flatter but there are lots of big rocks and stones.
  • At km 11, passing through “The Iron Gates”, the best known place in Samaria, where the walls are the narrowest and the most impressive
  • Km 13 – Exit from the Gorge
  • Km 14 – You can take a shuttle to finish the last 2 km by minibus (€2 per person)
  • Km 16 – Arrival at Agia Roumeli, a small seaside resort with a beach where you can refresh yourself.
Samaria Crète
Samaria Gorge Hike – 15 days in Crete

To return to the car park from Agia Roumeli, you will need to:

  • Take a boat to Sougia – 45 min trip costing €11 – Boats depart at 5pm and 5.30pm only, so you have to be careful not to be late otherwise you will have to spend the night in Agia Roumeli.
  • Take the bus from Sougia to Xyloskalo – 1h trip.

I have given you a brief summary of all the things to know but you really must read my detailed guide on hiking to get all the practical information. Read here:  How to visit the Samaria Gorge?

You will also find information on how to book your return boat and bus tickets and recommendations for accommodation if you are stuck for the night in Agia Roumeli.

Then you will only have to take your car back and return to Chania for a well-deserved night’s rest.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you don’t want to bother with organisational matters or don’t want to drive, the best thing is to go on an organised trip with the return to your hotel in Chania included.

Click here to book:

Samaria gorges
Samaria Gorge

Day 4: Elafonissi beach

A two-week trip to Crete would not be complete without visiting the famous pink beach of Elafonissi. And after yesterday’s efforts, it must be said that you have earned a quieter day.

From Chania, it takes about an hour and a half to drive to Elafonissi, but first you must stop about ten km before the beach, to go up to the Agia Sofia cave. It’ll be a quick (and free) stop, and the cave has stalactites and stalagmites. It also has anice view of the Topolia Gorge. 

A little further along the road is also the Chrysoskalitissas monastery, which is listed in most of Crete’s tourist guides as a must-see spot, but I admit that I don’t really understand why. Even though the entrance fee is only €2, there is simply nothing to see. 

Further on in this itinerary, you’ll see that there are most beautiful monasteries to visit in 15 days in Crete.

Once you arrive in Elafonissi, all you have to do is park on the huge free car park and walk for 5 minutes to discover a superb stretch of pink sand by the translucent water.

You can rent deckchairs and parasols along the main beach.

Elafonissi – Things to do in Crete in 2 weeks

But if you don’t want to be in a crowd, you must cross over to the island of Elafonisi. It’s long and narrow, you will find several beautiful little coves where you can swim peacefully.

The more you walk, the fewer people there are.

Once you’ve found the perfect spot, all that remains is to rest and relax.

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:

All the practical information about the beach can be found in my dedicated article: Elafonissi: the definitive guide.

Return to Chania for another night.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you like, you can also go and see the beautiful beach of Kedrodasos located just 5 minutes by car from Elafonissi + 10 minutes by foot. Bordered by a juniper forest, the place is quite untamed and peaceful.

For those who took the boat trip to Balos (day 2) and did not have time to visit the botanical garden afterwards, you can stop there on your way back to Chania.

Elafonissi Grèce
Elafonissi beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete

Day 5: Akrotiri peninsula

This 15-day tour of Crete continues with a day-visit to the Akrotiri peninsula, some 10 km from the centre of Chania.

Here are the unmissable spots (in order they will arrive on the road):

  • Stavros beach for the first swim of the day – handy because well sheltered from the wind
  • The Agia Triada monastery, an excellent spot with its flowery garden, small church, wine cellar and the shop where you indulge in a tasting
  • The Governto Monastery which is closed from 12 pm to 5 pm (and on Wednesdays and Fridays) – Which I hadn’t anticipated, so please let me know if it’s worth visiting.
  • The ruins of Katholiko monastery, which you can reach by taking the path that starts from behind the Gouverto monastery – the round-trip takes 90 minutes, and the altitude difference is significant.
  • Seitan Limani beach, one of the best known on the island, located at the base of a canyon. Going there on foot is a bit complicated since the path is strewn with stones and is narrow, so make sure you have sneakers.
  • The Marathi beach , which I particularly recommend if you have decided to spend 2 weeks in Crete with children because getting there is very easy and the waters are calm and shallow.
  • The Loutraki beach is pretty but unfortunately too crowded because there is a large hotel complex just next door.

Spend a last night in your hotel in Chania.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you are taking your children to Crete for 2 weeks, you can also take them to spend the day at the Limnoupolis water park. They can have enjoy themselves in the swimming pools and down the water slides and lazy rivers.

Agia Triada Monastery Crete
Agia Triada monastery – Crete

2) Rethymnon (1 day)

For the second leg of this 15-16 day stay in Crete, you must firstly go to Kournas lake, a 50-minute drive from Chania.

In Kournas, you can swim but also rent a paddle boat or a kayak to explore the lake and observe many sea turtles.

Then head to the small town of Rethymnon, 30 minutes away from the lake. Along with Chania, I found it to be the most charming and picturesque city.

To see and do in Rethymnon:

  • The Venetian fortress of Rethymnon – Entrance costs €4
  • The Old Venetian Port
  • The old town for a nice walk in the cobbled streets lined with small shops and taverns
  • Churches and mosques
  • The workshop of the the last filo pastry maker – Rue Vernadoy
  • A 5-hour boat trip with lunch included and swimming stops
  • A sunset cruise (click here)

Feel free to read my detailed article on Rethymnon right here: The 13 Best things do in Rethymnon.

La forteresse de Réthymnon
Rethymnon fortress

From Rethymnon, you must visit the following 3 must-see places in the area:

  • The Arkadi Monastery, with a small museum exhibiting relics, a 16th century church and a wine cellar – Entrance costs €3 – 30 min from Rethymnon
  • The village of Margarites is known for its numerous pottery workshops – 25 minutes from the monastery
  • The Melidoni cave is one of the prettiest caves to visit when in Crete for 2 weeks – Entrance costs €4 – 20 min from Margarites.

You can then choose to spend the night in Rethymnon or in a nearby town (towards Panormos or Balion) to drive a little less the next morning.

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!

Where to stay between Panormos and Balion?

  • Panormo Beach Hotel: located 100 ft from Panormos beach. Spacious double room with balcony from €55, breakfast included. Strong points: swimming pool, room size, proximity to the sea.
  • Amalia Apartments: located on the seafront in Balion. Bright studio with kitchenette from €60, breakfast at €8. Strong points: superb welcome, swimming pool.
  • Theasea Stylish Residences: located in Panormos. New, modern studio with a large private terrace and sea view from €85. Strong points: quiet, a few minutes walk from taverns, swimming pool, private parking. It’s my favorite for its excellent value for money in Panormos!
  • Bali Star Resort Hotel: located just next to the beach. Modern and comfortable double room from €125, breakfast included. Strong points: friendly staff, calm atmosphere, excellent breakfast.
  • Nostos Beach Boutique Hotel: located in front of Bali beach. Double room with fancy decor and balcony from €200, breakfast included. Strong points: attentive staff, buffet quality, well-developed outdoor areas. This is our recommendation for a luxury holiday in Balion.
Arkadi monastery
Arkadi monastery

3) Heraklion (1 day)

For the new leg of this two-week road trip in Crete, continue heading East, to Heraklion.

The drive between Rethymnon and Heraklion takes 1 hour and 10 minutes, and 50 minutes if you have slept in Panormos or Balion.

Here is the schedule I have created for you so you won’t miss out on anything in Heraklion:

  • The historical museum of Crete to discover the history of the island – Entrance costs €5 + audioguide in English available
  • The Koules fortress and its exhibition on the history of the city – Entrance costs 4€
  • The old town of Heraklion by going to the rue 25 Avgostou and the adjacent streets
  • The archaeological museum of Heraklion: if you can only visit one museum during this 15-day driving trip in Crete, this is it. It has an impressive collection of objects from the Neolithic period to the Roman period.
  • The Palace of Knossos, the main archaeological site on the island, former residence of King Minos.

To find out more about all these places, please read my articles by clicking here:

Spend a night in Heraklion.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Don’t forget to book your tickets to the Archaeological Museum and the Palace of Knossos in advance for priority access. These are the 2 most popular tourist sites in Heraklion and there is often a long queue.

You should opt for the combined ticket + audioguide (in English). Book by clicking the green button:

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

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!
Heraklion – Best places to visit in Crete in 2 weeks

4) Elounda (2 days)

When visiting Crete in 2 weeks by car, you can also discover the interior of the island and the typical mountain villages.

You must take the road that runs through the Lassithi plateau, a fairly rural area of the island where there used to be many windmills and and where you can see some traditional villages.

Your first stop should be the car park of the Homo sapiens museum (no need to visit it) to admire the view then continue by car to the Zeus cave.

After you park in the paid car park (€2.50), you can begin the 10 minute climb that will lead you to the entrance of the cave (€6) where the famous Greek god was born. To get to the bottom of the cave and admire the stalactites and stalagmites, you will then have to take a rather long staircase.

Before leaving, at the car park, you should visit the Greek Mythological Park to learn more about Greek mythology thanks to recreated scenes and an audioguide (in English).

After the cave, on the road while still in Lassithi, you can also stop at:

  • Lasinthos Eco Park, where there are traditional workshops: potters, weavers, wood-turners, candle makers, and more. Free entry
  • The Latho archaeological site, which offers a nice view of the surrounding plains – Entrance costs €3
  • Kritsa to see the church of Panagia Kera and its famous frescoes – Entrance costs €3

Then you can reach the seafront to get to Agios Nikolaos which has a small lake in the centre of the city and continue until Elounda where you will spend the night.

Grotte de Psychro
Zeus cave – Lassithi plateau

Today, we’ll have another unmissable visit of this 15-day tour of Crete: Spinalonga island.

And there’s an island, there’s a boat, which you’ll have to take from the Elounda port . It takes only 15 minutes to cross to the island, with departures every 1/2 hours in peak season. Boat tickets cost€12 per person.

Entry to Spinalonga is also charged: €8

You can then explore this island which first had a Venetian fortress, before serving as a leper colony and housing all the sick people of Crete. You can walk through the old buildings like the hospital, the church, the houses and you must also climb to the top of the hill to enjoy the view.

Then take the boat back and choose one of the taverns in the city centre for lunch. A special mention for the Dimitris tavern and its excellent mille-feuille!

In the afternoon, head for Spinalonga peninsula (at the end of Elounda) and the sublime beach of Kolokitha, which takes 10 minutes by car and then another 10 minutes on foot.

Dont forget your swimsuit because you won’t be able to resist swimming in this shallow turquoise water. Without hesitation, I can say that it’s the best in the list of the most beautiful beaches to go to during these 15 days in Crete!

Spend another night in Elounda.

Spinalonga island

Where to stay in Elounda?

  • Adrakos Apartments (Adults Only): Located on the road between Agios Nikolaos and Elounda. Cosy and comfortable studios and apartments, with kitchenette, from €50 per night, breakfast at €11. Strong points: unobstructed view of the entire bay, swimming pool, comfortable beds.
  • Elounda George Studios: Located at the entrance of Elounda on arrival from Agios Nikolaos. Studio rooms for 2 people with kitchenette and balcony from €55 per night. Strong points: cleanliness, facilities, warm welcome.
  • Kalypso Suites Hotel: Located in the centre of Elounda. Modern double room with fancy decor from €80 per night. Strong points: location, comfortable rooms, very nice owner. It’s my favorite for its excellent value for money in Elounda!
  • Elounda Akti Olous (Adults Only): Located at the end of Elounda, towards the peninsula. Modern double room with sea or garden view from €90, breakfast included. Strong points: the rooftop with its swimming pool and bar, private parking, good breakfast, private beach.
  • Elounda Heights (Adults Only): Located in the mountains of Elounda. Studio and apartment with sea view from €95, breakfast at €8. Strong points: the view, excellent breakfast, swimming pool and beautiful garden.

Elounda is a well-known seaside resort and the place where you will find the best luxury hotels on the island.

Here is my selection of the most beautiful 5* hotels in Elounda for your 2-week stay in Crete:

  • Royal Marmin Bay Boutique & Art Hotel: This luxury hotel offers spacious rooms with sea view and a large terrace from €185 per night, including breakfast. Strong points: private beach, large swimming pool with a magnificent view, friendly staff.
  • Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection: Magnificent suites with very elegant decoration, some with jacuzzi or private swimming pools starting from €250 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: splendid Spa, the beach, the view, superb location.
  • Blue Palace Elounda, a Luxury Resort: Luxury bungalow with sea view and lounge area from €300, breakfast included. Strong points: the 2000m² spa and its facilities (hammams, saunas, jacuzzi, indoor swimming pools), private beach, excellent restaurants.
  • Cayo Exclusive Resort Spa: Superior room with private pool from €330, breakfast included. Strong points: heated pool, calm atmosphere, excellent breakfast, attentive staff. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Crete!
Kolokitha beach
Kolokitha beach

5) Sitia and the beaches of East Crete (2 days)

For the next leg of this recommended 2-week itinerary in Crete, here are my recommendations of things to do for the day:

  • A swim on the beautiful beach of Voulisma. Located 25 minutes from Elounda, it is a long sandy beach and once again the colour of the water is just magnificent. You can also rent a jet ski or go on a buoy ride.
  • Visit Tholos beach if you want to be alone. Only frequented by locals, it is a small cove with a pebbled beach and crystal clear water. I found it very pleasant. On the right, there’s also a nice cove for swimming.
  • A stop in the village of Mohlos for a lunch on the seafront in a very charming setting. And the road to and from there has beautiful views.
  • The hike in the Richtis Gorge where you can discover the impressive waterfall of the same name. If you want to supercharge your Insta, you are in the right place! From the security hut (20 minutes on foot from the car park) where you have to pay €3 for entry, it takes an additional one hour walk in the forest to reach the waterfall.

From Richtis, you must go to Sitia, a 20-minute drive, to stay the night.

Voulisma beach Crete
La plage de Voulisma – Est de la Crète

As you have seen, going to Crete for 2 weeks allows you to enjoy the splendid beaches of the island. And you’ll be happy to know that there are still some left for today!

To discover the Eastern-most part of Crete, you must:

1) Visit Moni Toplou monastery with its many engravings – €4 entrance – 20 min from Sitia

2) Go to the 2 pretty little sandy beaches of Itanos, where the atmosphere is super relaxed – 12 minutes from the monastery

3) Visit the Vai beach – Parking at €3 during the day – 5 min from Itanos

Bordered by a palm grove, it is one of the best known beaches on the island. Take the stairs to the right of the beach and you will see a view-point. There are several water activities on offer: jet ski, paddle boats, buoy.

4) Hiking in the Zakros Gorge – 40 minutes from Vai beach

2 possible entry points:

  • Entrance A, which goes down to the very bottom of the Gorge – 90 min walk
  • Entrance B overlooking the Gorge – 1 hour walk.

You will arrive at the village of Katos Zakros where you can take a taxi to get to the car park (€12).

If you don’t feel like walking, you can take the road leading to the village by car and enjoy the view at the Gorge exit.

5) Swim at one of the beaches of Xerokampos.

The hardest part will be deciding which one to choose from, as you will have a choice of creeks and beaches with turquoise waters, each one more beautiful than the other. And the good news is that there are plenty of places where you can be alone without any crowds!

If that helps, I rated the following 10/10:

  • Katsounaki beach (Maps.me name), also called “ Paralia Anola” (Google Maps): a pretty cove with fine sands accessible by car in 5 minutes via a dirt road.
  • The Ambelou beach (on Maps.me) or “Paralia Mazida Ammos” (if you search on Google Maps) which is just beautiful! You can park anywhere along the road and go directly to this beautiful beach with white sands and shallow turquoise waters.

Return to Sitia for another night.

Where to stay in Sitia?

  • Nora Hotel: Located in the port of Sitia. Very simple and basic room starting from €35. Strong points: cleanliness, very kind owner, sea-view.
  • Hotel Petras Beach: Located just opposite the beach. Nice and spacious room from €45. Strong points: the beautiful garden and its flowery terrace, friendly staff, close to the sea.
  • Hotel El Greco: Located in the centre of Sitia. Comfortable and warm double room with balcony from €50. Strong points: warm welcome, calm atmosphere, view.
  • Sitia Beach: Located in the bay of Sitia. 5* hotel with very spacious and bright double rooms with balcony, from €120 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: swimming pool, spa with sauna, hammam, jacuzzi, private beach, location. My favourite for its excellent value for money!
  • Oceanides Luxury Apartments: Located 3 km away from the centre. 2 bedroom, well-equipped, and spacious apartments from €250. Strong points: superbly maintained garden, magnificent pool area, perfect welcome from the owner, peace and comfort. The pefect choice for a luxury stay!
Vai beach Crete
Vaï beach – A beautiful beach to discover during your 15 days in Crete

6) Matala (1 day)

For the next leg of your two-week itinerary in Crete, you will have to think about gradually returning to the West of the island and to Chania.

Along road awaits you between Sitia and Matala, the place where you will spend the next night. It takes about 3 hours to cover the 180 km to get there.

But you don’t have to cover this distance all at once: if you get up early enough, you must go to Ierapetra (1h10 from Sitia) to take a boat to Chrissi Island*. Spend the day on Golden Beach.

The boats leave at 10:30 and leave at 16:30. The journey takes about 1 hour and costs €20 to €25 per person, depending on the company.

You will then have to drive to Matala at the end of the day.

*There are quite a few negative reviews about Chrissi but I think it’s because people are not well-informed beforehand:

  • Yes the island is very touristy and the people are gathered in the same place (but it’sone of the best known places in Crete, of course you won’t be the only one who wants to go there 😅)
  • Indeed, there is no infrastructure (restaurants, toilets…). This is simply because Chrissi is classified as a nature reserve and must remain wild. I consider this normal. All you need is to bring water and a small picnic/snack.
  • It’s not easy to go into the water. There are many sharp rocks in the water, so it’s better to have a pair of shoes to avoid cuts.
  • Avoid going to Chrissi if it is windy. The boat ride will not be pleasant and the beach will be completely exposed.
Chrissi ile Crète
Chrissi island – Crete

If you think it’s too much, you don’t have to go to Chrissi. In this case, you can take the following route:

  • Go to Ierapetra
  • Continue on the seaside road to Myrtos
  • Go up to Kerotokampos and follow the seafront to Tsoutsouros
  • Continue to the Minoan palace of Phaistos (which you can visit) via the Messara Plain
  • Head down towards Matala via the Kommos beach, a very large sandy beach where you can spend a quiet moment.

Once in Matala, you can explore the 2 beaches of this small seaside resort:

  • The beach in the centre of the village is bordered by the cliffs and has many caves. These were ancient Roman tombs, which were then used as a squatting spot by hippies in the 60s. You can visit the caves for €4.
  • Red Beach, accessible by a path that starts from behind the village (follow the signs) in 30 minutes on foot. At the end of the first set of stairs, turn right to climb the hill and you’ll have a nice view of the caves (see photo below).

Spend 1 night in Matala.

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 – Crete

7) Plakias (1 day)

Today, you’ll leave Matala to go to Plakias, a 90 minute drive away.

But there’s no need to rush, you should make several stops on the way.

Start by visiting the Triopetra beach , known for its stratified rock formations located on left the of the beach, at the end. There is a free car park and a restaurant that also offers deckchairs/sunshades but you musn’t swim at Triopetra. The water is often choppy and deep, which is not pleasant.

From Triopetra, take the road that passes through the Kourtaliotiko Gorge. You can stop at the marked spots to admire and take photos of the Gorge. There is also a staircase leading down to a waterfall.

Continue on your way to Preveli beach, which is also one of the best beaches in Crete. You will have to park your car at the paid car park (€2 for the day) and walk down to the beach on the steep path and stairs. It takes 15 minutes.

There is also a viewpoint overlooking the beach just a 5 minute walk away.

You will discover a sandy beach that has 2 main characteristics: there’s a river crossingthrough it and it’s bordered by a large palm forest, where you can take a walk.

Spend as much time as you want swimming and relaxing.

After the beach, you can also go to the Preveli monastery, which is 5 minutes away by car. For €3, you can enter the church and visit the small museum with icons.

Before reaching Plakias, there are also 2 other rather nice beaches on the way:

  • Skinaria beach: a cove with pretty rock formations and sheltered from the wind.
  • Damnoni beach, a sandy beach with deckchairs and inns.

Spend a night in the small seaside resort of Plakias.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you like eating meat you must eat at Corner Souvlaki in Plakias. It offers excellent grilled meat platters which can be shared between 2 people. On the menu: chicken, pork, lamb, beef skewers + fries + sauces + pitas + grilled cheese + salad).

For only €19, we enjoyed ourselves!

Where to stay in Plakias?

  • Ikaros Studios:  located 1 km from Plakias. Studios and apartments for up to 4 people from €65. Strong points: the swimming pool, car park, located among olive trees. This is the ideal place to stay with your family in Crete!
  • Horizon Beach Hotel: located at the end of the town, a 5 minute walk from the restaurants. Double room with a simple decor but very clean and balcony overlooking the sea from €70, breakfast at €7. Strong points: quiet, private parking, view.
  • Alianthos Garden:  located just opposite the beach. Spacious and comfortable double room from €135, breakfast and dinner included. Strong points: the staff, swimming pool, excellent food.
plage de Preveli
Preveli beach – Best things to see in Crete

8) South-West Crete/ Return to Chania

Your 2-week road trip in Crete is coming to an end.

It’s time to leave Plakias and head back to Chania. To make the most of this last day, you have several options:

  • Hike in the Imbros Gorge which starts from the village of the same name.

Entry costs €2.50 and the hike down to the bottom of the Gorge is 8 km long. It takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to make the journey. A taxi will take you back to the car park for €5 per person.

If you’ve been to the Samaria Gorge, it’s really easy compared to that!

  • If you don’t feel like taking this hike, you can also just take the road that runs along the Gorge and go down to the tiny village of Hora Sfakion.

The place is very cute, with several restaurants just by the water. From Hora Skafion you can also reach Sweet Water Beach, a pebbled beach at the foot of the cliffs.

You can reach there in 1 hour on foot via the E4 hiking path, which is quite steep and overlooks the cliffs (wear good shoes and maybe not recommended if you are scared of heights) or by taking the boat from the port of Hora Skafion.

  • Relax at one of the beaches around Chania
  • Spend the day at the Limnoupolis water park 
  • Take a quad bike tour from Georgioupolis (on the way between Plakias and Chania).

Spend one last night in Chania.

The next day will be the end of your two-week holiday in Crete. Head to the airport to catch your return flight.

Voyage Tips - Advice

For a 14-day tour of Crete, remove the day on the Akrotiri peninsula or the day on the Lassithi plateau.

For a 16-day stay in Crete, you can add a day anywhere. There are always opportunities to go hiking, enjoy the beaches for another day or to plan an activity!

15 Days in Crete staying in the same city

Would you prefer to spend 2 weeks in Crete while staying 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.

15 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:

So, what do you think of this itinerary for Crete?

If you have any questions for organising your 14, 15, or 16 day itinerary in Crete, please feel free to ask me in the comments.

15 Days in Crete: 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:

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? 😊

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 15 days itinerary
Crete 14-15 days itinerary

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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