Top rated Chania airport car rentals and Crete attractions

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Matala Beach is one of the most interesting and most visited beaches on the south coast of Crete. The beach is a huge arc of sand with a rock wall on one side riddled with ancient caves that look down on impossibly blue waters. Matala makes for a great day trip from destinations on the north coast, like Heraklion or Rethymnon. You can lounge in the sun, swim, explore the ancient caves, and have lunch at a seaside restaurant. Afterwards, do a bit of souvenir shopping at one of the shops along the pedestrian-only walkways behind the beach. The caves were the haunt of hippies in the 1960s. Travelers of a certain age will recognize the name of the beach from the famous Joni Mitchell song called Carey.

The highest point in Crete lies 2,456m (8,058ft) above sea level, and is known to the Cretans as Psiloritis. The mountaintop is drenched in mythology, and legend has it that it may have been the birthplace of Zeus himself. Though it’s a strenuous hike, and not recommended for beginners, you can reach the top in a day if you’ve got a decent level of fitness. If you make it, don’t forget to ring the bell at the ruins of Timios Stavros church. The other legendary birthplace of Zeus is the large Psychro Cave in the Lasithi prefecture in eastern Crete. It’s a small hike to get to the entrance of the cave. Once inside, you’ll see a staircase that takes you down into the cave where there are amazing stalagmites and stalactites. The view across the Lasithi Plateau is breathtaking, and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can take in the sights.

One of Crete’s most beautiful beaches, Balos Lagoon is located near the town of Kissamos. Sandwiched between the small island of Imeri Gramvousa and Crete itself, the beach is accessible by boat or car. Visitors are greeted with a stunning vista created by an outcropping of rock that is surrounded by pink sand and blue and turquoise water. This is arguably the most photographed natural attraction in Crete, which causes tourists to visit in massive numbers. The months of July and August are the busiest.

Rimmed by more than 1,000 kilometers of coastline, and with stunning beaches backed by mountains that rise more than 2,400 meters, Crete is unlike any other island in Greece. It is the largest of the Greek islands and the fifth biggest island in the Mediterranean. The main attractions on Crete are the incredible golden-sand beaches and turquoise waters of the Mediterranean, but the island is also home to important Minoan archaeological sites, dramatic gorges, lovely cities with Venetian harbors and fortresses, and small coastal towns where you can escape to a leisurely pace of life. On the north coast are the centuries-old harbor towns and cities of Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion, and Agios Nikoloas, the most popular tourist destinations on the island. The best places to visit on Crete for shopping, nightlife, museums, and cultural attractions are all found along the north coast. Discover additional information at