The magical blend of blues you’re presented with as you approach Balos from above

The Ultimate Cretan Roadtrip - 10 Days in Crete

Dawid Zawila


  • Discover Crete’s most storied ancient sites, from the palatial Minoan cities of Knossos and Phaistos to lesser-known wonders. 
  • Dive into a foodie’s paradise and explore the Cretan cuisine and the principles of the famous Mediterranean diet. 
  • Always know where your closest beach is, with an essential guide to the most remarkable coastline
  • Explore at your own pace, with the ease of mind that our customized app gives you: seamless navigation, local tips and activity suggestions, as well as stories of ancient battles, folk traditions and love affairs between the gods and goddesses.

STARTS FROM: Heraklion
DURATION: 10 days
ACCOMMODATION: We have carefully selected boutique hotels and family-run guest houses in great locations, with lots of character. Here are some photos of the hotels we use in this trip (hotel selection is based on availability at the time of the booking)
CARBON: Neutral (We have offset the CO2 footprint of this trip to mitigate the impact on the environment)

Source: Back to the Routes


Crete is a world unto itself. From remnants of Minoan palaces and traces of Europe's oldest literate civilization to authentic mountain villages, secluded southern beaches and the lively and welcoming historic cities of the island's northern shore, Crete is Greece's most complete island destination. 

You’ll visit all of Crete’s most famous ancient sites, as well as lesser-known archaeological gems. And you’ll have plenty of time to escape the crowds and experience the timeless rural way of life in authentic, small villages too.

Source: Back to the Routes


Our itinerary includes all must-visit locations, but through our app you can customize it with points of interest & activities, based on your personal interests.

  • Day 1

    Heraklion - Knossos I A view from the throne

    On our first day in Crete, we will discover the hubs most important to the island, from antiquity to the present day. We set off from the city of Heraklion, the largest, most crowded city in Crete and the centre of decision-making and contemporary life on the island. Next, we visit Knossos, one of the most powerful and palatial ancient cities, which marks the beginning of sophisticated civilisation on the European continent.

    Overnight in Heraklion

  • Day 2

    Spinalonga - Kritsa - Diktaion Andron - Lasithi Plateau I Origins to exile

    Today is a ride through an impressively wide variety of terrain through eastern Crete and the prefecture of Lassithi: dry land, seaside, cities, villages, valleys and caves! We will visit the islet of Spinalonga, which for years was home to the most misunderstood patients: lepers. Eventually, we’ll reach the most famous cave in the ancient world, Diktaion Andron: the place where Zeus, the king of the ancient gods, spent his childhood.

    Overnight in Heraklion

  • Day 3

    Anogia - Melidoni cave - Bali - Rethymno I Harmony and hospitality

    Away from the crowds of tourists, we’ll explore Anogia, the village that gave birth to Greece's most beloved musicians. Then we continue to the picturesque cave of Melidoni and the beautiful resort of Bali which make up the dazzling mosaic of coastal Crete and offer many opportunities to enjoy the Cretan sea and Cretan cuisine – just like the locals do.

    Overnight in Rethymno

  • Eleftherna - Margarites I The Cretan spirit

    The day opens with a visit to the most intriguing archaeological site in Crete, Ancient Eleftherna. We continue to the Arkadi Monastery, one of the most emblematic sites of the heroic spirit of the Cretans and their struggle for freedom. In the village of Margarites, we marvel at the artistry of the local people and their love for crafts, before returning to the charming and cosmopolitan city of Rethymno.

    Overnight in Rethymno

  • Day 5

    Preveli Monastery - Spili - Patsos Gorge I Faith and heroes

    We head to the monastery of Preveli, a stronghold of faith and the Greek sense of freedom. On our return, we’ll follow a fascinating route through the forests of Rethymno prefecture, visiting the traditional village of Spili, known for its cooling, shady square and running waters. Our final stop is the gorge of Patsos, a smaller and less crowded gorge that the famous Samaria gorge.

    Overnight in Rethymno

  • Day 6

    Vamos - Aptera - Chania I A bridge to the past

    This day is dedicated to the exploration of Apokoronas, the geographical bridge between Chania and the rest of the island. Apokoronas is one of the most interesting on the island, as it combines wild coastal beauty with traditional village architecture. We will visit the most beautiful of its villages, Vrisses and Vamos, that sit at a semi-mountainous altitude and are surrounded by farmland and a wild nature, as well as the remarkable archaeological site of Aptera, before arriving in enchanting Chania.

    Overnight in Chania

  • Day 7

    Fragokastello - Chora Sfakion I Fairytales

    We will visit the fairytale castle of Frangokastello, where the ghosts of the Drosoulites warriors, appear at dawn each May. We will continue to explore the picturesque region of Sfakia, a group of small villages backed by the steep White Mountains, the most rebellious part of Crete where the conquerors never lived. Finally take a dive in one of the many beautiful beaches of southern Crete.

    Overnight in Chania

  • Day 8

    Elafonisi beach - Chryssoskalitissa monastery - Elos | Safe travels

    Discover one of the most breathtaking beaches and biosites of Crete, Elafonissi, famous for its clear blue waters and pink sand. As we cross the island to reach its southernmost and westernmost point, we’ll visit the Monastery of Chrysoskalitissa, built on the rocks overlooking the sea and protecting travelers. Our final stop will be Elos, a tiny, picturesque village, full of plane and chestnut trees.

    Overnight in Chania

  • Day 9

    Balos beach - Falassarna | Body and soul

    We set off on a day trip from Chania to enjoy the two most famous and enchanting beaches of Crete: Balos and Falassarna. They are the two most exotic and extraordinary places on the island, which make memories of Crete unforgettable and offer relaxation for soul and body.

    Overnight in Chania

  • Day 10

    Gavalochori - Lake Kournas - Departure | Save the best till last

    We left two very special places until last: Lake Kournas and the traditional village of Gavalochori. The coexistence of a traditional urban settlement with the rich natural landscape is a fitting way to end this adventure through such a diverse and bountiful island.


Source: Back to the Routes

What's Included

What's included

  • Rental of category D car for 10 full days (Toyota Auris or similar), with Unlimited Mileage, Third Party Cover, Collision Damage Waiver (with excess based on category booked), Vehicle Theft Cover (with excess based on category booked), Airport surcharge, 24h road assistance (for accidents or mechanical breakdowns), Local Taxes
  • Nine accommodations at 3* & 4* hotels or traditional guest-houses
  • Nine traditional Greek breakfasts
  • Customized trip app featuring:
    • thematic detailed itinerary & navigation
    • enriched content, audio storytelling & advice from a top-rated guide at each location
    • optional stops, local tips & points of interest
    • suggestions for tours, audio guided tours & activities
    • restaurant recommendations in each area

Our rates are based on the rental of one car per 4 people, one double room per 2 people, one triple room per 3 people and one quadruple room per 4 people. In case your group has different requirements please contact us for a customized offer.

Not included

  • Ferry or airplane tickets from/to Crete.
  • Car delivery and collection
  • Gas & tolls
  • Site entry fees 
  • Meals
  • (Optional) local guided tours / audio guided tours/ activities

Important notes

  • This trip starts in Crete and ends in Crete, so it doesn't include any transportation from/to Crete. Should you wish to include this, either by ferry or airplane, please let us know and we will be happy to inform you of the additional cost and proceed with the arrangements.
Source: Back to the Routes

About the provider

Back to the Routes

Back to the Routes is a personal journey, or better, a collection of personal journeys in the land of Greece. It is the collection of our childhood journeys that we started with our parents, who taught us to love and appreciate simple things in life and that we later continued ourselves.
Wanderlust Greece | Crete
The unexpected treasures of Ancient Eleftherna in Crete (4K)
The story behind Spinalonga island in Crete (4K)
Crete | Marathopita
Crete | Kalitsounia
The mountain dwellers of Chania / Ανωμερίτες Χανίων
Chania by Locals | Halepa & more (4K)

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  • Handpicked tours & activities

    All our tours and activities have been chosen for maximum quality and reliability.
  • Flexible cancellation policy

    Discover Greece is in close contact with providers to ensure flexibility in the event of cancellation.
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