Day Trips from Major Cities: Exploring Crete’s Surroundings with a Rental Car

The largest of the Greek islands, Crete is an oasis of natural beauty, ancient history, and vibrant culture. The best way to discover its rich offerings is to take day trips from major cities. Crete’s well-maintained roads, scenic routes, and diverse landscapes invite travellers to explore beyond the urban centres and discover hidden treasures in the surrounding area. Our guide will discuss some captivating day trips you can take from major cities in Crete, all of which can be accomplished with the convenience of a rental car.

Heraklion: Gateway to Historical Marvels

Crete’s capital city, Heraklion, is not only a bustling city but also the gateway to many historical and natural wonders. By renting a car, you can take unforgettable day trips to explore this diverse area.

  1. Knossos Palace and Archanes Village: Start your day trip by visiting the legendary Knossos Palace, the centre of the Minoan civilization. Explore the intricately reconstructed palace complex and delve into ancient history. Afterwards, head to Archanes Village, known for its traditional Cretan architecture, charming streets, and excellent tavernas serving local delicacies.
  2. Lasithi Plateau and Dikteon Cave: Drive towards the enchanting Lasithi Plateau, a fertile basin dotted with windmills and picturesque villages. Stop by the Dikteon Cave, also known as the birthplace of Zeus in Greek mythology, and marvel at its stalactites and stalagmites.
  3. Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island: Take a scenic coastal drive to Agios Nikolaos, a charming town with a picturesque harbour and lively atmosphere. From there, catch a boat to Spinalonga Island, known for its Venetian fortress and intriguing history as a leper colony.

Car hire Heraklion

Chania: Old-World Charm and Natural Splendor

Chania, a picturesque city on Crete’s northwestern coast, beckons with its old-world charm, Venetian architecture, and stunning coastline. Renting a car in Chania opens up a world of exploration beyond the city limits

  1. Samaria Gorge: Embark on a journey to the renowned Samaria Gorge, one of Europe’s longest gorges. Hike through breathtaking landscapes, encounter rare flora and fauna, and marvel at the gorge’s sheer cliffs and natural beauty.
  2. Elafonissi Beach: Drive to Elafonissi Beach, a paradise known for its pink-hued sands and crystal-clear waters. Spend a relaxing day sunbathing, swimming, and exploring the nearby islet with its unique ecosystem.
  3. Balos Lagoon: Take a scenic drive to the Balos Lagoon, a mesmerizing natural wonder with turquoise waters, white sands, and a dramatic backdrop of rugged cliffs. Enjoy a leisurely day by the lagoon, soaking in its beauty and tranquillity.

Rethymno: Where History Meets Scenic Delights

Rethymno, a charming town with a well-preserved old town and a Venetian fortress, offers a blend of history and scenic delights. Renting a car in Rethymno allows you to embark on captivating day trips in the surrounding areas.

  1. Arkadi Monastery and Margarites Village: Explore the historic Arkadi Monastery, known for its role in Crete’s fight for independence. Then, visit Margarites Village, famous for its pottery tradition and picturesque streets lined with artisan workshops.
  2. Preveli Beach and Palm Forest: Drive to Preveli Beach, a hidden gem with golden sands, azure waters, and a scenic palm forest. Relax on the beach, swim in the clear waters, and take a walk through the lush palm grove.
  3. Anogeia and Ideon Cave: Venture into the rugged interior of Crete by driving to Anogeia, a traditional mountain village known for its music and cultural heritage. Nearby, explore the Ideon Cave, steeped in mythology as the cave where Zeus was raised.

Agios Nikolaos: Serene Seascapes and Cultural Delights

Agios Nikolaos, a charming coastal town nestled around a picturesque lake, offers serene seascapes and cultural delights. Renting a car in Agios Nikolaos allows you to discover the beauty of eastern Crete and its surrounding attractions.

  1. Vai Palm Forest and Itanos Archaeological Site: Drive to Vai Palm Forest, a unique ecosystem with a palm-fringed beach and crystal-clear waters. Explore the nearby Itanos Archaeological Site, an ancient city with ruins dating back to the Minoan and Roman periods.
  2. Kritsa Village and Kritsa Gorge: Visit Kritsa Village, known for its traditional architecture, Byzantine churches, and panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Hike through Kritsa Gorge, a scenic canyon with natural rock formations and lush vegetation.
  3. Spinalonga Peninsula: Take a coastal drive to the Spinalonga Peninsula, home to the historic Spinalonga Fortress. Explore the fortress, learn about its intriguing history, and enjoy panoramic views of the sea and surrounding coastline.

Exploring Crete with Ease: Renting a Car Tips

Before embarking on your day trips from major cities in Crete, consider the following tips for renting a car and making the most of your exploration:

  1. Choose the right vehicle: Make sure you select the right rental car to suit your travel needs, whether it’s a compact car for urban driving or an off-road vehicle.
  2. Plan Your Itinerary: Plan your day trips in advance, including attractions to visit, routes to take, and estimated travel times.
  3. Check Rental Policies: Familiarize yourself with the rental company’s policies regarding insurance coverage, fuel requirements, and additional fees.
  4. Stay Safe and Informed: Adhere to traffic rules, road signs, and speed limits while driving in Crete. Stay informed about weather conditions and road closures, especially when venturing into mountainous areas.

A day trip from major cities to Crete will allow you to discover the island’s hidden treasures, picturesque landscapes, and cultural heritage, creating unforgettable memories of your Crete adventure with MYTHOS Car Rentals. Immerse yourself in the beauty of this enchanting Mediterranean gem and enjoy the freedom of exploration.