Attractions Nearby Crete and Island Hopping

(Crete, Greece)

Ios coastal pictureA spectacular island with ancient attractions beyond compare, Crete has plenty to satisfy the needs of holiday makers. However, Crete is conveniently close to a number of other Greek islands, each of which contain their very own tempting set of attractions, should you fancy indulging in a spot of island hopping.

The small and extremely peaceful Gavdos Island is relatively close to Crete and actually the most southerly spot in the whole of Europe. Other neighbouring attractions include the islands of Ios, Kos, Mykonos, Paros, Rhodes, Santorini and Spinalonga Island. Do try to book for ferry journey in advance, to guarantee your place and the best fare.

Gavdos Island

Holiday makers searching for a little solitude and tranquility will find the natural attractions of Gavdos Island hard to better, with long coastal walks always being especially popular on the island. In total, Gavdos Island is home to three villages and some very appealing, unspoilt beaches, highly suitable for nudists, which can also be accessed either on foot or by boat.

Different view of Ios


The island of Ios truly does have something for everyone and also in recent years it has started to shake of its image at party capital of the Cyclades, there is still a very good nightlife scene to enjoy. Families and older holiday makers visiting Ios will no doubt enjoy the beachfront and its related attractions, and on the hottest of days, windsurfing and banana rides offer the perfect way to cool down in the sea. From Crete, both ferries (six hours) and hydrofoils (just under three hours) sail to Ios, although not every day - so do check the times and plan your itinerary accordingly.

Kos coastal picture


Whilst Kos is relatively close to Crete, you will be unable to find a direct ferry to this very noteworthy island. Instead, you will find that the best way to reach Kos involves a change, meaning that first you will need to travel to either Santorini or Piraeus, and then catch your ferry to Kos from there. Once you reach this appealing island, you will find that the main attractions tend to relate to its coastline and endless sandy beaches, along there are some interesting archaeological remains within Kos Town itself, such as the ruined Shrine of Aphrodite.

Image showing the Mykonos windmills


Daily sailings between April and October link Crete and Mykonos, with regular ferries departing from Heraklion. Although you can't really do justice to the attractions on Mykonos in just one day, there is plenty that you can cram in during a brief excursion, particularly if you choose to sightsee, rather than sunbathe on the endless selection of beaches. Mykonos is home to five good museums which may be of interest and these cover topics such as archaeology, folk art and Aegean maritime history.

Photo of Paros beachfront


Paros is an especially friendly island destination and easily reached from the Heraklion port in Crete by ferry in just over one hour. With many beach related attractions, Paros has become popular with holiday makers, who come here not only to sunbathe on the gorgeous beaches, but to enjoy the water sports, which include surfing around the easterly town of Dryos. International windsurfing championships often take place on Paros, drawing large crowds. Located within the historical church of Panagia Ekatantapiliani, the Byzantine Museum offers something different, away from the beaches.

Rhodes (Rodos) photograph

Rhodes (Rodos)

Although Rhodes is just too far for a day trip from Crete, it is the perfect destination to visit as part of an island tour. Rhodes in known in Greek as 'Rodos' and is connected by regular ferries from Crete's ports of Agios Nikolaos, Heraklion and Sitia, although the crossing will last upwards of nine or ten hours. Once you arrive on the island, you will be glad that you decided to make the journey, for some of the attractions are quite enchanting, particularly around the Old Town area or Rhodes Town, where the Knights' Quarter is home to the very impressive cobblestone Avenue of the Knights. The ancient Acropolis and the Temple of Apollo will also no doubt be of interest to sightseers, as will the sandy beaches of Faliraki.

Picture of the Santorini coastline


Those who fancy a spot of island hopping will be able to easily reach Santorini from Crete, onboard the speedy 'Flying Cat' catamaran boat. Santorini has long been a major island resort in this part of Greece and the attractions here often target the hordes of arriving tourists, and so things like restaurants and shops can be pricey and of variable quality. However, the beaches around Santorini are outstanding and often feature dark sand, particularly around Kamari, which is the island's leading beach resort and located some 10 km / 6 miles from the capital town of Fira.

Spinalonga Island

Address: Spinalonga Island, North of Kolokytha Peninsula, Crete, Greece, GR
Tel: +30 28410 41773
Spinalonga Island is to be found on the northern side of the Kolokytha Peninsula and is easily reached by excursion boats departing from Agios Nikolaos. The Spinalonga Island is home to an enormous fortress, which was constructed at the very end of the 16th century by the Venetians, being built to protect the Elounda Bay from Turkish sieges.