If you are heading to Crete for the summer and are planning on seeing the marvelous sites around Chania, one of Crete’s main cities, then this post is for you! Here you’ll find a detailed itinerary to spend 5 days in Chania, including the best beaches, things to see nearby, and top restaurants to dine at.
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Crete Itinerary – Day 1
On your first day, start by getting used to the time zone, and relaxing by the hotel pool and beach.
When you get hungry, make your way to Chania Old Town for lunch, where I recommend Salis for their terrace overlooking the harbor. Work your way through the menu by ordering a few mezes or your favorite main dishes. For meze, I suggest the peinerli with kimas, croquettes, and grilled octopus.
Once you are done with lunch, stroll around the charming streets of Chania Old Town and stop a few seconds at the Venetian Harbor to gaze upon the Lighthouse of Chania.
For dinner, grab a few bites and drinks at Pallas, a waterfront restaurant in a building from the 1800s, where you can dine while enjoying the sunset at the horizon. Their menu includes Cretan dishes with Italian influence and their Aperol Spritz is a great choice.
CRETE ITINERARY – SUMMARY OF DAY 1
- Hotel Beach and Pool
- Lunch at Salis
- Chania Old Town with Venetian Harbor and Lighthouse
- Dinner at Pallas
Crete Itinerary – Day 2
Now your summer itinerary is truly starting. Today you’ll start visiting the best beaches on Crete located in Chania.
Wake up early to see Seitan Limania, one of the most beautiful places on the island, with a gorgeous cliff overlooking the turquoise stretch of beach. The drive from Chania takes approximately 40 minutes to arrive at the parking lot. Once there, there will be a 15-minute hike over a rocky path to get to the beach. There are no facilities, so bring water and a towel to lay down and relax at the beach. Also, I’d recommend going early to Seitan Limania, preferably around 8 am, and leaving when the crowds start to arrive (around 10 am). Trust me, it gets uncomfortably crowded and there are other stunning places to visit today.
After visiting Seitan Limania, it’s time to see Marathi Beach. This is a great beach for families because of its shallow, calming waters and restaurant access. Here is where I recommend having lunch for the day – I went to Loukoulos.
Once you are done with Marathi, it’s time to see one of the most stunning beaches on Crete – Loutraki. Not really part of many itineraries to Crete, Loutraki is mostly known by locals and savvy tourists who make Crete their yearly summer getaway. Its turquoise waters are stunning and, since there are no waves, they are very inviting for a swim and to float away.
For dinner, head back to Old Town to visit Oinopoieio. Here you’ll have a classic taverna experience with Cretan fare at an affordable price and local wines by the carafe. The highlights of the menu include fried snails, lamb, and Cretan salad.
CRETE ITINERARY – SUMMARY OF DAY 2
- Seitan Limania
- Marathi Beach
- Lunch at Loukoulos
- Loutraki Beach
- Dinner at Oinopoieio
Crete Itinerary – Day 3
Start the third day of your Crete itinerary by going to Balos Beach and Lagoon. Again, I’d recommend having an early start and planning on arriving at the beach before 10 am (ideally before 9 am). Just have in mind that it takes around 1h30 to get to Balos from Chania.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE TO READ: The Ultimate Guide to Balos Beach and Lagoon.
After Balos, once it starts to get very crowded, move on to the nearby Falassarna Beach, making a quick stop at Tavern Spilios for lunch.
At Falassarna, you can either rent a chair and umbrella from one of the places renting it or stretch your towel to enjoy the rest of the day. Here you’ll have access to a bunch of water sports companies, including surfing, jet-ski, and parasail.
For dinner, visit Periplous restaurant for a seaside meal filled with fresh seafood and pasta.
CRETE ITINERARY – SUMMARY OF DAY 3
- Balos Beach and Lagoon
- Lunch at Tavern Spilios
- Falassarna Beach
- Dinner at Periplous
Crete Itinerary – Day 4
On the 4th day of your Crete itinerary, go for another walk around Old Town and have an early, calm lunch at Ginger Concept. This Bali-inspired restaurant is in one of the cutest streets of Chania and you’ll certainly want to take your time here.
Then, continue to Agia Triada Monastery, one of the most beautiful monasteries on Crete. Here you can walk around to admire the charming structure and its gardens, as well as visit the store and museum to sample and buy the wine and olive oil made locally.
After the monastery, it’s beach time and you’ll make your way to the nearby Stavros Beach. The beach is closed to the open sea, so the clear shallow calm waters of Stavros are ideal for stand-up paddle and to see the small fishes swimming around.
For dinner, book a table at Manousakis Winery. You can enjoy a wine tasting and dinner with their delicious menu, which includes a perfectly cooked lamb, stuffed grape leaves, and zucchini fritters.
CRETE ITINERARY – SUMMARY OF DAY 4
- Old Town
- Lunch at Ginger Concept
- Agia Triada Monastery
- Stavros Beach
- Dinner at Manousakis Winery
Crete Itinerary – Day 5
For the last day of your Crete itinerary, you’ll visit the one-and-only Elafonisi Beach, the pink sand beach of the island. Since Elafonisi is one of the best beaches on Crete and has relatively easy access, it usually gets crowded mid-morning. So again, plan on arriving before 9 am. If the first part of the beach with the rental chairs and umbrellas is too busy for you, then the other side of the dunes will bring the peace and isolation you’re looking for. Pack a picnic and plan on having lunch after the last beach, on your way back to the hotel.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE TO READ: Your Complete Guide to Visiting Elafonisi Beach
Once done with Elafonisi, it’s time to go to Kedrodasos Beach, a less crowded and (surprisingly) even more beautiful beach than Balos and Elafonisi. Its fluorescent sea and secluded location are the best way to finish your days on Crete.
When leaving Kedrodasos, stop for lunch or a quick bite at Tavern Kochilas which serves Cretan goods such as stuffed zucchini and Cretan salad, or Kosmos Fish Tavern for fresh seafood, and stop by the Chrysoskalitissa Monastery.
For your last dinner, visit To Maridaki, a low-key restaurant with succulent fresh seafood. I recommend the crisp and crunchy fried calamari and the grilled catch of the day (though you can’t go wrong with a grouper). Here, the wine prices are also on point.
CRETE ITINERARY – SUMMARY OF DAY 5
- Elafonisi Beach
- Kedrodasos Beach
- Lunch at Kosmos Tavern Kochilas or Fish Tavern
- Chrysoskalitissa Monastery
- Dinner at To Maridaki
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE TO READ: 8 Stunning Beaches to Visit on Crete Island, Greece
Have extra time? Choose one of the other main cities in Crete, Heraklion or Rethymno, to visit (or maybe both). With more time, you can also go back to your favorite beach, spend some time indulging at the hotel’s spa, and drive around to find unique and out-of-the-beaten-path locations.
Tips for your Crete Itinerary
The currency used in Greece is the Euro (EUR). The current exchange rate is approximately 1 EUR to 1.10 USD. You can check the current euro exchange rate on Google.
While traveling, I personally use a free Charles Schwab Debit Card which provides unlimited worldwide ATM Fee Refunds, no foreign transaction fee, and the true exchange rate.
Best time to visit Greece
The best time to visit Greece is between April and October. July and August can be very crowded, so I recommend the shoulder months of April, May, September, and October. I visited Crete in the middle of September and had perfect sunny days and warm temperatures.
Best tours on Crete
Some of the best tours and things to do on Crete Island are:
- Day trip from Chania to Elafonisi
- Balos Boat Cruise from Kissamos Port
- Wine and Olive Oil Tour from Chania
Where to stay on Crete (Best Hotels near Chania)
I recommend booking your hotels on Booking.com to get the best rate and other perks such as genius discounts and free cancellation, in case your plans change.
These are the best hotels to stay on Crete:
- Domes Zeen Chania – for a seaside luxury experience, this is one of the best options. It has a picture-perfect pool, outdoor gym, beach service with chairs and umbrellas, it’s good for families, and is part of the Luxury Collection of hotels. Its sophisticated and comfortable rooms have Byredo amenities, and many have private plunge pools. Read my honest review of Domes Zeen Chania.
- Domes Noruz Chania – another seaside hotel with modern bright rooms featuring private pools. It’s the best option for couples since it’s adults-only and is also part of the Autograph Collection.
- Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa – placed in the heart of Chania’s picturesque old town, this authentic 17th-century Venetian mansion has a rooftop terrace overlooking the town and the Venetian Harbor.
Transportation on Crete Island
Public Transportation: You can find a bus system on Crete to get to a few places on the island. Check out their routes and timetable on their website.
Rental Cars: The best way to get around Crete is by car. Plan on renting a car as soon as you get on the island, so you can explore the beaches above at your convenience.
Ever since the pandemic, travel insurance has become almost essential for every type of travel. My recommended and used travel insurance tool is SquareMouth – a platform for searching for the best option amongst travel insurance companies. It allows travelers to instantly purchase a travel insurance policy from every major provider in the US. The platform also makes clear each policy’s COVID-related coverage.
CRETE ITINERARY PACKING TIPS
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE TO READ:
- The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Balos
- Your Complete Guide to Visiting Elafonisi Beach, the Pink Beach on the Greek Island of Crete
- 8 Stunning Beaches to Visit on Crete Island, Greece
- Top Things to do in Chania, Crete Island, Greece
- 3-Day Itinerary to See the Best of Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
- One-week Itinerary to Bali
- An honest review of Domes Zeen Chania
Need help planning your next dream trip to Crete? Then check out my Travel Planning Services to see how I can assist you.