You’re spoilt for fascinating excursions on Crete, an island brimming with history, mystery and natural splendour. Don’t know where to start your road trip in Crete? Read on for more handpicked suggestions for routes that will remain memorable for all the right reasons
Between its exotic seascapes, rugged mountainous scenery, awe-inspiring ancient monuments and traditional villages steeped in history, Crete is pure explorers’ heaven. Of course, you’ll be tempted to just lounge and get pampered poolside at the Oscar Suites & Village –you chose it for its signature mix of thoughtful amenities, top tier accommodation, genuinely friendly atmosphere and indulgent services, after all. But your cocooned base at the long and sandy beach of Agia Marina -Platanias, is also ideally positioned for all sorts of escapades and amazing discoveries on Greece’s largest island. Think sun-kissed striking nature, mouthwatering food, locals who recite impromptu mantinades and the weight of history manifested in every nook and cranny.
With so many destinations and an endless list of sightseeing options, it’s not easy to select the best route for your road trip in Crete. That’s why we’ve done the hard bit – here’s the 2nd part of our handpicked suggestions on what you should not miss when driving in Crete.
Road trip in Crete: Therissos
Dubbed Europe’s Grand Canyon, Samaria is no doubt breathtaking –but it’s not the only spectacular gorge in the Chania region. Starting from Agia Marina -Platanias, drive for about half an hour, through the bed of the gorge amid dramatic scenery, resplendent with vertical cliffs, lush vegetation and a tree-lined river. The gorge ends at the mountainous village of Therisso. Built at an altitude of 580 metres this historic hamlet was the site of Venizelos’ revolt in 1905, which would some years later lead to the unification of Crete with Greece. Nowadays a popular day trip destination for locals, it is lined with traditional tavernas –sample the famous Cretan lamb or continue your exploration at the foothills of the typically snow-capped White Mountains (Lefka Ori): With secluded, quaint villages, and an off-the-beaten-track, family-run farm with an iconic Mediterranean Diet Center, this area is one of the best-kept secrets of the savviest of travellers.
Road trip in Crete: Sougia
The vibrant, cosmopolitan Platanias is surely exciting, but at some point, you might want to escape all this hassle and bustle. Pick up your vehicle of choice –our Oscar Suites & Village team is at hand to assist you with the arrangements–and work your way down to the unspoiled south coast of Crete. With outstanding beaches, lost ancient cities and breathtaking gorges, this area remains largely untainted and almost as authentic as it was when the hippies first discovered it in the halcyon days of the 1960s. Visit the village of Sougia, a former flower childrens’ haunt, and nowadays, a favourite naturists’ and nudists’ spot.
Swim in the deep crystal clear waters of the Libyan Sea, and then soak up the laid back vibes and the views while you drink some wine or raki in the tavernas. You can also enjoy walking and hiking around –and even stumble upon some ancient ruins. The history of Sougia traces back to Roman times, and if you are in an Indiana Jones kind of mood, try finding the incredible remains of the ancient towns of Elyros and Lissos in the neighbouring villages.
Road trip in Crete: Sfakia
Venture off the beaten path, into Crete’s far west, to the wild and unspoiled region of Sfakia: Experience time-honoured customs and folkways; indulge in traditional delicacies; meet the proud, black-clad locals and get your camera ready to capture striking, natural scenery that’s been unchanged for centuries.
This area is a go-to destination for hiking enthusiasts and nature lovers, with iconic gorges such as Aradena and Imbros to cross, an incredible diversity of flora and fauna to discover as well as a wealth of ancient and Medieval settlements to explore.
From the dramatic mountainous villages of Anopoli, Kalikratis and Askyfou, to the exotic beaches of Illigas, Marmara or Agia Roumeli, and the whitewashed, fairytale-like coastal hamlet of Loutro, a road trip in Crete, Sfakia makes for an epic adventure which will leave you with fascinating tales to tell.
Did you like our suggestions? Stay tuned to the Oscar Suites & Village blog for more local tips, stories, and insights.