The Greek islands are some of the most romantic destinations around. With azure waters, plenty of beaches and historic towns it really is the perfect place to escape the stress and enjoy some quality time together. Today I’ll be taking you on a little tour around Greece’s largest island to show you what treasures await you here!

Crete has it all – relaxation, seclusion, and plenty of romantic villages, towns and landscapes that are just begging to be explored. If you’re in some serious need of inspiration, or just want to daydream for a bit, then join me on a little journey around this wonderful, idyllic island!

Things to do in Crete

Rethymnon – History at your fingertipsBalos Beach – Crete’s prettiest beach

Chania – the Old Town and Venetian Harbour | Zaros – A retreat in the mountains

traditional Greece series - small street tavernas

Travelling to Crete

Crete is one of the Greek islands to which you can fly directly from Dublin in summer. Jump on a plane from Dublin and arrive in the harbour town of Chania only 4.5 hours later.


Rethymnon – history at your fingertips

Of all the cities in Crete, Rethymnon is arguably one of the best preserved on the whole island. Venetian architecture dominates this neighbourhood since the island fell under their control in 1204, but there are Greek and even Ottoman influences that can be seen too. Each building is unique, and when you wander the streets of the Old Town you really will feel as if time has stood still. You’ll find all sorts of cosy tavernas with wonderful terraces and courtyards, but if you really want to go that extra mile then be sure to visit one of the restaurants located directly on the Venetian Harbour. This wonderful seafront becomes especially romantic as soon as the sun starts setting. Restaurants such as Erotokritos and Cavo D’Oro serve wonderful seafood and Greek dishes with unparalleled views of the sea – the perfect setting for a candlelit dinner.

rethymnon harbour (istock)

Balos Beach – Crete’s prettiest beach

It was a very hard choice to make considering just how many beaches there are on Crete, but you’ll see why this one really stands head and shoulders above the rest once you see the pictures! Balos Beach is as close as you could get to paradise. Once you arrive at the car park, follow the path up the hill – once you reach the peak you’ll be greeted with stunning panoramic views, and that’s when you’ll realise just how stunning this place is. Balos Beach straddles a lagoon and features gold, almost white sand and turquoise water. However what really makes it special is the sandbar that connects it to the island opposite (there’s even a castle perched on top of it). The trip to Balos will put the majority of tourists off, but that means you can relax in peace and focus on enjoying the time together without any disturbances.

Chania – the Old Town and Venetian Harbour

Another incredibly preserved city, Chania is another example of just how beautiful Crete can be. The Venetians left their mark here too, having built a gorgeous harbour complete with a solitary lighthouse and plenty of grand villas that have since been turned into tavernas, shops and bars. Firkas Fortress overlooks the entrance to the harbour, and you’ll get great views of the town from here. Also worth seeing are the wonderful churches, and there are even Ottoman baths and mosques left over from Turkish occupation. Just take the time to wonder down the narrow streets and you’ll sense the history at every step! When it comes to dining you’ll also be spoilt for choice, though of course the seafront can’t be beat for that romantic ambience. Try the Corinna Star Restaurant – it’s slightly out of town, located in Kato Galatas, but the view of the sea and the pool make it an excellent place to watch the sunset. MeNou & Krasi and Salis are two excellent seafood restaurants in the centre where you’ll also find plenty of specialities local to Crete.

chania old town (istock)

Zaros – a retreat in the mountains

You’ll find the small, traditional village of Zaros nestled in the foothills of Crete’s central mountains. It’s perfect for those looking to escape the seaside crowds, but don’t want to completely give up the luxury of having beaches close by (just an hour’s drive away). Zaros is a traditional village that’s been left untouched in the truest sense of the word – you’ll find old stone cottages, traditional tavernas, Byzantine monasteries, stunning lakes and oak forests (which are a rarity in Greece!). Couples looking for a bit of adventure can head down to Agiou Nikolaou Gorge  not only are there remarkable landscapes but you’ll also come across remote churches tucked away in the forests along the way. If the afternoon heat is getting too much, then just cool off in the lake! Restaurants serve local Cretan dishes –  if you want that authentic tavern experience then try the restaurant at the Eleonas hotel. With a wonderful outdoor terrace and stunning views it’s the perfect setting to enjoy fine wines and delicious food.

There is so much more to Crete than this of course – there are countless other villages and beaches that are waiting to be explored, but for romance and views theses places are pretty much unbeatable! Rent a car and you’ll have the freedom to explore this beautiful island to your heart’s content. Santorini may be the first Greek island that comes to people’s minds for romance, but escape to Crete for two weeks and you’ll be left absolutely speechless by the end of it. Sparks will be flying! ;)

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