10 Days in Crete: A Stunning Itinerary in West Crete

Balos Beach, one of the places to visit in this 10 days in Crete visit.

Do you have ten days in Crete and want to see it all? Or are you looking for the perfect Crete itinerary to explore the whole island?

I admire your ambitions, but Crete is too big to see everything in one go. And if you have 10 days, I suggest starting with the island’s western half. To help you with that, here is a 10-day Crete itinerary that will leave you in awe!

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10 Days in Crete: Best Places to Visit

10 days in Crete

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Be sure to book ahead of time to ensure availability!

🛎️ Find the best hotels in Crete here

📍 Top tours I recommend on the island:
Boat cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa
Ticket to Knossos Archaeological Site

🚘 The best way to get around Crete is by car. Check rental car rates for Crete here.

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10 Days in Crete: Glimpsing into the Diverse Beauty of Western Crete

Alley in the old town of Chania.

Picking the right road to discover Crete can be overwhelming; there is so much to see, and the island is so big that time never seems enough to see it all.

If you’re trying to decide where to go in Crete, let me give you the most precious advice: choose one or two regions (no more, don’t be tempted) and discover the best of it one day at a time.

In this case, we’ve decided to show you the best of West Crete in ten days; take a look!

Day 1: Chania

10 days in Crete
Chatzimichali Giannari Street, Chania Old Town.

In ancient Italy, all roads would lead to Rome; in modern Crete, all roads lead to Chania. Or at least they should.

After all, the city’s charm and authentic beauty are out of this world. Think of a colorful medieval town home to intriguing defensive walls, fortresses, and a picturesque port.

instagram places in crete
Theotokopoulo Street, Chania Old Town.

For the first five nights, Chania will be your base while you explore western Crete with several day trips.

That means you can enjoy breakfast and dinner in this cosmopolitan city; believe me, you’ll love the local cuisine and themed restaurants

>> Looking for accommodation in Chania? This guide includes the best hotels in town!

Day 2: Balos Lagoon

Balos 9x12

As one of the most photographed spots on the island, Balos Lagoon is the epitome of natural forces working in perfect balance.

White sand surrounded by substantial cliff stones gives way to a tiny stretch of land that resembles a bridge to the small yet tall islet of Tigani.

The resulting lagoon has some of the calmest and warmest waters in Crete, making it ideal for families.

10 days in Crete
Road to Balos.

The only caveat of the place is its difficult access from the road. For that reason, you may want to take a private boat trip from Chania or a day cruise from the nearby town of Kissamos, which means visiting the historical island of Gramvousa!

Want to visit Crete but don’t want to drive? This guide to bus travel in Crete will help you understand how to navigate the island on public transport.

Day 3: Samaria Gorge

10 days in Crete
Samaria Gorge.

After a day in the water, it is time to hike the most famous canyon in Crete and the longest in Europe: Samaria Gorge.

Think of wild scenery, wooden bridges, pine forests, and unique vegetation that will guarantee a memorable day in nature.

If you are wondering, the distance you’ll cover is about 16 kilometers. Still, the path is easy and flat enough for everyone.

10 days in Crete

Fortunately, you only need to descend the gorge, as a boat can pick you up from the beach and take you back to civilization.

Most importantly, walking the canyon will bring you near the endangered wild Cretan goats or agrimi (which locals commonly call kri-kri). 

Day 4: Elafonisi Beach

10 days in Crete

Walking six or seven hours will most likely leave a toll on your body, so it is better to reserve the next day for sunbathing and relaxing on the beach.

Although you could choose a spot close to Chania, I recommend making an extra effort and driving to Elafonisi Beach.

Greece - Crete - Elafonis

It will reward you a hundred times over. If driving is not an option, this is one of the most convenient (and affordable) bus trips to Elafonisi leaving from Chania.

Often ranked as one of the best beaches in the world, Elafonisi will fascinate you from the first second.

10 days in Crete
Pink sand, Elafonisi.

Imagine a unique wild landscape, crystal blue waters, and colorful sand ranging from white to pink to coral red!

Yes, the sand here is often pink, thanks to billions of crushed shells. You can read everything about this fascinating beach here.

>> Want to visit Elafonisi by car but don’t want to drive there? Let me take you to Elafonisi! Read more about my experiences and day trips in West Crete!

Day 5: Mountains Villages by Car

10 days in Crete
Apokoronas, Crete

For your last day in Chania, I’d recommend an excursion to the villages facing the high peaks of Crete’s White Mountains, taking the road from Chania to the Apokoronas region!

The area is known for having some peaks with snow until late spring. Approaching the mountains from the villages in the Apokoronas will make you feel like you are in another country; everything is different. 

10 days in Crete
A mountain road in Apokoronas.

As you approach the mountains, you will find that the temperatures are lower than in town. The scenery gives way to imposing hills, while olive groves and vineyards add green to the picture.

You’ll notice the limestone terrain shining in the bright Cretan sunshine around you – that’s why they named these mountains White! 

10 days in Crete
The olive factory inside Agios Giorgos Monastery, Apokoronas.

For an unforgettable experience, head to the traditional village of Vamos and pay a short visit to Agios Giorgos Monastery in Karydi, located less than five minutes from the center of Vamos (there are plenty of signs so that you won’t get lost).

This fantastic spot, which has been restored by the monks in recent years and is fully operative, was abandoned in the past.

Here, you can get a close-up look at the ruins of an authentic olive oil factory, its incredible twelve-stone arches, and the base of four ancient olive mills.

Since the olive oil factory roof has collapsed, visiting at dusk offers the opportunity for amazing photos.

10 days in Crete

And if you need more time on the beach, don’t worry; plenty of small resorts are available in the village. If I were you, I’d choose a place to stay between scenic Georgioupoli and the calm seaside town of Almyrida.

Did you know you can check out seven villages in Apokoronas in one day? This best-selling tour of the area offers excellent value for money and lets you see a lot in just a day!

Day 6: Chora Sfakion

10 days in Crete
Road to Chora Sfakion.

Day six of this itinerary marks the start of a five-day road trip from Chania. Although there are thousands of places to visit in Crete by car, we’ll focus on the ones east and south of Chania.

Trust me, you don’t want to drive to the other edge of the island and come back a few hours after—that’s way too tiring. So, to fully appreciate the destinations you’ll visit and have time to take in the views along the way, we’ll take it easy.

sea, mountains, village
Chora Sfakion.

Once you’ve crossed the White Mountains through the road parallel to Imbros Gorge, your first stop will be Crete’s southern coastline and the seaside village of Chora Sfakion.

It is a magical, low-key settlement that will enchant you with its peaceful aura and lovely taverns. Not to mention the gorgeous Imbros Canyon you will drive through to get here.

Day 7: Loutro

Loutro village, Loutro beach, Crete, South Crete, Sea, Mountains
The bay of Loutro faces the Libyan Sea.

After you spend a night in Chora Sfakion, park the car here and hop on a ferry to the nearby remote village of Loutro. I promise you won’t see anything more picturesque on the entire island!

Think of a small harbor settlement set amphitheatrically around a stunning bay. Add the whitewashed low-lying building in the frame, and you are in for a treat.

Loutro at night.

Although you could return to Chora Sfakion for the night, I would spend a night in Loutro if I were you.

Experiencing the area’s serenity while being so cut off from the rest of civilization will give you goosebumps… you won’t easily find a better evening spot to watch the stars!

Where to stay in Loutro and Chora Sfakion:

  • Villa Niki: This is a little gem hidden behind the hotels on the waterfront in Loutro, it is a favorite place to stay in the village as it is in a quiet location, a short distance from the beach and the waterfront taverns. It has great views of the bay and the mountains.
    Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Day 8: Preveli Beach

Where to stay in Crete for Beaches - preveli beach
The gorgeous Preveli at sunset.

After a day of relaxing in Loutro, it’s time to get back on the road. Today, you will drive along the southern coastline of Crete through a wild landscape with few trees but compelling views over the Libyan Sea on your right. 

The leading destination for the day is the exotic Preveli Beach, famed for its pine trees and river running into the sea.

Trail in Kourtaliotiko Gorge, one of the most beautiful gorges in Crete.

If you feel energetic, you can even explore the historic Prevely Monastery, its nearby pine forest, and the Kourtaliotiko Gorge that leads here.

Finally, you can spend the night in the traditional village of Plakias, one of the best beaches in the Rethymnon region.

Day 9: Amari Valley

Amari valley - Things to do in Crete

If you enjoy exploring and going slightly off the beaten path, you will love day 9 in this Crete itinerary.

Amari Valley is an overlooked part of central Crete that deserves your attention, thanks to its stunning landscape and cute traditional villages.

10 days in Crete
Patsos Gorge.

Archaeological sites of unparalleled importance, wild mountains, well-preserved Roman settlements, and Byzantine monasteries with marvelous wall frescoes are only some of the area’s highlights.

My favorite part is the captivating Patsos Gorge and its cave church of St. Anthony.

Day 10: Rethymnon 

Rethymnon old town.

For the final day of your Crete holidays, you will return to civilization and the medieval town of Rethymno.

It’s the ideal place to relax and stroll around its tiny alleys and aristocratic buildings dating back to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. 

Rethymno fortezza
Rethymno’s Fortezza.

Above all, the imposing fortress of Rethymno, the Fortezza, will transport you back to another era when medieval romance was at its peak.

You can spend the night here and enjoy the local cuisine or drive back to Chania if you need to return the car or catch a flight. Check out this page for more tours in Rethymnon!

After 10 days in Crete, you might have seen enough to fall in love with Crete but not enough to scratch its surface. The island hides too many worth-visiting destinations to fit in any Crete itinerary. 

things to do in Kissamos, Crete
Bay of Kissamos, West Crete.

Your best bet? Enjoy your holidays and don’t worry about seeing it all. You will, anyway, come back to Crete one day – that’s the only certainty. Are you ready to spend 10 fantastic days in West Crete?

I publish new content about Crete almost every day! Bookmark my Crete and Practical Guides pages to learn more before your trip.

Are you dreaming of a getaway to Crete but feeling overwhelmed with planning?

  • You can join my Facebook Group, Things to Do in Crete, a friendly gathering of Crete enthusiasts.
  • My personalized consultation calls assisted countless travelers in crafting the perfect Crete experience. Please email me your anticipated travel dates to turn your Crete dreams into reality!

Don’t forget travel insurance!

Although Crete is a safe destination, getting travel insurance is like having a safety net for your adventures. Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself and your loved ones from unexpected situations.

>> Join our Facebook Group!

More resources to enhance your Crete adventure

Start by checking out my ultimate guide to planning your trip to Crete, packed with helpful essential information. Explore the articles on prices in Crete, common mistakes to avoid, and insider secrets for an unforgettable experience.

When it’s time to plan, explore the best places to visit on Crete Island, discover my tours and activities, and be amazed at Crete’s incredible beaches. If you are exploring specific areas like Heraklion, Rethymnon, Lasithi, and Chania, I’ve got detailed guides to help you make the most of your time.

Suggested accommodation in Crete

No time to read all my accommodation guides? Check out these places to stay:

More useful travel resources

  • Check out all the digital travel guides I’ve specifically written about Crete. They are affordable and practical to check from your mobile.
  • Find convenient ferry tickets with Ferryhopper.
  • Welcome Pickups offers a convenient pre-paid airport transfer service, while Discover Cars is my favorite engine for finding a rental car on the island.
  • To book adventures, tours, and cultural experiences, I recommend Get Your Guide for its flexible cancellation policy.
10 days in Crete

Written by Dimitrios Tsevremes
Passionate about travel, spirituality, and sports, Dimi divides his time between Chania (Crete) and other countries. Writing is a way for him to express himself and his creativity. You can find out more about him and his work here.

Pin this Guide for a Magic 10-Day Trip to Crete!

10 days in Crete

About me:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I have lived in Chania, Crete, since 2016. As a local, I have an intimate knowledge of the Crete. I host culinary and concierge tours and experiences in Crete and write about the island for several travel media. During the last five years, I have helped many travelers plan the perfect holiday in Crete. I co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

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