7 Days in Crete: A Fantastic One-Week Itinerary in East Crete!

Lasithi - View of Elounda and Spinalonga - 7 days in Crete

This highly-requested itinerary in East Crete takes you on a one-week trip in the Lasithi Region. Enjoy each of these 7 days in Crete exploring the beautiful coastal towns in the area, checking out the beaches, and marveling at the magnificent archaeological sites.

Here is what to do with 7 days in Crete for a great time on the island!

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7 Days in Crete Exploring the East

7 days in crete

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Boat cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa
Ticket to Knossos Archaeological Site

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1 Week in Crete: Exploring the Wonders of Eastern Crete 

7 days in crete
Neapolis is an important city in east Crete.

Choosing an itinerary in Crete can be challenging and straightforward at the same time. But as long as you know what you want, you are in for a treat. After all, there are hundreds of ways to plan a week in Crete. 

Today, I’d like to take you on a journey to the less-visited, unspoiled Lasithi region of Eastern Crete.

So, here is a unique itinerary for spending 7 days in Crete and seeing things that only a few visitors are lucky enough to experience.

Day 1: Heraklion and Knossos

7 days in crete
Lions’ Square, in the center of Heraklion.

Easily accessible by sea or air, Heraklion is the ideal landing point to start your journey in the eastern half of Crete.

As the island’s capital, it can be busy, but it’s also a center of history, culture, and tradition. Let alone its youthful energy with hundreds of restaurants and bars inviting you to explore the local cuisine and tastes.

GREECE - CRETE - HERAKLION - KNOSSOS
Knossos Palace is about 15 minutes from the center of Heraklion.

Above all, you can’t visit Heraklion without exploring the renowned Palace of Knossos, which is only a few kilometers away.

We are talking about Europe’s oldest city, home to the ancient civilization of the Minoans, who lived here 4000 years ago. It is one of the best Crete ruins you will see!

>> Spending the night in Heraklion? Check out the fantastic Galaxy Hotel for your stay!

You can always rely on an organized tour with comments and explanations from an official guide. These are the ones I recommend:

Day 2: Road Trip to Agios Nikolaos

Road in Crete
Road to Agios Nikolaos.

On day two of this Crete itinerary, rent a car and hit the road for the remainder of your holidays. Head east towards Agios Nikolaos, and remember to enjoy the beauty of the natural landscape along the way. 

This helpful guide tells you everything you need to know to get to Agios from Heraklion. Bookmark it and keep it at hand. It will be useful for the trip!

7 days in crete
Malia Palace.

For example, I’d suggest you stop by the archaeological site of Malia Palace with its well-preserved Minoan walls and amazing huge vases used to store grain and olive oil in ancient times. 

Another stop worth considering is the sixteenth-century Greek Monastery of Kremasta in Neapolis, also known as Kremaston and dedicated to Saints Michael and Gabriel. Here, you will experience the warm hospitality of local nuns.

Kremasta Monastery, Neapolis, Crete
Kremasta Monastery, Neapolis, Crete.

After about an hour’s drive, you will reach the scenic seaside town of Agios Nikolaos. Prepare to spend the next three nights here exploring the area’s charming bars, traditional restaurants, and upbeat beach life.

Although a tourist destination with plenty of things to do, Agios Nikolaos will enchant you with its colors and lively vibes, let alone the small lake connected to the sea, Lake Voulismeni.

7 days in crete
Lake Voulismeni, Agios Nikolaos.

>> Since you will be spending the next three nights in Agios, you should definitely check this accommodation guide to the area!

>> Which car rental service is the best to choose? If you want to rent a car for your trip, consider Discover Cars, a worldwide car rental booking engine.

Day 3: Elounda and Spinalonga 

Elounda town and port, part of the 7 days in Crete trip
The port in Elounda.

Only 10 kilometers west of Agios Nikolaos, Elounda is a quiet fishing village that has slowly become a modern summer resort.

Despite the recent hotel developments, the area has maintained its mellow and authentic vibes while the landscape is at its best.

7 days in crete
Kolokitha Beach.

Take the wild beach of Kolokitha, for example. Its soft white sand, calm crystal clear water, and captivating surroundings will make you fall in love with the bay in no time.

If you can, come here before noon when hundreds of tourists crowd the beach from incoming boats. Seriously, it’s like somebody unleashing a nest of human-sized ants on the beach!

7 days in crete
Spinalonga, Crete.

Another must-visit destination in the area is the notorious island of Spinalonga. After a short ferry ride, you’ll have the chance to explore the islet’s turbulent and touching history, which was the last leper colony to close in Greece.

And in case you need a break from all the pictures in your mind, the panoramic view of Crete’s Dikti Mountain range will soothe your heart.

Day 4: Ierapetra and Voulisma Beach

7 days in crete
The Venetian Fortress in Ierapetra.

Day 4 of your Eastern Crete itinerary will find you on a short trip to the island’s southern coast. After 40 minutes of driving, you will first stop at Ierapetra, a peaceful coastal town with a beautiful walking promenade full of tiny shops, bars, and restaurants. 

Then, I suggest you drive westward along the road parallel to the Libyan Sea. It won’t take much to see how the landscape differs from the north.

7 days in crete
Sidonia Beach at sunset

Even the shore and coastline are dramatically unique. If I were you, I would 100% stop in one of the remote pebble beaches and take a dip.

Sidonia is a gorgeous southern Cretan beach with pebbles and amazingly clear waters. If you miss the sand, stop at Voulisma Beach on the way back to Agios Nikolaos.

Voulisma, also known as Golden Beach. Crete.
Voulisma, also known as Golden Beach.

Awarded with the Blue Flag, Voulisma is renowned for its white sand and calm turquoise waters, making it an ideal destination for families.

INSIDER’S TIP! If you have extra days to spend in the south, visit Myrtos and Makrigialos fishing villages, or venture into a once-in-a-lifetime experience visiting the uninhabited Chrissi Island, south of Ierapetra!

Day 5: Richtis Gorge and Sitia

7 days in crete
Richtis.

After three nights in Agios Nikolaos, it is time to change accommodations and move to Sitia, 70 kilometers to the east. But before you arrive in this peaceful town of the Lasithi region, stop in Richtis Gorge on your way.

Imagine a scenic canyon with an easily accessible waterfall, rich wildlife, and a stream that leads to a wild beach of unparalleled beauty.

If you want to hike the entire gorge, reaching the coast will take around three hours, so plan accordingly. Alternatively, walking to the waterfall will give you a great taste of this canyon’s unique natural beauty. 

Port of Sitia, Things to do in Sitia
The gorgeous port of Sitia.

Once you reach Sitia and settle down, stroll in its picturesque alleys and streets; it is the ideal destination to unwind after exploring and hiking Richtis.

I’d also recommend visiting the town’s archaeological museum to learn more about the area’s rich history. It’s one of the many museums you can visit in East Crete during your road trip!

Where to stay in Sitia:

Day 6: Toplou Monastery and Vai Beach

Where to stay in Crete for Beaches - vai beach

The next day, head further east for a road trip towards the exotic Vai Beach, 24 kilometers away. Think of palm trees decorating an otherwise rocky coastline that gives way to golden sand and crystal-clear waters.

It’s the perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and simply soaking up the beauty of the surrounding landscape. Before you return to Sitia, visit the charming stone monastery of Toplou.

7 days in crete
On the road to Toplou from Vai Beach.

You will get there driving one of the most stunning and solitary roads on the island, where you will easily feel like you’re standing at the end of the world!

Once at the monastery, where you’ll come across several potted plants and a local winery and shop selling tsikoudia, wine, and olive oil made by the monks.

7 days in crete
Toplou Monastery, the courtyard, and the entrance to the museum.

Above all, the local museum will leave you in awe of the monastery’s importance in the region and during the different wars and battles that took place in Crete.

Day 7: Day Trip to Vreiko Cave

7 days in crete
Vreiko Cave Pass in Lasithi.

Since you have a car rental from Heraklion, you must start the return journey by the last day. Thankfully, it’s just a two-hour drive, so perfectly doable in one go.

But if you feel like driving an extra hour to see something different, I’d highly urge you to visit Vreiko Cave Pass. It’s an hour south of Sitia and still two hours from Heraklion.

In the area, you can explore the cave. Its entrance leads you to a large chamber with magnificent stalagmites and stalactites that will truly surprise you.

Make sure to bring a flashlight, and I guarantee you’ll love every part of exploring this unspoiled Cretan destination.

Zakros Palace - Minoan Ruins near Sitia Crete
Zakros (Source: Vladimír Držík, Own work, Wikimedia Commons.)

Instead, if you have been fascinated by the archaeological sites of Knossos and Malia, here you will find the ruins of the remarkable Minoan Palace of Zakros.

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.

All in all, one week in Crete will give you a full taste of this island’s beauty. But remember: it is just a taste, and no matter how many times you’ve been to Crete, there is always something more to discover, even in places you’ve already seen.

View of Mirabello Bay and Pseira Island, Sitia
View of Mirabello Bay and Pseira Island, Sitia, East Crete.

In short, take this itinerary as an inspiration and keep your eyes open; you’ll keep falling in love with Crete. Are you ready to spend 7 fantastic days in 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.
  • With my consultation call services, I have assisted countless travelers in crafting the perfect Crete experience. Email me for more information!

Don’t forget travel insurance!

Although Crete is a safe destination, 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. Remember to explore the articles on prices in Crete, common mistakes to avoid, and insider secrets for an unforgettable experience.

Use this comprehensive Crete packing list to ensure you have everything you need. Explore the best places to visit on Crete Island, discover my tours and activities, be amazed at Crete’s incredible beaches, and check out the best times to experience its beauty.

If you are exploring specific areas like Lasithi or Heraklion, I’ve got detailed guides to help you make the most of your time.

Suggested accommodation in Lasithi

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.
  • To book adventures, tours, and cultural experiences, I recommend Get Your Guide.
7 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 an Amazing One Week in Crete!

7 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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