Are you spending a holiday in Crete and have decided to spend two days in Chania? Are you on a European city break on Crete? This itinerary will help you choose what things to do in this gorgeous city of west Crete. Let’s see what you can see, do, and experience with 2 days in Chania or more!
This article may have affiliate links to products and services that I use. If you make a purchase through these links, it might earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Last-minute plans? Check these top picks
Book your ferry tickets in advance at the lowest price, with no hidden fees or extra costs.
Where to stay in Crete
For a boutique experience, Casa Delfino in Chania or Avli in Rethymnon. Mrs. and Mr. White (affordable luxury) is a gorgeous resort near Chania. Budget? Check Archipelagos in Rethymnon. Hostel type? The best ones are So Young in Heraklion and Cocoon City in Chania.
Top-rated tours in Crete
Boat Cruise to Balos Lagoon from Kissamos (Bestselling tour from US$ 29.65).
Samaria Gorge Trek: Full-Day from Rethymno (Another best-seller, from US$ 36.73).
Day Trip to Elafonisi Island from Chania (From US$ 41).
Knossos Palace: E-Ticket & Audio Tour (Check Knossos at your own pace, from US$ 19.34).
Touring Crete by car?
I use both Discover Cars and Rentalcars.com to reach places where my old jalopy won’t take me.
I’m obsessed with Transferwise! The best online money transfer service: Ridiculously low fees to exchange currency and debit cards accepted all over Greece.
Are you covered?
It’s always better to have travel insurance. Check quotes on World Nomads.
Three items you need in Crete
Don’t forget your daypack for beach days and excursions. Add a good map, the Lonely Planet Guide, or get a copy of my own guide to West Crete!
- How to dress comfortably to visit Knossos Palace
- What to wear to visit Knossos for women
- What to wear to visit Knossos for men
- What should children wear to visit Knossos
- Other essential things to bring or to wear in Knossos
- Items you need if you’re also visiting the Archaeological Museum
- Basic information about Knossos
How to dress comfortably to visit Knossos Palace
Spending a few hours exploring the archaeological site of Knossos, in Heraklion, is probably one of the main reasons you have to visit the region. It’s quite common for tourists to stop for a day or two in the capital of the island in order to explore Knossos Palace and, why not?, also the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.
As most visitors reach the island during the hot season, which on Crete tends to be quite long (from late April to early October), it’s a good idea to pack sensible clothes so as to enjoy the visit. Go for loose-fitting cloths, light fabrics, and clear colors. A hat and comfortable footwear are also a must if you really want to enjoy the day, truly focus on your visit rather than on uncomfortable clothes or painful blisters.
Besides, being most of the site exposed to the sun for long hours, there’s not much shade to protect you, so a hat, sunglasses, and even a high UV factor lotion are important too. Remember to also carry also plenty of water to keep you hydrated during the day.
There are many archaeological sites you can visit in Crete, this guide works perfect for all of them too!
BUDGET FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATION IN HERAKLION
Hostel: So Young is in the center of town, just 4 minutes from the Archaeological Museum and only 5 km from Knossos. You can book a room with shared or with private bathrooms and take advantage of the free shuttle to Amoudara beach. The property has a 9.4 rating on Booking and you can book here.
Value for money: Sofia Hotel is one of the few hotels in town with a swimming pool and its just minutes from Heraklion Airport. Sofia Hotel has an 8.3 rating on Booking and you can check the fees and book here.
Airbnb: This is a beautiful studio in the center of town, perfect for a couple, for a very convenient fee per night.
MID-RANGE ACCOMMODATION IN HERAKLION
Boutique Hotel: Check the convenient location, good fees, and beautiful atmosphere at Veneziano Boutique Hotel. The suites are rated 9.3 on Booking, check the latest fees and deals here
Airbnb: Check this fantastic penthouse overlooking the port of Heraklion, it’s a gorgeous place to stay in town.
LUXURY STAYS IN HERAKLION
Luxury hotel: Who wouldn’t love to enjoy a stay at the most iconic hotel in town? GDM Megaron is a landmark hotel in the center of Heraklion. Check prices, reviews, and pictures here.
What to wear to visit Knossos for women
The most sensible piece of advice I can give you is this: Dress as much comfortable as you can. The visit is usually long (at least two hours), and you’ll be most of the time under the sun. Try to avoid synthetic fabrics and go for pieces made in light cotton or linen which will allow your skin to breath. It’s also a good idea to avoid dark colors, since they attract more heat than clear fabrics.
Choose loose-fitting trousers, Capris or bermudas like these ones, and combine them with a cotton T-shirt or a light shirt. For further comfort, avoid tight fitting T-shirts and tight shorts. If you don’t really like to wear pants choose a light summery dress like this one. For extra comfort, avoid dresses that are either extremely long or extremely short.
The ground in Knossos is thousands of years old. On some spots the stone has worn with the ages, so it can sometimes be slippery as well. In general, the ground you’ll be walking is irregular and dusty, and there are plenty of stairs as well. Therefore, shoes should provide not only comfort, but they should be sturdy and solid for you to feel safe, especially if you’re not that young anymore.
For all this reasons, forget flip flops! Anything without a good sole will prove painful after some time walking on the stones too, therefore, very flat sandals are not a good idea either. Aim for comfortable shoes, such as hiking sandals or cushioned running shoes. High heels are forbidden in every archaeological site in Greece, so in case you were wondering, those are a no-no too, plus there’s no way you’d be comfortable wearing those!
I know that some women want to keep it elegant and go for wedges. Personally, I don’t think they’re the most comfortable in the world, but they are allowed and I’ve often seen them in the site, even worn by local guides!
Bag or backpack
Here’s all about personal likes… and what you’re planning to carry. In any case, keep it as light as possible and don’t go for bulky or heavy items.
If you’re a fan of photography and your big camera is a must, a small backpack (this is mine) is a right choice. It will allow you to have your hands free to hold the camera and to move around freely. When visiting archaeological sites, and if I want to carry my camera, I simply add a padded insert for the camera in my regular backpack to avoid using my big camera bag.
If you’re planning to take pictures with your phone, you can pass on the backpack and go for a small and more comfortable crossbody bag that carries your essentials: wallet, tickets, your travel guide, sunglasses, and sunscreen lotion. If it has a pocket for a bottle, even better. Other good ideas to carry your stuff are those inexpensive light canvas totes or sling bags like this one.
I’ve found a wonderful crossbody bag that I carry everywhere and that I even use in my own gastronomic tours. It is stunningly comfortable and although it is not that new anymore, i just throw it in the washing machine from time to time and that leaves it as good as new.
What to wear to visit Knossos for men
Follow the same advice, choose light clothes that do not stick to your skin and that allow your body to breath and air to cool you down. Light colors are always great for summer, so don’t show up in a black T-shirt to avoid sweating a lot (trust me, you will sweat in Knossos!).
A short-sleeved linen or cotton shirt, or a shirt with quick dry properties like this also works fine. No matter how trendy they can be, avoid slim fit if you can.
If you are ok with shorts, go for canvas bermudas. Avoid any synthetic fabric as well as swimming trunks, this is not the place where you want to wear those!
If instead, you rather wear long trousers, the cotton-or-linen rule is still valid. Choose a lose-fitting pair of trousers to be able to walk in total comfort. The hiking type are quite fine to wear in Knossos, but you will also use them during all your holiday if you intend to explore outdoors.
The rule of comfort is still valid when it comes to what shoes to wear in Knossos. The surface of the site is irregular and quite slippery in some spots, so you want to choose shoes that are sturdy and offer stability, but that also let your feet breath freely.
Hiking sandals are my favorite, and can be used in plenty of other occasion during your trip in Crete. But you can also opt for breathable walking shoes like these ones. Comfortable summer loafers with a good sole can also work fine. The same suggestion I gave to women is valid for you, no flip flops, please!
Bag or backpack
It’s a good idea to carry a small crossbody bag where you’ll store your water bottle and other personal belongings, including your wallet, the entrance tickets, your phone, and your sunglasses. There are crossbody bags of any size, from the small ones just for essentials, to more bigger models that can also fit your camera equipment.
If you prefer something bigger to add eventual books or souvenirs you can buy in the shops outside of the site, a canvas backpack can be really comfortable as well, but you can also choose a hiking daypack if you plan to take day trips in the mountains as well. When it comes to backpacks, a light, foldable, waterproof model can also be repurposed for your days at the beach.
What should children wear to visit Knossos
Children love to visit the archaeological sites in Crete, Knossos in particular, is full of legends and stories that children enjoy and are curious about. You can choose from the list at the bottom the right guided tour geared for children, one that is truly kid-friendly. This way, they will certainly enjoy the day even more.
But also make their visit comfortable! If you’re wandering what should your kids wear to visit Knossos, follow the same rules for your own clothings when it comes to their outfits. Choose clear and breathable fabrics. Go for lose-fitting models that allow them to move freely around to explore. Light and airy summer dresses are also a good idea for girls while cotton shorts and light T-shirts work great both for boys and girls.
Shoes for kids
Above all, think about their comfort. Kids usually tend to get tired faster when walking for long hours, so make their feet feel as rested as possible. Go for breathable shoes or light sandals with a soft, flexible sole. Avoid rubber shoes with thick rubber soles and even plastic clogs if you can.
Pair everything with a hat, good quality sunglasses, and a good dose of sunscreen too.
Other essential things to bring or to wear in Knossos
Don’t forget a hat. Hats are a key piece to wear in Knossos. A light hat is necessary since you’ll be walking under the sun a lot. Use a hat made of breathable fabric, something that you can roll and put away in your backpack if you don’t really want to wear a hat all day long.
Hats are also sold on the souvenir shops right opposite the site entrance. Prices are not the most convenient, unless you want to settle for a very old, dusty model (which in any case would do its job too!).
Go for a high SPF for extra protection (at least anything over 45), choose a non-greasy, fast-absorbing, waterproof formula that you can also use when going to the beach.
I’ve personally added this lip protection product to my list of things to always carry with me on the island, although I tan quite easily and don’t really need a sunscreen over 50 SPF (which turns to 30 SPF once I’m tanned), my lips are quite sensitive to the sun on Crete. It’s my magic help, it quickly fixes my chapped lips, and never leaves my bag.
I’ve never been a real fan of sunglasses, but made a point of wearing them as much as I could a few years ago and now I always carry them with me. Go for a good-quality model, with real UV protection.
You cannot buy water once you’ve passed entered the site, so either buy your bottle of cold mineral water in the kiosks outside, or refill your own bottle before you enter. Inside the site it will be hot and you’ll certainly sweat, being thirsty is also part of the deal.
It’s certainly easier to buy your water as you go, mineral water is really cheap in Crete. However, I am personally trying to reduce plastic waste. Getting rid of plastic is already difficult, even more on an island, so I always try to carry a refillable water bottle. Since the temperatures are scorching hot, you can buy a bottle of iced water before going inside to refill your own portable bottle and keep it fresh longer.
I’ve found that the water in Crete is quite good to be honest, and at home I normally drink tap water, so why not doing the same when I’m around? If you have a refillable water bottle that keeps your liquids cold for long times, remember to chill it in your hotel room the night before your visit and carry it with you.
Guide to Knossos
You can print my article for a self-guided visit to Knossos and toss it inside your bag, or you can go for a more in-deep version. This one here is my favorite.
Camera and electronics
Don’t forget your camera, extra batteries and extra sim cards as well. If you visit the site very early in the morning, it will be much easier for you to get great shots without the crowds standing in the middle. On the other hand, if you visit at sunset, the light will be great for unforgettable pictures.
Remember that you cannot access the site with tripods or drones, and that you need a special permit to take shots with professional equipment. My camera is as big as this one plus it also has a battery grip power pack which makes it even bulkier, yet, I’ve never had any issue entering this or any other site in Greece with it.
Items you need if you’re also visiting the Archaeological Museum
I’ve often insisted that visiting the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is the logical thing to do either before or after checking the archaeological site. Remember though, that inside the museum you’ll be protected from the extreme heat and sun that you encounter in the Palace, so you won’t need to wear your hat here (that’s why I also suggested wearing a foldable hat).
Shorts and T-shirts are still ok, but remember that in museums, rooms are kept at special temperatures since most of the exhibits are really old. A tank top is fine in summer, but those who get chilly in air-conditioned rooms might want to throw a light cotton jacket, a foldable cardigan or a very light sweater in their bags.
Remember that to access the museum, all your belongings are scanned, so avoid carrying with you elements that might get you in trouble. There is a cloak room as well to leave any bulky bag that you’re carrying, it’s not possible to enter the museum with big backpacks or huge bags that might damage the objects exposed.
Basic information about Knossos
It’s easy to reach the Archaeological Site of Knossos from the center of Heraklion. You can get there with your own car if you’ve chose to rent and drive on Crete, or you can take the bus and be there in less than 15 minutes.
Remember that it’s always better to visit early in the morning or just before sunset. If you are traveling with small kids, or if you’re not as young as you used to be, try to avoid the hottest hours of the day. Visiting early also helps you avoid the crowds. It’s totally up to you how much time you need to visit. A guided tour never lasts more than two hours, but if you’re a real fan of archaeological sites, you might even spend up to 3 or 4 hours wandering around.
Tickets & Special Fees
Tickets: Full €15, Reduced €8.
There’s a special package that includes the entrance to the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion: Full €16, Reduced €8. This is the most convenient option and a good way to save a few euros.
Reduced fees apply to:
- Greek citizens and citizens of other European countries over 65 years old (ID card or passport needed).
- Escorts on educational visits (primary schools)
- University Students (high education institutes or equivalent, student ID card needed).
- For free admission categories, check this site.
Opening Hours & Closing Dates (2020)
Winter: January 7 to March 31 (2019) 8:00 – 17:00. (Last admission at 16:45)
Summer: 8:00 – 20:00. (Last admission at 19:45)
The site is closed on the following dates: January 1, March 25, May 1, Easter Sunday, August 15, December 25 & 26.
The site is open with a limited timetable on the following dates: Easter Friday, Easter Saturday, October 28.
Bus To Knossos
From Heraklion Central Bus Station: Bus Number 2 – Knossos. The bus runs 3 to 5 times per hour. Its final stop is Knossos. For 2019, the fee is 1.50 € one-way.
Running hours: from 8.00 to 19.00 in summer and from 8.00 to 15.00 in winter.
Convenient combo: Skip the line + ticket + licensed tour guide + ticket for the Archaeological museum.
Cheapest option: Skip the line + E-ticket +self-guided audio tour + offline content to avoid roaming charges.
Kid-friendly tour: Family tour through mythology + iPad on-site with interactive activities + Minoan talisman.
Private experience: Skip the line ticket + private guided tour by a licensed archaeologist + roundtrip transfers (Heraklion area).
Are you ready to explore Greece? It can be the trip of your lifetime. Get in touch if you need extra help to plan your itinerary. If you happen to also tour West Crete, check this guide. You’ll find detailed info about where to go, what to see, where to eat, and more!
Want more? Join my Private Facebook Group to connect with like-minded travelers who love Crete as much as you do!
Coming to Crete any time soon? These resources will help you organize the trip!
Start by reading these helpful tips to plan a trip to Crete, which covers details such as when it’s best to travel, what documents you need, or how to get a SIM card. Check family holidays in Crete if you travel with kids.
To visit Crete’s heavenly beaches, check my guide to the best beaches in Crete. Discover what region is best to stay or check what things you can do in Crete.
For updated information about the island, join my private group on Facebook, or get my West Crete Guide!
Finally, make sure you’ve got everything you for a hassle-free trip!
I never move around Crete without my Osprey backpack, a sturdy, light, roomy, and super comfortable travel partner I just love. To visit villages, sites, and museums instead, I carry this little crossbody bag.
When driving around, I pack my Crete Michelin map and my Nikon D7200. In Summer I also carry good sunscreen lotion, the sun on the island can be pretty aggressive.
Airfares to Crete can change from one airline to the other, make sure to compare prices with a powerful search engine. Planes are fast, but nothing like the romantic experience of traveling by sea in Greece. With Ferry Hopper, you can book your ferry tickets in advance at the lowest price.
If I need to book accommodation, I personally use different search engines. Booking.com
and Hotels.com are my go-to options.
Sometimes, the best way to make the most of your time on Crete is to join an organized tour. GetYourGuide has top-rated tours to save time and money. From cooking lessons to archaeological site tours, skip-the-line attractions, and airport transfer!
Do you have everything you need? Then you just have to get ready to discover Crete, Greece’s most beautiful island!
- These posts have been thought just for you!
If you’d like to read more about Heraklion, you should also check this self-guided tour to visit Knossos as well as this unique Heraklion itinerary for 1 to 3 days in town. As you’ve probably heard, visiting the Knossos Palace is not always enough, so do include a trip to Heraklion’s Archaeological Museum on the same day to get a more accurate picture of the Minoan Civilization.
Heraklion is also the region where you can discover a more recent past… so why not travel back to the 60s with a day trip to Matala beach? It’s located on Heraklion’s south coast which also boasts spectacular beaches facing the Libyan Sea. Families with kids will be happy to know that the capital of Crete has some stunning theme parks for children such as Labyrinth Park and the fascinating Dinosauria. Finally, if you’re still in the planning stage of your trip, have some fun learning these fun and interesting facts about Crete, you’ll discover many curious things you probably didn’t know!
Would you add anything else to this list?
Let me know in the comments below!
- Pin for Later
About the Author
Hola! I’m Gabi. Welcome to The Tiny Book – Crete Travel Blog! I moved to Crete to explore the island all year round. I love taking pictures and driving on the mountain roads of Crete. I’m a beach freak and on this island I’ve found heaven on earth!
You might also want to read: