I used to think that going to a Greek island alone would be so lonely. But not the island of Crete! Traveling solo is so good for the soul and mental health. Taking time to connect with me and explore the world has helped me grow as a woman. I know myself so much better for having traveled alone. I urge you to give it a chance and use the Crete solo travel guide for this magical island!
Crete is so popular with solo travelers because it’s one of the larger islands filled with activities. The island of Crete is located east of Athens, with the popular island of Santorini not too far away. You won’t get bored in Crete with the ancient ruins, stunning beaches, historic towns, amazing hiking trails, and wine tasting. As a solo traveler, I want you to get the most out of your visit and will provide as much detail as possible.
Ultimate Crete Solo Travel Guide For Women
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I did a solo trip to Chania, Crete, for 17 days in early September. The best time to visit Greece is at the start of September. You can expect incredible weather and fewer crowds. It will still be busy, but far less than if you were to visit in June, July, or August.
Greece for solo travelers has always been one of my top recommendations. There is so much to explore, and I feel safe, even on public transport. When you visit Greece, don’t be surprised if you get addicted to the beautiful beaches. I often dream about the crystal blue waters and the endless beauty of the Greek islands.
If you are hoping to meet people on your solo trip, Chania is a good choice. Of the five cities of Crete, Chania is the most popular. I ended up making some friends on the day trip group tour I joined.
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Best Things to Do in Crete
Vacations are typically never long enough to see everything we want, am I right? I recommend staying in Crete for at least four to seven nights. With an island this large, there is a lot to do!
I know that the best part about going to the Greek islands is the ability to island-hop! On this island of Crete, you can certainly hop around to different villages and archaeological sites, making it feel like you are island hopping.
Some of the best things to do in Crete are, of course, eating, but among others are wine tasting, hiking, exploring, strolling, swimming, and boating.
The list below is everything to do all over Crete, perfect for the solo traveler!
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Explore the Old Town of Chania
When I am traveling alone, I love getting lost in the winding streets of these ancient cities. I can spend hours taking pictures of all the little walkways and colorful buildings. Make sure you pack comfortable shoes, the flip flops can start to hurt after a while!
The old town of Chania is stretched along the Venetian Harbour filled with restaurants, bars, and idyllic little shops. The is an iconic lighthouse at the end of a long pier, currently inaccessible to the public.
On the Venetian Harbour, there is the Firka Venetian Fortress & Maritime Museum. The entrance to the Fortress grounds was free. If you want to visit the museum you will pay an entrance fee of 3 euros.
If you are looking to do a sunset cruise you will find ticket booths all along the Venetian Harbour offering rides.
Visit the Beautiful Beaches of Chania
If you are staying in the old town of Chania there are two beaches within reasonable walking distance. Nea Chora Beach and Koum Kapi Beach. At Nea Chora beach you can find lounge chairs and restaurant service, but you must get there early to snag a sunbed.
At Koum Kapi Beach you will need to bring your own chair and towel as there is only sand. Koum Kapi Beach is going to be less busy, but there will still be people. It can be harder to find space since it’s a smaller beach than Nea Chora.
These aren’t the most beautiful beaches that Crete has to offer, they are just close to the old town. The Crete solo travel guide will include more information on beaches below.
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Hiking the Trails at Samaria Gorge
If you are into hiking, then this is the activity for you! Full disclosure, I didn’t make it to Samaira Gorge. If you are planning to visit, I would recommend joining a group tour. Samaira Gorge is 42 km away from Chania, so you need to rent a car if you didn’t go on a group tour. With a total drive time of around an hour and fifteen minutes, it makes for a great early-day trip!
Visit Ancient Sites | Palace of Knossos
Something to do that is safe to do alone is visiting the ancient site of the Palace of Knossos. Located in Heraklion, it is approximately 2 hours from Chania. Luckily you can reach Heraklion by public transport. The bus station in the center of Chania has several routes daily to take you on this day trip.
If you are looking to meet people, this is an activity that would be perfect for a group tour. The Palace of Knossos is one of the oldest sites in the world. If you are an ancient history buff, this place is a must!
Enjoy a personalized experience of this ancient site with audio headphones that tell the story of the Palace of Knossos. As far as archaeological sites are concerned, this one is pretty impressive.
Day Tours To Palace of Knossos
Day Trip to the Town of Rethymno
Every Crete solo travel guide should include a visit to the town of Rethymno! It is the halfway point between the two major cities of Chania and Heraklion. From the bus station in Chania, it will take you 1 hour 30 minutes on public transport. One hour if you rent a car.
Rethymno is a world-class destination of ancient history and archaeological sites. At the top of the hill lies the 16th-century star-shaped Fortress citadel.
For a small fee of a few euros, you can gain access to explore this incredible archaeological site. Rethymno is also great for strolling around the old town taking pictures and soaking up ancient history.
I used to believe the Greek islands were just a place for relaxing honeymooners, but it’s a solo traveler paradise!
The Village of Agios Nikolaos
The idyllic Greek village of Agios Nikolaos is located east of the capital of Heraklion. It is a small coastal village with a population of approximately 12,600.
Some fun things to do in Agios Nikolaos is checking out the sculptures along the sea. If you are interested in Greek Mythology, you should have a great time learning about The Horn of Arimathea near Kitroplateia Beach. The Abduction of the Europa sculpture is located in the port of Agios Nikolaos.
If you are looking for museums, then be sure to check out the Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos. Here you will find artifacts from the Lasithi and Minoan periods. Also in Agios Nikolaos is the Folk Art Museum! Here you will find more artifacts from the Cretan’s daily life.
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Travel Guide to the Best Beaches in Crete
The Greek islands are known for their beautiful beaches, and they don’t disappoint in Crete! When I ask the people I meet why they are in Crete, the answer always includes the beach!
Earlier in the Crete solo travel guide, I detail the beaches that are within walking distance of Chania old town. Those beaches are fine, but they are nothing like the other beaches in Crete.
I was personally only able to go to one beach outside of Chania, and that was Elafonissi Beach!
This beach is known for its “pink sand”, and the photos I saw online were magnificent! I didn’t realize that by the end of the season, AKA September, the tourists have stolen all the pink sand!
The best time to see the pink same is to visit at the start of the season, in May. The pink sand is visible when the tiny small shells are reflected by the sun in such a way that it appears pink. So all those tourists who took the sand will be disappointed when they realize they won’t have the effect they thought they got!
If you don’t rent a car, you can visit Elafonissi Beach by joining a group tour. I wanted to meet people, so I joined a group tour! It was nice to have the tour bus pick you up, take you there, and bring you back.
I found the tour to be educational as well. The tour guide will give you a brief history lesson on the areas of Crete as you go through them. The distance between Chania and Elafonissi Beach is 74 km, by car, about an hour and a half.
The group tour was an all-day event. The pick-up in Chania was at 8:00, and I didn’t arrive back until around 17:30. I will link this tour later down in the post and provide more details on what you can expect.
The best way to visit Balos Beach is to arrive by boat. You can join organized tours that take you from Chania directly to Balos Beach. The other option would be to rent a car. Be advised there is a dirt road leading up to the beach. From Chania, the drive time would be a little less than 1 hour.
You can reach the beach by bus and taxi combined. The total cost is around $14. From Chania, you travel by bus to Kissamos Port, and then by taxi to the beach which is about 7 minutes from the port.
Voulisma beach is located just 13km from Agiou Nikolaou. This beach is one of the most beautiful in the world. It won’t be the most secluded due to its popularity, but definitely worth a visit.
The best time to visit is from early May to the end of October. I find I feel safe when I visit Greece, and that includes going to the beach by myself. Public transportation is possible from Agiou Nikolaou.
Vai Beach is located on the most eastern tip of the Island. The village of Sitia is just 24km away. This beach offers a beautiful oasis of crystal blue waters and lush palm trees.
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Best Tours in Crete for Solo Females
I love traveling alone for the freedom of being on my own schedule! If I don’t feel like doing something, I simply don’t and do whatever I want. But, sometimes it’s nice to have friendly conversations and meet new people.
This is why I do love joining a group tour on my solo adventures! On this solo trip to Crete, I went on two group tours that I can HIGHLY recommend! If I were more ambitious, I would have liked to have tried a few more tours, and I will include them here.
Cretan wines are quite delicious and are gaining much popularity these days. The full-day tour I joined started with an early pick-up of around 8:30. The meeting point is often very close to your hotel. Here you will meet up with the driver and other travelers who are going on the tour. The minivan tour bus was very comfortable with air conditioning!
After all the travelers are on board, you begin the drive to the first tasting room, which was approximately an hour and a half away from Chania. The ride is beautiful, and the tour guide will provide commentary about the surrounding areas.
Once you arrive at the tasting room, you will be given a brief tour of how the wine is produced on-site. After the tour, it is on to the tasting! Keep in mind it is a little early to be tasting wine, but you are on vacation!
The host provides vegetables, bread, cheese, deli meats, and olive oil along with the wine. It goes very well with the wine, especially the local olive oil. Once you have tasted all five wines, it’s back on the minivan to visit the oldest olive tree in Crete!
After a quick stop at the olive tree, you move out to lunch (included in the price of the tour) and more wine tasting! Everything about the Karavitakis Winery and tasting room is divine! The grounds are incredible and go perfectly with the delicious wine you will taste.
The day ends at around 15:30, and then it’s back to Chania. If you are a wine lover, I would highly recommend this tour!
- Best Time To Go – April thru October
- Cost Per Person – $97.42 (subjected to change
- Duration of Tour – 6 hours
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As I mentioned previously, Elafonissi Beach is what Greek Island dreams are made of! Crystal blue waters and pink sandy beaches! Joining a group tour to visit this beach is recommended for a hassle-free experience.
The pick-up is early at 8:00, and you will likely stop several times along the way to pick up other travelers. Before arriving at the beach, you will stop in Mythimna for a bathroom break and coffee. Then you will continue on to the beach. The total time from Chania to the beach is around 2 hours. I enjoy the bus travel guide providing a bit of history along the way.
You will arrive at the beach sometime around 10:45-11:00 and have around 4 hours to relax. I personally thought this was plenty of time. The beach is very popular and busy, so arrive prepared. The pictures will always show you a nearly empty beach with loads of beach chairs. If it’s especially busy you might not get a beach chair, so bring a towel.
There are bathrooms and refreshments on site. The bathroom fee is .50 euros per visit. If you forget a towel or sunscreen, you can likely find a vendor selling one, but they are expensive. I would suggest you wear a hat, the sun is very strong in Greece!
- Best Time To Go – May thru September
- Cost Per Person – $35.95 (subjected to change)
- Duration Of Tour – 8 to 10 hours
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This group tour is well-rated and reviewed. I was not personally able to join this tour but can recommend based on the itinerary and reputation of the organizer.
If you don’t have a lot of time in Crete, you will need to prioritize the day trips. I was more interested in the beach than I was in hiking, so I chose the beach.
- Best Time To Go – April – October
- Cost Per Person $37.50 (subjected to change)
- Duration of Tour – 15 hours (Pick up is at 5:30 am)
Best Restaurants in Crete – Old Town Chania
Eating at new restaurants is my favorite part of traveling! Especially when traveling solo! This ultimate Crete solo travel Guide wouldn’t be complete without these incredible restaurants!
$$-$$$ – Daskaloyannis 33 & Kallinikou Sarpaki Splantzia, Chania Town, Crete 731 00 Greece
I went for the fish soup and house white wine. It did not disappoint! The atmosphere is friendly, and the service was good. It was a very affordable lunch. This place is very popular, so I would suggest calling ahead.
$$-$$$ 15 Akti Papanikoli, Chania Town, Crete 731 36 Greece
The ambiance is dreamy and romantic if you are seated overlooking the ocean as I was. I visited twice for lunch and dinner. Both times my meals were fantastic and the service was top-notch. You must book a few days in advance.
The restaurant goes the extra mile in the details of your experience. The owner/host was sure to come by to see if everything was going well. I appreciated the menu suggestions she offered. If the sardines are on the menu, try them!
Since I was dining alone I had the opportunity to chat a little with the owner on why her restaurant was called the five. She told me her personal story of having survived a terrible accident that left her without her sense of taste or smell.
After months of trying to regain her five (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami) she was finally successful. I thought this was a powerful story.
$$ Theotokopoulou 70, Chania Town, Crete 73131 Greece
I am not exaggerating when I say that I would go back to Chania just to eat at Pulse Vegan. Everything I had was delicious. My absolute favorite was the vegan moussaka!
The restaurant is all outdoor dining and is located right at the start of the old town. It is a small place so I would call ahead. The vibe is very casual.
$$-$$$ 49 Spyridonos Zambeliou, Chania Town, Crete 731 00 Greece
Tamam Restaurant was another one of my top choices that I frequented more than once! There is limited seating outside, so if you are set on sitting outside, make a reservation.
My favorite dishes were the Boureki and Zucchini Fritters! The bread and tomato dip are also delicious. Try the local wines as well!
$$-$$$ 4 Akti Enosseos, Chania Town, Crete 731 32 Greece
Located on the Venetian Harbour, this place is a must. It is very casual, so don’t let that deter you. I enjoyed many fresh fish dishes and Aperol Spritz here.
They don’t take reservations, so just go early if you can. I never had trouble getting a spot.
Salis is the most “high-end” restaurant on this list. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be fancy to eat here. The prices are just a bit higher than the other restaurants I suggest.
I stand behind this restaurant and say that the prices are worth it! I had the most delicious meals here! You can’t beat the location or ambiance of this place either.
Get a reservation, and enjoy!
This last restaurant is a little outside of the old town, but you can still walk there. It should be the restaurant that you try at least once! The ambiance is unforgettable. Truly, a magical experience.
I was there right for sunset and had the best fish soup and other small bites. It was a wonderful romantic evening with me!
Try and make a reservation at least 10 days in advance to be safe, longer if you are going at peak time.
Best Places to Stay in Crete
Nonnalena Boutique Hotel -Old Town Chania – Get Directions
When you visit Greece, you should stay as central to the city’s heart as possible. If you stay at Nonnalena Boutique Hotel, you will be smack dab in the middle of Old Town Chania.
I found the room to be comfortable, clean, and drop-dead gorgeous. The staff was so friendly; you can’t beat this location. I would definitely stay here again!
Monastery Estate Venetian Harbor – Old Town Chania – Get Directions
The Monastery Estate has a few properties. I stayed at the Venetian Harbor location and was very happy with my choice. This hotel screams style and class. It is one of the priciest hotels, so I only stayed a week of my 17-day adventure.
You will not be disappointed if you stay at this hotel! Between the comfort of the room, friendly staff, and an amazing onsite restaurant, you can’t go wrong.
This hotel is located centrally in the old town Chania.
White Swan – Rethymno – Get Directions
Highly rated and reviewed, this property is not a hotel but a holiday apartment. Enjoy the rooftop terrace and hot tub during your stay. This property is located 1.1 miles away from the old town, but public transport is close.
Pepi Boutique Hotel – Rethymno – Get Directions
Pepi Boutique hotel is located in the heart of the Old Town Rethymno! This property is adults-only and offers a swimming pool onsite. Highly reviewed and rated, it is perfect for a solo traveler.
Infinity City Boutique Hotel – Heraklion – Get Directions
Located in Heraklio Town, 650 feet from Heraklion Archaeological Museum. The Heraklion airport is also only located 1.9 miles away. The port is only 1,800 feet from the property.
This modern and minimalist hotel is family-owned and operated. Heraklion is the perfect stay-over to see the best archaeological sites.
Minos Palace Hotel & Suites – Agios Nikolaos- Get Directions
This adults-only hotel is a world-class experience for relaxing and unwinding. It is truly the most magnificent of all the hotels in this ultimate Crete solo travel guide.
On-site you will find a swimming pool, spa & restaurant. This property also offers hotel shuttles.
Solo Trips To Greece
I hope you enjoyed my ultimate Crete Solo Travel Guide! Greece is one of my most favorite countries to visit solo. If you enjoyed my guide on Crete, please check out my other Greek Island Guides:
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