Lonely Planet's Crete

Greece Book Reviews

Lonely Planet's Crete is an excellent and thorough guide of almost 300 pages to the largest of the Greek islands.

The cover of the Lonely Planet Guide to Crete

We recently reviewed Lonely Planet's Greek Islands and highly recommend it as an overall guide to all the Greek islands (and Athens). That guidebook has 56 pages on Crete but if it's just Crete you're interested in you need to take a look at Lonely Planet's Crete. This has almost 300 pages dedicated to this very special Greek island.

The book begins with a brief overview of what to expect from Crete, then goes on to list its Top 15 Attractions and Experiences. We don't want to repeat their list in full, but the first few are:

  • The Old Town of Chania
  • The Beach at Elafonisi
  • Knossos
  • Heraklion Archaeological Museum
  • Touring Southern Crete by Boat (a great suggestion!)
  • The Samaria Gorge
The contents of the Lonely Planet Guide to Crete

We've no arguments there, nor with the rest of the list which includes the wine country in the Iraklion region and, another excellent choice: Village Tavernas. Eating at one of these places is definitely a highlight of any visit. They single out one place which we were lucky enough to eat at on our last visit, To Skolio in Anidri near Paleohora, and while we wouldn't say it was a typical village taverna, it did serve amazingly inventive and inexpensive food, all prepared fresh every morning.

The menu at To Skolio Restaurant in Anidri on CreteThe Menu at To Skolio

Plan Your Trip

There are then several suggested itineraries for different ways of getting the most out of your visit to Crete. The first is a 2-week Essential Crete trip, starting in Iraklio and then heading south, then west, taking in many of the island's main attractions such as Knossos, Chania, Rethymnon, the Samaria Gorge, Phaistos and the Arkadi Monastery.

A suggested 1-week tour limits itself to places reachable from Iraklio, and the Eastern Crete itinerary restricts itself to one week, as there are fewer sights to see in the eastern half of the island. Our advice, though, would be to take two weeks anyway and take it slow.

Map of Crete from the Lonely Planet Guide to Crete

The Cretan Diet

The next section provides sections on different themes, such as Outdoor Activities (of which there are plenty), Travel with Children and Eat and Drink Like a Local. We were delighted to see that this runs to eight pages, as there's a lot to say about Crete's distinctive and outstanding food and drink. There are sub-sections on important topics like olive oil, wine and raki. We'll drink to that.

Sample pages from the Lonely Planet Guide to Crete

Where Is Gavdos?

The guide rightly says that the island of Gavdos, off the southern coast of Crete, is the most southerly point of Europe. But what it also says is that Gavdos is closer to Africa than to Greece. Er, excuse us? Gavdos is part of Greece. We think what they meant to say is that Gavdos is closer to Africa than to Athens!

Top Crete Guide

We only spotted that one small mistake as we read quite thoroughly through the sections on places in Crete that we know ourselves. It was the only mistake that we found, and even then it was more of a slip of the brain than a genuine factual error.

On the places that we checked we found Lonely Planet's Crete to be thorough, accurate and well-organised. It's also very good on the nitty-gritty practical details, including local transport. How many buses a day are there from Rethymnon to the Arkadi Monastery, what does it cost and how long does it take? (The answers are - or were when this book was researched - three, €2.80 and 40 minutes.)

Buying Lonely Planet's Crete

Where to Stay on Crete



More Crete pages

  • Crete (Kriti) is the largest Greek island and its main attractions include the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the Samarian Gorge, Chania and Rethymnon.

    Crete

    Crete (Kriti) is the largest Greek island and its main attractions include the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the Samarian Gorge, Chania and Rethymnon.

  • Greece Travel Secrets’ potted guide to Eastern Crete and why you should consider it for a holiday, including seeing Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Vai Beach and Zakros.

    Eastern Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets’ potted guide to Eastern Crete and why you should consider it for a holiday, including seeing Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Vai Beach and Zakros.

  • Driving on Crete is the best way to see Greece’s biggest island and here is our driving advice and some information about Greek driving regulations.

    Driving on Crete

    Driving on Crete is the best way to see Greece’s biggest island and here is our driving advice and some information about Greek driving regulations.

  • These shopping tips for Crete include advice on buying souvenirs like ceramics, icons, jewellery, leather, weavings, wood carvings, and food and drink.

    Shopping Tips for Crete

    These shopping tips for Crete include advice on buying souvenirs like ceramics, icons, jewellery, leather, weavings, wood carvings, and food and drink.

  • How to see eastern Crete in five days, with its beaches, Minoan palaces, timeless villages, unique churches and mountain and coastal scenery.

    Eastern Crete in Five Days

    How to see eastern Crete in five days, with its beaches, Minoan palaces, timeless villages, unique churches and mountain and coastal scenery.

  • Malia on the north coast of Crete is renowned for its nightlife and beaches but also has the Minoan Palace of Malia, one of Crete's many archaeological sites.

    Malia and its Minoan Palace on Crete

    Malia on the north coast of Crete is renowned for its nightlife and beaches but also has the Minoan Palace of Malia, one of Crete's many archaeological sites.

  • Greece Travel Secrets page on  Phaistos or Faistos, the site of one of the finest Minoan palaces on Crete and is where the mysterious Phaistos Disc was found.

    Phaistos Minoan Palace on Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets page on Phaistos or Faistos, the site of one of the finest Minoan palaces on Crete and is where the mysterious Phaistos Disc was found.

  • Sir Arthur Evans is the archaeologist famous for the excavations he made at the royal palace of Knossos on Crete.

    Sir Arthur Evans, archaeologist at Knossos on Crete

    Sir Arthur Evans is the archaeologist famous for the excavations he made at the royal palace of Knossos on Crete.

  • Visiting Knossos near Iraklion is one of the best things to do on Crete, and this page has a history of the site with visitor information.

    Knossos

    Visiting Knossos near Iraklion is one of the best things to do on Crete, and this page has a history of the site with visitor information.

  • What was daily life as a Minoan like on Crete, living in palaces like the ones at Knossos, Malia, Phaistos, and Zakros, and what were their religious beliefs?

    Life as a Minoan

    What was daily life as a Minoan like on Crete, living in palaces like the ones at Knossos, Malia, Phaistos, and Zakros, and what were their religious beliefs?

  • Is someone from Crete a Greek or a Cretan? They are both, of course, but most will tell you that they are Cretan first and Greek second.

    Greek or Cretan?

    Is someone from Crete a Greek or a Cretan? They are both, of course, but most will tell you that they are Cretan first and Greek second.

  • Driving central Crete in three days gives you time to see the highlights including the Minoan palaces at Knossos and Phaistos, the beaches and the Diktean Cave.

    Central Crete in Three Days

    Driving central Crete in three days gives you time to see the highlights including the Minoan palaces at Knossos and Phaistos, the beaches and the Diktean Cave.

  • Matala Beach on Crete is a guest blog for Greece Travel Secrets from the We Love Crete website, inviting you to Awaken Your Inner Hippy in Matala, Crete.

    Matala Beach

    Matala Beach on Crete is a guest blog for Greece Travel Secrets from the We Love Crete website, inviting you to Awaken Your Inner Hippy in Matala, Crete.

  • Agios Nikolaos is a pretty and popular town on the north coast of Crete and this page on Greece Travel Secrets covers its history, museums and beaches.

    Agios Nikolaos

    Agios Nikolaos is a pretty and popular town on the north coast of Crete and this page on Greece Travel Secrets covers its history, museums and beaches.

  • Elounda on Crete's north coast is a popular holiday town with a pretty harbour, from where you can take day trips by boat to see the island of Spinalonga.

    Elounda and Spinalonga, setting for The Island by Victoria Hislop

    Elounda on Crete's north coast is a popular holiday town with a pretty harbour, from where you can take day trips by boat to see the island of Spinalonga.

  • Cretan music is part of the island’s soul and visitors will hear live music wherever they go, with several distinctive Cretan musical instruments and songs.

    Cretan Music

    Cretan music is part of the island’s soul and visitors will hear live music wherever they go, with several distinctive Cretan musical instruments and songs.

  • Western Crete in five days allows time to visit Chania and Rethymnon, enjoy the beaches, hike the Samaria Gorge and see the monasteries at Arkadi and Preveli.

    Western Crete in Five Days

    Western Crete in five days allows time to visit Chania and Rethymnon, enjoy the beaches, hike the Samaria Gorge and see the monasteries at Arkadi and Preveli.

  • Crete’s wildlife and landscape are two of the island’s attractions, including gorges for hiking, rare raptors like the lammergeier, wildcats and ancient trees.

    Crete’s Wildlife and Landscape

    Crete’s wildlife and landscape are two of the island’s attractions, including gorges for hiking, rare raptors like the lammergeier, wildcats and ancient trees.

  • Western Crete has some wonderful golden sand beaches as well as mountain villages, monasteries, caves, and archaeological sites to discover.

    Western Crete Beaches and Villages

    Western Crete has some wonderful golden sand beaches as well as mountain villages, monasteries, caves, and archaeological sites to discover.

  • This drive along the west coast of Crete and inland from there will take a whole day and starts and ends in Kastélli Kissámou, west of Chania.

    West Coast of Crete Drive

    This drive along the west coast of Crete and inland from there will take a whole day and starts and ends in Kastélli Kissámou, west of Chania.

  • Greece Travel Secrets suggests where to stay in Eastern Crete with our favourite hotels in Zakros, Elounds, Sitia, Agios Nikolaos, Istron Bay, Myrtos, Neapolis.

    Where to Stay in Eastern Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets suggests where to stay in Eastern Crete with our favourite hotels in Zakros, Elounds, Sitia, Agios Nikolaos, Istron Bay, Myrtos, Neapolis.

  • Where to Stay in Western Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in western Crete, including both luxury and inexpensive hotels in Chania, Rethymnon, and Paleochora.

  • Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in Central Crete including hotels in Matala, Ayia Galini, and Zaros.

    Where to Stay in Central Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in Central Crete including hotels in Matala, Ayia Galini, and Zaros.

  • Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Eastern Crete including restaurants and tavernas in Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, and Kato Zakros.

    Where to Eat in Eastern Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Eastern Crete including restaurants and tavernas in Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, and Kato Zakros.

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