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.

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

You can buy the latest edition of Lonely Planet's guide to Crete on Amazon.

More Crete pages

  • Greece Book Reviews on the Greece Travel Secrets website with reviews of the best guidebooks to Greece, the Greek Islands, Athens, Crete and elsewhere.

    Greece Book Reviews

    Greece Book Reviews on the Greece Travel Secrets website with reviews of the best guidebooks to Greece, the Greek Islands, Athens, Crete and elsewhere.

  • Greece Travel Secrets reviews the Greek cookbook, The Ikaria Way by Diane Kochilas, containing 100 delicious plant-based recipes.

    The Ikaria Way

    Greece Travel Secrets reviews the Greek cookbook, The Ikaria Way by Diane Kochilas, containing 100 delicious plant-based recipes.

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

    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 Irakleio, the capital of Crete, including nearby beach resort hotels and accommodation in the city centre.

    Where to Stay in Irakleio

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in Irakleio, the capital of Crete, including nearby beach resort hotels and accommodation in the city centre.

  • 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.

  • Keramos Studios in Zaros on Crete is an inexpensive two-star hotel/guesthouse with one of the best breakfasts on the island using food from the family’s farm.

    Keramos Studios in Zaros

    Keramos Studios in Zaros on Crete is an inexpensive two-star hotel/guesthouse with one of the best breakfasts on the island using food from the family’s farm.

  • 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.

  • The best Crete hotels include 5-star luxury hotels, historic and romantic Venetian palaces, and several hotels in Hania and Iraklion.

    Best Crete Hotels

    The best Crete hotels include 5-star luxury hotels, historic and romantic Venetian palaces, and several hotels in Hania and Iraklion.

  • 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.

  • There are many great Greek poets, with two authors winning the Nobel Prize for Literature and names include Sappho, Cavafy, George Seferis and Odysseus Elytis.

    Great Greek Poets: Cavafy, Sappho, George Seferis, Odysseus Elytis

    There are many great Greek poets, with two authors winning the Nobel Prize for Literature and names include Sappho, Cavafy, George Seferis and Odysseus Elytis.

  • The Greece Travel Secrets guide to Zaros in Central Crete, including what to do, where to stay, and where to eat.

    Zaros

    The Greece Travel Secrets guide to Zaros in Central Crete, including what to do, where to stay, and where to eat.

  • Greece Travel Secrets visits the Zacharioudakis Winery near Ancient Gortina in southern Crete, and does a vineyard tour arranged by our guide from Go Crete.

    Zacharioudakis Winery

    Greece Travel Secrets visits the Zacharioudakis Winery near Ancient Gortina in southern Crete, and does a vineyard tour arranged by our guide from Go Crete.

  • Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Western Crete with tavernas and restaurants in Chania, Rethymnon, and Paleochora.

    Where to Eat in Western Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Western Crete with tavernas and restaurants in Chania, Rethymnon, and Paleochora.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 tours the Lyrarakis Winery on Crete and learns about Crete grape varieties such as plyto, dafni, vidiano, vilana, mandilari and kotsifali.

    Touring the Lyrarakis Winery on Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets tours the Lyrarakis Winery on Crete and learns about Crete grape varieties such as plyto, dafni, vidiano, vilana, mandilari and kotsifali.

  • Icon painting is a centuries-old tradition in Crete and the rest of Greece, and Greece Travel Secrets meets a modern-day icon painter in Elounda on Crete.

    The Icon Painter

    Icon painting is a centuries-old tradition in Crete and the rest of Greece, and Greece Travel Secrets meets a modern-day icon painter in Elounda on Crete.

  • Greece Travel Secrets visits the Cretan Botano herbs and spices shop near Matala in southern Crete in search of the herb man of Kouses.

    The Herb Man of Kouses

    Greece Travel Secrets visits the Cretan Botano herbs and spices shop near Matala in southern Crete in search of the herb man of Kouses.

  • Studies have shown the Cretan Diet as one of the healthiest in the world, involving lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, and moderate amounts of wine.

    The Cretan Diet

    Studies have shown the Cretan Diet as one of the healthiest in the world, involving lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, and moderate amounts of wine.

  • The Stilianou Winery near Knossos on Crete uses only Cretan grape varieties, with every bottle numbered, and aims for quality rather than quantity.

    Stilianou Winery near Knossos

    The Stilianou Winery near Knossos on Crete uses only Cretan grape varieties, with every bottle numbered, and aims for quality rather than quantity.

  • The Snails House in Plouti near Phaistos in southern Crete serves the Cretan delicacy of snails, cooked in several different ways.

    The Snails House on Crete

    The Snails House in Plouti near Phaistos in southern Crete serves the Cretan delicacy of snails, cooked in several different ways.

  • Greece Travel Secrets discovers Sitia, the main town in eastern Crete, with its relaxing waterfront, inexpensive hotels, good food, and nearby ancient sites.

    Sitia

    Greece Travel Secrets discovers Sitia, the main town in eastern Crete, with its relaxing waterfront, inexpensive hotels, good food, and nearby ancient sites.

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