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.

Ceramics for Sale in Margarites on CreteCeramics for Sale in Margarites

Crete is not a destination that people go to specifically for its shopping, but nevertheless while you’re there you’ll have no trouble finding a good choice of souvenirs for friends and family, as well as gifts for yourself.

This applies whether your taste is for the cheap and cheerful or for more expensive and tasteful arts and crafts. A lot of the cheap ‘local’ souvenirs are actually made overseas and imported!

Crete has a wide range of traditional crafts that are kept alive thanks to its popularity as a holiday destination. These include:

Ceramics

Ceramics for Sale in Margarites on CreteMore Ceramics from Margarites

Available everywhere are the bright blues and yellows of cheerful plates and bowls. You will also find top-quality hand-made ceramics, with the village of Margarítes being a centre for this tradition.

Icons

Traditional Icon Workshop in Elounda on CreteTraditional Icon Workshop in Elounda

Holy icons are still made in the traditional way on Crete (see our page on The Icon Painter) but check for the certificate on the back authenticating this. Icons can be found throughout the island in souvenir shops, but the best quality icons are to be found at churches and monasteries.

See our page on The Icon Museum in Irakleio

Jewellery

All over the island there are jewellery shops, selling fine quality silver and gold. These are sold by weight and are often good value. Look for the shops where you can see the jeweller at work in the back, then you know you are buying original hand-crafted work.

Leather Goods

Life in the Cretan mountains is tough, and sturdy leatherwear that lasts for years has always been made for practical purposes. Today the workshops also produce handbags, purses, wallets and other items for the tourist trade, but you can still buy local things such as the long-legged Cretan boots. The market in Chania has a very wide range.

Weaving

This old island tradition still flourishes, in particular in mountain towns such as Kritsa, Psikhro, and Anoyia. Shop fronts are festooned with carpets and kilims, far too many to have been produced by the one old lady who runs the shop. The better-quality handmade items will invariably be a lot more expensive, but worth it. Chania is also a good place to buy weaving.

Wood Carving

Many tourist towns will have their olive wood workshop, or souvenir shops selling these attractive carvings of bowls, spoons, salt and pepper sets, and many other items.

Food and Drink

Bottles of Petimezi from CreteBottles of Petimezi from Crete

Food and drink is also worth investigating. If you’ve developed a taste for the local firewater, raki, you might want to take some home. Both raki and ouzo can be bought in elegant bottles that could be used afterwards as vases or beautiful shelf decorations. Look for two distinct Cretan drinks: rakomelo and petimezi.

Almost all towns now have shops specialising in Cretan herbs and spices, which the chef of the family will want to investigate. Read our page on The Herb Man of Kouses, who has one of the best shops on the entire island.

Olive Oil Bottles from CreteOlive Oil is a Good Souvenir from Crete

Cretan honey is popular, being extremely pure and tasty, but is often far more expensive than at home. The real bargain is olive oil, as Crete produces some of the finest quality oil in Greece. You can buy really good quality olive oil direct from the factory. Tours are fascinating but you can also just call in at the shop, where you’ll be able to taste and try before you buy.

Where to Stay on Crete


Other Crete pages

  • 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.

  • Ancient Gournia Minoan Site in Eastern Crete

    Ancient Gournia is a Minoan archaeological site between Agios Nikolaos and Sitia in Eastern Crete where the visitor can see evidence of a maze of back streets.

  • Dining at Vegera

    Greece Travel Secrets eats at Vegera in Zaros and finds a cheap but wonderful feast of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes cooked daily with fresh local food.

  • 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.

  • Kritsá, Lato, and Panagía Kerá

    The Byzantine Church of Panagía Kerá near Kritsa and not far from Ayios Nikolaos is one of the most famous in Crete, and close by is the site of Ancient Lato.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Olive Grove Walk

    This olive grove walk from Limnes to Vrises on Crete also takes you through orchards and gives close-up views of some of the island’s windmills.

  • 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.

  • Best Beaches on Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets chooses ten of the best beaches on Crete including the beautiful beaches at Vai and Elafonisi.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Best Things to Do on Crete

    The best things to do on Crete and top things to see include the Samaria Gorge, the Minoan Palaces at Knossos and Phaistos, the towns of Chania and Rethymnon.

  • 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.

  • Lonely Planet Crete

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

  • 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.

  • Where to Stay in Central Crete

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

  • Crete

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Maleme and the German War Cemetery on Crete

    Maleme near Chania is where the people who died during the battle of Crete are buried, in the German War Cemetery with the Commonwealth War Cemetery nearby.

  • 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.

  • Goules Taverna Crete

    The Goules Taverna in Goulediana, south of Rethymnon, has been called one of the best tavernas on Crete and Greece Travel Secrets recently visited them.

  • 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.

  • Arkadi Monastery

    Visiting the Arkadi Monastery near Rethymnon is one of the best things to do on Crete.

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