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5 Hidden Gems in Northern Crete

Posted on Thursday 27th April 2023 by

Northern Crete is a region of Greece that is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. While many visitors flock to the island's popular destinations, there are plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered in this region. In this guide, we'll take a closer look at some of the hidden gems in Northern Crete that are well worth exploring.


Balos Lagoon


Balos Lagoon is a hidden gem that is located on the northwest coast of Crete. This stunning lagoon is famous for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, immaculate sandy beaches, and dramatic rocky cliffs.


Visitors can reach the lagoon by boat from the nearby village of Kissamos or by hiking through the rough terrain of the Balos peninsula. The hiking trail is quite challenging, and it takes approximately 1-2 hours to reach the lagoon. Once you arrive at Balos Lagoon, you'll be amazed by the stunning scenery. The shallow waters of the lagoon are perfect for swimming and snorkelling, or you could spend time simply relaxing on the beach.


You may choose to also explore the nearby uninhabited island of Gramvousa, which is located just a short distance from the lagoon. The island is home to an impressive fortress that was built in the 16th century, and it offers stunning panoramic views of the area.


Whether you choose to hike or take a boat, the journey to the lagoon is well worth the effort. Especially when you are rewarded with stunning views, crystal-clear waters, and a peaceful atmosphere that will make you feel like you've discovered a true hidden gem.


Balos Lagoon, northwest coast of Crete


Rethymno Old Town


Rethymno Old Town is a charming and picturesque town that is located on the north coast of Crete. This beautiful area is filled with quaint alleys, historical buildings, and traditional tavernas. Visitors can explore the town's narrow streets, admiring the Venetian architecture, and enjoying delicious Cretan cuisine.


One of the main attractions in the Old Town is the Venetian Fortezza, a large fortress that was built in the 16th century to defend the town from pirate attacks. The fortress offers stunning views of the surrounding area and is a popular spot for photo opportunities.


Another highlight of the Old Town is the Rimondi Fountain, which is located in the centre of the district and is surrounded by cafes and shops, making it a popular meeting point for locals and visitors alike.


One of the best ways to explore the Old Town is to simply wander through its streets and alleys, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of this historic place. Visitors can also take a guided tour of the district, which can provide more in-depth insights into the history and architecture of the area.


Rethymno Old Town


Lake Kournas


Lake Kournas is a hidden gem that is located on the northwest coast of Crete. This stunning lake is surrounded by picturesque mountains and is famous for its clear waters which reflect the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.


One of the main features of Lake Kournas is its stunning scenery. The lake is surrounded by lush green hills and mountains, creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy scenic walks around the lake or rent a paddleboat and explore the lake's calm waters.


The lake and its surroundings are home to a rich and diverse ecosystem, including many rare and endangered species of plants and animals. Visitors can spot turtles, eels, and many species of fish in the lake, as well as rare birds and other wildlife in the surrounding hills and mountains.


Lake Kournas

Photo credit: Pat Neary on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)


Therisos Gorge


Therisos Gorge is a stunning and dramatic gorge located near Chania. The trail features impressive rock formations, flowing streams, and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.


Therisos Gorge is is approximately 6 km long and is a popular destination for hiking and nature enthusiasts. It is surrounded by stunning mountain ranges and is home to many rare species of flora and fauna. The trail through the gorge is signposted and well-maintained, making it accessible to most hikers.


In addition to its natural beauty, Therisos Gorge has a rich historical and cultural significance. Remnants of the historic stone houses and fortifications can still be seen today. There is also a small museum at the entrance of the gorge that displays artifacts and information about the area's history and culture.


Therisos Gorge

Photo credit: Christine McIntosh on Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)


Seitan Limania Beach


Seitan Limania Beach is a hidden gem located in the Akrotiri peninsula, in the northern part of Crete. The beach is situated in a small, secluded cove and is surrounded by steep cliffs, creating a stunning and memorable landscape.


The beach is accessible by foot via a steep and rocky trail that takes around 20-30 minutes to descend. As there are no facilities or amenities at the beach, it’s recommended to come prepared with your own supplies. This Crete hidden gem is relatively small which can feel a little crowded in peak season, but it’s crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming and relaxing in an idyllic setting.


Seitan Limania Beach is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts who want to explore the hidden treasures of northern Crete.


Seitan Limania Beach, Crete


Stunning holiday villas in Northern Crete


Northern Crete is home to many hidden gems that are worth exploring. From stunning beaches and historic towns to natural wonders and cultural landmarks, there is something for everyone in this beautiful region of Greece.


Staying in a private villa can enhance your experience of exploring the hidden gems of Northern Crete. It provides you with privacy, comfort, and more space than hotels or resorts. Cooking facilities in private villas allow you to save money on dining out and cater to dietary restrictions.


Additionally, private villas are often located in more secluded areas, providing an authentic and immersive experience of the local culture. Overall, a private villa can offer a truly memorable and enjoyable experience on this beautiful island. Browse our range of rental villas in Crete now!