Five Things to Do when on Crete Island as a Solo Traveller
Crete is fascinating for travellers from all walks of life and age groups. With a plethora of all-inclusive hotels and resorts, the island nevertheless has adults-only haunts, chic villas for couples and groups, and even extravagant luxury masterpieces for whoever likes to splurge. Crete island spoils you for choice if you are a solo traveller.
Crete is one of the safest Greek destinations you could choose. The probability of being subject to a physical attack because of your skin colour, ethnic origin, gender, or religion here is extremely low. First, however, look at the latest criminality versus safety statistics for reassurance.
So, if you decide to vacation solo on Crete Island, here are five handpicked things to enhance your experience.
Visit the Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete
This private park ranks among the world’s most beautiful. The owners turned a devastating 2004 fire into a “give-back” and business opportunity when they used the land to plant endemic, Mediterranean, and some exotic plants over some 20 hectares to create the first botanical park of Crete.
The Marinakis family still owns the park and manages the local restaurant.
Only physically fit adults and teens can visit the park because it undulates from the top to the bottom of steep hills, and the way back up may be challenging for young children and the elderly. There is no access for people with disabilities.
Travel guides don’t always feature Komolithi near Potamida in Kissamos. These unusual hills and rock formations in the Tyflos river valley resemble Cappadocia with a bit of imagination.
The formations are unique on the island and barren of vegetation on their clay slopes. However, some green tuffs are hovering like unlikely toupees over their tops. Some sites describe Komolithi as “sand dunes.” In fact, they are time and weather eroded clay hills with distinctive conical shapes.
If you plan your visit, the attraction’s location is about 35 kilometres west of Chania town (GPS: 35.470809, 23.69859976).
Inside Koules (Castello a Mare) in Heraklion
Although many tourists admire Heraklion’s charming Venetian Koules fortress from afar, few know it holds treasures beyond compare within its walls. Suppose you have some thirty to forty minutes to spare before lunch or dinner at one of the local fish tavernas:
- visit the Koules museum;
- take in the history of the island.
- climb to the top for some spellbinding views of the sea and the Venetian harbour.
One of the most interesting features here is an archway tunnel “paved” with cannonballs. They also store a somewhat jaw-dropping collection of amphorae.
Stay at The Syntopia Hotel
Affordable glam, refined cuisine, swanky vibes, authentic Cretan hospitality, and a few other exclusive (guest-only) perks recommend The Syntopia Hotel for a single’s getaway on Crete Island.
The Syntopia is more than a hotel: it is a hub for experiences, luxury, and cuisine, where the guests’ wellbeing comes first.
Depending on what you book, you may enjoy welcome gifts, VIP check-in, and all kinds of perks. Since every guest is exceptional, The Syntopia will always have something special in store, rewarding return customers generously and welcoming first-time guests with unique gifts and surprises unlike any other hotel on Crete Island.
Backpack Around Plakias on the Southern Coast
Plakias is in the Rethimni regional unit, some 36 kilometres south of Rethymno city. This Cretan village is on a river valley formed by the waters of Kotsifos, one of the very few Cretan waterways that run 365 days of the year – and this is rare on the island, as most of the rivers in this region run seasonally, thanks to melted snow from Psiloritis.
The local beach – known as Plakias and called Yialia since the 1960s – was famous some decades ago. Today, you can count it among the off-the-beaten-path attractions of the island and a starting point to exploring this stunningly beautiful nature paradise of Crete.
Hike around Plakias and visit the rural gems Myrthios, Selia, and Asomatos. Backpack all the way to the Preveli Lake, or along the Kotsifos and Kourtaliotis gorges. There are some coal mines in Paligremnos, not far from Plakias: consider them for your Instagram stories, or better yet, make a poster that will remind you of an unlikely Cretan attraction few tourists get to experience.
See the local churches — most noteworthy, the Church of Zoodohos Pigi — and the nearby necropolis.
Whatever you choose to do on Crete Island as a solo traveller, you will be safe and comfortable most of the time. Crete has a rustic Mediterranean charm, so you booked the wrong destination if you are into “posh” landscapes.