Car hire in Crete
Explore this idyllic Greek island with Avis
Car hire is a great way to explore Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. It’s not all about the sun, sea and sand. Among the stunning beaches you’ll also find rugged mountains as well as busy towns and lazy villages.Book now
Explore Crete with an Avis hire car
There are countless beaches, caves and coves along over 600 miles of coast. Getting around by car means that you will be able to sample as many as possible.
There's picturesque Balos beach on the far west of the island - definitely best reached by car. When you see the white sands and crystal clear waters against the backdrop of rocky outcrops and the fortress island of Gramavoussa, you’ll know you’re in paradise. The shallow lagoon is perfect for kids, but go a bit further out to try snorkelling and scuba diving.
Another must-see is the pristine Elafonisi on the southeast side. In a certain light, the white sands take on a pink glow, said to be caused by the coral. Close by is Matala beach with its beachfront tavernas, complex of caves and of course fine sand and sapphire waters. Then there’s the palm tree-forested Vai beach over on the northeast coast.
Towns and villages
The island is home to a mix of cosmopolitan towns and idyllic hilltop villages. Heraklion (Iraklion) is the island’s capital. This is where the first European civilisation, the Minoans, flourished. The Archaeological Museum near the legendary palace of Knossos holds the remains. It’s also a densely populated, modern city. The other main towns are Chania, Rethymnon and Agios Nikolaos.
Make time to explore the delightful villages - each with its individual charm. Visit the laid-back hillside and mountain villages of Heraklion and Rethymnon as well as the fishing village of Chania and the traditional inland villages in Lassithi. Don't miss the countless fabulous beach resorts lining the entire coastline.
Activities in CreteHiking
Crete is also a fantastic place for hiking. Three different groups of mountains make up the high mountain range that crosses the island from west to east. The White Mountains is the largest mountain range, with dozens of peaks over 2,000 metres. They are covered in snow until late spring, but even in the summer the limestone rock glistens white in the sun.
Samaria National Park
The Samaria National Park in Chania boasts some wonderfully isolated mountain terrain, unique flora and fauna and one of the longest gorges in Europe. Samaria gorge is 10 miles long. It starts 1,230 metres above sea level near the village of Omalos and ends near the pretty coastal village of Agia Roumeli. If you do the full walk, you’ll descend through pine and cyprus forest, and pass a restored 14th century village and a whitewashed church before finally reaching the beach. With any luck you might spot some Kri-Kri goats on the rock faces or even vultures and eagles on your way.