Except for swimming in the crystal waters of Creta Maris’ private beach, summer vacations in Crete offer loads of opportunities to spend a bit of time in the great outdoors and try recreational activities in nature. Crete is a paradise for nature-lovers as it combines sea with mountains and still reserves a wild natural beauty revealed only to the bold and daring. We compiled a list of 5 exciting ways to experience Cretan nature.
Live the adventure with a Jeep Safari
Crete is an island with rugged terrains, rocky mountains, and wild landscapes, so the best way to explore it is with an off-road car. There are plenty of jeep safari adventures offered by dedicated tour companies with experienced drivers who will guide you through Crete’s most unspoilt landscapes while helping you understand the local culture, history, and mythology. Just pick the safari adventure of your preference and explore the authentic, pristine Crete.
Hike a gorge
There are more than 400 gorges in Crete, forming rivers and waterfalls, hosting wildlife, leading to pristine beaches, and inviting you to explore them. Samaria gorge is the most famous and imposing of all but there are plenty of other choices for anyone who has the will to hike their way to the real beauty of the island.
Try for example Imbros gorge in the Sfakia region or Agiofarango in the south of Heraklion province, both of which are ideal for non-experienced hikers.
Go for a mountain bike tour
Whether you are an experienced cyclist or an amateur, there are plenty of biking tours and cycling adventures to enjoy in Crete. As with jeep safaris, you can pick the biking tour company of your preference, and then decide which route is more suitable for you, taking your experience and skills into consideration. Explore old trails, abandoned villages, untouched Cretan nature, and enjoy spectacular views. If you prefer to go cycling on your own, here’s a list of suggested routes in the area of Hersonissos.
Try rock climbing in south Crete
While Crete has great potential as a climbing terrain with its limestone rock mountains and vertical beach cliffs, sport climbing on the island is relatively new compared to the rest of Europe. The most developed rock climbing areas are located in the south of Heraklion province, in Agiofarango, and around the abandoned village of Kapetaniana, both situated in the mountain range of Asterousia. Once again, you can book a rock climbing package through an adventure travel company or find your own way to the climbing routes of the island.
Explore the Botanical Park in Chania
At the feet of the White Mountains, just a few kilometers from the city of Chania, lies the Botanical Park of Crete. Nearly 20 hectares of land full of fruit trees (more than 150 species) from all over the world, herbs, medicinal and ornamental plants, and flowers create a vivid landscape that waits to be discovered. Wander through the signposted paths at your own pace and relax at the several rest points. It will take you about two hours to walk around the park and get acquainted with the local flora, as well as tropical and subtropical species from all over the world. At the lower part of the park, there is also a small lake with ducks, geese, and other water birds. Complete your experience with a traditional meal at the Botanical Park’s restaurant that uses fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruit from the park gardens.