Crete Self Drive 2 - Central Crete

Gorgeous Beaches, Gorges and Ancient History


A wonderful exploration of central Crete's ancient past together with some superb beaches and scenery without exhaustive driving.

START / FINISH - Heraklion

Activity code: GRFDCR02

Duration: 10 Days

This self drive holiday will take you on a stunning journey through central Crete with an emphasis on exploring a little off the beaten track. This freedom to explore comes about because some of the distances between locations are not so great so why not take some minor roads, head off for a walk or grab an unexpected lunch stop in one of Crete's many hillside villages.

On this holiday itinerary you can visit the World-famous Minoan sites of Knossos, Phaistos and Gortis as well as some of our favourite lesser-visited locations on the island. Overall, it is an ideal choice to combining sightseeing with relaxation and simply enjoying the Greek experience. If you or your family have an interest in the history and culture of ancient Greece but also want to "take it easy" then you will not be disappointed.

The suggested itinerary is 10 days but this can be made up easily to 14 nights by extending any of the stays en route or by adding extra nights at the coast to relax at the end of your travels, such as in beautiful Panormos (between Rethymnon and Heraklion).

Extra Information

If you would like to visit these wonderful places but don't wish to drive then we have a choice of guided tours or we can offer you a private driver for the itinerary you have chosen.

Please contact us if you would like a completely tailor made fly drive itinerary. All we would need to know are approximate dates of travel, what standard of hotel you would prefer, and if there are any particular areas or classical sites which you would like us to include (or to exclude!) in your itinerary. Your holiday can be as active or leisurely as you please. Staying one night at each stop allows the maximum amount of sightseeing; two or more nights will allow you to do side trips, whilst staying in one place will give you the opportunity to relax and explore the local area.

Rediscover Greece Bonus

Ask about our fabulous bonus offers when you book this package with us:

  • Special add-on stays in a rural villa, boutique town hotel or beach resort.
  • Extend your holiday with a few days on Santorini [travel by hydrofoil].

Not included: In January 2018 Greece introduced an Overnight Stay Tax of 0.50 to 4 Euros per room or apartment per night, which is payable locally - the amount varies according to the category of the accommodation (i.e. most self catering and 1-2 star hotels = 0.50 Euros,  5 star hotels = 4 Euros).

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What's included in this Greece Holiday:

  • 9 days car rental with unlimited mileage, full insurance, CDW, taxes, delivery and airport drop off.
  • 9 nights hotel & guest house accommodation
  • Bed and breakfast basis throughout.
  • Fully detailed itinerary with sightseeing and route suggestions
  • Fully protected for your peace of mind.
  • FREE travel app with all your documents, maps, weather & much more
  • You also have the full back up of our office in Greece during your stay.



Take hire car from Heraklion Airport and head to your first hotel.

Full day exploring the fascinating site of Knossos and visiting the Heraklion museums.

Onward drive east along coast (or across country for some of the way); visit ancient Malia en route to Agios Nikolaos.

Recommended places to stay

Relax in Agios Nikolaos or a nearby beach (or even a morning visit to the island of Spinalonga) then head south across the island to Ierapetra (possible diversion to visit the Minoan site of Gournia).

Recommended places to stay

Travel back westwards but this time along the line of the south coast, a little-explored region of Crete. If you make an early start you can visit Gortis and/or Phaistos before the end of the day but if you get distracted by the scenery en route (such as Myrtos) you can always return the next day, it is not far from our recommended overnight stop at Aghia Galini.

Recommended places to stay

Either relax in Aghia Galini, visit Matala or return a little way east to visit Phaistos and/or Gortis if you didn't manage to do so on the previous day. An alternative day out would be to visit the monastery of Agios Nikolaos and the Rouvas Gorge near the lakes at Zaros in the southern foothills of Mount Ida.

Heading north out of Aghia Galini (two routes) we recommend a stop in the delightful village of Spili prior to driving down the Kourtaliotiko Gorge to Preveli to visit the monastery (and beach) and then on to Plakias.

Recommended places to stay

Return to the north coast at Rethymnon, visit the town's historic sights.

** Why not consider an extra night in Plakias and/or an early start to go the long way around to Rethymnon via Frangokastello and the stunning Imbros Gorge. **

Recommended places to stay

Full day to explore Rethymnon, possible side trip to the Arkadi Monastery.

Travel back to Heraklion and drop off car at airport for flight home.

  • extend your stay in beautiful Panormos (between Rethymnon and Heraklion).


Flexible Tailor-Made Holidays

  • We believe passionately that no two holidays should be the same.
  • With our flexible tailor-made holiday options you can travel at your own pace.
  • Rediscover a city, a resort or an island in a weekend or longer.
  • Take a small group tour or embark upon a more adventurous trip.

Travel Knowledge

  • We have all travelled extensively and will be happy to share our experiences.
  • Personally-chosen hotels, riads, guest houses & apartments in places we know and love.
  • Individual sightseeing recommendations and route planning.
  • Add excursions, activities and food & wine experiences (one of our passions).

Why book a Fly Drive ?

  • Accommodation choices are small, independent or family-run properties which add significantly to your travel experience.
  • Stress-free arrival & departure transfer service.
  • Detailed driving directions, parking info, suggested routes & sightseeing ideas.
  • Fully protected for your peace of mind & financial security.