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You’ll need a car if you hope to cover a lot of ground in just one day on Crete, the largest island of Greece.
Our Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest starting your morning by exploring the ancient ruins of Aptera, an important Minoan city dating back to 700 BC that’s located 10 miles east of Chania. Next you’ll head 15 miles northeast of Chania to the Akrotiri Peninsula, where you can go for a refreshing early afternoon swim at sandy, scenic Stavros Beach (scenes from the 1964 film Zorba the Greek were filmed here). The island’s most impressive monasteries, Tsagarolon and Gouverneto, are nearby as well, and you can recharge your batteries with a delicious traditional Cretan lunch at one of the many beachfront tavernas.
Start the late afternoon by taking a tour of Chania and its colorful, charming Venetian harbor and clustered mix of Venetian, Turkish and Greek architecture. A stroll around Old Town, where you’ll find historic sites like the lighthouse along with carefully restored Venetian homes and hotels, is also recommended. Look for the beautiful 16th-century Agios Frankiskos Church, which houses the Archaeological Museum.
Take in the bustle and bargaining at the expansive cross-shaped indoor Agora Market — all the Greek products you’ll want to take home can be found here. After shopping, have a fresh seafood dinner while enjoying the sunset at acclaimed beachfront restaurant Akrogiali.
Finally, experience Crete’s nightlife at Pallas Roof Garden Café-Bar on Akti Tobazi. It takes 44 steps to get up there, but the view is worth it as you sit back, drink in hand, and watch the night take over Chania.