Solo travel to Crete, Greece: discover this Greek island on your own terms

From picturesque beaches to rugged mountains, solo travel to Crete offers stunning landscapes. Its rich history and warm, welcoming locals make it a safe and enriching place for a solo trip.

Kezia Rice wrote this solo travel to Crete guide. She is a freelance travel writer for hire who has written for Vice, Stylist, Refinery29, and more.

Last September, I went to Crete for three weeks by myself.

Without the peak tourist crowds that July and August bring, the island was peaceful, with warm weather every day and balmy evenings at night.

I explored countless beaches, swam in the ocean several times a day, and ate my fill of bread and tzatziki every night, making for a perfect solo trip to Crete.

Tourism is crucial to the local economy in Crete – and the island is set up for tourists accordingly.

While it’s great to learn “good morning,” “please,” and “thank you” in Greek, the locals will likely speak English or provide English menus if you’re at a restaurant.

It’s pretty easygoing as a first solo travel trip. Here are more tips on solo travel to Crete (including my personal experiences as a woman traveling alone).

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Solo travel to Crete: quick info

  • Country: Greece
  • Safety Index: 83.10
  • Power Plug: Type A & B
  • Best neighborhood: Chania
  • Greece E-SIM: Airalo
  • Greece Travel Insurance: SafetyWing

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Is solo travel to Crete safe?

On my first night in Crete, I went to bed in the tiny hut overlooking the sea I’d booked on Airbnb.

I was slightly aware of the fact that, although the door locked, the windows didn’t, and a passerby could probably break into my bedroom without much effort.

But I pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind and drifted off to sleep.

Around midnight, I heard someone moving around outside the hut. They seemed to be looking for a way in. I spent a few seconds frozen in fear – then decided to choose fight over flight.

“Hey!” I yelled, flashing my phone torch through the glass of the doorframe. The intruder backed away, surprised.

“Is this not Michael’s accommodation?” he asked, continuing, “I think I’m staying here.”

“I’m staying here,” I responded as assertively as I could manage. He apologized and backed away, and after a fitful night of sleep, I woke up and saw him on the veranda opposite.

“I’m so sorry,” he said. I got the wrong hut; this is my one.” He was a harmless middle-aged man.

“That must have been so scary for you,” he apologized further. He was right – it was.

This experience – ultimately a misunderstanding – left me unsettled every time I got into bed during my time in Crete.

I was staying in a mix of cheap hotels, AirBnBs, and hostels – and felt the safest surrounded by people in my hostel dorm.

While I enjoyed the solitude I found in Greece a lot, I also realized on this trip that I feel safer in a bustling city surrounded by millions of people than I did staying in a tiny, isolated town.

While staying in Heraklion, the largest city in Crete, I walked around during the night by myself and felt completely at ease. 

Despite this experience, Crete is known to be a very safe place to travel – the economy relies on tourism, so any bad experiences that travelers have will ultimately impact the locals the most.

If you want extra reassurance during your solo trip to Crete, bring a doorstop alarm that will go off if anyone tries to enter your room.

And make friends with your neighbors so you know there’s someone nearby to help you out.

Handy services for solo travel to Crete

Booking.com Safe accommodationsFind the best and safest solo travel accommodations in Crete from boutique hotels to budget hostels. Check Prices
Viator Things to do in Crete aloneDiscover activities in Crete that you can do alone – from water sports, city tours, to fantastic food tours! See Activities
Discover Cars Rent a car in CreteNavigate Crete with ease by renting a car through Discover Cars. Choose from a variety of vehicles and explore Greece at your own pace.Check Rental Cars

Is Crete good for solo travel?

ABSOLUTELY! Here are some reasons why solo travel to Crete:

Getting around Crete is easy

As I said, Crete is a massive island – but you don’t need a car to navigate it. Take advantage of local bus systems and coaches running day trips to tourist sites.

You may well meet a fellow solo traveler on your journey.

Crete is a stunning destination for photographers

solo travel to crete greece
Natural freshwater Kourna Lake on the island of Crete, Greece.

There’s no denying that Crete is stunning. The small alleyways in Chania and Heraklion and the long stretches of white sand and turquoise water make excellent photo backdrops.

Just because you’re traveling solo doesn’t mean you can’t get the perfect snap. Set up a self-timer and spend as long as you want taking photos with no one to hurry you.

Solo travel to Crete can be peaceful

Is it just me who gets massive FOMO when I’m traveling in a place with a bustling nightlife but don’t feel like going out alone?

What I loved about staying in the quieter parts of Crete was that the best activity was to stay at my accommodation, drink a glass of wine while watching the sea, and then get an early night.

An effortless solo traveler activity that didn’t come with the dose of FOMO I might have gotten if I was staying in a city that never sleeps.

It’s easy to meet fellow solo travelers in Crete

Seitan Liman beach view on the Greek island of Crete.

Unlike other solo trips where I’ve only got to know fellow backpackers, there are all types of people holidaying in Crete.

From the older generation who I mentioned earlier, to digital nomads, to hikers camping out on beaches to party-goers coming for a week of fun, you never know who you might meet.

Strike up conversations, meet people on tours or download a dating app for a bit of good old Tinder tourism.

While I loved the solitude I found in Crete, solo travel doesn’t mean being alone – be open to spontaneous new friendships and you’ll have the best time.

You feel like you’re in a movie

My desire to go to Greece may have started with my obsession with Mamma Mia when I was 10. Finally, traveling to Crete solo 15 years later definitely brought that cinematic experience to life.

But even if you’re not an ABBA fan, the beauty of the endless blue sea dotted with hundreds of tiny islands is undeniable.

Board your ferry, put your headphones on, and lose yourself looking at the landscape floating by.

Crete has live music galore

Mardi Gras in Heraklion, Crete, Greece.

No need to plan your evening out in Heraklion, Crete’s biggest city – simply follow your ears.

I found so much live music in the town by simply wandering through the streets and discovering bands set up in squares, complete with locals enthusiastically dancing.

Or try countless bars where music keeps the energy going throughout the night.

Crete has abundance of cafe culture

One of my favourite things about travelling solo in Crete was leaning into the local’s slow pace of life.

A coffee is enjoyed over a couple of hours, accompanied by a Kalitsounia (a sweet, indulgent, cream-filled pie), while you chat with the cafe owner, look out at the sea or watch the world go by.

There are thousands of kilometres to explore in Crete

Crete is massive – like seriously big. It’s the largest Greek island and has over a thousand kilometres of coastline.

If you head to the less-touristy south of the island, you’ll likely find whole beaches to yourself.

All that solitude in Crete is perfect for solo travel

Lazy hours spent at the beach with the sound of the waves, the sun on your skin and a refreshing dip in the ocean just a few metres away.

Relaxing comes with the territory during a solo trip to Crete and you’ll find all the solitude you want to get space with your thoughts when you’re by yourself.

Greek food is to die for

Grilled octopus tentacles with rice and vegetables.

Octopus cooked fresh from the sea; crispy calamari garnished with a squeeze of lemon, lightly-whipped baba ganoush, or creamy tzatziki spread on endless slices of bread.

Tt’s fair to say that Greek food has my heart. I loved the food I ate in Crete – but as a solo traveller, be aware that many of the best dishes in local tavernas are small plates.

I was on a strict budget on my solo travel to Crete, so I couldn’t order the whole menu even if I wanted to.

Your best bet is to partner with a fellow traveler or friendly local to have dinner with (more on that later!) so you can sample more from the menu.

Or ask the chef if they can serve you half portions of their dishes – they did this for me, no problem.

Your friends may be older than you think

On a random Tuesday evening in Crete, I had dinner with a couple in their eighties from Iceland, who I’d spontaneously befriended over the fence of our neighboring accommodations.

As a solo traveler in my twenties, I often imagine that the friends I’ll make while backpacking will be my age.

But letting go of this preconceived notion can open you up to many great experiences – there are many older holiday-makers in Crete, and spending time with them may be a highlight of your trip.

I fell in love with Ancient Greek culture

Crete is home to the Minoans, the oldest civilization in Europe, and learning about their culture was fascinating.

I visited the palace of Knossos by myself, and with no friends to drag me back to reality, I truly felt like I was transported back to Ancient Greece as I wandered through its ruins.

Plus, going solo meant I was able to listen to a podcast on the bus ride there to learn the history of the site.

I practically had beaches in Crete to myself

I planned my solo trip to Crete for the end of September. I was rewarded with mild weather, long stretches of idyllic beaches with barely a soul in sight, and cheaper accommodation – perfect for budget backpackers.

While there were still tourists on the streets, it was undoubtedly less busy than in July or August.

However, the downside was that there were fewer solo travelers, and the hostel I stayed in was half-empty.

I may have been unlucky there, but if you want to guarantee a bustling hostel scene, then try travelling in June or early September.

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