Our trip to Crete, Greece was absolutely perfect. It was everything a babymoon should be – a whole lot of relaxing and pampering, sprinkled with a bit of exploring. I wrote about our perfect babymoon at the Nana Princess Suites here. We spent our days at the beach and enjoying our private pool, but we spent each night exploring the smaller towns nearby. The food, the shops, and the people easily put Greece at the top of my favorite countries. Everywhere we went also had mocktails – perfect babymoon destination.
We flew in and out of Heraklion from Frankfurt and ended up staying on this side of the island. We took a ferry to Santorini for a few days (that post coming soon!) but we had such an amazing time in Crete. Here are some fun towns to explore if you find yourself in this area of Crete, Greece!
Koutouloufari was about a thirty minute walk or a 10 minute cab ride from our hotel. We loved it so much we ended up exploring this town two nights in a row. It is filled with narrow streets, tons of restaurants, and a bunch of cute local shops and boutiques. After dinner, we were surprised to find that all of the shops were still open late. We found out from our cab driver that in touristy towns, the shops stay open late (and on Sundays) because they are only open for the tourist season.
This is where we did the most shopping in Crete, Greece. There’s a charming local baby store called HeartBeat Baby & Kids. The wife has her own line of homemade items, so we of course bought some (and now that I know they have a website we will be buying more). I love the baby sleepers they make because they don’t have buttons or zippers, they just tie at the bottom.
There’s also a wonderful women’s boutique called Cielo. It has the cutest dresses and rompers that I saw in Crete, and it was all at great prices. I got a dress for 39 Euros. We also bought some souvenirs at Entehno Art. At all of these shops, when the shop owners realized I was pregnant, their faces lit up and they treated me like a goddess! The owner at Entehno Art gave me a free dolphin pin as a good luck charm for the baby. Greece is an amazing place to be when you’re pregnant!
I absolutely love The Alchemist in Koutouloufari. It is an open-air restaurant with great vibes, really personable owners, and the best virgin pina colada I’ve found anywhere. The moussaka (grandmother’s secret recipe) is to die for. It was so good, I still can’t stop thinking about it! For starters, we had the zucchini croquettes (Timmer’s favorite) and the cheese saganaki. They also had such an amazing dessert!
We loved the vibes of the Atrium Bar! All outdoor seating, cute basket lanterns, lots of trees and the best people watching. I had a delicious mocktail and Timmer’s gin & tonic had a star anise in it. We also had the stuffed mushrooms, cheese saganaki, tagliatelle with salmon and the sea bream.
Malia is a coastal town in Crete, super close to our hotel. We ate at Avli in Malia, which had great ratings and was recommended by the locals. It has a super cute courtyard and a rooftop patio. For starters, we split the octopus salad (yum!) and the talagani (grilled goat cheese). I had the Biftekara, which is a minced beef patty stuffed with smoked cheese and Timmer had the Lamb Kleftiko, which was cooked in their wood oven. Both were amazing!
Malia is known as one of the best party destinations in Europe, but when we first got out of our cab it just looked like a super cute town. After dinner, we walked down the main street – and WOW yes it definitely is a party town! It was WILD. It wasn’t super crowded (thanks COVID), but I can only imagine how crazy it would be in a normal year. Main street Malia reminded me of a mix of New Orleans, Nashville, Panama City Beach spring break, and Miami, but European. Just lined with bars and clubs, dancing and music and tons of fun.
Hersonissos is also about ten minutes away from our hotel and only twenty minutes from Heraklion. It’s a popular destination in Crete because it has beautiful beaches and a harbor full of restaurants and bars. We only had a chance to visit the old village (Ano Hersonissos), but it was perfect. There are cute shops and tons of great outdoor restaurants looking into the main square. We ate at Myrtios in the heart of the square, so there was ample people watching and tons of cute kittens. For starters, we split the garlic bread and dolmades. Both were so good! I finally tried Pastichio of Macaroni (Greek lasagna) and Timmer had the Lamb on the Spit (an ancient Greek style of cooking). We split a baklava for dessert. Everything was so delicious and the service was great! They even called a taxi for us when we were done.
After Santorini, we had one night in Heraklion before our flight the next morning. Once we started walking around Heraklion we regretted how little time we had to explore. It is the capital of Crete, and has a European city feel. Everywhere we walked, there were squares lined with restaurants with outdoor seating. It was lively and electric, but still not overly crowded.
We ate at Peskesi, which was recommended on every blog and by the locals at our hotel. Peskesi was amazing!! We ate outside in their charming narrow alley, lined with tons of plants and flowers. Their food is based on traditional Cretan recipes, and made with fresh Cretan ingredients from their own farm. They have an Olive Oil menu, and you can do an olive oil tasting. Our waiter was great, and had the best recommendations. We ended up getting their eggplant pie special, dolmades, goat in yogurt, and the minoan pork roasted in honey & thyme. Their dessert, halvas, was life changing. This was the absolute perfect meal to end our trip to Greece.
Overall, we loved Crete, Greece and definitely recommend adding it to your list of islands to visit! The charming villages and the cute beach towns made our time in Crete so wonderful.