A digital nomad guide to Crete, Greece

It took me just a couple of days to fall in love with life in Crete, Greece. Crete is a true paradise known for its picturesque beaches, untamed natural beauty, enchanting culinary experiences, and a history that spans thousands of years. Being a digital nomad on this captivating island is like living in a dream where you can blend work with outstanding nature and cultural experiences.

Continue reading for my best Crete recommendations, highs and lows of being a digital nomad in Crete and why I think Crete is Europe’s up-and-coming digital nomad destinations.

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Why work from Crete?

Let’s start with the basics: Why should you work from Crete? With so many great digital nomad destinations around the world, you might wonder what makes Crete so special. Besides offering stunning views, Crete also has everything a digital nomad needs in terms of amenities and infrastructure.

Let’s break down some of the aspects that, in my opinion, make Crete the optimal destination for digital nomads.

Ideal weather conditions

If you wish to escape the autumn, winter or early spring months but still stay in Europe, then Crete is the perfect place to go. Crete is the southernmost island in Greece with mild winters and hot summers. I experienced October and November in Crete and was greeted with sun and temperatures around 20-25 degrees.

Crete, basking in 300 days of sunshine annually, stands out as one of the best destinations in Europe for consistently excellent weather throughout the year.

Rich history and culture

Crete is steeped in history and culture, with a heritage that dates back thousands of years. As a digital nomad in Crete, you’ll have the opportunity to explore ancient ruins, visit museums, and engage with the welcoming Cretan community to learn about their traditions and way of life.

Digital Nomad Communities

Greece has become increasingly popular among digital nomads, leading to the emergence of communities and coworking spaces that cater to remote workers. These hubs offer opportunities to network, collaborate, and socialize with like-minded individuals from around the world.

I can highly recommend the coworking space WorkHub in Chania. Besides desks and meeting rooms they also manage a Facebook and a Whatsapp group that connects digital nomads in Chania with joint dinners and events.

Incredible landscapes

Vibrant cities, sleepy coastal towns, turquoise beaches and even snow-capped mountains that’s perfect for hiking. Crete’s diversity is truly unparalleled, making this island a perfect place to stay!

What surprised me the most about Crete was its legendary beaches. From the iconic pink sands of Elafonissi to remote coves in southern Crete that have barely been touched by tourists, there’s always a place to explore and unwind.

The island’s natural beauty is breathtaking, with majestic gorges like the Samaria Gorge, towering mountain peaks, and picturesque villages to explore. As a digital nomad, you have the opportunity to experience the unique combination of mountains and sea, seclusion and community that this island has to offer.

A guy sitting in a waterfall near Trollstigen

Exquisite cuisine

Did you know Cretens consume the most olive oil annually than any other European destination? Or that they can grow avocados and even bananas?

Greek food is a reason alone to visit this country, and the Cretan cuisine is even better with its unique local dishes.

Cretan cuisine is renowned for its freshness and flavor. You can savor local delicacies, farm-fresh produce, and traditional dishes that reflect the island’s rich culinary heritage. My favorites dishes are the Dakos salad (rusk bread topped with tomatoes, creamy myzithra cheese and herbs), kolokythanthi (stuffed zucchini flowers), Cretan salad (Greek salad with rusk), skioufichta (handmade pasta) and boureki (potato and zucchini pie).

For Cretans, food is a way of life, with an emphasis on simplicity, sustainability, fresh local produce, respect for tradition and (most importantly) generosity. When visiting a family-owned restaurant you will most likely be served generous portions, some extra bread, their own olive oil, and dessert on the house, accompanied by a small bottle of raki.

Aker Brygge in Oslo

Affordable cost of living

Greece offers a relatively affordable cost of living compared to many Western countries. You can find reasonably priced accommodations and dine out without breaking the bank.

However, rent can vary depending on the season. Expect much higher prices for Airbnbs and short-term rentals from May to August as this is when vacationers come to enjoy Crete’s sunshine and beauty.

Reliable wifi and internet connection

Greece has made significant investments in its internet infrastructure in recent years, ensuring reliable and high-speed internet connections in urban and even some rural areas. I never found myself without internet connection during my time in Crete, except for a few times in the mountains.

Safety and hospitality

Greece is known for its hospitality and friendliness toward tourists and expats. It’s generally considered a safe country, providing a welcoming and secure environment for remote workers.

Aker Brygge in Oslo

Where to stay as a digital nomad in Crete

Crete is a big island with so much to explore. I would recommend staying in one of the bigger towns such as Chania, Rethymno or Heraklion. They are all big enough to have great cafes and restaurants, coworking spaces and many accommodation options – but are still small enough to be walkable and offer a sense of community.

My warmest recommendations go to Chania, as this was my home base when working from Crete. I really fell in love with the town, its digital nomad community and WorkHub coworking space.

 If you’re looking for a short-term accommodation in Chania, I can highly recommend Kriti Hotel

Aker Brygge in Oslo

How to get to Crete

Crete has two international airports, in Chania and Heraklion, and regular domestic flights to Athens. That being said, it’s easy to get to Crete – you just have to decide which airport to travel to! Whichever you choose, a safe airline option is Aegean. Aegean Airlines is the largest Greek airline and is a great option when booking flights both domestically and internationally.

How to get around Crete

When it comes to exploring the diverse beauty of Crete, having the right means of transportation is essential. While the island does have public transportation options like buses, these usually only connect the bigger towns.

For a truly immersive experience on Crete, I highly recommend renting a car. Having your own vehicle allows you to set your own schedule and venture off the beaten path to discover hidden gems and picturesque villages that may be inaccessible by public transport. Crete’s road network is well-maintained and offers stunning scenic routes, making it a joy to drive around the island.

I rented my car through Pan Car and it was a seamless experience. They were very helpful and flexible!

Aker Brygge in Oslo

My guide to Crete – top things to do

Take a cooking class

Crete is renowned for its delicious Mediterranean cuisine, and what better way to truly savor it than by taking a hands-on cooking class? I did mine at The Olive Farm and it was an incredible experience. The Olive farm is a small farm located in a tint mountain village outside Chania. The cooking class took place in their incredible garden, where they grow everything from olives to bananas. Thanks to a local chef I learned the secrets behind traditional Cretan dishes and gained insights into the local ingredients and cooking techniques.

A cooking class at The Olive Farm was an unforgettable experience.

Visit a raki distillery

You can’t go to Crete without encountering raki, or as they call it in western Crete: tsikoudia. Tsikoudia is a strong, clear brandy made from distilled pomace (crushed grapes, skins and seeds) left over from the grape harvest. It holds a special place in Cretan culture, and a visit to a local distillery provides an authentic glimpse into this cherished tradition.

I visited I.F. Petroulakis distillery and got to witness this fascinating process of transforming locally sourced grapes into liquid gold. I can highly recommend it!

Village hopping

If you want to experience the true authenticity of the Chania area, you have to visit the Apokoronas villages. The Apokoronas villages are a collection of 34 settlements either by the coast or in the valleys of the legendary White Mountains.

My favorite village was Gavalochori. Here you can experience the slow Cretan life, eat an incredible lunch at Monica’s Tavern or pay a visit to the small shop selling crafts from local artists.

Hiking the Samaria Gorge

Samaria Gorge is the longest gorge in Greece and forms part of the E4 hiking trail that traverses Europe. Hiking the Samaria Gorge is a must-do when in Crete!

Samaria Gorge is a UNESCO-protected Biosphere Reserve with 450 species of plant and animal life. The entire hike is 16 km, and along the way you will pass 22 freshwater springs, an abandoned village and several resting areas – all at the same time as having impressive 100 meter tall mountains on each side of you.

Even though it’s possible to do this hike on your own, I can highly recommend joining a tour or hiring a private guide from Trekking Hellas. Besides the obvious advantage of learning more about the area and all its do’s and don’ts, a guided tour includes transfer. This is great as the hike is one way: the starting point and ending point is at opposite sides of the gorge.

Samaria Gorge is the longest gorge in Greece, and second longest in Europe.

Explore the south coast by boat

Exploring the captivating south coast of Crete promises an unforgettable adventure. This lesser-known part of the island offers a taste of authentic Cretan life and some of the most breathtaking natural beauty you’ll encounter.

There are several places along the coast only accessible by boat. For example the enchanting coastal village Loutro, or my favorite beach in Crete: Marmara beach. Renting a boat, or taking a private boat trip, with Notos Mare is therefore the ultimate way to discover the south coast!

I can highly recommend staying at the south coast for a few days to explore its uniqueness to the fullest. I stayed a week in Hora Sfakion which was a great base to explore from.

 Hotel recommendation in Hora Sfakion: Authentic Village Boutique Hotel

A guy sitting in a waterfall near Trollstigen

Explore the incredible beaches

When it comes to top attractions in Crete, you probably already know about the beaches. With tropical blue water and soft white sand, Crete is home to some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen.

My personal favorites are:

  • Balos beach
  • Falassarna beach
  • Elafonissi beach
  • Preveli beach
  • Marmara beach

While these beaches are must-see places in Crete, I just want to add that during the summer months they get too full.

Not only is it not going to be the experience you were expecting, but you’ll be contributing to putting the ecosystems at risk. As a digital nomad, you have a great opportunity here to visit these beaches during shoulder season. Who wants to fight over sunbeds with tourists anyway?!

Visit in May-June or September-October and get rewarded with better prices, fewer people and great weather!

Read more: Your guide to sustainable travel in Chania

A guy sitting in a waterfall near Trollstigen

Marmara beach; Falassarna beach.

Visit an olive farm

Visiting an olive farm in Crete is an enriching experience that allows you to delve into the heart of the island’s rich agricultural heritage and witness the centuries-old tradition of olive oil production, which is deeply intertwined with Cretan culture.

During my time in Crete, I visited Biolea – a family-owned company, which combines traditional and modern techniques to produce amazing organic olive oil. This was one of the best experiences I had in Crete! Having the opportunity to learn from knowledgeable local farmers and olive oil experts, sharing their insights into the cultivation of olive trees and the art of producing high-quality olive oil, was something I will never forget.

Go on a wine tasting

Did you know they make incredible wine in Crete? Crete’s winemaking tradition dates back thousands of years, and today, the island boasts a thriving wine industry known for its indigenous grape varieties and innovative winemakers.

I highly recommend doing a wine tasting while visiting Crete. I did mine at the incredible Karavitakis Winery outside of Chania.

During the wine tasting experience, I was guided by a passionate and knowledgeable sommelier who introduced me to a range of Cretan wines, from crisp whites to robust reds and fresh rosés. They shared the stories behind each wine, offering insights into the winemaking process and the cultural significance of wine in Crete. An experience I’ll cherish for a lifetime!

Woman on boat at Geirangerfjord
Waterfall at Geiangerfjord

Want to work from Greece?

If you’re considering becoming a digital nomad in Greece, look no further than Work From Greece, an invaluable resource offering everything you need to know to kickstart your remote work journey in this beautiful Mediterranean country.

Work From Greece’s website serves as a comprehensive guide for aspiring digital nomads, providing essential information on visa requirements, accommodation options, coworking spaces, local amenities, and cultural insights to help you navigate life and work in Greece with ease.

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