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Boat Trips and Tours in Crete

Crete is one of the most spellbinding Greek islands, with its unique Mediterranean culture and colorful wild landscapes. The craggy coastline is full of hidden surprises and offers some of the best beaches and bays in the country.

Boat tours in Crete will take you to fabled pirate caves, remote blue lagoons, and uninhabited offshore islands home to endemic wildlife and ancient legends.

There are several Crete boat trips to choose from on your island vacation. Options range from half-day coastal cruises to sunset sailings and even pirate ship jollies.

Scenic boat tours

Half- and full-day boat tours in Crete are the most popular excursions on the island. Most sail along the southern or northern coastlines, taking in hidden bays and secluded beaches only accessible by sea. Some trips visit nearby islands, while others whisk you away to Santorini. Swimming, snorkeling, and Mediterranean lunches are often included.

Sunset sailing trips

For the ultimate romantic voyage, head out at sunset for picture-postcard views as the sea is flooded with orange hues. Enjoy finger food and a glass of wine as day turns to dusk on board your luxury cruiser.

Speed boat cruises

If you feel the need for speed, you will love going full throttle along the panoramic coastline in a comfortable speed boat, beating other vessels to the top spots. These half-day trips are a great way to see a lot in a short space of time.

Private sailing charters

Up the luxury with an exclusive private boat tour on a sleek yacht or cruiser, and head to secret locations far away from the tourist crowds. Snorkel in crystal-clear bays, walk barefoot on hidden beaches, and tuck into local delicacies as you sip wine on deck.

Pirate ship jaunts

Settle into life on the high seas with a swashbuckling cruise to beaches, caves, and headlands. Watch out for sea turtles and dolphins as you snorkel in the warm blue sea, then fill your boots with a delicious barbecue lunch.

Semi-submarine excursions

Of all the boat tours in Crete, this is the most unusual! Head below the waves in a glass-bottomed cruiser and see the local marine life without getting your hair wet.

How much do boat tours in Crete cost?

The price of Crete boat trips varies depending on vessel type and tour length:

  • Half-day scenic boat tours start at €25 per person for a 3-hour cruise, rising to €51 for a 5-hour trip.
  • Full-day excursions cost €25 - €150 for 6 hours, €25 - €229 for 8 hours, and €66 for 10 hours. 8-hour party cruises are €51.
  • Santorini day trips are €138 for a 5-hour caldera-only excursion, or €153 - €192 for a 13-hour tour.
  • Sunset sailing jaunts including wine cost between €70 - €82 for 3.5 hours.
  • Speed boat tickets are €68 for 4 hours, while pirate cruises start at €40 for 5 hours, or €69 for 10 hours.
  • For a trip on the semi-submarine expect to pay €15 for an hour.
  • Private sailing charters start at €299 for a 2.5-hour trip, €599 for 5 hours, €709 for 7 hours, and €1899 for an 8-hour cruise.

Which places are seen on a boat tour in Crete?

Mirabello Bay

Mirabello is a large bay on the northeastern shore of the island, overlooked by Agios Nikolaos town. The clear waters are ideal for swimming and snorkeling, and you can walk barefoot on the golden sands of Elounda Beach. Keep an eye out for the cave made famous by legendary pirate Barbarossa and see if you can find the sunken city of Olous. Some tours also sail by an island populated by endemic Kri Kri goats.

Spinalonga Island

This former 20th-century leper colony in the Gulf of Elounda was made famous by Victoria Hislop’s novel, "The Island". You can see where the “outcasts” lived and get a sense of what life was like cut off from the rest of the world. Explore the old Venetian fortress and walk around the island enjoying views over the bay. You can reach Spinalonga from Heraklion or Agios Nikolaus.

Marmara Beach

This beautiful pebble beach sits at the mouth of the Aradena Gorge in the south of the island. The coastline is peppered with caves tucked away among the colorful cliffs, and the blue waters are a scenic spot for snorkeling during Crete boat trips.

Chrissi Island

Chrissi Island, Crete’s southernmost island is famed for its sandy beaches and undulating dunes. As well as swimming and snorkeling, you can hike along the cedar forest trail to Belegrina Beach which is carpeted with millions of tiny seashells. There are traces of an ancient Minoan settlement here too, as well as Agios Nikoloas chapel, a lighthouse, and an old salt marsh.

Dia Island

Just north of Heraklion city, Dia Island is home to tranquil bays and rocky cliffs that make for great vacation photos. Known for its shipwrecks and long-forgotten settlements, Dia is a popular spot for swimming during boat tours in Crete. Watch out for dolphins frolicking in the waters of the bay.

How long does a boat trip last?

The most popular Crete boat trips last between 3 – 5 hours. Longer day trips that take in additional sights and outlying islands usually give you 7 – 10 hours out on the water. Santorini day trips from Crete are 13 hours, although a 5-hour sailing excursion in the caldera also is available.

Sunset trips last 3.5 hours, while speed boat tours are usually 4 hours long. For a pirate ship cruise, you will spend between 5 – 10 hours at sea, and the semi-submarine excursion is 1 hour.

Private sailing charters range from 2.5 – 12 hours, and multi-day trips can also be arranged.

Where do boat tours leave from?

Hotel pick-ups are not usually included in the price of boat tours in Crete, although there are some exceptions so do check your joining instructions.

Boats depart from a variety of locations around Crete, with the most common being the Port of Agios Nikolaos, and the Venetian Harbor in Heraklion Port.

Some private charters leave from the Old Venetian Harbor in Chania up on the north coast, or the Port of Sfakia in the south.

Many boat trips to Chrissi Island depart from the Port of Lerapetra, which is easily accessible by bus or car from Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos. Others depart from Ierapetra.

If you are looking for boat tours departing from a specific city in Crete, take a look at these pages:

When is the best time for a boat trip in Crete?

Crete enjoys a Mediterranean climate so it is warm for much of the year. However, swimming and snorkeling are best enjoyed during the summer months between June and September when water temperatures are pleasant.

Spring and Fall are also great times to visit, when the weather is still mild and the tourist crowds have dispersed.

Crete boat trips run during both mornings and afternoons, but for a really romantic trip, sail out in the early evening for a sunset cruise.

Which other water activities can be done in Crete?

  • Scuba diving: plunge into the magical underwater world and glide over rocky reefs where fishes dart and turtles play.
  • Snorkeling: grab your mask and fins and float in the Mediterranean, keeping a watchful eye on the marine kingdom down below.
  • Kayaking: feel the sea breeze on your face as you slice through the sea, exploring the hidden nooks and crannies of this breathtaking coastline.
  • Stand up paddle boarding: pick up a few basic skills and head off along the rugged shores to discover secluded bays and caves only accessible by water.
  • Jet-skiing: hold on tight as you zoom through the waves, whizzing by dramatic rocky landforms as you practice your new-found moves.
  • Parasailing: glide through the skies above Heraklion and enjoy aerial views over the colorful rocky mountains and Ammoudara Beach far below.
  • Wakeboarding: enjoy a crash-course with your local instructor then head out to sea and perform spectacular stunts on the calm waters of Elounda Bay.

Travel tips

  • Pack swimming gear and a towel if you plan on taking a dip, as well as sunscreen, sunglasses, and a cap to prevent sunburn.
  • Take some cash in case you want to purchase anything during your time on shore.
  • Book your boat tour in Crete in advance so you can secure the best prices for your preferred dates.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes for moving about the boat, and take a windbreaker as it can get fresh out on the water.
  • Make sure you arrive at the meeting point ahead of schedule – check your booking details for more information.