Discover Crete’s Rich Heritage: 10 Churches and Monasteries to Visit

Crete is a land of rich cultural heritage, with ancient ruins and landmarks dotted all across its picturesque landscape. One of the most awe-inspiring sites on this Mediterranean island are the beautiful and intricate churches and monasteries. Whether you’re a history buff or simply interested in exploring the island’s religious roots, here are 15 of the most stunning churches and monasteries in Crete.

1. Toplou Monastery in Sitia, Lassithi

Located near Sitia, in eastern Crete, this monastery was founded in the 15th century and features beautiful Byzantine frescoes, a stunning courtyard, and a small museum.

Toplou Monastery Sitia Crete -

2. Saint George Karydi Monastery, Chania

The monastery is located near Vamos village in the prefecture of Chania, and was founded in the early 17th century. Be sure to add this to your list and make sure you don’t miss the ruins of the old olive oil factory.

Saint George Karydi Chania Crete -

3. Arkadi Monastery, Rethymno

This is one of the most famous and historic monasteries in Crete, located about 23 km from Rethymno. It was founded in the 5th century, but it became famous after the rebellion of 1866, during which hundreds of Cretan rebels sought refuge in the monastery. The Ottomans bombarded and set fire to the monastery, killing hundreds of people, including women and children.

4. Saint Nicholas Church Georgioupolis, Chania

Saint Nicholas is one of the most unique churches on the island. It is located in the picturesque village of Georgioupolis on a small islet in the sea, about 100 meters from the shore. It is one of the most photographed churches in Crete and very popular for destination weddings!

St Nicholas Chaper Church Georgioupolis Chania Crete -

5. Panagia Kera Monastery, Lasithi

Located near Kritsa, in eastern Crete, this monastery was founded in the 14th century and is known for its stunning impressive architecture and the beautify preserved Byzantine-era frescoes, possibly the most well-preserved on the island.

Panagia Kera Agios Nikolaos Lasithi Crete - Copyright

6. Agios Minas Cathedral, Heraklion

Agios Minas Cathedral is a must-see attraction and the largest church in Crete. The grandiose structure boasts a stunning neoclassical design and is considered one of the largest cathedrals in Greece. Visitors can marvel at the intricate details of the cathedral’s interior and learn about its rich history dating back to the 19th century.

Agios Minas Heraklion Crete -

7. Preveli Monastery, Rethymno

This monastery is located on the southern coast of Crete, near Plakias. The monastery was founded in the 16th century and it played an important role during the Cretan revolution against the Ottomans. Today, it is a popular destination for tourists due to its stunning views, beautiful gardens, and historic artifacts.

Preveli Monastery Rethymno Crete -

8. Agios Georgios Selinari, Lasithi

This monastery is located near the town of Neapoli, in eastern Crete. It was built in the 16th century and features beautiful frescoes, a stunning bell tower, and a small museum.

St. George Selinari Monastery Lassithi Crete

9. Holy Trinity Monastery, Chania

Holy Trinity Monastery in Chania is a stunning example of Greek Orthodox monastic architecture. Located on a hilltop with breathtaking views of the city, the monastery dates back to the 17th century and features intricate frescoes and icons. Visitors can tour the grounds and admire the peaceful surroundings, making it a must-see attraction in Crete.

Agia Triada Holy Trinity Monastery Chania Crete - Copyright

10. Chrissoskalitissa Monastery, Chania

Chrissoskalitissa Monastery is a beautiful monastery located in western Crete, Greece. Perched atop a rocky hill, it offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape and the sea. The monastery’s name translates to “golden step,” which refers to a step inside the chapel believed to have miraculous properties. A must-visit spot for history and nature lovers.

Chrissoskalitissa Monastery Chania Crete

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