Featured Elopement Location: Greece, September 2023

If the idea of getting married in Greece lights a fire in your soul — or was already on your elopement bucket list — and the dates I’m there align with when you want to get married, all of my travel fees are waived! My dates for Greece are currently flexible in the month of September 2023. Want to come with me? Let me know ASAP.

What is a featured location?

Before I get to the GOOD STUFF, I wanted to tell you about my featured locations. A featured location is somewhere I already have plans to be. If the dates I’m there align with when you want to get married, all of my travel fees are waived! (A $1,000 savings!) So yeah, you could technically count this as a reason to shuffle the budget and fit in an epic activity on your big day. That’s enough cash for a private sunset boat cruise, a beachside horse back ride, or even a massive upgrade to wherever you’re staying!

What could a Greek Elopement look like? Read on for all the details.

Written by the wonderful Sam Tatro of Undiscovered Path Home

Looking for that secluded, picturesque elopement destination? The ancient island of Crete, located in Greece, may be for you. The largest Greek island offers rocky terrain, sprawling, pristine beaches, hidden coves with turquoise water, rugged backpacking, and lookout spots with 360 views. 

A boat floats in the water off the coast of Crete

With miles of unexplored terrain, Crete has so many hidden spots that offer unique elopement locations. It’s the best island for private and intentional elopements. Plus, the Crete beaches are gorgeous in the summertime, as well! If you’re looking for a beautiful Crete island Greece elopement, look no further than this Grecian island paradise. 

Where to elope in Crete

There are countless picturesque spots with breathtaking views in Crete. Many of these unbelievable spots, located in hard-to-access areas around Crete island, give you the privacy and intimacy you deserve on your elopement day. Here are some of my absolute favorites! 

Chania

A thin sandbar runs between crystal blue waters at Balos Beach in Crete, Greece

Most people staying in Chania head to one of two super popular beaches: Balos Bay or Elafonisi Beach. These two insanely crowded spots can work great for off-season elopements, or sailing elopements on a boat. But if you want to take advantage of more secluded spots on land, check out some of these gorgeous spots. 

The Agiofaraggo Area

The Agiofaraggo area is southwestern Crete is a complete hidden gem! This area is just south of the popular Elafonisi beach, and offers so much more privacy and so much more epic scenery. The rocky Agiofaraggo Beach is a gorgeous backdrop to a secluded elopement. That water is SO blue! The canyon behind the beach, Agiofaraggo Martsalo Kefali, offers some absolutely unreal rocky terrain for the adventurous couple looking to hike out before (or after) their elopement. And did I mention that place is UNREAL during sunset?

White Lake Beach

The Southwestern part of Crete island has so many unbelievable hidden spots. If you want a beachy, secluded elopement, it’s worth looking at White Lake Beach. This bay, full of small rocky cliffs and outlooks, has clear blue water as far as the eye can see. There’s plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, too!

Pakhnes

Crete’s White Mountains, south of Chania, are truly spectacular options for mountainous elopements. Pakhnes has some truly spectacular views. Could you imagine eloping here? If you want to reach the summit, we’ll need to plan an overnight adventure. But there are also day trip options for your elopement! 

Heraklion

Chania has a reputation as being the cool spot for all visitors in Crete, and in a way, they’re not wrong. But the Heraklion area also offers a lot of adventurous elopement options, too! Don’t overlook this area because it doesn’t have the same reputation. 

Mount Ida

The tallest peak on Crete is a complete and total adventure! If you want an extreme elopement, let’s head to the top of Mount Ida. To reach the top, we’ll need a minimum of six hours climbing. But the views at the top are truly extraordinary! If you want something less extreme, there are plenty of lovely hikes in this area as well.

Matala

A wave rolls up on the shore of Matala Beach with a sandstone fixture in the background

The cute little hippie town, just south of Heraklion on the other side of the island, is a great base for a more relaxed elopement vibe. There are countless secluded beaches nearby: Red Beach, with its clear waters and rocky surroundings, and Vathi Beach, a private spot south of Matala. It’s an absolutely unique place to visit, and just about every person that visits Matala ends up loving it! 

Elounda

Elounda, located just east of Heraklion, is a magical region with lots of gorgeous resorts and stunning beaches. If you want something off-the-beaten path, consider heading over to this part of the island! 

Vai Beach

Palm Trees in Crete? The magical Vai Beach, located on the very eastern tip of Crete, is so, so out of the way. But that’s what makes it so special! Enjoy picturesque palm beaches and some of the cleanest, clearest water on Crete. This place is so special, and it would be an awesome tropical elopement spot. There are several lookout spots, too, around the beach. 

Kolokitha beach

If you have a four wheeler and you’re up for a real adventure, it’s worth heading out to Kolokitha Beach and the nearby Κολοκύθα beach. These two beaches face a gorgeous bay, the site of many popular day trips. But if you maneuver around the tour boats (let’s come later in the day, or earlier), you’ll have a breathtaking spot with AMAZING waters all to yourself. Not many people make the treacherous drive out to this secluded spot, and it truly is worth the journey. Alternatively, we can rent a boat and cruise around this island ourselves. 

Chryssi Island

Looking for a bit of an adventure? Chriysi Island, on the southern side of the Elounda, is a tiny island with white sand beaches. If you want to plan a day trip for your elopement, you can take a morning ferry and come back that evening. It’s best to visit this uninhabited island in the shoulder seasons as the island can get quite crowded. 

What to do on your elopement day in Crete

A historic structure with three pillars stands at ancient ruins in Heraklion, Crete

Celebrating your elopement is about so much more than just the wedding ceremony! Let’s plan something epic and unbelievably fun around your elopement. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

  • Cretan Olive Oil Farm: Did you know Crete has some of the oldest Olive trees? Tour local olive farms and get a unique glimpse into the production. But do NOT skip the Cretan cooking class. These classes are seriously SO much fun! 
  • Go hiking in Samaria Gorge: Europe’s longest Gorge hike takes up to seven or eight hours! But you don’t need to do the whole thing to enjoy the beauty and wonder of this amazing national park. 
  • Horseback riding on the beach: Have you ever dreamed of horseback riding on the beach? This local company offers different types of excursions for both beginners and advanced riders. You can take a leisurely ride on the beach during sunrise – the perfect memory for your elopement! The real highlight? Riding bareback in the ocean!!
  • Take a helicopter ride: Nothing says “best day of our lives” like starting your elopement with a private helicopter ride over Crete! There’s something so intimate and special about spending a few hours admiring the island from the sky – you will never forget it! 
  • Go sailing: There’s nothing like sailing in the Mediterranean! Plan a special, private sailing adventure for your elopement day to really take in all that Crete has to offer. This is such an amazing way to just kick back and relax!  
  • Explore local beaches: Some of the best beaches in Crete are just off the beaten path. Consider renting a car and spending some time driving along the coast! 

Don’t see the perfect elopement day activity here? Don’t worry, we can plan something special together. 

The best time to elope in Crete

Crete is the southernmost island in Greece, and the Crete Greece weather can vary a lot from the other islands in Greece. The best time to visit Crete is from mid-May to June or September to October. In May, wildflowers bloom across Crete as weather warms up. It’s such an amazing time!

Unfortunately, I’d recommend against going in July or August. The island becomes especially hot in July and August. Just last year, Greece saw record-breaking temperatures reaching up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest temperature ever recorded. 

An aerial view of a bay in Crete, with a boat leaving shore.

The winter can be a nice time to visit, too, but temperatures can get cold, too. It even snows in Crete! Expect temperatures to reach highs of just 40 degrees. It’s a bit chilly, so I’d recommend waiting until spring or late summer to elope for those beautiful summer sunsets and clear skies. 

Where to eat in Crete

Who doesn’t love the delicious Mediterranean food of Greece? Whether you’re craving some grilled fish, tzatziki, or just some Gyros, there are so many unbelievable places to eat in Crete. You’ll find that even the local Gyros street stands serve amazing food (and it’s completely acceptable to eat at least one gyros wrap a day!). No matter your style, here are some of my personal favorite spots: 

Not seeing THE perfect elopement night dinner? We can figure it out together, don’t worry! 

Where to drink in Crete

There’s no better way to enjoy those long, hot Cretan summers than with a drink by the water. Crete has an amazing nightlife scene, especially in Chania. Here are some of my favorite spots to enjoy a nice after-hours drink: 

Where to stay in Crete

A white painted building with a blue gate in Crete, Greece

Crete has no shortage of unbelievable spots to stay on the island. Whether you want to stay near Ancient Crete or another romantic spot on Crete Island, here are some of my favorite Crete hotels to kick back and relax. Trust me, you’ll love these hotels in Crete Greece:

Luxury

Intimate Airbnbs

Don’t worry, we can find the best spot for you, depending on your elopement location. 

Vendors I recommend in the area

Florist

Hair and Makeup Artists

Bakery

Officients

Catering

How to get to Crete

There are a few ways to get to Crete, and it all depends on the type of Greece trip you plan. If you plan to do some island hopping around Crete before landing in Crete for your epic elopement, you can do that. But there are also multiple flights to get to Crete, especially during the summer. 

A boat sails to shore with towering mountains in the background
  • Ferry: If you plan to island hop around Greece, there are countless ferries that will bring you to Crete. For example, there are several Athens to Crete ferry options (an approximately 9 hour ride). In addition, if you want to spend a few days in Santorini, you can take a ferry from Santorini to Crete.
  • Flight: Looking to fly into Crete? There are direct flights to Crete Greece from different islands (and plenty of Athens to Crete flights) and even flights from different European destinations. If you’re coming from the U.S., you can fly into Athens and take a smaller plane to Crete airport. 

Heads up: The Crete airport is a small, crowded airport, especially during the summer, so plan some extra time for your return flight. The check-in lines during the summer can get especially chaotic! 

How to legally elope in Crete

I’d personally recommend getting legally married in the U.S. to make it easier on you both and then have the symbolic ceremony in Crete, Greece. 

But if you want to legally get married in Greece, expect for the entire process to take a few weeks. The process can vary on each island, so it’s important that we contact the locality prior to getting married. You may need to hire a local specialist who speaks Greek to get the process started. 

Foreigners can get married in Greece, and both civil and religious ceremonies are legally recognized as legitimate. Unfortunately, same sex marriage is not legal in Greece. 

To get married, you will need the following documents: 

  • A wedding notice: you will need to publish a wedding notice in a local Greek-language newspaper at least eight days before applying for your marriage license. Your names will need to be written in Greek, too. 
  • Valid passport
  • Certified copy of applicant’s Birth Certificates with an Apostille stamp. The document will need to be officially translated to Greek with a certificate. 
  • If any applicant has been married before, you will need to bring evidence of the termination of all previous marriages. That can be a death certificate or a divorce decree with an Apostille stamp. The document will need to be officially translated to Greek with a certificate. 
  • Proof of freedom to marry: This document will depend on nationality. It may also be called “Affidavit of Marriage”, “Certificate of Non-Impediment”, “Certificate of Marital Status” or “Notary Public Statement.” You can apply for it at a Greek embassy in some situations. The document will need to be officially translated to Greek with a certificate if you are bringing it from the U.S.  
  • Copy of local newspaper with the wedding notice

My tips for exploring Crete

Most people don’t realize what a HUGE island Crete is! If you rent a car and drive from one end of the island to the other, it can take three or four hours! There are so many adventurous things to do in Crete (did you know you can ski in Crete, for example?). I’d recommend basing yourself in either Heraklion or Chania and exploring the area around those major cities. Renting a car is the best way to see the country, but guided tours and boat tours can also cover a lot of bases!

A wave rolls onto the shore with rows of stacked white houses in the backdrop during sunset in Crete, Greece

Closing Statements

Crete is one of the most magical spots in Greece for an adventurous, off-the-beaten-path elopement. Whether you plan to stay at a luxury villa and say your vows on a boat at sunset, or you want to hike up the tallest mountain in Crete to say your “I Dos,” there’s something for everyone on this spectacular Greek paradise.

A white boat floats in the ocean in Crete with mountains in the backdrop

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