Crete is one of the most popular and sought after tourist destinations. This island attracts a rich selection of attractions, centuries-old culture. The history of Crete is closely connected with the birth of European civilization and culture. Ancient legends come true here. Of course, most tourists choose a vacation in Crete for the sake of comfortable, picturesque beaches.
General information about holidays in Greece on Crete
Crete is the largest island in Greece in area, it is the birthplace of Zeus and a major tourist center on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Here the oldest Minoan civilization appeared, and archaeological excavations are still ongoing, scientists find traces of ancient palaces, mosques, fortresses.
Interesting fact! Crete is the southernmost island of the archipelago; its shores are washed by three seas. That is why it will be interesting here for beach lovers and history buffs.
Crete is divided into four parts.
- Heraklion is the central part where the best sights were preserved, the finds discovered by archaeologists are kept in the Archaeological Museum.
- Rethymnon – this part of the island is best preserved, here you can stroll through the ancient, narrow streets, admire mosques, temples. Most travelers come here. Because in addition to architectural attractions, you can admire the natural beauties.
- Chania – the western outskirts of the island is the greenest, everything is concentrated here for a comfortable stay – beautiful landscapes, attractions, cultural life is seething.
- Lassithi is the eastern edge of the island, washed by the Cretan and Libyan seas, this is the sunniest and most expensive area of Crete, luxury hotels are concentrated here. In the east of Lassithi is Vai Beach, where the Bounty chocolate commercial was filmed.
Interesting fact! The most famous and most visited resort of Crete is Bali. From a simple fishing village, Bali turned into a European-level resort with exquisite, luxurious hotels, picturesque bays and a clear sea. You can swim until October.
Features of holidays in Crete at different times of the year
The beach holiday season in Crete starts in the spring. In mid-April, beaches for travelers open. Spring is the time when nature comes to life, orange groves bloom. This period is most favorable for fans of mountain trekking, hiking, excursions and cycling.
Daytime temperature reaches + 25ºС, and night temperature – only + 15ºС. Water in the spring is still quite cool – only + 20ºС. In the second half of May, when the sea warms up to + 22ºС, you can already swim.
In the summer, the high tourist season begins on the island of Crete, during the day the thermometer rises to + 30ºС, and in the southern regions it reaches + 40ºС. At this time, it is best to buy tickets to the northern regions of Crete, on the coast of the Aegean Sea.
Since June, absolutely all types of water activities and any types of beach vacations have been available to tourists, however, prices for accommodation and meals are increased by about a quarter.
July and August are a great time to get an even tan and soak up the beach, a great choice for a beach holiday in Crete. At this time, the water in the sea is warm – + 25ºС, there is practically no rain. In addition, in the second half of summer, many festivals and other cultural events are held. Prices for rest and meals are the highest in July and August.
In September, the velvet season begins in Crete, the number of tourists decreases, the air becomes several degrees cooler, and the water remains warm. The only nuance that can ruin a vacation on the island of Crete is possible storms. But during a storm, you can take part in the festival or go on a tour of the island.
In October and early November, the velvet season continues, there are fewer travelers, holiday prices on the island of Crete are reduced by a third. This is the best time for excursions. For recommendations of the best excursions and local guides in the region, see this page .
Crete Resorts – Description and Comparison
It is impossible to unequivocally answer the question – where is the best vacation in Crete. After all, the island is diverse and diverse – here you can comfortably sunbathe on the beach, see the sights preserved from different historical eras, visit cultural events. We offer an overview of the best places to stay in Crete.
The port city is located in the west of Crete. The resort is quite lively, but Russian is less common here than in other settlements of the island. This is due to two factors:
- prices for services are higher in comparison with other resorts of the island;
- get from the airport to Chania the longest;
- The most famous sights are located far from Chania.
Nevertheless, it is worth a visit to the resort town, because its ancient part is the most picturesque on the island, the Venetian harbor is included in the list of the most beautiful places in Greece.
Here, the Turkish heritage has been preserved, which is bizarrely mixed with Byzantine, Greek cultures. Of greatest interest are the remains of the ancient port, lighthouse and fortress. The Cathedral, ancient streets where you can visit numerous museums are well preserved. To the south of the resort, the water park “Limnopolis” was built. There are also many interesting places in the vicinity: Samarya Gorge – the largest in Europe, the Venetian fortress Frangkokastello, the ancient settlement of Aptera.
Important! An attraction for which tourists travel hundreds of kilometers and fly to Chania – beaches in the bay, as well as the lagoon of Balos.
The choice of accommodation in Chania is extensive and varied, you can choose a hotel room from 37 €. Also presented are budget accommodation options – camping, apartments.
Popular places: villages Kavros, Platanias, Georgioupolis. The famous beach is located near the village of Elafonissi, in the west of the island. The coast is notable for pink sand, there are few people here.
Interesting to know! In the north of the island sandy beaches prevail, on the opposite side – in the south – pebble.
All beaches offer different entertainment options – catamarans, diving, catamaran flights. If you are interested in where is the best vacation with children in Crete, pay attention to Chania. There is a gentle descent into the water, there are practically no waves. Playgrounds are provided. And for adults, nightly shows are held.
Important! Chania is a universal resort where everything has a leisurely, exciting vacation, relaxation on the beaches. Experienced travelers recommend taking a car and driving around Chania in order to see firsthand the villages of this region.
More information about holidays in Chania is presented on this page .
According to many tourists, Rethymnon is the best resort in Crete. First of all, due to its convenient location – Rethymno is much closer to the international airport than Chania. In addition, Rethymnon is conveniently located for sightseeing. From the resort town you can easily and quickly get to the springs of Agriroupoli, to the Balos lagoon, Lake Kurna. Another feature of Rethymno is a large selection of places for both a relaxing and noisy, fun holiday.
Interesting fact! The city of Rethymno itself is very beautiful and interesting in terms of rich historical heritage.
The Venetian fortress of Fortezza, on the territory of which were located: the bishop’s castle, storage rooms, barracks, the rector’s house, and the theater. The Archaeological Museum is located next to the fortress, there are exhibits covering the period in several eras – from the Early Minoan to the Roman. On Vernadu Street, there is the Rethymno Historical and Ethnographic Museum, where you can see national clothes, metal products and ceramics. What other attractions to see in the city, read here .
The price of accommodation in Rethymnon depends on how close the hotel or apartment is to the shore. As a rule, five-star hotels are built on the beaches, have their own, fenced off part of the coast. Room price starts from 65 €.
- In a hotel of category 3 and 4 stars, the price for a room is from 55 € and 80 €, respectively.
- Budget hotels and apartments are located on the third line – 25 €. The road to the beach takes 20 to 30 minutes on foot.
- Young people are happy to stay in hostels, this is an inexpensive accommodation, often guests are provided with only a place to sleep. Accommodation will cost from 10 €.
The main resorts:
Bali is perhaps the most picturesque place in Crete. The resort is notable for sheer cliffs, grottoes, from here you can admire the beach and the sea. In clear water, you can easily see marine life. In this part of the island, wonderful fishing, with children you can go on a sightseeing tourist boat.
Good to know! There are many souvenir shops, shops and taverns in the traditional Greek style in Bali.
Panormo is a pretty picturesque corner, located on a cliff, stands out for its picturesque views of the beach and the sea. Panormo has sandy, comfortable beaches and taverns selling fresh catch.
Platanias is only 5 km from Rethymnon, the resort is great for a relaxing family holiday with children or in solitude. There are also many fish shops and taverns.
Important! If the purpose of your trip is to relax, spend your vacation in peace and quiet, choose accommodation not in Rethymnon itself, but in the suburbs. But for those wishing to attend parties it is best to choose a hotel in Rethymnon.
More details about beach holidays in Rethymnon are presented in this article .
The resort is great for youth recreation and fun. Some tourists even call Malia Greek Ibiza. Here you can find everything you need for a full, diverse vacation. The resort is located 35 km from Heraklion. The city is divided into two parts:
- old – located away from the coast, here you can enjoy a calm and measured rest, take a walk on the old streets, admire the Greek houses with tiled roofs;
- the new one is filled with life, nightlife is raging here, bars, discos, restaurants work.
Important! When choosing a hotel, consider its location, it depends on whether it will be noisy under the windows at night or quietly.
You can get from Heraklion to Malia by public transport, as there is a bus service between the settlements. This is the budget way to travel. For those who fly to Heraklion at night or travel in company, the best solution is to order a transfer or take a taxi.
The resort is focused on tourists, so the infrastructure is well developed here, this also applies to the choice of housing. Directly in Malia and the surrounding area of the village, you can choose apartments for every taste and budget.
- Double room in a 3 *** hotel will cost from 60 €.
- A similar room in a 4 **** hotel costs from 100 €
- For a room in an elite five-star hotel you have to pay from 190 €.
The beach season in Malia starts in mid-April and lasts until October. Holiday villages:
They are connected by a 4 km long beach strip. The shore is wide, sandy. This territory on the island of Crete is awarded for the cleanliness and grooming of the Blue Flag.
Important! There is a bus service between the settlements, flights depart every 15-30 minutes.
On the beach of Stalida there are sun loungers, umbrellas, the price of a set of two sunbeds and one umbrella will cost 5 €. Changing cabins are installed, for outdoor activities there is a volleyball court. There are cafes, bars, lifeguards on duty on the tower. In the center of water sports provide equipment for riding on catamarans, bananas.
Potamos Beach is located next to the ruins of an ancient palace, a few kilometers from the port of Malia. The coast is covered with large yellow sand, it is always calm here. There are changing cabins, sun loungers and umbrellas can be rented. Several bars work.
If you are bored of lying on the beach, and the noise of discos will cause irritation, visit the archaeological site. In this part of the island, the ruins of the ancient Malian palace of the Minoan period were discovered. Elements of utensils, utensils have been preserved here.
Important! Malia is not a very good option for families with children, but otherwise it is a great Greek resort for lovers of discos, beaches and fun.
More information on beaches, attractions and entertainment is available here .
The resort village is located 25 km from Heraklion, previously there was a fairly large, prosperous city of the Byzantine Empire. The remains of structures, buildings, a port and mosaics have been preserved here, confirming imperial glory and power. The resort runs bus routes connecting Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos, so it’s not difficult to get from the capital to a vacation spot.
Good to know! Hersonissos has many budget hotels, this is a great place for young people – there are many bars, discos, nightclubs. By the way, admission to entertainment is free.
Despite the fact that the village is quite small, housing is presented for every taste and budget. Tourists prefer to settle in the central area of Limenas Hersonisu. The hotel offers sea views. Hotels in Anissaras are suitable for a quiet, relaxing family stay with children.
- rooms in the central areas of Hersonissos cost from 70 € per day;
- on the third line from the sea you will have to pay from 55 € for one night;
- The price of accommodation in apartment hotels from 45 € per day.
Naturally, prices vary depending on the season, distance from the sea, amenities in the room and other factors.
In the list of the best places in Crete for a beach holiday, Hersonissos is not represented:
- pebble entrance to water;
- descent into the sea is not always gentle;
- there are often waves, the water becomes cloudy due to strong winds;
- the coastline is narrow and in the high season does not accommodate everyone who wants to soak up the sun.
Important! The beach is located next to the water park, so it is always crowded and noisy.
Near the village there are beautiful beaches with less crowded, comfortable beaches:
- Stalis (2 km);
- Malia (8 km).
More detailed information about the resort is presented on this page .
An elite resort village located in the Lassithi region. In everything here one can feel the status of tourists who can afford to rent a helicopter to fly to the resort with the maximum resort. The price of hotel rooms reaches several thousand dollars per night.
Another difference of the resort of Crete – the village is located in a bay, which is protected from the wind in the east and west, therefore there are never waves, wind, and there are more sunny days than in other settlements of Crete.
Interesting fact! Mirabello Bay is considered one of the most picturesque on the island.
If you plan to get to Elounda by bus, you will have to change trains. Public transport runs from Heraklion to Agios Nikolaos, and from there it is best to take a taxi (10 km).
Near the village there are two water parks, rides on the shore, you can play mini-golf, ride horses.
Given the status of the resort, here are the best hotels on the whole island of Crete. The most expensive are located on the waterfront, more budget housing can be found if you move away from the coastline. There are hotels focused on expensive, luxury holidays, enough hotels for family accommodation and there is also accommodation for a romantic trip.
- The price of accommodation in a budget hotel from 35 €.
- A room in a 3 *** hotel costs from 55 €.
- The price of similar rooms in a 4 **** hotel will fall from 70 €.
- In a five-star hotel, accommodation starts from 150 €.
The area surrounding the village is famous for its sandy shore. There are three beaches for tourists:
- near the pier (local residents do not recommend swimming here due to the proximity to the port);
- not far from the marina there is another beach marked with the Blue Flag, but here the coast is often crowded;
- 5 km from the resort there is another place – Plaka, but the coast here is pebble.
All beaches have developed infrastructure, there are sun loungers, umbrellas, toilets, attractions, bars, taverns.
Be sure to visit the island of Spinalonga . Tourist boats depart regularly from Plaka Beach. Historical and archaeological sites have been preserved here. In addition, sightseeing tours go to neighboring villages, on the Lassithi Plateau, in the cave of Zeus.
If you are interested in a holiday in Elounda, check out this article . It provides more information and photos of the resort.
Locals call Agios Nikolaos the local Saint-Tropez. Here, it’s calm here, life is measured and unhurried. But in the evening and at night everything changes dramatically – cafes, bars, restaurants, night clubs and discos flash out with bright lights.
Interesting to know! Initially, the city was built as a place of protection against the Turks.
Getting from Heraklion is very simple – best by car, also by bus or ferry. There is also a ferry service between Agios Nikolaos and Perea.
There are no problems with choosing a place to live in Agios Nikolaos, it is one of the most tourist destinations in Crete. Here you can choose housing of any class. Modern hotels are located on the coast, while older ones are located on Elefteria Square.
- The cost of living in a 3 *** hotel is from 65 €.
- The cost of a night in a 4 *** hotel is from 70 €.
- The price for a hotel room is 5 ***** – from 170 €.
In this part of Crete, the sea pleases with transparency and a light, refreshing breeze. Yachts are moored in picturesque bays, on the shore tourists play volleyball.
Almost all the beaches of the resort are surrounded by hotels; therefore, mini-golf, basketball, and tennis courts are equipped nearby. There are bars and cafes where cocktails are presented in abundance.
Good to know! The coastline is wide, there are enough sun loungers and umbrellas, so you can relax.
Some beaches have tall trees, reeds, families with children come here.
- Take a walk in the pedestrian streets.
- Visit the sunday market.
- Go diving.
- Visit Lake Vulizmeni and take a walk along the promenade, from where boats and yachts leave for Spinalong Island.
- Visit the Archaeological Museum.
Prices on the page are at the beginning of the high season of 2019.
Crete – which resort to choose
As you can see, the holidays in Crete are diverse, the resorts have advantages and disadvantages, therefore, which one is better to choose for travel depends on you. Have a nice rest!