Crete Holidays 2019
Crete is the largest and most southerly Greek Islands, which means sun, sea and sand on a bigger scale. Crete experiences a typical Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and cooler winters.
Brimming with majestic mountains, gorges to hike, plains to see and curving coastline to drive – there’s a plethora of things to do in Crete. That’s without mentioning over 5,000 years of history, culture, and delicious mezzes on hand that make a holiday in Crete unique.
Whether you’re looking for a cheap holiday or an all inclusive retreat, Crete has a number of top resorts. Visit Aghios Nikolaos, which lies east of Heraklion or popular Gouves. Or why not try Rethymnon? Located between Heraklion and Chania, it offers a mega 12km of beach, a beautiful old town and lots of history.
Most popular hotels in Crete
Radisson Blu Beach Resort Crete
Mitsis Laguna Resort
Creta Maris Beach Resort
Aqua Sun Village
Sentido Vasia Resort & SPA - All Inclusive
Daios Cove Luxury Resort and Villas
Aghios Nikolaos, Crete
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 3h 55m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
Things to do in Crete
Holidays in Crete allow you to marvel at the rich history the island has to offer. Enjoy the wealth of cultural and historical sites or go for a drive through one of the coastal Greek Island towns. Whether it’s Gouves with its bustling Kato Gouves beach; Stalis which is located between Malia and Herssonissos, Elounda with two Blue Flag beaches or Aghia Pelagia, there’ll be something to interest you.
Things to do in Rethymnon:
- Rimondi Fountain – Built in 1626, this Venetian fountain is complete with Corinthian details and intricacies.
- Fortezza of Rethymnon – Yet another Venetian inspired structure, this 16th-century fortress offers views from above, overlooking Rethymnon’s town and port.
- Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete – Housed in a Venetian building, this museum boasts artwork by Lefteris Kanakakis as well as other popular Greek artists.
Things to do in Chania:
- Old Venetian Harbour – This lively harbour is known for its pleasant views and delicious cafes and restaurants.
- Archaeological Museum of Chania – If you’re interested in historical artefacts, this is the place for you! Discover a range of Minoan and Roman treasures in this museum.
- Firka Fortress – This Venetian fortress houses a nautical museum and it also offers up stunning surrounding views of the nearby harbour.
Things to do in Hersonissos:
- Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Centre – Expect shows and exhibits from the popular marine life in the area, as well as activities with a range of reptiles including snakes.
- Labyrinth Park – The perfect spot for families, this park has everything from mini-golf to horseback riding.
- Dinosauria Park – All things dinosaur related can be found here! From huge dinosaur models to historical fossils and informative films.
Crete family holidays
For families, the Acqua Park Plus in Hersonissos is full of flumes, chutes and pools for all the family to enjoy. Considered Crete’s best waterpark, the popular spot and has a huge choice slides and water features to choose from. The water park ensures a full day of fun for children and adults alike. Booking yourself into a lovely hotel in Hersonissos is a good place to start.
With the immense amount of beaches to choose from, there's no shortage of daytrips across Crete. We recommend checking out the Chania area on the west coast, which has lots of Blue Flag beaches to discover. Other popular beach spots to check out include Gouves, which is quiet and ideal for families; a brand new contender, Elounda, offers 2 Blue Flag beaches and a charming town, and Stalis, which has gradual slopes into the sea and soft, sandy beaches.
Top family hotels in Crete:
Crete history and culture
The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is home to some of ancient Greece’s oldest artefacts. With fascinating items on offer from the Minoan civilisation, including art, sculptures, pottery and mural designs, there’s plenty to marvel at. These artefacts date back to the time of the mythical King Minos, who stories say was the ruler of the island and son of Zeus and Europa. The Knossos Palace ruins are another must-see for those who enjoy ancient culture and are evidence of Greece’s historic civilisation, which existed around the same time as the Ancient Egyptians. Discovered in the early 1900s, the Knossos Palace ruins are impressive and give a modern-day insight into the Minoan civilisation and its rich history.
Heraklion is full of winding cobblestone streets that will keep shoppers occupied for days, while Sitia, a quieter option, is worth the drive for its sandy stretch of beach that lasts for kilometres and its archaeological sites situated in the surrounding hills.
The range of things to do in Crete during the evenings is vast. Various resorts in Crete have become a stomping ground for those who want to party and let their hair down.
Malia - Widely considered one of Europe’s biggest party destinations, Malia regularly draws in party-loving tourists from Europe and the rest of the globe. The Candy Club is one of Malia’s most famous hotspots and is renowned for its sound system and light shows.
For cocktails, Babylon is the place to go, with extensive carefully crafted cocktails and some of the best DJs Crete has to offer, this is a popular choice for those hitting Malia. For dance music lovers, Factory Night Club plays a mixture of house music, old-school and retro classics.
Hersonissos - For those who want to chill out and enjoy a little piece of home, the White Lion Pub in Hersonissos sells traditional English ales and offers a more chilled vibe.
For something more laidback, like a casual drink overlooking a beautiful bay, top resorts include Aghios Nikolaos, Rethymnon and Chania.
Crete beach holidays
Crete is home to some of the loveliest beaches in the Mediterranean. Renowned for its crystal-clear waters and fine golden sands.
- Elafonisi Beach – The sea at Elafonisi Beach is the brightest shade of blue that you can imagine. Plus, with a beautiful surrounding landscape, Elafonisi is one of the best beaches in Crete.
- Falassarna Beach – This large beach has everything you need for a day of fun in the sun! Aside from turquoise waters, perfect for swimming. You can expect watersports and sun loungers too.
- Balos Beach – This lagoon is best-known for its fantastic views of the surrounding cliffs and the nearby Venetian fortress. It is often considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece.
- Matala Beach – A picturesque beach set between chalky cliffs and dramatic rocks. It’s the perfect setting to watch the sun go down too!
- Stalis Beach - Stalis is a quiet, beautiful resort which boasts a charming Blue Flag beach. The beach at Stalis is one of the most popular beaches on Crete, so get there early!
Crete for couples
The range of things to do in Crete makes it a fantastic choice for adventurous couples who want an adrenalin-packed holiday to remember. There are many adventure excursions available for thrill-seeking couples, while the scenic White Mountains are a popular destination for those who want to experience the great Greek outdoors.
Romantic hotels can be found in one of the quieter resort areas, perhaps it's worth checking out the charming Elounda? Another good place to start looking would be the Chania area, around Aghios Nikolaos or the quiet Agia Pelagia. The city of Chania and its harbour look magical in the evening light, and the lighthouse at sunset provides a romantic feeling that couples won’t shake. Aghios Nikolaos sits snugly next to a romantic lake where you can enjoy meals and drinks, then hit the town in the evening. Agia Pelagia is ideal for a couple looking for romantic seclusion.
Top couples hotels in Crete:
When it comes to food and drink you will be spoilt for choice in Crete. Try some Greek meatballs at one of Rethymnon's top restaurants. Or, if you want to taste the very best in Greek seafood, you can sample some squid in Heraklion.
Top restaurants in Crete:
- Ferryman Taverna – Greece is known for traditional tavernas and the Ferryman is a lovely example, set on the Elounda waterfront. With gourmet meals and a peaceful setting, you can’t go wrong.
- Taverna Dionyssos – Located in the small village of Myrthios, this taverna is surrounded by olive trees for a rustic feel. Fresh local food and local Cretan dishes are its specialities.
- Zeen – In Agii Apostoli, Zeen serves up Mediterranean dishes and stunning views overlooking the coast.
- Elia – Based in Sissi, Elia offers top-class food with an atmosphere to match! From steaks to fresh fish, there is plenty to be enjoyed here.
- Nostimo – Soak up the traditional and tranquil atmosphere at Nostimo and enjoy the tasty food too.
People also ask
How long is the flight?
The average flight time from the UK to Crete is 3 hours 50 minutes.
How long is the ferry from Crete to Santorini?
The ferry averages 2 hours 30 minutes.
What is the best time to go to Crete?
The best time to visit Crete is during the spring as the weather is mild and pleasant.