Crete is a mammoth Greek island that’s home to a variety of unique destinations and experiences. Choosing the right place to stay in Crete can be tricky, especially for first-time visitors.
Discover the best places to stay in Crete – from luxurious hotels to gorgeous beaches and age-old ruins.
Easily the prettiest city on Crete, Chania (or Hania, as it is also known) enchants with its picture-perfect Venetian harbor crisscrossed by narrow lanes and culminating in a magnificent old town. It’s also home to the island’s best museums, including the Archaeology, Maritime, Byzantine and Folk Art Museums.
It’s the perfect spot for a romantic and quiet stay in Crete. You can stroll through its narrow streets and discover a wealth of ancient treasures, or spend your days soaking up the sun at one of its many lovely beaches.
There are a number of luxury hotels in Chania, but the top choice is probably Castello Boutique Resort & Spa. It’s a small and prestigious hotel with a unique atmosphere that will make your stay in Chania truly special. This luxury hotel has only 11 rooms, so it’s very intimate and cosy, with a lot of attention to detail.
The Patriarchal Monastery of Chrysopigi, located on the outskirts of Chania, is another must-see attraction. The monastery is dedicated to the miraculous icon of Panagia Zoodochopigi, and thousands of pilgrims visit it every year. The monastery was built during the last period of the Venetian Period, at the end of the 16th century.
For families, the resort town of Hersonissos is one of the best places to stay in Crete. It’s easy to get to from Heraklion, and it offers a wide range of hotels, from large luxury resorts to affordable traditional villas. It’s also a good place to find family-friendly restaurants that serve Greek cuisine.
If you prefer to have a bit more independence, then the village of Palaiochora is worth considering. Located in the far southwest of the island, it’s perched on a peninsula and surrounded by two beaches. It’s a peaceful and highly livable spot with great-value tavernas.
Hora Sfakion, a southern coastal village that never sold itself as a holiday destination, is the antithesis of the gleaming beach resorts on the northern side of the island. Its residents were sheepherders or rustlers, and they loved their local raki spirit. They were independent-minded and took part in numerous rebellions.
Rethymno’s evocative old town is one of the best places to stay in Crete. The old walls and streets wind past orthodox churches, mosques, and majestic Venetian mansions. Outside the city walls, dramatic gorges, monastery excursions, south coast Libyan sea beaches, and escapes to time-trodden villages will keep you busy and satisfied.
This is the heart of the Cretan culture, and the town itself is a joy to explore. You can easily find a peaceful corner to relax in, a cafe or restaurant with delicious food to enjoy, and the main square is a hive of activity at night. This is a great place for families, for couples looking to spend some quality time together or for travellers who want to get a sense of real Greece away from the resorts.
It’s a bit off the beaten path but worth visiting if you have some extra time. This town in the east of Crete has a small airport and ferries to Heraklion. The town has a beautiful harbour and some incredibly lovely little restaurants. It’s very easy to find a quiet place to enjoy your holiday here, or you can be very involved with the local community and participate in the annual summer festivals that take over the town.
If you’re planning on exploring some of the eastern side of Crete, I would recommend staying in the tiny town of Elounda. It’s a great place for luxury family hotels and some really excellent local cafes, with a relaxed and quiet vibe. It’s also a good base for exploring the nearby UNESCO protected site of Spinalonga, which was once a Venetian fortress and later a leper colony.
Another great option for a family holiday is Hersonissos. It’s a very convenient base for exploring all the east of Crete has to offer and is just a short drive from Heraklion. It’s a very safe town with plenty of good local tavernas and a few larger hotels. The locals are very friendly and they know how to make a holiday enjoyable for the whole family.
Crete’s largest capital city is a busy and chaotic place that can be a little overwhelming. It is not one of the best places to stay in Crete for people who prefer quieter locations, but it does offer some great hotels and is close to lots of attractions. There are also plenty of beaches to choose from and a few good restaurants. The best hotels in Heraklion are located around the old town and many are within walking distance of the ferry terminal and other points of interest.
Heraklion can seem traffic-choked, polluted and crowded with chain-smokers at times. If you are sensitive to smoke, it may not be the best place for you. There are several options for accommodation in Heraklion including budget hostels, a few mid-range hotels and a large number of luxury resorts and villas.
The best hotel in Heraklion is the luxurious GDM Megaron near the harbor and Koules Fortress. It is a great hotel for couples or families and offers excellent service and amenities. It is also close to some of the best restaurants in Heraklion and the airport.
Other than the Megaron, some of the other top hotels in Heraklion include the ANA Studios and the Cretan Village Hotel. These are good choices for couples or families looking for a quiet location with great pools. They are not as centrally located as some of the other best hotels in Heraklion, but they still have excellent amenities and a good value for the money.
Another option for a family-friendly hotel in Heraklion is the Four Seasons, which has excellent reviews and is a great option for a family vacation. The hotel has an excellent spa and is close to several beaches. The Four Seasons is also a good choice for couples who want a romantic hotel in Heraklion.
There are a few good beaches to choose from near Heraklion, but the most popular is Hersonissos. It is a huge tourist resort with a long beach and a waterfront full of tourists shops and bars. It can be noisy and crowded, but the beach is beautiful. There are a few independent accommodations in Hersonissos, but most people visit on holiday packages.
A beautiful, peaceful village tucked into the hills on the eastern coast of Crete, Sissi is one of the most relaxing spots to stay in all of Greece. A short drive from Chania, the village is surrounded by olive groves and vineyards that produce some of the best oil and wine in the country. In addition to its picturesque scenery, the village is also home to several traditional restaurants.
Sissi is known for its fresh seafood and excellent wines, making it the ideal place to enjoy a romantic dinner with your partner. The village is also a great base for exploring the island. The Samaria Gorge and Elafonisi Beach are both easily accessible from the village.
The eastern coast of Crete is a little less touristy than the western part of the island. The region is dotted with quaint fishing villages and lively beach resorts. The town of Hersonissos is a popular choice for families. The resort offers a wide variety of accommodations, including luxury hotels and family-friendly villas. In addition, the beaches are great for swimming and snorkeling.
Another option for a family-friendly holiday is Heraklion, which is a bustling city with plenty of shops and restaurants. Its historic center is a treasure trove of Venetian and Ottoman architecture, making it the perfect place for history buffs. It is also home to many great restaurants, such as the famous Milos Restaurant.
Heraklion is also a good choice for those who want to experience the real side of Crete. There are many great hotels in the area, and many of them offer all-inclusive options. In addition, Heraklion is home to some of the best beaches in Greece. The beach is long and clean, and the sea is calm and clear.
Chania is a beautiful town in the west of Crete with a gorgeous harbor lined with sea-facing tavernas. Its old town is a warren of pedestrian-only backstreets paved with pretty sandstone setts. The town’s storied past spans several empires, which is on full display at the archaeology, maritime, and Byzantine museums. A 6th-century Byzantine wall encloses the Old Town, and a 16th-century Venetian fortress guards the harbor.