Crete


Overview

For a long time now, Crete has been my favourite Greek destination. I first visited with my parents and grandparents over 20 years ago. As a teenager, I was too young to really appreciate what made one Greek island any different from another, but I thoroughly enjoyed the two weeks we spent in Makry-Gialos. As a family, we enjoyed it so much that we went back again the following year. That time my best friend came along and we had a blast.

In the two decades since my first visit, I’ve been to Elounda, Malia (twice), Kokkini Hani, Kato Gouves, Analipsi and Hersonissos. As you can see, I’ve only really explored the eastern side of the island (something I plan to rectify soon), but even so, there’s been so much to see and do that no two visits have felt the same.

What I like most about Crete, aside from the sheer variety of things to do, is the weather, and the fact that the road network is probably the best of any Greek island. On one of my visits, I drove all the way across the island, from Malia to Kissamos, and back in a single day.

Getting There

One thing that makes Crete unique as a Greek island is that it has two international airports: one just east of Heraklion, the other just north-east of Chania. These effectively split the island into two halves: east and west. If you are planning to stay anywhere east of Rethymno, Heraklion is the more convenient airport. Rethymno itself is slightly closer to Chania airport, but either one will do (roughly a 1-hour transfer by car). If you plan to visit one of the resorts further west, such as Georgioupoli, Palaiochora, Kissamos, or Chania itself, then Chania airport is the one to choose.

You can also reach Crete by ferry, with regular services from Piraeus to both Chania and Heraklion. There is also a daily service between Heraklion and Santorini (Thera), should you plan on visiting multiple islands during your stay.

Where to Stay

There are many popular tourist destinations on Crete, these are some of the more popular:

Agios Nikolaos

Located on an east-facing coastline roughly an hour’s drive from Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos is one of the largest towns on the island. It’s a popular tourist destination with a large selection of bars and restaurants, and plenty of hotels both large and small. It lacks a decent beach, but there are plenty nearby to choose from providing you have transportation.

Elounda

Just north of Agios Nikolaos lies Elounda. It is a much smaller resort, but still popular with tourists in the summer season. There are several luxury hotels dotted around the nearby hillsides, while the town itself has a decent beach and good selection of bars and restaurants.

Its proximity to Spinalonga makes it a good destination if you plan to visit the island or any of the villages along the northern coastline.

Malia

Don’t be too put off by its reputation as a party resort for the younger generation. While the main strip is laden with bars and clubs, there are quieter spots and plenty of beach space for everyone. The old town, further back from the coastline, is very pretty and worth a visit.

Highlights

With unique locations such as Spinalonga, plus water parks, caves, and numerous great beaches, Crete has something for everyone.

Hotel Reviews

Cretan Malia Park, Malia, Crete

Posted in Hotel Reviews

Review Rating: 4/5 Date of Visit: July 2016 I booked a week here through Thomson Holidays who advertise Cretan Malia Park as being a 4-star plus hotel. Coupled with some…

Manos Apartments, Elounda, Crete

Posted in Hotel Reviews

Review Rating: 3/5 Date of Visit: September 2016 I spent a week at Manos Apartments back in September 2016, having visited Crete a few times before but never to this…

Sentido Vasia Resort & Spa, Sissi, Crete

Posted in Hotel Reviews

Review Rating: 4/5 Date of visit: September 2019 I chose to spend 8 nights at Sentido Vasia early September, travelling solo for a bit of quiet relaxation. All-inclusive hotels aren’t…

Ourania Apartments, Kato Gouves, Crete

Posted in Hotel Reviews

Review rating: 4/5 Date of visit: May/June 2018 Just returned from a lovely week in Crete at Ourania Apartments. This was my 9th time on the island, but first time…

Royal Heights Resort, Malia, Crete

Posted in Hotel Reviews

It’s Malia, but not as you know it When you hear the word “Malia”, premium relaxing hotels probably aren’t what first spring to mind. Yet the Royal Heights Resort Malia…


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