You’ve heard all about Santorini, Mykonos, Ios and the like… But Crete is definitely a serious contender when it comes to choosing a Greek island getaway. Famous for its unparalleled beauty, rich history and contrasting landscapes, Crete is a firm favourite amongst tourists from all corners of the globe.
The largest of the Greek Islands, Crete is divided roughly into four prefectures – Heraklion, Chania, Rethymno and Lasithi. The capital Heraklion boasts a mix of civilisations, from the Minoan ruins of Knossos to the Venetian harbour and fort. Chania has more Turkish influences with mosques and hammams in the city, while Rethymno features a picturesque Old Town. Agios Nikolaos in the Lasithi region is a popular resort with its expansive bay views and cosmopolitan population.
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Top Resorts and Hotels
If you’re looking for an authentic experience, the St Nicolas Bay Hotel in Agios Nikolaos is one-of-a-kind. Styled in the traditional Greek design, this elegant resort leads down to its own private grounds and Blue Flag beach. For a more remote stay, the Sirios Village Hotel & Bungalows are 4km away from the ancient city of Chania, allowing you to relax, explore and see the sights at your own leisure. Party-goers should head to Malia to make the most of the legendary Greek nightlife and club scene. The adults-only Emerald Apartments are a great base – it has its own onsite pool and bar area, while the main nightlife strip is a mere 400m away.
Attractions & Things To Do
You can’t go far in Crete without stumbling upon ruins from lost civilisations. The remains of the Palace of Knossos are a must-see in Heraklion. However, there are many other hidden hotspots – look out for brown road signs pointing off the tourist track. While the beaches are no doubt beautiful, the 3,000 strong Cretan caves are equally mind-blowing. The Sfendoni Cave in Zoniana has an impressive collection of stalagmites and stalactites across the 14 underground ‘rooms’. For the active holidaymaker, hiking across the Samaria Gorge is worth the 18km journey. It can take up to seven hours but the scenery is some of the best in Europe. Start up high in the White Mountains and then make your way down to the Libyan Sea. If you’re not much of a walker, you can explore the lush landscape of Stalis on horseback if you’re brave enough!
Annual Temperature & Rainfall
Crete enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate with dry, hot summers and mild winters. The mountain areas are noticeably cooler, often with rain in winter. July and August are the hottest months with an average temperature of 28 degrees.
Want to find out even more about this wonderful island? Take a look at our full Crete destination guide.