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Holidays in Crete

Crete has much more besides beaches. For a start, 4,000 years of civilisation have left a legacy of world-class archaeological sites. There's a vast array of interesting day and nights out, whether by hire car or on one of the organised excursions. Experience the hospitality and tradition of the locals, who’ll always give you tips on the best beaches and picturesque villages to head to.


11-26 °C

Crete enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild winters.

4 hours

The primary airport, Heraklion Airport (HER) (also known as “Nikos Kazantzakis”), is located just outside the island’s capital. You can also fly to Loannis Daskalogiannis airport (CHQ), situated just 14km from the southern city of Chania.

Indulge in moon-white beaches, pristine waters and Greek mythology by booking your Thomas Cook holiday to Crete.

Recommended offers in Crete

Alexandros Hotel

7 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
Hotel highlights
  • Friendly, family-run hotel
  • Traditional fishing harbour to explore
  • 200m away from restaurants and bars

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Based on 463 reviews

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Based on 2 reviews

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Sarpidon Apartments

7 Nights, Self Catering
Hotel highlights
  • 500m from resort centre
  • Sun terrace with mountain views
  • Swimming pool and poolside snack bar

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 205 reviews

Thomas Cook Customer Rating
Based on 5 reviews

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Frida Apartments

7 Nights, Self Catering
Hotel highlights
  • Suitable for both adults and families
  • 100m to Koutouloufari village centre
  • Relaxing and friendly complex

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 171 reviews

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Artemis Apartments

7 Nights, Self Catering
Hotel highlights
  • Peaceful location
  • Ideal for families and couples
  • 1km away from the resort centre

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 172 reviews

Thomas Cook Customer Rating
Based on 2 reviews

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Sergiani Studios & Apartments

7 Nights, Self Catering
Hotel highlights
  • Welcoming atmosphere
  • Great base to explore the local area
  • 200m from the sandy beach

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 128 reviews

Thomas Cook Customer Rating
Based on 7 reviews

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Dionysos Studios & Apartments

7 Nights, Self Catering
Hotel highlights
  • In a great location close to the beach
  • Traditional Greek-style
  • Swimming pool located at Dionysos I

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 292 reviews

Thomas Cook Customer Rating
Based on 14 reviews

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Elounda is a cosmopolitan, beachfront resort located on the east coast. Head here for some celeb-spotting and seaside exploration: its countless hidden coves and underwater city of Olous are the best place to start from. Also located in the east, you’ll find the small village of Sissi. Enjoy serene, romantic walks next to its harbour and indulge in its fish tavernas. Not far from Sissi is fun-packed Malia. Join top music names on its Strip by night followed by maxing out your adrenaline levels by the beach. From jet-skis and giant-trampolines to go-karting and seafront parties, Malia keeps the fun going past sunrise.

Discover some of the oldest and most impressively preserved remains of Greece’s ancient world, with a visit to the Palace of Faistos. For a taste of Crete’s “hippie history” stroll around the cave homes carved into Matala Beach’s towering rocks before dipping underwater for a fantastic Roman-era treasure hunt. Take a break from your journey into Crete’s rich history with some sun-soaking on its exotic beaches. And when you get hungry, join the friendly locals in the seaside tavernas: they’ll always welcome you with a glass (or two) of ice-cold raki.

South-west of Crete’s capital town, you’ll find the gigantic man-made caves sheltering Matala Beach’s golden sands. Inhabited by “flower children” from all over the world in the 60s and 70s and dating back to the Roman times, these aren’t the only archaeological treasure you’ll discover here. Put on your snorkels and explore the fantastic Roman-era remains found underwater too! Head north-east from here for a visit to Crete’s best place for mythology-lovers: the Palace of Knossos - or the palace of the Minotaur, according to Greek mythology. Stroll around the remains of royal underground rooms, intricate pillars and colourful wall paintings, taking you back to 1400 BC.

Head to the southern tip and soak up the sun on Elafonisi Beach’s pink sands. Drenched by the Libyan Sea’s warm, shallow waters, its soft beach got its peculiar colour from thousands of years of corals crumbling naturally into sand-like grains. Known as the “Greek Caribbean”, the transparent waters here are definitely worth the sunny drive up and downhill. If you find yourself on the northern tip, don’t miss out on visiting Crete’s number one attraction: Vai’s Blue Flag beach. Shaded by Europe’s largest natural palm-tree forest, its golden sands offer another exotic beach spot, complete with windsurfing and group scuba diving.

Crete is known for using fresh, local produce in their delicious island delicacies: Pure olive oil, sweet-vine tomatoes and a hint of garlic make up the base for most of these. Cretan Plaki, freshly caught fish baked with tomatoes and a lemony parsley sauce is a classic speciality. Shrimp saganaki (hot shrimps baked in cheese) is best enjoyed with a glass of the grappa-like Cretan raki. Try the traditional crunchy filo parcels - tyropites - bursting with chunks of feta cheese and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Or, the Sfakianopita, a crepe-like, pan-fried pie filled with creamy Myzithra cheese and served with a spoonful of pure Cretan thyme honey.


Scenery lovers: Spinalonga - cruise to this famous island and discover the village ruins before sailing away to enjoy a sumptuous barbecue.

Adventurers: Land Rover Safari off-road adventure - pass by rugged mountains, historical sites and remote villages.

History fans: Travel back into the Bronze Age at the ancient palace of Knossos.


Language: The language spoken in Crete is Greek.

Currency: The currency used in Crete is Euro (€).

Local time: Crete is 2 hours ahead of GMT/UK time.

Fly to: The primary airport, Heraklion Airport (HER) (also known as “Nikos Kazantzakis”), is located just outside the island’s capital. You can also fly to Ioannis Daskalogiannis airport (CHQ), situated just 14km from the southern city of Chania.

Flight time from UK: 4 hours

Tourist Information: Further Crete tourist information can be found at

Visa & Health: Before you travel, visit for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to Crete.


Temperatures: 11-26 (°C)

The weather in Crete varies from region to region. Its coastal resorts enjoy scorching summer temperatures of up to 40 (°C), while central areas experience more comfortable weather in the mid-high 20s. The mild spring and autumn seasons are a great times to visit if you want to explore the ruins or experience the natural landscape at its most beautiful, while winters vary from cool highs of 17 in the coastal regions to snowy conditions in the mountainous areas. 


By hire car: Being the largest out of all the Greek islands, the best way to get across the vast distances in Crete is by hire car.

By bus:Crete’s local bus services are efficient and run throughout the day to and from the capital and biggest cities to all the resorts, beaches and archaeological sites.

By boat - Why not hop on a boat tour from Chania to the unspoiled islet of Gramvousa and the luminous waters of Balos lagoon?


Bands on the beach: Matala Beach Festival (end of June) is one summer event not be missed. With famous bands performing underneath Matala’s old hippie caves, thousands of visitors arrive here every year to revive the spirit of the flower children.

Folklore: For a taste of traditional Cretan live music, head to Rethymno, Crete’s summer hub for music and folklore tradition.

Why choose Thomas Cook

With hotels available to suit every person and every budget look no further than Thomas Cook for your getaway this year!

  • Thousands of hotels to choose from
  • Dedicated online customer service
  • Over 175 years of travel experience
  • Award winning travel company
  • Thousands of destinations worldwide
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