Crete it is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean and the most populous of all the Greek ones. Looking at the map you can easily realize its size and understand that choosing carefully the accommodation will be useful for you to spend a peaceful holiday.
In fact, due to the size of the island, moving from one part of Crete to another can mean wasting a lot of time for getting around: if you have chosen the right place to stay you will save a lot!
In this post I will list the best areas to stay in Crete, telling you why or not to choose one location over the other.
In this way, depending on your needs and the type of holiday you want to do, you will be ready to book the perfect accommodation!
Before starting with the advice on where to sleep in Crete, I want to remind you once again that this one it is a very large island and the best way to explore it is by renting a car to be free to move: also consider the idea of organizing a traveling holiday to enjoy the beauties of the island to the fullest and without haste.
Always in relation to the size of the island, remember that to visit it all you it will take a long time: if you have a few days of vacation, consider staying in Crete for at least 10 - 15 days.
- Parte Est o parte Ovest?
- 1 - Where to stay in Crete for the first time: Chania
- 2 - Where to stay near the most beautiful beaches: Kissamos
- 3 - Where to stay in Crete on a budget: Rethymnon
- 4 - Where to stay in Crete for nightlife: Heraklion
- 5 - Where to stay in Crete with children: Hersonissos
- 6 - Where to stay in Crete for couples: Malia
- 7 - Where to stay in Crete for the Honeymoon: Elounda
- 8 - Where to stay if you are looking for a quiet area: Agios Nikolaos
- 9 - Where to stay in East Crete: Sitia
- 10 - Where to stay in South Crete: Matala
Parte Est o parte Ovest?
Depending on the time you have available, you can choose whether to organize an itinerant holiday or whether to opt for a fixed base from which to move to discover Crete and its magnificent beaches.
In case you don't have enough days to explore the whole island, the main choice you will have to face will be deciding which area to dedicate yourself to.
The island, as I have already said, is very large and for convenience I want to divide it into two areas: the eastern side e the western one.
A East you will find the major attractions of Crete. For example a Heraklion, the capital, you can visit the famous Archaeological Museum and some of the most famous excavations of the island such as Knossos and Phaistos. Also in this area, but to the south of the island, it is located Low, one of the most characteristic villages of Crete once very famous among the hippies! The eastern part of Crete is served by theHeraklion airport.
La west areaInstead, it is the least touristy part of the island: here you will find authentic villages, dream beaches and breathtakingly beautiful nature.
If you are a lover of hiking, for example, you should not miss the possibility of a walk in Samaria, a real 16 km long canyon, for anything in the world. This area of Crete is served by theChania airport.
Now let's move on to the actual tips on where to sleep in Crete. Below I will list some places that you should consider for your stay.
1 - Where to stay in Crete for the first time: Chania
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Chania it is certainly the most famous place to sleep in Crete.
In its vicinity is the airport and it is the second largest city on the island.
Its center is one of the most characteristic and lively in Crete.
Among its streets you can still admire the footsteps of all the civilizations that have passed through here and that have inhabited it: a tangle of alleys overlooked by cafes and taverns, a tangle of glimpses of the small squares, on the ancient Byzantine walls, on the beautiful churches and on the famous Venetian harbor.
Chania is a city to live and to be fascinated by.
Among the many things to see in Chania I advise you not to miss a visit to the archaeological Museum, Maritime Museum, at the synagogue Etz Hayyim, Monastery of Agia Triada, to the mosque Yali Tzamisi, now an exhibition venue and al Tabakaria neighborhood.
Chania too, like Kissamos, not far from the beautiful beaches of Falasarna, Balos e Elafonissi. Other easily accessible beaches are Stavros e Marathi.
As you can imagine, Chania is not a very cheap place and in summer it is always very busy. My advice is to look for accommodation well in advance if you don't want to have to spend a shot.
The best hotels in Chania
Il Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa it is the best hotel in Chania old town.
It is housed in a 17th century Venetian palace and the 24 rooms / suites are perfectly restored and decorated with hand made furniture and white marble bathrooms.
The Ottoman Suite has an authentic marble hamam while the high-end Presidential Suite has a private rooftop terrace overlooking the harbor and the sea. It is within walking distance of the beach and the main port.
If you are looking for a boutique hotel, check out the Domus Renier Boutique Hotel - Historic Hotels Worldwide.
Junior suites have furnished balconies and outdoor whirlpools, while higher-end suites have painted ceilings, jetted bathtubs, and gorgeous views. The area is great, close to bars and restaurants.
Another luxury hotel in the Old Town of Chania is the Serenissima Boutique Hotel housed in a 16th century Venetian manor house with only 7 rooms / suites furnished with parquet floors, exposed stone and wood beam ceilings.
It has a large outdoor terrace overlooking the mountains, restaurant and wine bar.
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2 - Where to stay near the most beautiful beaches: Kissamos
By Lucian BOLCA /
One of the best places to stay in Crete is Kissamos, a fairly large town, but not too crowded.
Kissamos is located about 30 minutes from Chania, it is much cheaper of the latter, in the evening it offers a decent nightlife and is a perfect base for exploring the most beautiful areas of Crete.
For archeology lovers, a short distance from the center is the site of the ancient Polirrinia: you can reach it by car and a short walk. Once you arrive there, a wonderful panorama awaits you.
In the vicinity of Kissamos, then, there are some of the most beautiful beaches on the island: Falasarna, Balos, Elafonissi, but also Bad Mavros, perfect for children and Kolimbari Beach, 15 km away, where incredible crystal clear water awaits you.
Best Hotels in Kissamos
Il Christina Beach Hotel offers spacious accommodation with sea views, right on Kissamos seafront. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi, a swimming pool and a poolside bar. Simply furnished, the air-conditioned units come with satellite TV and a safety deposit box.
Each includes a kitchenette with fridge and kitchenware, and a furnished balcony with sea or pool views.
Il Bikakis Family Apartments is a family run budget hotel which houses an impressive gallery of the owner's paintings and where you can enjoy your holidays in both summer and winter. The hotel rooms and apartments are located just 250 meters from the beautiful beach of Telonio and are equipped with all comforts. All have a balcony with a view!
Third choice is the Nautilus Bay Hotel, a 3 star hotel with very high reviews, located in the heart of Kissamos on Plaka beach. The apartments are spacious and equipped with large windows overlooking the sea or the mountains. The hotel is within walking distance of clubs, bars and restaurants.
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3 - Where to stay in Crete on a budget: Rethymno
Di Georgios Tsichlis /
Rethymno is another of the most popular (and most expensive) places in Crete.
His Old Town and the large fortress that still watches over the city today tell the story of the long Venetian domination of the island. Today the castle can be visited and is the right place for a relaxing walk, perhaps at sunset.
In the alleys of the city, tourists get lost among souvenir shops and taverns that become more and more expensive as you get closer to the marina.
Do not miss Moschea Tis Nerantzes, an ancient church transformed into a Muslim place of worship following the Ottoman conquest of the island. Today the building is a concert hall.
The coast is full of large hotels and villages and the most beautiful beaches are a few kilometers away, therefore the advice is to rent a car.
The best hotels in Rethymno
Il Menta City Boutique Hotel it is a simple hotel, very clean and what I like is that the rooms are very bright! In addition it has a swimming pool, bar and breakfast area on the terrace. The rooms are soundproofed and have a balcony. A great deal!
Il Faros Rooms & Suites it is located only one kilometer from the city center, and is probably the best value for money accommodation in Rethymno. Comfortable and modern, this three-star hotel offers guests spacious rooms, free wifi and a rooftop terrace.
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4 - Where to stay in Crete for nightlife: Heraklion
By Mila Atkovska /
Heraklion is the capital of the island: a lively, crowded, Hellenic city in all respects. A bit decadent, busy and often messy.
Here you can find the most beautiful museums on the island, some of which I absolutely recommend not to miss. The archaeological Museum, for example, it houses one of the largest collections of Minoan art in Greece. Walking along the seafront, however, your gaze will certainly be captured by Castello a Mare, the Venetian fortress that stands on the port.
Just outside Heraklion, however, there are some of the most famous places in Crete: Festo, Agia Triada, Malia e Our, the ancient city famous for palace of Knossos and ... of the Minotaur!
Heraklion is also the perfect place for nightlife. For those looking for a simple evening I recommend the city center with Korai Street for trendy clubs or the Central Market for a quiet ouzo.
For party lovers, on the other hand, I suggest going about 30 km where they will meet Hersonissos e Malia, locations full of pubs, clubs and discos.
The capital is also a good base for exploring the beaches: in the city you don't go to the sea, but just a few kilometers to the east or west to come across the beautiful beaches of Gouves, Hersonissos, Lygaria e Agia Pelagia.
The best hotels in Heraklion
Overlooking the harbor, GDM Megaron, Historical Monument Hotel offers elegant rooms and suites. The breakfast buffet is free and the rooms have balconies with city / sea views. The city center, the bus station, the ferry port and the Archaeological and Historical Museum are within walking distance.
Located just above the ancient harbor overlooking the Koules fortress, the Lato Boutique Hotel offers modern rooms and suites with minibars, bathtubs (some) and higher-end ones have views and balconies. Good location within walking distance of the ferry port, bus station, city center and museums.
Il Veneziano Boutique Hotel it is located in a historic Venetian and Ottoman building. The rooms overlook the beautiful internal courtyard. One of my favorite choices!
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5 - Where to stay in Crete with children: Hersonissos
in krasky /
25 km east of Heraklion stands what is the liveliest destination of all Crete.
Hersonissos it is the perfect destination for young people and nightlife lovers: inside the pedestrian area, after sunset, clubs, pubs and discos come alive with life.
Hersonissos, however, is not just a party until late in the evening: fun is guaranteed during the day too. In addition to the beautiful beaches in the area, here you will find fun activities to always spend a day different from the other during your holidays.
Lo Star Beach, a water park facing the sea, theAquaworld Aquarium, dedicated to marine life and reptiles, the Lychnostatis Open Air Museum, a museum dedicated to local folklore and the Labyrinth Park, a theme park inspired by Greek mythology.
All this makes Hersonissos a perfect destination for young people, but also for families that here can find a myriad of opportunities for fun.
The best hotels in Hersonissos
Perfect for family trips Lyttos Beach, is an excellent 5-star resort that offers lots of entertainment for children, such as the water park with slides and swimming pools, entertainment, direct access to the sea, a park with tennis and paddle courts. The restaurant offers a children's menu.
Overlooking the beach of Hersonissos, the Creta Maris Beach Resort all-inclusive offers 5-star service, 3 outdoor pools, a water sports center and 3 floodlit tennis courts. The rooms are furnished with the warm colors of the earth and offer all possible and imaginable comforts.
The gastronomic offer includes restaurants, Cretan and seafood. There are 6 restaurants and 6 bars on site.
If you prefer an apartment instead, Home Suites it is the right choice and it is also quite inexpensive.
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6 - Where to stay in Crete for couples: Malia
By Olga Gavrilova /
If you want to stay close to Hersonissos, but away from the din of its vibrant nightlife, you should consider sleeping in Malia.
This village has a wide range of accommodation facilities, is characterized by a magnificent and peculiar old town made up of narrow streets teeming with taverns and is close to some beautiful sandy beaches and many of the main attractions of the island.
From Malia you can easily reach the historic houses parks of the surroundings of Hersonissos, but also the archaeological site where the remains of one of the most important Minoan palaces of the island are preserved. In its surroundings there is also the cave in which, according to the myth, it was born Zeus and the picturesque village of Krassi.
The best hotels in Malia
Kostis Parthenis Residence it is a very popular holiday home and in fact it is difficult to find a place. It is located about 1 km from the beach, it offers two bedrooms with free wi-fi, an equipped kitchen, living room and terrace.
Perfect for singles, couples or small groups of friends.
Less than a kilometer from the city center is the Aegean Sky Hotel-Suites, in my opinion the best hotel in Malia for those who love nightlife, given its location near the most fashionable bars and nightclubs on the island.
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7 - Where to stay in Crete for the Honeymoon: Elounda
Di Georgios Tsichlis /
Let's face it: Crete isn't the first Greek island that comes to mind when you're thinking about a honeymoon in Greece.
Santorini it is definitely the first destination that will come to your mind.
Maybe you might like:
- Where to sleep in Santorini, 2020 guide
- Where to stay in Mykonos
But Crete has some of the best hotels in Greece with amazing food and incredible service.
And indeed, Crete may be a more affordable option for a honeymoon in Greece than Santorini and Mykonos (which can be extremely expensive).
Pushing further and further east you will meet Elounda, one of the most "in" destinations on the island.
This is the perfect destination to sleep in Crete if you are planning to spend a holiday of luxury, relaxation and breathtaking natural landscapes and therefore for your Honeymoon!
The hotel prices here go up a lot, but comfort is assured. VIPs, sheikhs and heads of state stay in Elounda.
The hotels feature private coves, infinity pools, spas, and beach bars.
Nearby are some of the most famous beaches on the island and it is here that you will admire some of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Greece. The panorama onSpinalonga island, the ancient ones salt flats of Elounda, the windmills, Gulf of Mirabello and Korfos these are glimpses that you will not easily forget.
The best hotels in Elounda
WHERE DID I SLEEP?
we stayed a week at Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection, chosen for its luxurious accommodations featuring custom furnishings and private sandy beach.
The thing that will never make me forget my stay here was the view of Spinalonga Island.
Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel, Six Senses Spa is located overlooking the bay and offers yacht-style suites and residences with mini-bars, marble bathrooms with bathtubs, private balconies and spectacular sea views. In short, here you really find the top: take a look at the photos to see what I'm talking about!
If you want to spend a little less but without sacrificing comfort or if you are traveling with children, check out the Elounda Mare Relais & Châteaux Hotel, an elegant resort with 3 types of properties ranging from sea view rooms and suites to bungalows with private pools.
Nobody would want to give up luxury or comfort, for this reason I cannot fail to point out the Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas, a Member of the Leading Hotels of the World a Spectacular hotel on the waterfront with a range of accommodation to say the least astounding with all the comforts (some of which I could never have imagined)
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8 - Where to stay if you are looking for a quiet area: Agios Nikolaos
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A town with slow rhythms and evocative views, Agios Nikolaos it is a quiet village where you can find traditional taverns, local places to sip ouzo and drink wine and local craft shops.
Agios Nikolaos is famous for the lake Voulismeni directly connected to the sea by a canal: a walk in this area is truly relaxing!
There are many beautiful beaches nearby, but to really enjoy this town don't forget to visit the Folklore Museum and archaeological Museum, the “dea di Mirtos”, a particular vase in the shape of a woman.
As from Elounda, boats also leave from the port of Agios Nikolaos to visit theSpinalonga island.
The best hotels in Agios Nikolaos
Among the best hotels in Agios Nikolaos one cannot fail to mention the 5 star hotel Wyndham Grand Crete Mirabello Bay with its private beach, outdoor pools and 9 restaurants. The furnishings are luxurious, each room has a balcony, breakfast is buffet style.
If you are always looking for luxury, the St. Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas is a contemporary Mediterranean-style hotel with a great variety of rooms, suites and villas with swimming pools, mini-bars, lounge corners and balconies with breathtaking views of the bay.
If you are looking for an apartment do not miss the So Close!, perfect and much loved for its fantastic location, cleanliness and comfortable furnishings.
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9 - Where to stay in East Crete: Sitia
Di Georgios Tsichlis /
If you are planning to visit the eastern part of Crete, Sitia it is the perfect base.
The town has a strong traditional accent, the area near the port is full of taverns and cafes and the Kazarma Castle stands on a hill behind the town.
Between a walk in the old town and a swim in the magnificent beach of Or, don't forget to visit the Toplou Monastery and the suggestive palm forest, the only one in the whole Mediterranean!
The best hotels in Sitia
More than a hotel, if you choose to stay in this area, I would suggest an apartment.
In any case, if you are looking for a fairly cheap accommodation take a look at Elysee Hotel, a 2-star hotel that is super cute, in a great location, offers free WI-FI and has an exceptional quality / price ratio to say the least.
If you are looking for an apartment I can only recommend them Oceanides Luxury Apartments, with the private balconies overlooking the sea, the palm garden and the typical Greek taverns just a stone's throw away.
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10 - Where to stay in South Crete: Matala
Di Georgios Tsichlis /
The ancient village of Matala it became famous in the 60s / 70s when hippies began to stay inside the caves overlooking the beach.
Bob Dylan, Janice Joplin, Joan Baez and many others slept for shorter or longer periods in Matala.
Some say that John Lennon also stayed there for a few nights.
Today this village is a real pilgrimage destination: many come here to pay homage to those long gone days.
Every year in June the Matala Beach Festival, 3 days of music and the beach!
Most hotels and rooms in Matala are simple and inexpensive. Try the spotless Marina Hotel, or indulge in the beautiful blue and white decor and the sea view of thehotel Elektra.
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I hope I have given you some useful information to help you choose the best area where to stay in Crete!