As the largest of the Greek Islands, Crete offers the diversity of a small country. Its coastline is scattered with resorts that couldn’t be more different – youngsters will flock to Malia, families to Hersonissos and culture seekers to Hania.
This year-round destination has universal appeal – with its Mediterranean climate, flawless turquoise waters and sweeping beaches. Yet tradition still exists in the cobbled streets, charming tavernas and within its people - as shepherds herd their flocks in mountain villages and local women sit on bougainvillea adorned doorsteps. The past effortlessly integrates with the present in Venetian harbours, while the ancient towns and ruins give you a fascinating insight into past times. However you choose to enjoy Crete, its irresistible charm will have you coming back time and time again – there’s certainly more to this majestic island than first meets the eye.
Traditional and charming. Aghios Nikolaos combines three waterfronts – the legendary lake, beach at Kitroplatia and a marina. Its sleepy feel and slower pace provides a delightful contrast to the vibrant neighbouring resorts of Malia and Hersonissos. But the bustling cafeterias, charming coffee houses and traditional taverns provide a buzz that is hard to resist – you’ll have plenty of opportunity to enjoy Cretan “mesedes”. The areas thriving art scene is visible at the intimate open-air theatre, summer cinema and in its shops selling traditional Cretan handicrafts.
The bustling seaside town of Elounda is Crete’s luxury 5 star resort. Situated north of Aghios Nikolaoa this indented coastline boasts picturesque beaches and crystal clear waters. The colourful harbour and main square are at the heart of the action – with plenty of authentic Greek tavernas and friendly bars. There is also a lot to do and see in this area - visit the island of Spinalonga, walk along the peninsula of Kolokytha or explore the tiny villages.
One of Crete’s most bustling areas, Hersonissos is a popular holiday choice. Famed for its lively nightlife, the harbour area provides an array of dining and nightlife options. You’ll also find lovely beaches and a modern town with plenty of shopping and dining on offer. A family friendly resort - kids will love the water parks and aquarium. Make sure you enjoy a ride on the Happy Train, which takes you along the Crete coastline.
Probably best known for its larger than life nightlife – Malia is a hotspot for young clubbers in the summer months. Bursting with bars and clubs, the resort comes alive at night and doesn’t dwindle until the early hours. This frenzied nocturnal scene is offset by the unexpected charm of the old town with its narrow streets, intimate tavernas and traditional bougainvillea fronted houses. Hotels in nearby Stalis allow you to experience the vibrancy of Malia, without staying in the heart of the action.
With an evident flavour of ‘old Greece’, Rethymnon charms visitors with the narrow maze of streets, local arts and crafts and its beautiful venetian harbour. Effortlessly combining the old and the new - this quaintness is accompanied by the new town, which brings the area into modern day. The long sandy beach stretches for miles towards the east and is lined with hotels, bars, restaurants and shops. Boasting a great location and good choice of accommodation, its resort complexes are ideal for relaxing beach holidays.
The capital of Crete, Heraklion provides a convenient gateway. Situated close to many of Crete’s most popular resorts, flying into Heraklion you’ll find that you’re a stones throw from Malia and Aghios Nikolaos. A great starting point for your Greek Island adventure – this bustling city boasts rich history, great shopping and an abundance of bars, cafes and restaurants. The Venetian harbour still houses the fortress of Koules and the old city, locked within venetian walls, has expanded around Byzantine churches, Venetian mansions and Turkish fountains.