Quick Guide to Crete
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, and it boasts pretty much everything you'd hope to discover in Greece: fascinating myths and history, gorgeous beaches, fun resorts with great nightlife and beautiful scenery. You could spend a holiday in 2017 visiting archaeological sites, swimming in the Mediterranean, or sampling the island's best olive oils - plus much more besides. Crete was once the centre of the Minoan civilisation, and is often touted as the prettiest of the Greek islands. We say a holiday to Crete is definitely in order to judge for yourself!
At 260 kilometres long and 60 kilometres wide there are plenty of places to go, so it's easy to find both cheap, packaged Crete holidays for fun in the sun without busting your budget, or something a little more out there for a trip to remember! The island is divided into four areas - Chania, Rethimno, Heraklion and Lasithi. In each of these, the busier resorts tend to be on the north coast, whilst the south coast is largely more rugged and undiscovered. Obviously both coasts have plenty of great beaches though!
Fab holidays for:
Bargain beach holidays, Buzzing nightlife, Fascinating history
Heraklion and Chania Airport
Did you know?
Hippocrates, which many see as the founder of medicine, used to prescribe Crete air as a healing agent to his patients.
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Top 5 Things to See
Aside from the beaches and nightlife there is plenty to see and do in Crete if you fancy heading out for a day exploring or sightseeing.
- Samaria Gorge
- Home to the longest gorge in Europe, Samaria is a stunning place for a day's hiking. Flora and fauna abound and the views aren't too bad either.
- Spinalonga is home to an old Venetian fortress that was converted to a leper colony and makes for a great day exploring.
- Palace of Knossos
- The centre of the Minoan empire, Palace of Knossos is a fascinating place of ruins and excavations - you get to explore the palace while learning all about the Greek mythology linked to it!
- Archaeological Museum of Heraklion
- The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion houses archaeological finds from all over Crete, which spans over 5,500 years of the island's history - keep an eye out for all those Minoan civilisation treasures!
- Arkadi Monastery
- The Arkadi Monastery is a symbol of the islanders' struggle for independence, where many Cretans were killed resisting occupying Turkish troops in 1886. Don't miss out on the ossuary where the skulls and bones of those who died are preserved. As an added bonus, the twisty drive up the mountain to the monastery offers some great views.
How to Get to Crete
There are two airports in Crete, one in Heraklion and one in Chania, the two most popular regions of the island for holidays to Crete. Flights to Crete leave from airports all across the UK, although usually the cheapest flights depart from the main airports. You can expect to be in the air for around four hours direct from the UK, so you'll be on holiday in Crete before you know it. Most package holidays offer transfers included or as an added extra. Taking advantage of this is a great cheap way to get to your hotel with minimal fuss.
There are also separate coach operators who run shuttle services to the main resorts, and there is plenty of cheap car hire available on the island too.
Where to Go to in Crete
With so many resorts to choose from, it can be hard to know where to go on your cheap holidays to Crete! We've picked out some of our favourites to give you an idea where to start:
Hersonissos - A great family friendly resort with plenty of all inclusive hotels and small attractions to keep kids happy - as well as long sandy beaches. There are also some Roman ruins, making this a good fit for a family who can't decide!
Malia - The party capital of Crete, this resort has both the best beach on the island and the best nightlife. Plenty of British food, bars and clubs, as well as cheap accommodation.
Stalis - A lively resort with a great beach. It's close to Malia but far enough away that you can enjoy a largely restful Crete holiday if you want! There are a wealth of Irish bars and more than a handful of traditional restaurants.
Istron - A bit of a hidden gem, this resort has three beaches, heaps of tavernas and a good nightlife, although not raucous. It's a great choice for families as it's a lot smaller than most of the other popular destinations for a Crete holiday.
Platanias - Agia Marina - These two resorts in the Chania region were originally separate but today they are closer to being one resort. They are known for having the region's best beaches and plenty of tavernas.
Kalyves - Featuring charming beachfront tavernas, an old harbour and lovely beaches, this is a great choice for a simple Crete holiday.
Almyrida - This resort has the same attractions as Kalyves, so it can be tricky to choose between them. This is the slightly more built-up of the two.
Platanes - A mix of luxury beachfront properties and affordable hotels have made this a hit with those who want to add a touch of glamour to their days at the beach. Cocktail bars and restaurants are numerous here.
Adelianos Kampos - This resort in Rethymnon also attracts the luxury lifestyle set, with cocktail bars, tavernas and restaurants all offering great views over the long, sandy beaches.