Home Best Areas To Stay Where to Stay in Crete: Best areas & Neighborhoods

Where to Stay in Crete: Best areas & Neighborhoods

by Pankaj Upreti
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When we think of vacation, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the sea. Beach, good company and drinks to cool off – and the holiday can begin. Greece is one of the most popular European holiday destinations. 

Many islands and cities attract attention and you are surely wondering how to choose what is best for you? Do you know where Crete is? It is the largest island in Greece and even the fifth largest in the Mediterranean. 

If you are looking for Crete the map will show that it is in the south of the country and it is surrounded by water on all sides. Crete is guarded by as many as three different seas, and if you haven’t had a chance to visit it before, now is the right time.

Why is Crete a good choice?

There are a lot of things to do in Crete because this island has a glorious past. The Greeks made an immeasurable contribution to science and culture, and Crete was home to the Minoan civilization.

Have you heard of Minos, the legendary king of Crete? His parents were Zeus and Europa and he became famous for holding Daedalus and Icarus captive.

You know that legend for sure, and in case you forgot it, the locals will remind you. We will go through everything you need to know together in order to spend quality time with your dear people.

Although you are certainly excited and want to leave as soon as possible, let’s first look at where to stay in Crete.

Then we will look at the suggested activities that we have carefully selected for everyone’s taste, and when you are near the end of the text, you will be looking for a suitcase out of the corner of your eye, to start packing.

Arrive in Crete to find heavenly beaches, white mountains, history going back to the bronze ages, and a culture that is still vibrant and preserved by modern society.

Crete is home to travelers from around the world. It is great Crete weather that attracts visiting travelers in almost every season.

Different areas in Crete offer vast opportunities for every kind of traveler: it is magical for adventure seekers and hikers and wonderful for spending romantic time at Sissi, Paleochora, Maleme, and Sitia.

Relax at sunshine Crete beach in Chania, spend time in Agios and Pavlos between sand dunes, and enjoy exotic beaches and vibrant nightlife in the capital city of Heraklion.

Enjoy small walks every day in Cretan village, learn more about old abandoned villages, learn how to make traditional cheese in Mitata and bread in Katharo village.

Welcoming hospitality and food that awakens all the senses are the best part of the vacation in Crete.

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1# Chania – One of the oldest cities in the world and the best choice to stay in Crete for travelers

Where to Stay in Crete
Bay of Chania at sunny summer day, Crete Greece with flowers
Photo Credit – Shutterstock

The first place we recommend for your stay is Chania, the second-largest city on the island with a rich history and offer that will surely attract your attention.

Χανιά in the original Greek, pronounced “Hanya” is surrounded by white mountain villages and greenery all over which relaxes at first sight.

This scenic town has everything to win your heart and keep you exploring for days. If you chose Chania Crete will get another satisfied tourist.

This city is well known for its history, museums, and Venetian Harbor. Imagine it getting dark and you having dinner at one of the waterfront restaurants.

In the morning you wake up with a view of the old buildings, walk and think about what is inside them. You can visit numerous art galleries, you will surely have the feeling that just at that moment the past and the present merge, and you are witnessing that magnificent scene.

You can explore small mountain villages around Chania and go hiking to experience real Chania. The old town has much of the tourist activities as it is located close to the Venetian harbor and is mostly seafront.

Nightlife is quite amazing around the Old town, and here you will best feel the spirit of the city.

The modern town is another part of Chania where mostly locals live but there are many historical sites you can explore, especially interesting are the buildings that testify to the common past of peoples of different religions.

You can take your kids to the prominent parks and sports clubs and go shopping at the indoor market which is also called “Agora”. It is as if the photos from the history textbook come to life before your eyes.

You can enjoy pristine beaches of Chania, Venetian Harbor, and visit Chania’s legendary national park of Samaria Gorge which is one of the major tourist attractions. This 13 km long park has been there in Crete since 1962 offering many kinds of endemic species, flowers, birds, and a small beautiful river at the beginning of the national park.

One of the best ways to start discovering Chania is by just going around the old town of maze alley. Here you will come across well-preserved histories of the Venetian era.

So, Chania has everything to be on your list, especially if it’s your first time in Crete. In Chania the weather is your friend. He will not betray you and you always know what to expect and plan your stay accordingly.

Take out a few day’s stays in Chania, explore nearby villages, hike and meet locals, experience real Crete after exploring the town all day, spend a beautiful evening with your friends and family at old harbor enjoying food at seafront restaurants and nightlife near the harbor.

2 # Rethymnon – One of the best places to stay in Crete

If you are a fan of adventure, meeting new people and listening their life stories, then you should visit Rethymno or Rethymnon, it’s the same. It is one of the younger cities, so its offer is different and innovative compared to other cities.

Where to Stay in Crete
Rethymno city at Crete island in Greece. Aerial view of the old venetian harbor.
Photo Credit – Shutterstock

Fewer tourists and too many things to explore within the small town of Rethymno makes it one of the best choices to stay in Crete.

If you love history, Rethymnon has a vibrant history; it is famous for agriculture, especially olive oil and Mediterranean products, known around the world.

It is well known for its beaches, and white mountains, located at the base of Psiloritis Mountain range tourists can hike to the top of the hill and explore many hidden beautiful beaches of Crete in and around Rethymnon area.

If you are a fan of adventure, meeting new people and listening their life stories, then you should visit Rethymno or Rethymnon, it’s the same. It is one of the younger cities, so its offer is different and innovative compared to other cities.

Rethymnon is a festival city and everyone can find things to do in Rethymnon. You should attend at least two important festivals, one is the Renaissance festival, and the other is the Wine festival.

Both are a form of cultural events that comprise eating, entertainment, wine tasting, and lots of fun. So, consider a summer visit to Rethymnon Crete will have something to show.

The Wine Festival of Rethymno is the oldest festival in the city that takes place in June. It is known that the Greeks are great connoisseurs when it comes to wine. And for that, all your senses will be grateful if you indulge.

Throughout history, the Greeks have organized numerous ceremonies in honor of Dionysus, the god of wine, so you can be sure that you will have an unforgettable experience and the Festival of Renaissance takes place in October, in autumn it is more and more calm and colorful.

Another benefit of staying in Rethymnon is that the place offers excellent accommodation for tourists and it’s a value for the money.

Also, luxury resorts are an affordable one compared to Chania. You can rent a car or take a bus and travel to Chania, which is around 65 km from Rethymno and takes about an hour to reach.

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3 # Heraklion – The capital of the island one step away from the oldest city in the world

The bright sunrise over the inner harbor, guarded by Venetian fortress, named Rocca al Mare, and full of yachts and fishing boats, in Heraklion.
Photo Credit – Shutterstock

Heraklion is the capital of Crete and one of the most popular destinations. Heraklion airport is the largest on the island, and there is also a port. All this makes travel easier and you can choose several ways to get to the capital. If you are indecisive and do not know where to go to the sea, and at the same time you are attracted by the Mediterranean and the Orient, then this city is the best choice.

During its turbulent history, Heraklion was the wish of many conquerors, but did you know that the Turks were in front of its impenetrable walls for 21 years?

During their rule, the Venetians built numerous buildings as part of the protection system. Best of all, they have borne the burden of time, they still exist today and you can walk under the arches that were built more than five centuries ago.

Less than six kilometers from Heraklion, there is an archeological site that is supposed to have been the center of the already mentioned Minoan civilization. It is considered the oldest city in the world and parts of the palace of Knossos have been preserved and represent the largest and most complex monument of Cretan architecture.

If you do not plan to drive while you are on vacation, that will not be a problem because the city and intercity traffic are well developed.

The port in this city is especially attractive because it allows access to Rhodes and Santorini. A connection has also been developed with Israel and Egypt, which facilitates trade and affects the development of the city.

If you head south, you will be greeted by lush vineyards that produce the world’s most famous wine varieties. The peculiarity of these vineyards is that they have preserved indigenous varieties.

You may have heard before that some travelers have had negative experiences while staying in this city, but that should not discourage you. All this is just the facade of a big city behind which life with all its peculiarities hides.

It is the same as with the capital of Greece, some people do not like it at first sight. But if you have ever visited Athens, then fallen in love with it and always gladly returned to it, so it will be the same with Heraklion.

Where to stay in Italy ?” It may be the best answer for those who are just finding the stay Options in the city.

4 # Agios Nikolaos – This could be your fairy tale

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This city is located on the shores of the Aegean Sea and it is a closed bay, so it looks like a lake. If you look at the photos of the city center, you will notice a lot of greenery and it may remind you of the landscapes in Switzerland.

When you arrive, you will think that you have stepped into another world where everything is like in a fairy tale

Agios Nikolaos literally means “Saint Nicholas”, and he is known as the protector of sailors and all who are on ships around the world.

In every country that goes to the sea and whose inhabitants are engaged in water activities, he is their protector. There are many legends about Saint Nicholas, and he is not only the protector of sailors but also of the poor.

It is said that during his life, he helped children, and in some places, instead of Santa Claus, he leaves gifts for children for the holidays. Many places in Greece bear this name, and Agios Nikolaos Crete makes it special because it attracts a large number of young people because of the nightlife.

This is a destination worth visiting at any time of the year.

During the summer, the melody of different languages ​​is heard on the streets because tourists come from all over the world. There are a few less of them during the fall, but you can use that if you are looking for a little serenity with a cup of hot tea overlooking the sea.

During the winter, most shops are open and you will be able to find cheaper accommodation. There is no reason to hesitate because the hotels also offer indoor pools, so your atmosphere will be complete.

It is known that luxury hotels are located in Agios Nikolaos, and their offer leaves no one indifferent. Many tourists opt for such arrangements because they can get the most out of their vacation.

When there are no traffic jams, plan a trip to one of the nearby towns. If you don’t want to drive, buy a ticket and enjoy the train ride. The landscapes will change before your eyes, and the recommendation is that the final destination is the village of Kritsa, where you will get to know the charms of rural life and learn how to prepare olive oil.

5 # Sitia – Be your own artist

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Sitia is one of the smaller places in Crete and if we were to look for the right word to describe this town, then it would be “ideal for exploring”.

The previous cities we talked about are much bigger and apply to urban areas, and Sitia Crete makes it attractive because it is synonymous with relaxation.

Residents love their city and how much they care about it, you will notice at every step. They are attentive and friendly towards tourists, so you will feel as if you are at a family gathering.

All the members you haven’t seen in a long time are there, some you have yet to meet, and there is euphoria.

A warm, pleasant family atmosphere reigns throughout the city. From the moment you take the keys to your apartment, until the moment when you need to return to reality, you feel like you are at home.

If artists around the world were to organize a competition to choose the location where they would hold the next painting colony, do you know who would win a convincing victory? The correct answer is – Sitia .

 You don’t have to be an artist to make Sitia your holiday choice. All you need to do is close your eyes and imagine walking along a long sandy beach. The sound of the waves reaches you, and the water caresses your bare feet. It is warm, and two shades of the blue merge before your eyes – a clear sky and a warm sea.

You just have to find a place to take a break, and the choice is not easy because all restaurants have a great offer. Whichever you choose, you won’t go wrong.

If you have come to Sitia beach, it is the right place to give yourself a little breather with friends, with a glass of wine. Be present at the moment and remind yourself how beautiful life is when you know how to enjoy it. If you can imagine all this, then there is no reason to procrastinate, but look at what else you can do and what activities await you.

6 # Lasithi – When will you move in?

Where to Stay in Crete?

Lasithi is a part of Crete that is simply called “eastern Crete” in everyday speech. It got its name mainly because of its location, and the center of this district is the city of Agios Nikolaos.

It is noticed that most of the places in Crete that were mentioned have a similar climate, but Lasithi is special.

The rugged coast, pleasant Crete weather all year round are the advantages that set it apart from the rest of the island.

If you want to find steep shores and plains in one place, as well as mountain slopes, then the choice of falling on Lasithi Crete will not let you down.

Here is the town of Ierapetra, which is called the “bride of the Lebanese Sea”. Access to it is a bit difficult, but it is considered a typical Mediterranean town worth visiting.

If you want to take photos of narrow streets and visit the old and new part of the city on the same day, then include it on your list.

Perhaps an explanation can be found in that for the growing number of tourists returning to Lasithi. But not only when it is vacation time, they have also already chosen this place for their new home.

Is it because of the beaches, the smell of the sea, or the kindness of the locals? Or something else? Only they know that, but it is certain that there is “that something” that each of us has and cannot explain until he finds it. And then, so naturally, as if it has always been there – it becomes a part of our lives.

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