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Crete Holidays

The largest, most southern and perhaps the most versatile of the Greek Islands, Crete holidays are hugely popular with tourists for a reason. With looming mountains, glorious beaches and a wild nightlife, somewhere on this multipurpose island will be the holiday you want.

An ideal Mediterranean island

At 160 miles wide, Crete has dozens of resorts worthy of your time. Mediterranean beaches, olive groves and daring caves are the ground work which made this island a beauty to visit. The towns, food and history helped the Greeks turn Crete into a tourism hotspot. If you're in need of a cheap holiday in a phenomenal climate, this place is for you.

The majority of resorts on this island offer perfect beach settings but some are also found within the Cretan mountains. A lot of resorts allow visitors to let loose here with some offering an exciting range of nightlife while others simply let you relax by the setting sun.

This versatile island offers attractions for all ages and interests. Young singles will head for the nightlife in Malia, families can enjoy the waterparks of Hersonissos and couples can tour the historic and often romantic scenery of several peaceful resorts.

Quick Tips

Heraklion
Approx 600,000
Greek Orthodox
Greek
Euro
GMT +2

Perfectly smooth sands

The island sits on the cusp of North Africa and the Mediterranean, making Crete ideal for a great beach holiday. European Blue Flags can be seen flying over many shores in Crete and this flag symbolises an areas safety and cleanliness. Many beaches offer terrific water sports off the coast as well as plenty of sunloungers and parasols as they are prepared an influx of tourists.

Most of the beach resorts have the serene sight of the Mediterranean Sea in one direction and monstrous mountain ranges in the other. Close to many resorts or via short drives inland, there is an abundance of ways to explore the rocky area. Hiking trails and vehicle tours can take you through the vast terrain and take you to places of Greek mythology folklore.

Birthplace of Zeuss

Though Crete is known to us as a great tourist destination, it has a prominent role in Greek history. In terms of the origins of the island, it is said that Zeuss was born and raised in the mountains here while other Greek gods have left their mark across Crete too. Lake Voulismeni is an attractive lake in the resort of Aghios Nikolaos where Athena is said to have bathed.

Across the years there has been Ottoman and Venetian occupations of the island and there are still structures, fortresses and ruins to explore that were built during this time. A large highlight of this is the 16th century Fortezza that stands proudly over the town of Rethymnon.

Malia’s bright lights at night

With some notable exceptions, Crete is largely a peaceful place to enjoy slow sunshine getaways by the beach. The biggest exceptions to this rule come in the form of Malia and Hersonissos on the northern coast that offer great choices of daytime and night time attractions.

Hersonissos is home to the Star Beach Waterpark, an exciting day out that mixes manmade slides with a natural beach, the Acqua Plus Waterpark, another location to enjoy a wet and wild day out in the sun with a great selection of slides and pools, and the Labyrinth Theme Park that offers a massive variety of games and activities.

Malia is the place to go for serious clubbers and party animals. The main strip in this resort is lined with dozens of excitable pubs, bars and clubs where the music and drinks flow until the sun rises. There is even a 24 hour bar where you can keep the party going as long as you want.

Cretan food

To service all taste buds and to appease the many tourists that visit here, there is far more to sample than just Greek and Mediterranean food. There are a number of international flavours to try in the busier resorts but it is the local food that most people come to try.

Greek salads and meats are available and Crete offers its own unique dishes to accompany the Mediterranean flavour. A dakos salad is a great starter to a meal while apaki pork meat is a common main meal to fill you up. Many tavernas offer their meals with a complimentary shot of tsikoudia, commonly known as raki.

Shopping for mementos

The larger resorts are the place to go for retail opportunities while the smaller, more peaceful resorts are content to provide a simple selection of souvenir shops.

Hersonissos is home to a number of distinctly Greek souvenir shops but there are also designer brands to be found on the beach front and inside the mall. Malia has its own shopping street that has a large selection of home produced items which are ideal for gifts. Rethymnon and Aghios Nikolaos also provide great shopping opportunities around their streets.

Getting there

There are two airports in Crete, one in the north eastern region of Sitia and the other in the central Heraklion. The majority of holidays will see you fly into Heraklion and from there the transfers vary depending on your resort.

Some resorts like Gouves take just 15 minutes to reach while others like Elounda can take up to an hour.

When travelling around the island there is plenty of car hire companies if you'd like to move around freely while the cheaper option is to take the public bus service that runs through the major resorts and towns of the island.

Where to stay in Crete

Location

Monthly Temperature

January
12°C
February
13°C
March
14°C
April
17°C
May
24°C
June
24°C
July
26°C
August
26°C
September
24°C
October
20°C
November
17°C
December
14°C

Best time of year to visit

Crete's temperatures and climate is the foundation of the island's popularity with tourists. Summer days get to an average high of 32C while the nights settle at a toasty 20C. Even the winters stay hot so you can enjoy a winter beach break. As with any major tourist destination though there is a winter shutdown of many restaurants and attractions so the island is quieter at this time.

Although it is busier and sometimes more crowded, holidays to Crete are best enjoyed during the peak seasons of summer. At this time many towns and resorts feature summer festivals where locals and tourists alike celebrate on the street with many games, shows and parties on the streets.

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