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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Crete

When to go

Given its location, Crete naturally enjoys a beautiful climate. The island straddles Mediterranean and North African climate zones, which means warmer months see a spike in humidity and snowfall is pretty rare. In the summer, Crete sees average temperatures between 20°C to 30°C, sometimes even reaching the 40s. While the winters are mostly mild and rainy.

The weather in Crete largely depends on where you're staying. Up in the northern regions, the island gets some northerly winds, which make for excellent windsurfing conditions on the coast. In general though, the coasts are primarily hot and dry, making for warm nights on open air terraces at restaurants. However, the mountain ranges in central Crete have been known to see significant snowfall in the winter.

Like many Mediterranean destinations, a number of restaurants and attractions in smaller resorts within Crete will shut down in the low season, which generally extends from October to May. You won't often see this happening in large cities like Chania, Heraklion and Hersonissos, and no matter where you go, there will always be a few businesses that stay open year-round for anyone venturing on off season cheap holidays to Crete.

Health and safety

As with any holiday, you should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself and your family on your trip. It's also a good idea to apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK as this entitles you to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as Greek nationals. It won't, however, cover you for medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or non-urgent treatment.

If you are visiting Crete specifically to take part in sports or water sports, including hiking, you should make sure your insurance covers this. See our holiday extras page for more information and for the latest health and safety information visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece/health.

Passports and Visas

British citizens don't need a visa to enter Greece but must have a valid passport. By law, you must carry your passport with you and may need to show it when paying by credit card. For the most up-to-date passport and visa info, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece/entry-requirements.

Getting around

There are three major airports in Crete – one centrally located in the capital city of Heraklion, another in the northwestern region of Chania and the third in Sitia, in the northeast.

Transfer times to your hotel will depend upon where your final destination is, though the even spread of the airports will help minimise how much additional travel you need to prepare for. Most holiday travel from England will take you to Heraklion Airport and, from there, the furthest destination is a little over two-hours away.

Luckily for you, the resorts in Crete tend to be very compact and are therefore supremely walkable. Most hotels are situated either on the beach or not far off, which is where you'll find many top area restaurants and bars as well.

Many of the resorts will offer car hire services, which will allow you to travel freely across the island. However, the bigger towns are usually well-connected to smaller resorts on the outskirts by public bus. This will offer you a much more cost effective option than hiring a car.

If you find you'll only be travelling sparingly between your resort and surrounding spots, there are also taxis that'll get you where you want to go. They're relatively cheap to use, and you can ask your hotel to book one for you to avoid any potential language barriers.

Another amenity Crete makes great use of are resort mini trains – they aren't connected to rail lines, but rather, coast freely down roads and will take you to popular spots around their given routes. Hopping aboard one of these will provide a slow and scenic ride that also allows you to get out and experience the area before travelling to your next destination.

Advice for travellers with children

In general, Crete is a very family-friendly destination. Many of the island's All Inclusive hotels feature kids clubs, while restaurants often provide play places. There are a number of water parks across Crete, as well as theme parks and tour activities like glass-bottomed boats that are popular with families on holidays in Crete All Inclusive.

For the most part, Crete's beaches shelve gently into the sea, making them safe for tiny holidaygoers. However, shores on the island's northern half are susceptible to strong winds and often provide warning flags to indicate if it's safe to go in the water.

Electricity

Connector type: Generally round two-pin plugs

Voltage info: 220 volts AC, 50Hz

Emergency information

Call 112 for all emergencies and the operator will put you through to the police, fire brigade or ambulance service. The line is operated in five languages including English.

British Vice Consulate

If you are a victim of crime, affected by a crisis overseas or if something happens to a relative or partner, contact the British Vice-Consulate. It is open to the public from 9am to 1pm on Tuesdays to Thursdays. Telephone enquiries are available from 8am to 3pm, Monday to Friday.

Address: Candia Tower, 17 Thalita Street, Ag. Dimitrios Square, Heraklion 71202

Email: crete@fco.gov.uk

Telephone: (+30) 2810 224012

Hospitals

Asklepieon Crete Private General Hospital

Zografou 8, Heraklion, 71201 Telephone: (+30) 2810 246140

Creta Interclinic

Minoos 63, Heraklion, 71304 Telephone: (+30) 2810 373800 *Please note, EHIC Cards are not accepted here

Apollon Rethymnon Medical Center

Adelianos Kampos, 74100, Rethymnon Telephone: (+30) 2831 074888-9

Iasis-Gavrilakis General Private Hospital

76 Markou Mpotsari str, 73136, Chania Telephone: (+30) 2821 070800

Tsepeti Private Hospital

9 Papanastasiou str., 73133 Chania Telephone: (+30) 2821 028828

Useful Links

A Crete Guide - This guide specialises in Eastern Crete and is packed with tourist information and local history.

Omega Divers - A 5* diving resort located a short distance from the city of Chania, Crete.

Greece Travel Secrets - Insider guides on the best bits of Greece you might miss, including hidden gems of Crete.

Think Crete - A comprehensive Crete directory, featuring links to some of the best bars, clubs and restaurants in the area.