Where to Stay on Crete 🇬🇷: Best Areas in 2024

In this guide, I will list the best resorts in Crete and talk about the features of each one. Depending on how you are going to vacation – with your family, as a couple or with a group of friends – one resort will be much better than the other.

I’ll continue the guide below with more details about these places, as well as recommending options for accommodation.

Be sure to read the article to the end, I’m sure it will help you make the right choice, and the article is full of tips that will help you save time and money.

Given the size of the island, it’s important to choose carefully to make sure you can easily get to everything you want to do and see. But for a more comfortable exploration of the island, I recommend renting a car so you don’t have to depend on public transportation.

Our Pick of the Best Hotels in Crete 🔝

Remember: Crete is a very touristy island and accommodation prices can be high, especially in high season. My advice is to always book accommodation in advance to have more options to choose from and most importantly to find the best deals.

Quick Guide to the Best Neighborhood in Crete 📋

1. Hersonissos – Best Place to Stay in Crete for Nightlife 🍸

🌊 Popular resort: Hersonissos is one of the most popular and developed resorts of Crete, located on the northern coast of the island. The town is only 30 km away from Heraklion, the capital of Crete.

🏖️ Beautiful beaches: Hersonissos is famous for its beautiful sandy beaches with a gentle entrance to the sea, which stretch for many kilometers. Here you will find both lively beaches with entertainment and quiet secluded bays. The sea is clean and the water warms up to +24C.

🍽️ Tourist infrastructure: The resort offers a well-developed tourist infrastructure – many hotels for every taste, restaurants with Cretan and international cuisine, stores, entertainment centers, water parks. Along the seafront there are cozy taverns and cafes with live music in the evenings.

🏛️ Attractions galore: There is something to see here and besides beach vacation – the ruins of the ancient city of Hersonissos, the Crete Aquarium, Water City water park.

All hotels in Hersonissos →

Where to Stay in Hersonissos? 🏩

Expensive hotels:

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

  • Elychryson is a modern hotel with comfortable rooms and a swimming pool.
  • Dorian Boutique Hotel – Affordable apartments with kitchens and balconies, suitable for longer stays.

2. Heraklion – Best Area to Stay in Crete for the First Time 🔥

🏛️ Historic capital: Heraklion is the capital and largest city of Crete. Like the rest of Crete, Heraklion has a turbulent history: it has been captured many times by the Arabs, the Venetians and the Turks. You can still feel the history in Heraklion, so I recommend visiting this place when traveling to Crete.

But not right away if you go to Crete in the summer – because it can get hot, and walking around a big city in 35-degree heat can be tough.

⌛ Off-season stay: This town deserves a separate place on the list of places to stay in Crete, as it makes sense to stay here if you are traveling to Crete outside of high season.

🏛️ Proximity to Knossos:At the same time, you’ll be very close to Knossos, which for many is the main reason to travel to Crete outside of the high season. The main advantage of Heraklion is that it is in close proximity to the ancient city of Knossos, perhaps Crete’s most famous attraction.

🌅 Coastal charm: After Knossos, you can’t miss the magnificent beaches just outside Heraklion and enjoy a glass of wine at sunset.

All hotels in Heraklion →

Where to Stay in Heraklion? 🏨

Expensive hotels:

  • GDM Megaron Hotel is a luxury 5-star hotel in the city center, panoramic views, restaurants, pool, spa.
  • Galaxy Hotel Iraklio – Modern hotel, exquisite design, restaurant with sea view.

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

  • Sofia Hotel is a simple 3-star hotel in the city center with the necessary amenities.
  • Kronos Hotel – modest rooms with Wi-Fi, 15-minute walk to the port.

3. Rethymnon – Best Place in Crete for Local Vibe 🔮

Rethymnon, like Chania, is a port city that is the «capital» of its province in Crete, so it is one of the largest cities on the island.

Rethymnon
Rethymnon
Rethymnon
Rethymnon
Rethymnon
Rethymnon

🌇 Lively evenings: Like Chania, Rethymnon has a charming Old Town where you can wander the cobbled streets and visit traditional tavernas for authentic Greek cuisine. The area gets quite lively in the evening, and there are great nightlife spots for those who want to have a few cocktails or even dance the night away.

🏖️ Beach bliss: There is also a more modern part of the city, reminiscent of Heraklion. The town is also located on a beautiful sandy beach, which is perfect for relaxing and swimming, although it can get crowded, especially in high season.

🚗 Strategic location: Rethymnon is also well located for visiting distant attractions such as the beautiful Knossos or the Sania Gorge. Furthermore, thanks to its convenient location, you can easily visit Heraklion and Crete and enjoy the many delights of Rethymnon.

All hotels in Rethymno →

Where to Stay in Rethymnon? 🏩

Expensive hotels:

Medium price range:

  • Casa Maistra Residence is a cozy apartment in traditional Cretan style near the historic center.
  • Petalo Suites – Comfortable rooms with a great combination of price and quality 5 minutes walk from the beach.
  • Omma Suites – Modern rooms with good facilities at a reasonable price in a quiet area of the city.

Inexpensive hotels:

  • Philikon Luxury Suites is a spacious apartment with basic amenities at an affordable price near the harbor.
  • Alexiou Apartments Blue – functional rooms with everything you need for a comfortable stay at low prices.
  • Casa Dei Delfini is a modest but cozy apartment at a bargain price 5 minutes from the beach.

4. Chania – Where to Stay in Crete for History 🗿

Crete has two main airports, one of which is located near the large city of Chania in western Crete.

Chania
Chania
Chania
Chania
Chania
Chania
Chania

🌇 Old-world charm: There is a stunningly beautiful Old Town, where wandering through the lanes will take you back in time. Here you will find many excellent restaurants, bars and stores.

⚓ Venetian gem: The 14th century Venetian harbor is particularly beautiful, and just wandering the streets, noting the influence of peoples such as the Ottomans and Egyptians, is a history buff’s dream. Add to this the many museums and archaeological sites, and it is probably the best choice for those who want to learn more about Greek history.

🏖️ Beach bliss: If you want to stay close to a great beach, I wouldn’t immediately recommend staying in Chania, that way you’ll miss out on the fantastic beaches that Crete is famous for.

However, let me recommend some good hotels in Chania for those who prefer city life to beaches.

All hotels in Chania →

Where to Stay in Chania? 🏨

Expensive hotels:

  • The Tanneries Hotel & Spa is a luxury boutique hotel with its own spa, located in a historic building near the harbor.
  • The Chania Hotel is an elegant hotel with a sophisticated design, offering sea view rooms and a high level of service.
  • Centro Storico is a cozy hotel in the historic center of the city, has designer rooms with a mix of modernity and tradition.

Medium price range:

  • Notus Chania Crete is a modern hotel with good value for money, located close to the beach.
  • Kriti Hotel is a comfortable hotel with friendly staff, conveniently located in the center of Chania.
  • ANTEL Suites & Apartments is an apartment hotel with spacious studios, suitable for budget accommodation for families.

Inexpensive hotels:

5. Agios Nikolaos – Where to Stay in Crete for Families 👪

Agios Nikolaos is a picturesque beach town offering a unique blend of traditional Greek charm and modern amenities.

💙 Charming harbor: The town is known for its beautiful harbor and Lake Voulismeni, which is narrowly connected to the sea. Agios Nikolaos is surrounded by crystal clear waters and beautiful beaches, making it ideal for a relaxing beach vacation. And along the lake there are many local restaurants serving authentic Cretan dishes, as well as cozy cafes and stores in the winding streets.

🏖️ Beach paradise: There are also several beautiful beaches as well as a marina. If you love water views, you will be spoiled for choice in beautiful Agios Nikolaos! Ammos and Kitroplatia are two of the most famous beaches, and both are worth a visit.

Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos

🎶 Lively atmosphere: The town also has a beautiful square that comes alive in the afternoon with the sounds of traditional music. Overall, the town has a lively yet relaxed atmosphere, with many craft stores that are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

All hotels in Agios Nikolaos →

Where to Stay in Agios Nikolaos? 🏩

Expensive hotels:

Medium price range:

  • Ikaros Art Hotel is an elegant hotel with stylish design, located in a quiet neighborhood near the beach.
  • Du Lac is a comfortable hotel in a picturesque location overlooking the lake.
  • Nicolas Exclusive Apartment is a spacious apartment with fully equipped kitchen and terrace, ideal for a family or company vacation.

Inexpensive hotels:

  • Polydoros Appartments – Apartments with simple furnishings and basic amenities at a reasonable price.
  • The Holiday Studio – compact studio rooms with kitchenette, good value for money.
  • Bellevue Suites – Sea view apartments, basic amenities at a reasonable price, ideal for a budget vacation.

6. Malia – Best Parties on a Greek Island 💃

Here, the famous main street is filled with bars and discos, where young people who like to party all night long gather.

So if you want to go to Crete for a party trip, Malia is the most suitable area to stay.

All hotels in Malia →

Where to Stay in Malia? 🏩

Expensive hotels:

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

  • Mirage Studios – simple apartments with a kitchen, suitable for budget vacations.
  • Villa Mare Monte ApartHotel – Apartments with kitchen and balcony, located near the beach.
  • Real Palace is a modest hotel with basic amenities for an inexpensive vacation.

7. Agia Marina – Where to Stay in Crete with Children 👶

Agia Marina is an ideal place for a vacation in Crete with children as there are plenty of good hotels, beaches and activities.

It is a classic summer vacation resort with plenty of restaurants, gift stores and sightseeing opportunities.

All hotels in Ayia Marina →

Where to Stay in Agia Marina? 🏨

Expensive hotels:

  • Galini Sea View is a luxury beachfront hotel with panoramic sea views, excellent service and gourmet cuisine.
  • Thalassa Beach Resort & Spa is a fashionable resort with its own beach, spa center and haute cuisine restaurants.
  • Stefan Village Hotel is an elegant, traditional Cretan-style hotel with seaside villas and chic amenities.

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

  • Orion Star is a simple and inexpensive hotel with basic amenities, ideal for a budget vacation.
  • Eden Beach Hotel is a modest hotel by the sea with clean rooms at a reasonable price.
  • Aestas Apartments – Economy apartments with kitchen and balcony, a great choice for independent travelers.

8. Platanias – Best Town for Beach Vacation 🏖

The beach in Platanias is very similar to the beach in Agia Marina. It also overlooks a beautiful rocky island in the sea.

🌇 Beachside bliss: Platanias, a great place to stay on the beach in Crete. The main street is full of restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. Many restaurants allow you to sit overlooking the sea and enjoy dinner at sunset.

🗻 Hilltop haven: Right by the «central square» of Platanias, there is a very steep hill that you can quickly climb and thus get a phenomenal view of the whole neighborhood.

All hotels in Platanias →

Where to Stay in Platanias? 🏨

Expensive hotels:

  • Hotel Castle Suites is a luxurious hotel with exquisite design, located on the beachfront overlooking the sea.
  • Kallitsakis Beach is a fashionable hotel with chic rooms, a private beach and top-notch service.
  • Elia Platanias is a cozy family hotel in the center of Platanias, offering comfortable rooms with all amenities.

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

  • Amaryllis is a simple and inexpensive hotel with basic amenities located near the beach.
  • Katerina Seaside Studios – Studios with kitchen and balcony, are just a 5-minute walk from the sea.

9. Ierapetra – Where to Stay Away from the Crowds 🕊

🌞 Southernmost warmth: Ierapetra has two other features: firstly, it is the southernmost city in the whole of Europe, and secondly, it is the warmest city in Crete. The climate here is just perfect for enjoying the beautiful beaches that surround the town.

🚌 Excellent connectivity: If you don’t have your own car but want to explore the southern part of Crete, Ierapetra is an excellent choice. It is connected to the north of the island (particularly Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos) by intercity bus services. Once you arrive in Ierapetra, there is plenty to see and do here, although you may have to take a cab to more distant attractions.

🏝️ Quieter traditional: Although it is the busiest place in the south of Crete, it is much quieter than the larger towns in the north, and there is the opportunity to enjoy the quieter and more traditional part of Crete.

All hotels in Ierapetra →

Where to Stay in Ierapetra? 🏩

Expensive hotels:

  • Petra Mare is a luxurious hotel with exquisite interior design, located on the beachfront with picturesque views.
  • El Greco Hotel is an elegant hotel in a historic building with upscale service and a Mediterranean restaurant.

Medium price range:

  • Galaxy Hotel is a modern hotel with comfortable rooms and swimming pool, conveniently located in the city center.
  • Astron Hotel is a cozy family hotel with a homely atmosphere, offers rooms with all amenities at a reasonable price.

Inexpensive hotels:

  • Coral Hotel is a simple and inexpensive hotel with basic amenities, suitable for budget vacations.
  • Tzoka Studio is a hostel with shared kitchens and spacious rooms, a great option for young people and individual travelers.

10. Elounda – Best City in Crete for Luxury 💎

🌴 Luxurious oasis: Elounda is an exclusive and luxurious oasis on the northeastern coast of Crete, offering picturesque scenery and first-class facilities. Particularly known for its expensive hotels, exquisite restaurants and the crystal clear waters of Mirabello Bay.

🏔️ Natural beauty: Elounda is surrounded by magnificent mountains and beautiful beaches, making it an ideal place for relaxation and adventure.

All hotels in Elounda →

Where to Stay in Elounda? 🏨

Expensive hotels:

  • Domes Aulus Elounda is an elegant hotel with luxurious rooms, fine cuisine and excellent service on the shores of Mirabello Bay.
  • Elounda Colour Apartments are comfortable apartments in a picturesque location overlooking the bay, suitable for families.

Medium price range:

  • Elounda Sea Suites is a chic sea view apartment equipped with everything you need for a comfortable stay and ideal for family vacations.
  • Kalypso Suites Hotel is a hotel with cozy rooms, good service and reasonable prices.

Inexpensive hotels:

Best Areas & Hotels in Crete on a Map 🗺

FAQs about Trip to Crete ❔

What is the most beautiful part of the island of Crete?

The island of Crete is renowned for its stunning landscapes, but one particularly beautiful area is the southern coast near the town of Chania. Here, you’ll find picturesque villages nestled among rugged mountains, with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Where to avoid in Crete?

While Crete is generally safe for travelers, one area to exercise caution is around the city of Heraklion, especially in crowded tourist areas where pickpocketing can occur. Stay alert and keep your belongings secure to avoid any unpleasant incidents.

Where to stay in Crete for nightlife?

If you’re looking for vibrant nightlife in Crete, consider staying in the coastal town of Malia. This bustling resort town is famous for its lively bars, clubs, and beach parties, making it the perfect destination for those seeking round-the-clock entertainment.

Which area in Crete has the best beaches?

Crete is blessed with numerous stunning beaches, but one area that stands out is the region of Elafonissi in the southwest. Known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and pink-tinged sands, Elafonissi Beach is a paradise for beach lovers seeking natural beauty and tranquility.

How long to stay in Crete?

The ideal duration of your stay in Crete depends on your interests and itinerary. To fully explore the island’s highlights, including its historical sites, scenic landscapes, and charming villages, consider spending at least one week. However, if you’re short on time, a minimum of three to four days will allow you to experience some of Crete’s must-see attractions.