The Best Luxury Hotels to Book in Crete

Looking for the best luxury hotels to book in Crete? Crete has sandy beaches hidden among soaring mountains, palm tree forests growing in the middle of sprawling plains, modern cities that share coastlines with centuries-old buildings. The streets are lined with architecture that reflect styles of the Minoans, the Venetians and the Ottomans, as well as contemporary Greeks.

Experience Crete’s history, enjoy a variety of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, stay along the northern coast in Chania or Heraklion, or for those who prefer the great outdoors; head to Rethymnon or Agios Nikolaos for the many beautiful beaches. Visit the most amazing beaches of Greece here, or on Pinterest.

Crete Weather – When to Visit

The best time to visit Crete is from mid-May to June or from September to October. May brings with it warmer waters and beautiful wildflowers that can be spotted throughout the island’s natural attractions. If you plan on going during the summer, plan on taking your vacation in June, as July and August bring in lots of crowds, which may compromise the comfort of your stay if you are headed to the island for an escape. The heat from the high season cools down in September and October, along with room rates and tourists, making this the best time to visit.

Summer is everyone’s favorite time to vacation to Crete. Average temperatures average in the low 70s and 80s; tourists and residents alike hit the beach. But as temperatures rise, so do hotel prices, not to mention wait times at popular attractions and restaurants. Also, consider getting your day started early: You can avoid long lines by getting to the top sites first.

Best Crete Beaches

Elafonisi Beach Crete Greece, The Best Luxury Hotels to Book in Crete, best Crete hotels, best Crete restaurants, best Crete Clubs, best Crete tours & activities
Elafonisi Beach

Its raw beauty is undeniable, with glassy aquamarine waters and swirls of pastel-pink sands kissing the shore – a natural phenomenon caused by thousands of shells washing up over the years and tingeing the white sands. Sunbeds and umbrellas for hire are scattered across the main beach and lagoon; the shallow waters are perfect for families.

.

Falassarna Beach Crete Greece, The Best Luxury Hotels to Book in Crete, best Crete hotels, best Crete restaurants, best Crete Clubs, best Crete tours & activities
Falassarna Beach

This is one of the finest beaches in Crete with plenty of room to spread your towel, superbly clear water and see-forever views. A handful of tavernas and villas to rent dot the sloping hill backing the beach. While the waves rolling off the Mediterranean may not be ideal for families, windsurfers are in their element here, and everybody appreciates the famous Falassarna sunsets, when the burning orange slowly melts into that incredible sea.

.

Preveli Beach Crete Greece, The Best Luxury Hotels to Book in Crete, best Crete hotels, best Crete restaurants, best Crete Clubs, best Crete tours & activities
Preveli Beach

Preveli Beachis is backed by the craggy cliffs of Kourtaliotiko Gorge and with jungly riverbanks lined with tall, lush palms. Access to the beach requires a knee-pounding climb down a steep path (and a real thigh-burner on the way back up) but waiting at the bottom are bone-white sands and clear waters for snorkeling. 

.

.

Balos Beach Crete Greece, The Best Luxury Hotels to Book in Crete, best Crete hotels, best Crete restaurants, best Crete Clubs, best Crete tours & activities
Balos Beach

Balos Beach has lily-white sands, vivid turquoise waters and a wonderfully wild and remote setting on the Gramvousa Peninsula. Backed by scrubby hills, the beach and its lagoon is not easy to reach, but that doesn’t put off the regulars who brave the precarious and rocky dirt-road drive to get here, or the day trippers who hop aboard a boat for a precious couple of hours.

.

.

Kommos Beach Crete Greece, The Best Luxury Hotels to Book in Crete, best Crete hotels, best Crete restaurants, best Crete Clubs, best Crete tours & activities
Kommos Beach

Kommos Beach is a beautiful wide arc of sand backed by dunes and ringed by patchy green mountains. A steep, winding road leads down to the swirling Smurf-blue waters, pearl-white sands and views of ancient Minoan settlement ruins (off limits to the public). The wind produces some decent-sized waves here so it’s not suitable for young families, though the nudists at the northern end of the beach don’t seem to mind.

.

Best Crete Tours & Activities

Quad Safari Half Day

Go to hidden-away corners of Crete few travelers get to see with this guided all-terrain vehicle tour. Follow your guide off-road to quiet tracks far from the traffic and crowded resorts. Explore the near-abandoned ghost village of Achlada, where only a few locals still live, and Fodele, the birthplace of El Greco. Book Your Quad Safari Half Day Tour Here.

Crete Land Rover Safari with Lunch and Drinks

Explore the diverse palm forests, gorges, and beaches of Crete on a full-day Land Rover safari. Rumble along remote roads in the gorgeous Rethymno region, passing landmarks like Prasses Gorge and Potamon Dam and stopping to swim in the Libyan Sea. Get a taste of Cretan country life when you visit traditional villages like Spili, and try local cuisine with included lunch at a tavern. Skip the hassle of a rental car and let a sturdy 4×4 and guide show you the best of the island’s scenery and culture. Book Your Crete Land Rover Safari Tour Here.

Stand -Up Paddleboard and Snorkeling Tour in Crete

Explore the Cretan coastline from a standup paddleboard on this guided tour around beautiful Marathi Bay. After a short instruction and safety lesson, head out into the bay, exploring smaller islets, diving spots, and a small cave system along the way. Stop from time to time to snorkel with the marine life or catch your breath on the beach. This tour is good for all ages and experience levels, a great way to enjoy time with friends and family on the water. Book Your Stant-Up Paddleboard & Snorkeling Tour Here.

Off-Road Buggy Adventure in Crete

Explore Crete’s rugged interior on a full-day off-road buggy trip from Hersonissos. Drive or ride a 4-wheeler and travel through picturesque villages and countryside up to the Lasithi Plateau, framed by the Dikti Mountains. Follow black-topped roads and off-road trails, traverse olive groves and mountain slopes, and stop for photos and to visit the Kera Kardiotissa monastery (own expense). Traditional taverna lunch, driving instructions, and port and hotel drop-off in the Hersonissos area included. Book Your Off-Road Buggy Adventure Here.

Zeus Cave-Traditional-Villages-Old Windmills-Olive Oil Factory-Small Group

Spend a full day exploring Crete with a local guide. Visit Psychro Cave, the birthplace of Zeus, and a platanus tree that is according to local legend, the oldest tree on the island. You’ll also tour the villages of Mochos and Krasi and enjoy a traditional Cretan lunch in a local restaurant. Book Your Zeus Cave – Villages – Olive Oil Factory Tour Here.

Best Crete Restaurants

Avli

Avli has curving, cave-like ceilings and a luscious patio bursting with glossy orange trees, fat palms and potted ferns. It’s luxurious but rustic feeling – meaty stews are topped with edible flowers, meze bites overflow from pretty ceramics, while a lengthy wine list from local Greek wineries. Telephone: 30 28310 26213 Web: Avli

Peskesi

In a restored sea captain’s mansion, stone walls and arches provide the backdrop to some of the best food in Crete: traditional cuisine brought to life with modern techniques and presentation.  Sensational cheeses, plentiful vegan and vegetarian options, and a brilliant wine list make this a must-go destination. Telephone: 30 28102 88887 Web: Peskesi

Pelagos $11 – 30

Simple is the keyword here: fresh catches from the fleet bobbing in the harbor just beyond are plainly grilled and accompanied by local vegetables and Cretan wines. Salads are a winner, often with unusual combinations, and the pasta is well presented, too, but really you are here for the daily seafood specials. Telephone: 30 28410 25737 Web: Pelagos

Kanali $11 – 30

Fish is the main event, often simply grilled and always impeccably sourced. It may be little more than a beach shack dressed up in Gucci but the kitchen really delivers—a humble lunch here of salad, sardines, and a glass of wine can be a sublime experience, a world away from the nearby resort offerings. Telephone: 30 28410 42075

Migomis

Migomis offers some of the best views in town. Mediterranean-inspired dishes accompany Greek classics, and the steaks are rightly famous. It’s set in a building from the 1890s, and a piano player complements the atmosphere with a repertoire of classics. Telephone: 30 28410 24353 Web: Migomis

Best Nightlife in Crete

Mylos Club

This is one of the island’s hottest dance clubs and it gets packed in the summer months when guest DJs are flown in to do their sets. Music veers from dance to Balearic trance, with a few Greek classics thrown in. Telephone: 30 28210 68578 Web: Mylos Club

Ilios

For an authentic spot to listen to some of the best Cretan music you can’t find better than this seaside tavern. Parasiris and family hand out brimming carafes of raki or flip brizola pork chops on a battered barbecue. Telephone: 30 2831 072750 Web: Iliod

Ta Xalkina

Punch-packing tumblers of raki or wine from the barrel are served with saucers of meze –crisp Cretan rusks drizzled with olive oil, tomato pulp and sprinkled with oregano; shrimps in a garlicky sauce – as well as more substantial dishes, including tender slow-cooked lamb. Most nights they have Cretan music – get there before 10pm to get best seats. Telephone: 30 2821 041570 Web: Ta Xalkina

Stone Project

Cocktails made with local produce can be startlingly good. Try their sweet and spicy Mastixa Sour made with mastixa liqueur from Chios blended with lemon juice and Angostura bitters, or their range of punch-packing raki-based beverages. Telephone: 30 69481 73755 Web: Stone Project

Eukalyptos

As its name suggests, this popular city bar sits beneath gently rustling leaves of elephant-sized, sweet-scented eucalyptus trees close to Heraklion’s massive Venetian walls. It’s a magnet for city dwellers. At night, candles flicker on tables, cocktails are served and there are chunky burgers and good-sized portions of homemade yogurt tsatsiki, freshly made Greek salad and other tasty snacks. Telephone: 30 69920 57825 Web: Eukalyptos

Best Crete Hotels

22 Comments

  1. Grace

    Hi Leahrae

    The near-abandoned ghost village of Achlada sounds interesting haha! And Psychro Cave, the birthplace of Zeus, sounds like a place that you can not miss! I really like you providing all useful information in one post so that potential travelers can make a concrete plan just by going through your recommendations. 

    Thanks a lot,

    Grace

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You’re welcome Grace, thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  2. jim

    Love your Website. This site is amazing and has lots of info for the traveler. Things are never considered when flying. I love the clarity and layout of your website. There are lots of important information that will be useful to me.

    Best beach gear: Very good list. I think the mobile phone waterproof protector is so necessary, it is a smart way to protect our phone at beaches. I been using a Zip lock bag.

    Water sports gear: lots of good information I saw about 3 things there I would love to try.

    Overall absolutely love your site. 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you so much Jim, especially for taking the time to leave me comments.

      Reply
  3. Angel

    Dear Leahrae,

    I can honestly say that I have never been to Crete, but would add it to my Bucket List of places to visit. Mainly, seeing from the pictures on your website, I would say it is a paradise on earth like heaven. I love the blue water, the stay ins at hotels, enjoying the views, and being in a totally different country altogether. I always enjoy the sea breeze off the beaches, don’t you? Do they allow swimming here, boating, or even snorkeling off their beach shores also, just curious if there are restrictions in place due to COVID-19.

    Wishing you all the best with your online success Above Beyond the Horizon,

    ~Angelina Jolina

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Of course, you can swim and snorkel!  And Crete has lifted covid travel restrictions recently.  So, all good 🙂

      Reply
  4. Jannette

    When it comes to choosing the best hotel for my vacation it is important for me to discover the surroundings, ratings, services, and if they have a friendly staff. So, when I look at hotels for my vacation in Crete, I am leaning towards booking a reservation Serenissima Boutique Hotel as it is not too far from the beautiful city center and has wonderful ratings. 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Jannette, sounds like you have made a great hotel choice for your Crete vacation!

      Reply
  5. Aly

    I have been dreaming of traveling to Crete and the gorgeous waters for some time. Your photos and video are helping to bring the travel dreams to life as I plan out the details of a perfect getaway trip with my sweetie. There are a lot more interesting beaches than I expected in the area, so I’m going to need to set aside some time for exploring both the culture and these beautiful beaches!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I agree, you do need time for both!  It is definitely a 2-week trip that will allow you to enjoy the beaches, the culture and the food.  Please let me know if you need any additional information.  Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  6. Aubin Tshiyole

    Where exactly is this place? I am not much of a traveler but I would love to start traveling and this seems like a pretty great place to start. I have never been to the beach so I believe that it will be a nice experience. I will be sure to wait for your feedback 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      So Crete is part of Greece, an island in the south of Greece and to the west of Turkey.  Great location!

      Reply
  7. Abel

    I have been reading about Paul leaving Timothy in Crete to establish elders. And I got interested in this island. It turns out that Crete is the largest island of Greece and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean Sea. All this has encouraged me to go on vacation to Crete, to enjoy its natural beauties and also learn more about the island.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You would enjoy Abel!  Please let me know if you need any more information.  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  8. Marlene

    Hi Leahrae, we always enjoy reading about the destinations in your articles.

    Crete is definitely going on our bucket list of traveling destinations, especially Falassarna Beach which looks stunning. Thank you for adding the hotels and restaurants in and around the area, it is always good to know about them.

    Thank you for another great article and we always look forward to reading more about the amazing destinations you write about.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you, Marlene, for you continued visits to beach travel destinations.  I am glad you are enjoying!

      Reply
  9. Jenni Elliott

    Hello Leahrae, It is always great to read the articles on your website and this one is no exception. Vacationing in the Mediterranean is always luxurious and while I’ve been to Greece and its Islands, I’ve never managed Crete. I will particularly enjoy Balos Beach, I think and definitely catch a sunset At Falassarna. Then I think the Land Rover Safari would be a must. Thanks for this enticing travelogue. 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Glad you enjoyed Jenni and thank you for continuing to visit beach travel destinations.  I appreciate you taking the time to leave me comments.

      Reply
  10. only1hugh

    Being from the Caribbean I had to brush up a little on where Crete was in relation to Greece. I now have it geographically positioned in my head. Certainly, a spot that provides a blend of good beaches. I particularly liked your description of Falassarna Beach with its crystal waters and rolling waves for my novice windsurfing skills. I always like to add a little something in my trip that is away from the crowd and a visit to the ghost village of Achlada along with a stop at the birthplace of El Greco sounds like it will do the trick. Plenty of restaurants also for hanging out to get myself into a night swing. Thanks so much for a cool review of Crete.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome and thank you for taking the time to leave me your comments.  I am glad you enjoyed your visit to the Best Luxury Hotels to Book in Crete guide.

      Reply
  11. Kwidzin

    hi thre. i just stumbled upon your website here and ave been having a read through some of your articles here inckuding this one which i have to say, i found to be very interesting, intriguing and educational to read indeed. I must say, i love places like this and cant wait to get travelling agai.

    Thanks fior sharing

    Karalyne

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Karalyne, thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.  I am glad you have enjoyed your visit and I hope you get to travel soon!

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestCheck Our Feed