tips to help you choose crete for your holiday
Crete, an island of the Minoan civilisation, has everything to offer visitors; mountains, crystal clear seas, blue flag beaches, historical towns, traditional villages and an abundance of locally grown produce.
We specialise in the areas near to the beautiful city of Chania in the north west of the island.
What Is The Climate Like In Crete?
Crete is the most southerly Greek island with a very agreeable climate. The tourist season usually starts around April and lasts until the end of October. The spring (April) is one of the best times to visit for hiking and to see the beautiful wild flowers, see more on this here.
In early summer (May and June) the temperatures start to climb steadily to an average in the mid 20's. This is an excellent time to visit if you don't have to keep to school holiday dates as the climate is very pleasant and there are few crowds.
July and August are the busiest (and hottest) months with tourists from all over Europe choosing Crete for their holiday destination. The north westerly winds usually moderate the temperatures but it's best to make sure your holiday accommodation offers shelter from the hot sun. It goes without saying that the sea will be warm and perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
September is still high season with warm, sunny days and an average sea temperature of around 24 degrees. The season draws to a close in October but this is a perfect month for visiting the island as the sea is still warm for swimming and activities such as hiking and visiting the archaeological sites can be undertaken in pleasant temperatures. Visiting at this time of year also means you will be able to take advantage of our low occupancy discount rates, so you get more for you money when staying in Crete, take a look here for more information!
How Big Is Crete?
Crete consists of 8,336km2 of beautiful beach, quaint towns, white mountains and land. It is 160 miles long and 35 miles wide so is the largest of the six Greek islands.
What Is The Food Like In Crete?
Locally grown produce is of an extremely high quality due to the climate and eating out at one of the many tavernas is likely to be high on your list of things to do during your stay.
If you're happy to eat the local Greek cuisine (which most people are) you won't find it's expensive because the island is self sufficient in a diverse range of foods including olives (and olive oil), fresh fruits (mainly grapes, tomatoes, citrus fruits, tangerines, melons, water melons, kiwis, avocados and bananas), fresh horticultural products (mainly cucumbers, potatoes, aubergines, peppers and beans), meat (mainly lamb, rabbit and chicken) and fish, honey and herbs.
Locally produced wine is also, these days, very good as is the raki (tsikoudia). Take a look at this handy blog for more information on Cretan cuisine and where to find the best restaurants!
Popular Day Trips & Excursions
With so much natural beauty to enjoy in North West Crete, a day trip or excursion is one of the best ways to explore beyond the local area of your villa. From ancient archeological sites and museums to fantastic family waterparks, segway tours of Chania town and of course - the breath taking Samaria Gorge - there are enough things to do in Crete to fill a whole year, let alone a holiday!
Take a look at our Top 10 Things To Do in Crete for more in depth information!
What Is Transport Like?
Unless you have rented a car or a method of private transport, buses are the only form of public transport in Crete with the main bus company being KTEL. There are three bus stations in Crete, based in Chania, Rethymno and Lassithi. Fares are fairly reasonable and the buses themselves a regular within the main resorts. Take a look here for a full timetable.
However, if you are staying in a slightly more rural area, car hire is highly recommended and will allow you much more freedom when travelling to other resorts and tourist attractions. There are many places in which to hire cars in Crete, and for Crete Escapes customers we have negotiated favourable rates with a number of car hire companies. Take a look here for more information.
Where Are The Best Beaches In Crete?
From the exquisite white and pink sands of Elafonissi (which could rival any Caribbean alternative) to the safe and gently sloping beach at Almyrida, a wonderful beach is not hard to find in North West Crete - no matter where your chosen villa is located. Considering that many of our villas have magnificent sea views, it's easy to see why finding the perfect spot of sand on which to lie your towel is a simple task.
Crete is renowned for its clean, crystal clear sea making the island a perfect destination for lovers of water sports, snorkellers and families with young children. Considering the average sea temperature is still at 24 degrees in September, Crete remains one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe for a late summer break. Take a look here to get to know more about the beaches of West Crete.
Is Crete Expensive?
Crete isn’t a particularly expensive place to visit on holiday, however prices for things like tourist attractions, day trips and in some cases restaurants will vary depending on when you visit.
Due to it being a fairly large island with a favourable climate, Crete is in a lot of cases quite self-sufficient. The ability to grow and produce most of its own food wine and preserves means that food produce in Crete is relatively cheap and guaranteed to be fresh!
Depending on where you are looking to stay, accommodation can be on the more expensive side of things simply because Crete is such a desirable place to stay. However, there are plenty options available including a number of stunning villas. We offer low occupancy discount rates and favourable payment terms for all of our villas if you are looking for a low-cost holiday!
Crete lies at the point where the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa meet; it is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean with an area of 8,300 square kilometres.
Crete is a large island stretching about 250 kms from west to east. It is not far from north to south but the mountainous terrain means most journeys from the north to the south coast will involve a picturesque journey across the mountains.
Crete is divided into four areas known as prefectures. From west to east they are: Chania, Rethymnon, Iraklio and Lassithi. All of our villas and houses are in the Chania area.
Where Is The Best Shopping In Crete?
Trinket hunters will not be disappointed by the wide array of goods available to buy in this region. Nor will foodies, who are keen to bring home local produce such as olive oil, honey or organic beauty products. However, the level of choice will largely be determined by where you choose to visit.
Many of the local towns in North West Crete offer a small selection of shops selling charming hand made jewellery, arts and crafts, attractive clothing and of course the obligatory seaside items like snorkels, lilos, beach wear and so on.
For a richer shopping experience, it would be best to venture into the beautiful and bustling Chania Town where a smorgasboard of delights can be found in the form of clothes, handbags, beauty products, hand made bowls and so on. For those wishing to base themselves around Almyrida (and neighbouring villages of Kokkino Chorio, Plaka and Kalives) it is very easy to reach Chania Town either by car (roughly 40 minutes) or a local bus service.
How Long Should I Spend In Crete?
Depending on where you’re staying and what you are looking to do in Crete you could spend anything from 3 days to 3 weeks on the island! As the largest of the Greek islands there is more to explore and do than some of the others. We would recommend staying for 1 week – 2 weeks so you can really take in all of the Cretan wonders while still having time to relax and enjoy the tranquil parts of the island without feeling rushed.
It is definitely best to have an idea of the things you want to do and see before you come so you can make the best use of your time in Crete. If you’re struggling to think of things to do to fill your time take a look at these 5 Crete attractions you shouldn’t miss!
Crete For Couples
Crystal clear sea, breath taking sunsets and excellent cuisine, what could be more perfect for a romantic break away with your loved one?
Crete provides an idyllic location for budding romances and old flames alike. Chania Town’s romantic scenery and quaint tavernas provide a picturesque experience where you can enjoy a candle lit evening with great wine and exquisite food.
Likewise, the beaches around Chania and at Almyrida are wonderful for sunset evening walks, long days at the beach or even a romantic picnic to finish off your holiday.
If you and your other half are looking for the perfect bolt hole for your time away in Crete take a look at our Villas for Couples and see more on why Crete makes the perfect romantic getaway here.
Crete For Families
Trying to find a holiday location that is suitable for the whole family can be a challenge. However, with all Crete has to provide including beaches, water sports, historic architecture and of course the gorgeous weather, there really is something for everyone.
The wonderful blue flag beaches provide a safe place for little ones to explore while parents and guardians have space to relax and take in the stunning scenery. Crete’s mountainous terrain there is also plenty of opportunity to wear the little ones out, so you can have a peaceful and relaxing evening sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine.
We have a wide range of family friendly villas available, all of which provide the perfect home away from home that you and the kids won’t want to leave! For more information why Crete is the ideal place for a family holiday take a look here.
Villas In Crete
With so much to see and do in Crete it can be a daunting task to select the most appropriate location for your villa holiday. From sleepy villages to bustling seaside resorts, our villas are located across a wide range of areas in North West Crete to ensure that holidaymakers can find the perfect retreat.
Take a closer look at these different regions and discover more about the distinct benefits of each one.
What Should You Look For In A Villa?
Choosing the right villa in Crete will be a personal choice depending on your priorities. However, some criteria should be applicable to all such as choosing a fully licensed property which has a good standard of accommodation throughout - with clean, functional amenities.
Here is our rundown of the 3 most important things that you should consider when booking a holiday villa in Crete.
1. Be sure to choose a fully licensed /REGISTERED property
Peace of mind is everything when it comes to your holiday - especially if you are travelling with young children. You need to know that your villa will be safe, conform to a pleasing standard and most importantly, be licensed as a holiday rental.
At Crete Escapes, every one of our villas is either fully licensed or registered with the Greek authorities as a holiday rental (different conditions apply to each of these types). We also remain in regular contact with all of our villa owners to ensure that standards are maintained and we are kept up to date about significant changes to the accommodation (please note that gardens evolve over time and therefore pictures shown on the website may show a garden that is less mature than at the time of your visit).
2. Be aware of hidden extras
Budgeting for a holiday is hard enough without the added complication of what is and isn't included in the price of your villa. It may come as quite a shock to discover that with some rental sites, basic necessities such as air conditioning, bed linen and WiFi can all incur an extra charge ontop of the initial rental advertised.
At Crete Escapes, all of these things - and more - are included as standard in our price per week figure. What's more, to ensure that your stay is as comfortable and stress free as possible, we provide a complimentary maid service which is typically once a week (and more regularly at some villas).
As a final thank you for choosing to book with Crete Escapes, we always ensure that a "welcome pack" is waiting for guests on arrival at their villa with hearty necessities such as tea, coffee, water, bread and many other basic items. Often the perfect start to your villa holiday in Crete - made all the easier by not needing to visit the local shop for those initial supplies!
3. Take Time to Select The Right Location
Don't fall into the trap of being seduced by a beautiful villa that turns out to be poorly located for your needs. Considering what you want from your holiday and then researching the local area, beaches, tavernas and nightlife of different towns and villages will ensure that you get this important aspect right.
For those wishing to relax and eat mainly at the villa or local tavernas, a quieter town or village such as Kokkino Chorio, Kalives or Plaka would be perfect. Especially since the livelier atmosphere of Almyrida, with its many seaside restaurants and bars is less than a 10 minute car or taxi ride.
Night owls may enjoy being based closer to Chania or Georgioupolis with many bars, restaurants and late night shopping to enjoy - especially in Chania town.
Things To Pack For Your Holiday To Crete
The stress of exceeding your baggage allowance is always present when going on holiday but it can also be difficult to know what to pack. Here are a few essentials we recommend to bring/leave at home when travelling to Crete:
- Always pack you own sun cream: Crete is blessed with some of the best weather of the Mediterranean so ensuring you are protected from getting burnt is crucial. However, buying sun cream in Crete itself can be very expensive so we would always advise bringing it with you to avoid unnecessary expenditure.
- No need for a coat: Crete’s good weather is one of the main reasons it is such a popular holiday destination. There is no need to bring big bulky clothes and instead we would recommend packing lighter cardigans and t shirts except at the very beginning or end of the season when a light jacket might be needed.
- If you’re staying with us, there’s no need to pack beach towels! Many of our villas include beach towels so you can save precious luggage space for more of the real essentials!
For more information on what to pack for your holiday in Crete take a look at this helpful blog!