From the picturesque streets to the enchanting staircases, I love everything about this Greek island. As the largest island of Greece and a short one-hour flight from Athens, Crete has so much to offer. We spent 5 days on this striking island and it has easily become one of my favourite destinations.
We found that public transport (mainly busses) were remarkably easy and efficient but taxis and Hop On Hop Off busses (in limited areas) are also available.
The temperature in Crete is prime pretty much year round. However, the summer months are the warmest (April to October-ish) with temperatures mainly in the low thirties.
High season is from June to August so beware of the increased hotel rates. We visited the island of Crete in May and although the water was a tad cold, the weather was lovely. Because summer is so busy, late spring and autumn are great months to visit as the masses of tourists have already left.
Where to stay
We stayed in the tourist-hub of Malia, and as we weren’t travelling in summer, it was pleasantly quiet. We were surrounded by a variety of different restaurants and bars (which weren’t all open) including English, Greek, Italian and Mexican cuisines. The beach was a short 5-minute walk down the street and the main road was about 10. Malia is known as party central, so the beaches aren’t busy until the afternoon, as the bar goers stay out and wake up late. Malia is famous for its Minoan Palace archaeological site so definitely check it out if you’re staying nearby. Old-Malia is just up the road and is full of quaint restaurants and cafes who serve authentic, Greek meals. 3-star hotels average to about $60 per night.
Agios Nikolaus is a charming, medium-sized coastal town full of welcoming restaurants, a breathtaking lake and captivating marinas. 3-star hotels average to about $105 per night.
Being the capital of Crete and the sixth most populated city in Greece, Heraklion is especially busy with Greek people going about their day-to-day lives. It also happens to be the home to some of Crete’s most famous archaeological sites/museums such as Knossos Palace located just outside of the city. 3-star hotels average to about $100 per night.
Hersonissos is a popular tourist destination dominated by sea-side restaurants, water parks and beaches. 3-star hotels average to about $55 per night.
The stunning sea-side town of Agios Nikolaus is a must for anyone who steps foot on the island of Crete. It retains a laid-back, leisurely vibe while being filled with a range of things to do. Go on a boat tour, wander around town or watch cats steal fish from fishermen.
Lake Voulismeni-Located in the centre of town, Lake Voulismeni is what Agios revolves around. There’s a spectacular lookout located above the lake next to a line of lively cafes. Keep an eye out for the turtles swimming below!
Shopping-The main shopping street is that of Oktovriou however, there are many more scattered around town. Jewellery, crystal shops, typical Greek souvenirs, honey, olive oil, divine boutiques along with cafes are all to be found.
Boat tours!-We went on an insightful boat tour to the island of Spinalonga and it was absolutely incredible. Though there are other options such as the semi-submarine boat trip.
Greece, and its many beaches!
- Voulisma beach
- Almyros beach
- Municipal Beach Kitroplatia
Heraklion (or Iraklion)
Knossos-The archaeological site of Knossos dates back to 7000 bc and is known as Europe’s oldest city. The palace is currently being rebuilt but unfortunately not to the original state it was all those years ago.
Soak up the sun!-The golden sand beach of Karteros is a short 20-minute drive from the capital.
Hop On Hop Off-Hop on a Hop On Hop Off and discover some of the stories behind the must-see archaeological sites in Heraklion.
Museums- Learn a bit about Crete’s long history!
- Natural History Museum of Crete
- Historical Museum of Crete
- Heraklion Archaeological Museum
Hersonissos sits roughly in the middle of Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos and is just as beautiful as them both.
- Take a stroll down the popular boulevard and have a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants overlooking the sea! In my experience, sunset is the most beautiful (but busiest) time.
- Trek it up the mountain and visit the Cave of Zeus
- Water park it up and visit one of the water parks! (Star Beach water park, Aqua Plus)
Whether you are searching for a relaxation or culture filled holiday, Crete is such a fascinating island and is the perfect destination for any vacation.