Crete Holidays - Sun, sea, myths and legends
Not all the best things come in small packages. Greece’s biggest island packs one heck of a punch within a huge 650-mile gilt-edged coastline, from long swathes of the sandy stuff sloping into turquoise waters, to dramatic mountain ranges harbouring tiny, timeless villages and a whole host of intriguing myths and legends. Whether you’re looking for vibrant or silent, romantic or rip-roaring and cultural or chilled, Crete has the lot. So for a holiday that combines the best of big island diversity with little isle charm, Crete should be right up your street.
When to go
Crete beckons any time of the year though by far the busiest months are when school’s out in July, August and early September. Having said that, there are also a growing number of island-lovers who are prepared to sacrifice a few degrees for a little more elbow room in the resorts during the winter months. In general the least expensive holidays in Crete can be found in November through May.
The weather in Crete
Crete has one of the best climates in Europe, with the mercury peaking in July and August, dropping a few degrees in May, June and September and remaining warm in April and October. The rest of the year can be chilly (though with plenty of warm days mingled in too), especially in the mountains and the north. The south of the island tends to have the sunniest disposition, with the mountainous interior experiencing frost and snow in the winter. Average temperatures in summer range from 29-30C in the daytime to 23-24C at night.
Getting the best deal
You can get the best deals on package holidays to Crete by avoiding the busy summer school holidays visiting in the shoulder months of June, early July and September when flight prices and accommodation rates tend to be lower. If you’re more interested in sampling the true taste of traditional Crete rather than lazing on the beaches, the winter months are and ideal time to visit and offer the lowest prices. To find the best deals check out the offers below or visit our late deals offers.
Airport and transport need to know
You can fly direct to Crete from many of the main UK hubs as well as from a number of regional airports where prices may be lower such as Bristol, Cardiff and Newcastle. The flight time is around three and a half hours. A number of scheduled airlines also offer indirect flights via Athens.
There are two international airports in Crete - Heraklion (HER) and Chania (CHQ). Heraklion is the biggest and by far the busiest and lies three miles east of its namesake city. If you’re holidaying on the west coast of Crete however, Chania is a better option if available, otherwise you face a transfer of two to three hours. Both airports have taxis available (check prices at the taxi stand) and a public bus service. Car rental agencies are also situated at both (remember to drive on the right!).
A selection of top resorts in Crete
Whether your idea of ideal holidays in Crete is spending long, lazy days on the beach, exploring the narrow lanes of chocolate box villages or bopping till breakfast in open-air nightclubs, there’s a resort for everyone on this diverse island. Many offer shopping opportunities aplenty in pretty streets lined with sensational bars, restaurants and family-run tavernas. All provide picture postcard beaches, a warm welcome and an ambience unique to Greece’s largest island.
Malia might be known as party central in Crete but it’s not all about the young and trendy populating the neon nightlife venues. This popular resort just east of Heraklion has a less frenetic, more family-friendly side too. Although the new resort boasts one of the island’s best beaches backed by a vibrant strip of restaurants offering food from around the world, old Malia is a traditional village flecked with bursts of bright bougainvillea and retaining the flavour and charm of old Greece.
On the west coast, Chania is all things to all men (and women... and children!). As Crete’s second city you’ll find a treasure chest of Cretan culture with a hotch-potch of influences, particularly Venetian. Away from the sightseeing, the safe, gently sloping sands of spectacular Chania beach are great for families with young children. At night the harbour becomes illuminated with dozens of restaurants and bars offering everything from quick bites to delicious ‘meze’ feasts.
If you want a touch of elegance with your sun, sand and sea, you should set your sights on Rethymnon. In the shadow of an old fortress, romantic Renaissance buildings line a labyrinth of narrow streets in this old Venetian town and harbour. A palm-studded promenade border a glorious sandy beach that stretches for miles and provides long, lazy days of horizontal sun worshipping for chill-seekers or a profusion of watersports opportunities for the more adrenaline-minded.