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Holidays in Crete


As the largest of the Greek islands, Crete is home to a variety of gorgeous towns and villages that will suit any holiday maker’s needs (couples, families and party seekers alike!). The island is separated into four regions: Chania, Heraklion, Rethymno, and Lusithi, which host a number of Greece’s most popular holiday destinations, including Agios Nikolaos, Georgioupolis , Ierapetra, Plataniàs, Sitia and more!


If this Greek gem is high on your holiday wishlist, Best4Travel has a vast array of exclusive special offers and holiday deals for you. For more information on any of the destinations mentioned above, or for a tailored quotation for any of the hotels and resorts in Crete featured on Best4Travel.ie , please drop into one of our stores nationwide or call one of our expert travel agents today at our Irish call centre FREE on 1800 814 000.


Regions


“There is a land called Crete, in the midst of the wine-dark sea, a fair, rich land, begirt with water…”

-Homer, The Odyssey, Book XIX


On the western side of the isle is Chania, a region rich in natural beauty, guarded by the lofty White Mountains and a superb National Park. The city of Chania itself, the second largest in Crete, boasts a glorious Venetian old town with Instagram-perfect, pastel coloured buildings clustered around a sweeping harbour. Here in Chania it's all about sightseeing by day and partying by night, as the city comes alive after dark with upbeat bars, clubs and restaurants.


Crete's Rethymnon area on the northeast coast is teeming with beautiful beaches, with its long sweeping bay of golden sand along the town's shoreline being a real hit for beach-lovers. Rethymnon is another Venetian beauty, offering stacks of cultural sights as well as more modern entertainment in the form of shops, bars and restaurants.


The Heraklion area is perhaps Crete's best-known region. Here you'll find non-stop Malia, Crete's nightlife capital that offers a hub of activity for beach-lovers and nocturnal party-goers alike. Here you can also find the pretty town of Gouves and the popular holiday hotspot of Hersonissos.


Finally, Lassithi is Crete's most easterly region, sporting a magnificent collection of fine resorts such as swish Elounda and the pretty harbour town of Agios Nikolaos. Despite this, Lassithi has remained a more secluded spot than its neighbouring regions, making it the perfect spot for anyone seeking a quiet day at the beach, a stone throw away from some of the island’s most beautiful, traditional villages.


Attractions


With an average summer temperature sitting comfortably between 24-29°C, it’s no wonder that this particular Greek island has found a place among the top rated sun destinations world wide. Crete boasts a stunning coastline, spanning more than 1000 km around the island. Three of the island’s most popular beaches are Balos Lagoon in Kissamos, Elafonisi Beach and Old Venetian Harbour, both found in Chania. Crete also has an extensive number of olive groves, with Astrikas Estate Biolea offering free tours to any interested parties.

Families looking for another way to make the most of the sun, while keeping the kids entertained, would be remiss not to plan a trip to Aqualand Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Centre in Hersonissos. The centre hosts a variety of reptiles native to the area around the island, all of which were either rescued or are staying temporarily while injuries are treated. Visitors are encouraged to interact with the animals, by holding, petting or taking photos with them, the bravest of whom may end up holding a snake around their neck!

The history and mythology surrounding Crete is an important part of the island’s culture to this day. Known to Greek scholars as the birthplace of Zeus, the god of the sky, thunder, and ruler of all other Greek gods in Mount Olympus, it’s only right that Crete has a vast array of museums open to the public dedicated to this legend.

The Archaeological Museum of Chania has a large collection of prehistoric and classical antiquities on show. Found in the katholikon (main temple) of the Venetian Monastery of St. Francis, this is only one of many museums in Crete housed in active or former monasteries. This includes the following monasteries: Chrysopigi, Gonia, Holy Trinity of Tsangarolon, Preveli, Arkadi, and St Matthew of Sinai.

Fans of modern history will love the Maritime Museum of Crete, where models of ships, compasses, and even a computer used to fire torpedoes can be found, to tell the tale of the Battle of Crete in World War II.


Restaurants


Part of the fun in visiting a new country is discovering and enjoying the local cuisine for yourself. However, it can often be difficult to know where to start. To help set your holiday off on the right foot, we here at Best4Travel have compiled a list of the top restaurants in Crete, and divided them by price to cater for all budget types. All restaurants featured below are vegetarian friendly, and offer both gluten free and vegan options.


Low-Cost

For a beautiful dining experience that’s low on cost, try To Koutourouki in Chania Town. Here you can have traditional dishes made right in front of you by the head chef, or head to the restaurant’s picturesque courtyard to eat in the shade of the overhanging trees.

Other places to go for a quick, quality meal in Crete include Hagiati in Heraklion, Thavma Coffee in Rethymnon, and Maracaibo Restaurant in Kissamos.


Moderately Priced

To experience Mediterranean cuisine at its finest, consider spending a romantic evening at Oinoa in Chania Town. This wine bar and restaurant is renowned for its excellent service and quality food that will leave you wanting to go back every night of your stay!

Other options for a delicious Greek meal at a reasonable price include Corinna Star Restaurant, again in Chania Town, and Theodosi Restaurant in Parigoria.


Expensive

For a refined, romantic evening in Crete, there are plenty of contemporary restaurants to choose from. Serenissima Restaurant in Chania Town, Avli in Rethymnon, and Migomis Piano Restaurant in Agios Nikolaos have each received ample reviews of their authentic, Greek menu.


Shopping


If you’re already thinking of where to get souvenirs, look no further than the Agora Marketplace in Chania or the Iraklio (Heraklion) Market in Hersonissos. Immerse yourself in the local culture while traversing the various stalls hosting fresh fish, traditional baked goods, and olives in abundance.

Shopping in Crete is a unique experience, as even the most modern establishments on the island make a point of selling locally sourced products. In Kissamos you’ll find To Kaniski, a gorgeous shop dedicated to fine food and gifts, and Sklopa, a clothing, jewellry and ornament store renowned for its friendly and knowledgeable staff. The Alexia Handmade Jewellry store in Chania is a perfect for anyone looking for a unique accessory to bring home, and the Family Pitarokilis in Lassithi is where you can find great value ceramic vases and jugs that would look at home in any museum.

Transport


With Best4Travel you can have a transfer arranged for you from either Chania or Heraklion Airport straight to your hotel! The approximate transfer times from these airports to Crete’s top resort areas are as follows:


  • Agios Nikolaos - 1 hour 30 minutes - Heraklion Airport
  • Georgioupolis - 1 hour - Chania Airport
  • Lassithi - 1 hour 30 minutes - Heraklion Airport
  • Platanias - 40 minutes - Chania Airport
  • Rethymno - 1 hour 30 minutes - Chania Airport

For more information or for a tailored quotation on transfers to any of the resorts in Crete featured above, please call our expert Irish call centre today FREE on 1800 814 000

With an extensive network of routes across the island, taking the public bus is by far the easiest way to get around Crete. You can buy bus tickets in the stations assigned to most city centres, or simply pay your fare with exact change as you get on the bus. Buses operate everyday, barring any public holidays that may take place during your stay.


Best4Travel Tips


  • Capital Heraklion

  • Currency Euro

  • Language Cretan Greek

  • Time Difference to Ireland +2 hours

  • Flight Time Approx. 4 hours 30 minutes

  • Average Weather November to March: 15-20°C April to October 20-29°C

  • Local Phrases
    • Hello - Γειά σου - “Yah-soo”
    • Good morning - Καλημέρα - “Kah-lee-mare-ah”
    • How are you? - Tι κανείς ? - “Tee- kah-niss”
    • Good afternoon - Καλησπέρα - “Kah-lee-sper-ah”
    • Good night - Καληνύχτα - “Kah-lee-neek-tah”
    • Goodbye - Γειά σου - “Yah-soo”
    • Please - Παρακαλώ - “Para-kah-low”
    • Thank you - Ευχαριστώ - “Eff-kha-ri-stow”
    • You’re welcome - Παρακαλώ - “Para-kah-low”
    • Do you speak English? - Μιλάτε αγγλικά - “Mee-lah-teh Ag-li-kah”
    • My name is… - Με λένε… - “May leh-neh…”

  • Public Holidays
    • 1 January - New Years Day
    • 6 January - Epiphany
    • February - First Sunday in Lent
    • 25 March - Greek Independence Day
    • March/April - Good Friday
    • April - (Orthodox) Easter Sunday
    • 1 May - May Day (Protomagia)
    • 50 days after Easter Sunday - Whit Monday (Agiou Pnevmatos)
    • 15 August - Feast of the Assumption
    • 28 October - Ohi Day
    • 25 December - Christmas Day
    • 26 December - St Stephen’s Day