7 of the best resorts in Crete

3 September 2021 | Updated 27 March 20248 min read

View of seaside traditional village of Paleochora, Crete, Greece

Paleochora Head to this sleepy resort for a boho beach break in Crete.

Good food, beautiful beaches, bags of culture… Greece’s largest island ticks all the holiday boxes. And no matter where you stay in Crete, its resorts will put you within touching distance of it all.

Seeking a family-friendly beach resort? Head to Agios Nikolaos. Prefer a peaceful stay at a luxury resort? You’ll find plenty in Paleochora. Looking for sightseeing and beaches combined? Chania is one of the best all-rounder holiday resorts in Crete.

Whichever type of getaway you’re after, our guide will help you find your perfect base for your Crete holiday.

1. Agios Nikolaos

Best resort for families

A package holiday favourite, Agios Nikolaos is one of Crete’s biggest and most charming resorts. What was once a small Greek village has now become a cosmopolitan town, with bars, restaurants and hotels surrounding picturesque Lake Voulismeni. Several of the streets in the resort are also pedestrianised and the general ambience is laidback and friendly, making it one of the best resorts in Crete for families.

There are a handful of lovely sandy beaches and bays around Agios Nikolaos. Kitroplatia and Ammos beaches are two of the closest to the centre, but Almyros Beach, about a 20-minute walk south of the town, is particularly picture perfect. They’re all Blue Flag accredited too, so you can rest assured young explorers are safe to splash and play.

Where to stay in Agios Nikolaos

For pure fun in the sun, Candia Park Village’s sizable beachfront complex is a hit with families, and just a short bus trip away from Agios Nikolaos. You’ll also find plenty of space at St. Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas where you can choose between family suites and villas. If you’re travelling with older kids, Miramare Resort & Spa is another great pick.

2. Elounda

Best resort for couples

With luxury hotels and waterfront tavernas aplenty, Elounda is one of the most romantic holiday resorts in Crete. Located on the north coast, it’s set on the shores of beautiful Mirabello Bay, which is blessed with a stunning sandy beach and azure water. From the beach you can enjoy views of the lush island of Spinalonga, or you could even hire a boat and sail out to explore it yourselves.

When you’re not lapping up the life of leisure by the sea, Elounda has plenty more to offer. The colourful harbour is a hotspot for upmarket seafood restaurants as well as characterful little tavernas, so you’ll be spoilt for choice with dinner date locations. To work off some of that indulgence, you could also go hiking along the clifftop coastal paths in search of epic sea-and-sunset views.

Where to stay in Elounda

Seeking a romantic stay for two? Boasting stunning views over Mirabello Bay and elegant secluded rooms, adults-only Aquila Elounda Village is hard to beat. Couples looking for a pamper should make a beeline for the spa at Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection, or simply relax and unwind around the large heated pool at Elounda Garden Suites, the perfect pick for couples on a budget.

3. Maleme

Best resort for budget travellers

For a budget-friendly Crete holiday that still offers plenty of opportunity for activity, Maleme is a great choice. This is one of the quieter resorts on the north coast and as a result, the accommodation is usually cheaper, with more self-catering options for the days you want to save money by cooking. That said, there are also several great-value restaurants and bars in the resort, so you can enjoy delicious local dishes without breaking the bank.

Plus, with a beach as beautiful as Maleme’s, you’ll need to do little more on your holiday than bask in the sun and cool off in crystal-clear water. If you’re hoping to stay more active, then nearby Samaria Gorge makes a great (almost!) free day out. Hire a car for your trip, or just pay the taxi fare to get there, and then spend a full day hiking the trails through the dramatic gorge, gazing up at the dramatic scenery.

Where to stay in Maleme

If you’re looking for a good-value hotel stay, consider going all-inclusive at Creta Princess by Atlantica. Alternatively, double rooms at four-star Maleme Mare start from around £72 a night. For an even cheaper stay, look to private villas and apartments tucked at the back of the town. Most are still within walking distance of the beach, and will usually have their own pool.

4. Malia

Best resort for great nights out

If you’re looking for hedonistic parties and all-night dance tunes, Malia is the place to be. The infamous ‘Malia Mile’ is where most of the fun can be found, with countless bars and clubs along the street offering cheap drinks and pumping tunes until the sun comes up. There are also several beach clubs that keep the party going all day, with live DJ sets and happy hour specials.

When you’re not busy dancing or drinking, the resort has a 2km (1 mile) sandy beach at the heart of the resort, so you can nurse your hangover in style – with a fresh juice and a nap in the sun. Or, be more adventurous with watersports and a spot of shopping at the local markets.

Of course, all good nights out should start with a well-lined stomach, and Malia has you covered, with restaurants serving everything from gyros to roast dinners.

Where to stay in Malia

Just minutes from the main strip, Sirens Hotels Beach & Village is a great base for pulling an all-nighter or two, or you can upgrade to the five-star experience at nearby High Beach Resort. If fuss-free self-catering apartments are more your style, Kastro Beach Apartments has both beaches and bars on its doorstep.

Bella Elena Apartments

  • Malia, Crete, Greece
  • 12 September 2024
  • Self-catering
  • From Gatwick

Prices and availability shown can change. Always check pricing with partner before booking.

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5. Sissi

Best resort for food lovers

A small fishing village on the northeast coast, Sissi is one of Crete’s smaller holiday resorts and is popular with foodies. The main attraction is the pretty harbour and pier, where you’ll find boats mooring up throughout the day, laden with what locals reckon is the best fish in Crete. Surrounding the palm-lined waterfront are little tavernas that all offer fresh seafood and catch-of-the-day specials. Wash your meal down with a cold glass of Cretan wine and you might just find yourself in foodie heaven.

If you can drag yourself away from the atmospheric harbour, Sissi isn’t only about the seafood. There’s also an idyllic sandy shore in the shape of Boufos Beach, as well as a few more bays along the coast for beach hopping adventures. For a livelier and altogether different experience, Malia is just a ten-minute drive away.

Where to stay in Sissi

You’ll be within easy reach of some of Sissi’s best restaurants if you stay at Maritimo Beach Hotel, plus it’s in-house restaurant specialises in fresh Greek dishes. Stay at the luxury Kalimera Kriti Hotel & Village Resort and you can take your pick of seven restaurants and bars to quench your appetite, or for a cheaper stay that still delivers on food, the menu at three-star Anixi Apartments is highly rated.

6. Paleochora

Best quiet resort in Crete

The wild and untamed south coast of Crete is much quieter than the north, and the sleepy holiday resort of Paleochora is the ideal place to get away from it all on holiday. Sprawling out into a long peninsula, the resort is blessed with two spectacular bays on either side of town, so you can choose whether to lay your towel on sand or pebbles each day.

The atmosphere in the town itself has something of a bohemian feel to it, a hangover from the region’s past as a hippie hotspot. Low-key tavernas and humble beach bars, each serving wonderfully unpretentious and delicious local delicacies, will define most of your eating options here. And if you’re into windsurfing, this is a great place to ride some waves, with strong winds blowing on one side of the peninsula at most times.

Where to stay in Paleochora

Located just on the outskirts of town, modern Libyan Princess is a top choice for a comfortable and relaxing getaway in Paleochora. If cute and cosy is what you’re after, Aris Boutique Hotel is a romantic bolthole for two. Alternatively, splash out on a private villa for the ultimate privacy – Krystallon Villas has some of the best views going.

7. Chania

Best all-rounder

With a charming Old Town, golden sandy beach, and enviable location close to lots of Crete’s must-see sights, Chania takes the crown as Crete’s best all-rounder. Wander along the narrow Venetian streets in the Old Town and you’ll eventually find yourself at the colourful 14th-century harbour, where boats bob on the turquoise water and restaurants and bars are full of locals and tourists alike.

The nearest beach is within easy walking distance and has all the ingredients for a relaxing day on the coast, with golden sands and umbrellas and sun-loungers aplenty. If you’re looking for an extra special beach day, you’ll find some of Crete’s best beaches nearby: Balos and Elafonissi are utterly spectacular and well worth the hour-and-a-half-long journeys to get there.

Where to stay in Chania

You’re spoiled for choice in Chania. Porto Veneziano Hotel oozes traditional Greek charm in a prime spot overlooking the harbour, while Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa is a boutique haven you’ll love returning to after busy days exploring the Old Town. Head to Samaria Hotel for four-star style at excellent value, or check out the family-friendly apartments at Corinna Mare Suites & Studios.

Trianon Luxury Apartments & Suites

  • Chania, Crete, Greece
  • 9 September 2024
  • Room only
  • From Manchester

Prices and availability shown can change. Always check pricing with partner before booking.

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