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Where to Stay in Crete

Where to Stay in Crete, Greece-Best Part of the Island & More!

Crete is a very large island with most of its famous sights at different ends. Finding the perfect place to stay in Crete can greatly enhance your experience on this beautiful island. In this guide, I’ll cover the best regions to stay in, highlighting top hotel and accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs. I’ll also share my experience staying at one of the island’s all-inclusive resorts. Whether you’re looking for luxury, budget-friendly stays, or something in between, this guide will help you find the ideal base for exploring Crete’s stunning landscapes and vibrant culture.

Find a great hotel in Crete, Greece on Expedia!

Best Areas of the Island of Crete to Stay

Where to Stay in Crete, Greece

1. Chania

Chania Crete Greece Complete Travel Guide

Chania is where most tourists choose to stay, and for good reason. It offers the best access and amenities for travelers, including a wide range of tour group options, ferry services, and car rentals. With its charming blend of history and modern conveniences, Chania serves as the perfect base for exploring the western part of Crete.

The town is vibrant and bustling, making it an excellent choice if you’re visiting for just a few days. Staying in Chania allows you to easily reach many of the island’s top attractions, ensuring a memorable and convenient stay.

Top Things to See Near Chania
  • Chania Old Town: Wander through the narrow, cobblestone streets, lined with Venetian and Ottoman architecture, boutique shops, and quaint cafes.
  • Balos Beach & Lagoon: Visit this iconic sight with its stunning turquoise waters and white sand beaches, accessible by car or ferry.
  • Chania Lighthouse: Explore the historic Venetian lighthouse, offering breathtaking views of the harbor and sea.

Chania’s combination of convenience, charm, and proximity to top sights makes it an ideal starting point for any Cretan adventure.

To learn more about Chania, check out my complete travel guide here!

Chania Hotel Highlight: Theta Seaside Boutique Hotel

During my stay in Chania, I spent two nights at the Theta Seaside Boutique Hotel, and it was a wonderful experience. The highlight of this hotel is its affordable price, convenient walking distance to downtown, and, most importantly, the parking lot available for guests. This made it easy to park my rental car and explore the rest of the island without any hassle. I highly recommend a stay at Theta Seaside Boutique Hotel.

Book your stay at Theta Seaside Boutique Hotel in Chania on Expedia!

2. West Coast of Crete

Best Day Trips from Chania Crete

The west coast of Crete is an excellent region to consider for your stay, offering a wide range of beautiful hotels and Airbnb options. This area is heavily marketed towards tourism, providing all the amenities and conveniences travelers need.

Staying on the west coast puts you within driving distance of some of the island’s best beaches, making it an ideal choice for those seeking sun, sand, and stunning coastal views. The region’s scenic beauty and relaxed atmosphere create a perfect backdrop for a memorable Cretan getaway.

Top Things to See on Crete’s West Coast
  • Balos Beach & Lagoon: Famous for its striking turquoise waters and soft white sand, Balos Beach & Lagoon is a must-visit destination for its breathtaking natural beauty.
  • Elafonissi Beach: Known for its unique pink-hued sand and shallow, crystal-clear waters, Elafonissi Beach offers a picturesque and serene beach experience.
  • Falasarna Beach: A stunning beach with expansive sandy shores and incredible sunsets, Falasarna is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying the natural beauty of Crete’s west coast.

Choosing to stay on the west coast of Crete ensures you’ll have easy access to these top sights, allowing you to fully enjoy the island’s most beautiful beaches and coastal landscapes.

Find a place to stay on the west coast of Crete on Expedia!

3. Lasithi Plateau

Lasithi Plateau in Crete

During my month-long stay on Crete, I chose the serene and picturesque Lasithi Plateau as my base. We stayed in a beautiful and luxurious house in this quiet, local part of the island. If you’re looking for rest, relaxation, and a truly authentic experience, then staying in the Lasithi Plateau is perfect for you.

This area is ideal for those who wish to immerse themselves in the slow, Greek way of life, experiencing small local towns and their charm. However, if you are a traveler who wants to see all the popular tourist spots, this might not be the best choice, as it is a far drive from most attractions.

Top Things to See in the Lasithi Plateau
  • Drive or Bike Around the Small Villages: Explore the charming, traditional villages scattered across the plateau, each offering a unique glimpse into local life and culture.
  • Cave of Diktaion Andron: Visit this mythologically significant cave, believed to be the birthplace of Zeus. It’s a fascinating site with impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
  • Havgas Gorge: Hike through this stunning gorge, known for its rugged beauty and tranquil atmosphere, offering a peaceful escape into nature.

Staying in the Lasithi Plateau provides a wonderful opportunity to slow down and enjoy the authentic, rural side of Crete. The region’s natural beauty and traditional lifestyle offer a unique and restful experience, perfect for those looking to unwind and connect with local culture.

Villa Highlight- Lasithi Luxury Villa
Lasithi Luxury Villa

During my month-long stay in the Lasithi Plateau, I called Lasithi Luxury Villa home, and it was a wonderful experience. The villa itself is gorgeous, featuring multiple outdoor spaces perfect for relaxation, a private pool, and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Lasithi Luxury Villa

The host goes above and beyond to ensure his guests are happy, providing exceptional service and local insights. If you’re considering staying in the Lasithi Plateau, I highly recommend Lasithi Luxury Villa for its comfort, beauty, and outstanding hospitality.

Book your stay at Lasithi Luxury Villa on Booking.com!

4. Heraklion Town or Outskirts

While Heraklion town itself wasn’t my favorite, this region of the island is a fantastic location for exploring many of Crete’s nearby attractions. Heraklion serves as a convenient hub, especially since it’s where most travelers fly into or arrive by ferry. Staying in Heraklion or its outskirts allows you to easily access a variety of historical and cultural sites, making it an excellent base for your Cretan adventure.

Top Things to See Near Heraklion
  • Knossos Palace: Dive into ancient history by visiting the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete. This palace, linked to the myth of the Minotaur, offers a fascinating glimpse into the Minoan civilization.
  • Archaeological Museum: Explore one of Greece’s most important museums, housing an extensive collection of artifacts from the Minoan period, including frescoes, pottery, and the famous Phaistos Disc.
  • Spinalonga Island: Take a ferry to this historic island, known for its Venetian fortress and poignant history as a leper colony. The stunning scenery and well-preserved ruins make it a must-visit.

Staying in Heraklion or its outskirts provides a strategic location for exploring these top sights, ensuring you make the most of your time on Crete. Whether you’re interested in delving into ancient history or enjoying picturesque coastal views, this region offers a wealth of experiences to enhance your trip.

Book your stay at a hotel near Heraklion town on Expedia!

5. South Central Area

The South Central area of Crete is much less traveled by tourists, offering a more tranquil and authentic experience. This region is ideal for those looking to escape the crowds and enjoy some of the island’s hidden gems. You’ll be near Crete’s renowned wine region and can explore some fantastic beaches, making it a great choice for both relaxation and adventure.

Top Things to See Near the South Central Area of Crete
  • Matala Beach & Caves: Famous for its striking cliffs and ancient caves, Matala Beach offers a unique blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue. The beach itself is perfect for swimming and sunbathing, while the caves provide a fascinating glimpse into the area’s past.
  • Crete’s Wine Region & Vineyards: The South Central area is home to some of Crete’s best vineyards. Take a tour and enjoy wine tastings in the rolling hills, experiencing the rich flavors and traditions of Cretan winemaking.
  • Kommos Beach: A quieter alternative to the more popular beaches, Kommos Beach boasts long stretches of golden sand and crystal-clear waters. It’s a perfect spot for those looking to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the southern coast.

Choosing to stay in the South Central area of Crete allows you to explore these wonderful sights while enjoying a more peaceful and authentic Cretan experience. The region’s combination of beautiful beaches, rich history, and excellent wine makes it a delightful destination for any traveler.

All Inclusive Resorts-My Stay at Arina Beach Resort

Arina Beach All Inclusive Resort

During my month on Crete, I chose to stay at the Arina Beach Resort All Inclusive Hotel for 1 night, mainly because I had an early morning flight out of Heraklion airport and this resort is conveniently close by. This was my first experience at an all-inclusive resort, and while it was nice, I realized it’s not my preferred style of travel.

The resort itself was stylish, with good food and a great price. The facilities were top-notch, and the convenience of having everything included certainly made for a stress-free stay. The resort offered a variety of activities and amenities, making it a good option for those looking to relax without worrying about additional costs. If you are looking for an all-inclusive resort on Crete, I would definitely recommend Arina Beach Resort for its quality and value.

That being said, I don’t see myself staying at an all-inclusive resort again in the future. I prefer a different style of travel that allows for more exploration and immersion in local culture. The structured environment of an all-inclusive doesn’t quite align with my travel philosophy of experiencing destinations more authentically.

For those interested in all-inclusive resorts, Crete has multiple options at different price points and styles. Whether you’re seeking luxury, family-friendly amenities, or a budget-friendly option, there’s likely a resort that will meet your needs. While it’s not my personal preference, it can be a great choice for those looking to simplify their travel experience and enjoy a hassle-free vacation.

Book your stay at Arina Beach Resort All-Inclusive in Crete, Greece here!

Tips for Deciding Where to Stay in Crete, Greece

Tips for Deciding Where to Stay in Crete, Greece

Here are some practical tips to help you decide where to stay in Crete:

  1. The Island is Very Large: Crete is the largest Greek island, with attractions spread across significant distances. Choosing your base strategically can save travel time. Staying centrally or in multiple locations during your trip can enhance your experience.
  2. Rent a Car: To explore Crete thoroughly, renting a car is essential. Public transportation is limited, and many top spots are not easily accessible without a vehicle. A car provides the freedom to explore at your own pace and discover hidden gems.
  3. Group Tours: If your visit is short, stay in Chania. This town offers numerous group tours to major attractions like Balos Beach, Elafonissi Beach, and Samaria Gorge. It’s a convenient way to see highlights without extensive planning.
  4. Multiple Accommodations: To experience Crete’s diverse regions, consider staying in different locations. Spend a few days in lively Chania. Then move to tranquil Lasithi Plateau or the scenic west coast to appreciate varied landscapes and cultures.
  5. Book Ahead: Crete attracts many visitors, especially in summer. Booking accommodations in advance ensures you have the best selection. Secure spots in popular areas, particularly for unique stays like boutique hotels or villas.
  6. Stay Connected: Use an Airalo e-SIM for reliable mobile service. This ensures you can navigate, make reservations, and stay in touch without worrying about roaming charges.
  7. Stay Flexible: Keep your itinerary flexible to accommodate unexpected discoveries. A flexible schedule can lead to memorable experiences.
  8. Seasonal Considerations: Visit in spring or fall to avoid peak crowds, enjoy milder weather, and find lower prices.

By considering these tips, you can choose the perfect places to stay in Crete, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable trip.


Out of almost anywhere I’ve been, deciding the right place to stay on Crete is incredibly important due to the island’s large size and diverse attractions. However, no matter where you choose to stay, you’ll undoubtedly have a fantastic time.

Crete is a beautiful island with so much to offer. From stunning beaches and ancient ruins to charming villages and delicious cuisine. By considering your interests and planning accordingly, you can make the most of your visit to this incredible destination. Whether you prefer relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion, Crete has something for everyone.

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