Where to stay in Crete [Best Places to Stay for 2024]

Now that you have narrowed down your Mediterranean destination to the Greek island of Crete, you still have to decide which town in Crete to stay.

How you choose where to stay in Crete Greece will depend on your travel tastes, goals for the trip and your travel budget. Not to worry, though, there is something for everyone on Greece’s largest island.

Chania, Crete, Greece - Landmarks of Crete - Beautiful venetian town Chania in Crete island. View of the old port of Chania.

From the spa resorts at Elounda to the Minoan ruins at Kato Zakros, Crete has the best of Greece all on one island. Using our guide on the best places to stay in Crete, you can choose the best city or resort town and then choose the best Crete hotel for your needs.

We will cover off all types of Crete accommodation options from Hostels to luxury Crete hotels as well as how to decide where to stay in Crete 2024.

❤️ Best Area first timersRethymno
💸 Best Luxury HotelDomes Aulus Elounda Adults Only, Curio Collection by Hilton
👪 Best Hotel for For FamiliesLato Boutique Hotel
🏨 Best Mid-Range HotelVeneto Boutique Hotel
🛏️ Best Budget HotelLato hotel
✨ Best HostelCocoon City Hostel

This guide shows off the best Crete hotels, best places in Crete to visit, the best places to stay in Crete, hotels near Crete attractions, Crete neighborhood guide and many more.

Below are 6 of the best towns in Crete to help you make the right decision when trying to work out best areas to stay in Crete for you. We have tried to make the guide as easy to follow as possible.

We have also included some things to do or places to visit as well as some eatery suggestions of either our favourite places or some funky places to eat at within the areas in Crete so you can use this as a go to guide.

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Chania – Where to stay in Crete for tourists

Crete’s second-largest city, Chania, has 160,000 residents, so it’s quite large compared to other towns on this list. This is the best area for tourists who want a nice mix of culture and outdoor activity because Chania has a little bit of everything to offer. 

Chania Old Town is best known for the old Venetian Harbour, as well as the narrow streets, shops, and restaurants.

Several museums including the archaeological museum, tell the story of Greek history and local customs, while Chania also has several swimming beaches in or near town. If you plan to hike the famous Samaria Gorge, Chania is the nearest town to stay in for the hike. 

If you only have a short time to spend in Crete, then Chania is a great choice as many flights and ferries arrive here daily, making it an easy choice and a good home base for exploring western Crete.

Why Stay in Chania

Chania is considered one of the best places to stay Crete for tourists, due to it’sdiversity of tourist attractions and activities is what brings people to Chania.

Go to a museum and learn the history of Greece and experience a 9D movie projection of the lifestyle of the Minoan culture at Minoans World 9D Experience.

Go for a hike at the beautiful Samaria Gorge and go for a swim at the many beaches along the coast.

Take a walk back in time at the many historical attractions in the area and have a seafood dinner on the beach at Achilleas Fish Restaurant. There is something for everyone when staying in Chania.

Things To Do in Chania 

  • Visit a Museum

There are a multitude of museums to visit in Chania. Start your museum journey at the sea with the Maritime Museum to learn the maritime history of Crete. Go on land to learn the archaeological history at the Archaeological Museum of Chania.

Get into the science of it all at Sci-sense or go to the Olive Oil Museum located in an 18th-century olive oil factory.

Visit into the future at Minoans World 9D Experience. The museums of Chania truly demonstrates the diversity within this seaside city.

  • Enjoy Old Venetian Port of Chania

Walk through the shops and stop and enjoy some great food at this historical port of call. The Old Venetian Port of Chania, built between 1320 – 1356, is a beautiful example of ancient Venetian architecture.

Stop and have a coffee at Aroma Cafe or a glass of wine at Anassa Bar and Bistro while taking in the beautiful views of the water.

Take a walk out to the wonderfully restored lighthouse and get the perfect sunset picture. A delightful way to spend some time in Chania.

  • Hike the Samaria Gorge

Within the city of Chania are many tour groups offering day trips to various places on the island. Samaria Gorge, located on the west side of the island, is a popular tourist destination when visiting Crete.

It’s rugged beauty and spectacular views will keep you coming back for more. Explore the beauty of the natural area of Crete when hiking Samaria Gorge.

Top 5 favorites accommodation options for Chania

Best places to stay in Chania

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Chania

Budget accommodation in Chania

Mid range accommodation in Chania

Family Friendly accommodation in Chania

Affordable Luxury accommodation in Chania

 Chania, Crete, Greece: Colorful buildings in the city center. The central part of the old town is named Kasteli and has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Rethymno – Where to stay in Crete for for first timers

Halfway between Chania and the capital city of Heraklion lies the university town of Rethymno. Originally a fortress town, Rethymno has a Venetian harbor and old town area that is fun to explore. 

If you stay in the old town area, most hotels and restaurants will be within walking distance of the major sites. 

Tourist attractions include a hop-on-hop-off bus, daytime and evening cruises from the port and a few museums. If you have a car, you will have plenty of day trip destinations along the North Coast of Crete.

Why Stay in Rethymnon

Nestled on the northern shore, in the middle of the two major cities of Crete, is Rethymnon. With plenty to do in the surrounding area and a few things to do within, you know your stay will be an adventure.

Rethymnon is the best area to stay in Crete for first timers as it’s a quaint village built on the fallen rock that has slid down the gorge. For first-time visitors to the island, being in the middle of everything is a great place to be.

Enjoy the sea with a cruise or a day at the beach. Day trip to both the major cities of Chania and Heraklion to see the sights that will give you lasting memories of this beautiful island. Take a day trip across the island to Plakias.

Things To Do in Rethymno

  • Explore Venetian Fortezza Castle

Explore the ruins of this 16th-century Venetian Fortress. Walk the halls of what was once a mighty fortress. Take in the views from atop these magnificently built walls and enjoy a cultural event at the St. Elias Bastion.

Tour the many buildings within the fortress and see how life was lived back then. An interesting place to make amazing memories when you visit Venetian Fortezza Castle. 

  • Cruise the Sea while in Rethymno

Take advantage of the many sea cruises offered in Rethymno. Dolphin Cruises offers a variety of things to do while cruising on the sea. Go snorkelling and discover Pirate Caves or take a leisurely sunset cruise and just enjoy the view.

Take a private island cruise with Gazai Yacht or rent a boat and go for a sea cruise. There are a lot of options to cruise the sea while you are in Rethymno.

  • Day trip to Plakias

Take a day trip and visit the village of Plakias. A village built on the rock and debris that fell from the Kotsifou Gorge. The fallen soil built a flat ledge along the sea where a small fishing village was built.

The silt from the gorge gives the beaches their golden hue of colour. The shelves that lead into the sea make it safe for swimming and lounging in the water.

What once was a small fishing village has turned into a thriving tourist destination. It is definitely a place to see while staying in Rethymno.

Top 4 favorites accommodation options for Rethymno

Best places to stay in Rethymno

Budget accommodation in Rethymno

Mid range accommodation in Rethymno

Family Friendly accommodation in Rethymno

Affordable Luxury accommodation in Rethymno

RETHYMNO, GREECE - Tavernas and restaurants in old town in city Rethymno in Crete island at Greece

Heraklion – Where to stay in Crete with Family

The capital of Crete is usually a point of entry for travelers to Crete, but most continue on to smaller towns when choosing where to stay in Crete. 

However, Heraklion makes a good family-friendly destination, especially if you would like a lot of activities outside of enjoying a sandy beach for days on end.

The Crete Aquarium is not far away, and Knossos Palace is a great place to discover some of the archeology of Greece. 

The fishing port is still very active and at the other end of the spectrum, Heraklion offers high-end shopping and designer goods. 

Being in the center of the North Coast, Heraklion is a prime location for day trips and the size of the city means that it’s also possible to find budget-friendly accommodations.

Why Stay in Heraklion

When visiting Crete with family, Heraklion is the best area to stay in Crete for families. With an abundance of family-friendly accommodations and activities, there is fun for the whole family.

Walk back in time thousands of years to discover the ancient archeology of this time-honoured city. Explore the area by quad with Creta Quad Safari or take a walking tour with Vintage Routes Crete.

Play in the water at the beach or splash and slide at Watercity Waterpark Crete. There is fun for the whole family in Herkalion.

Things To Do in Heraklion

  • Knossos Palace

Visit the largest bronze age archeological dig site in Crete. Knossos Palace is located in the ancient city of Knossos. The palace is one of the most visited attractions in Crete.

Famous for its excellent preservation of this glimpse into an ancient Minoanian time. Heraklion is filled with interesting and awe-inspiring ancient architecture.

Tour the Rocca a Mare Fortress and enjoy the views of the city, ports and the coast of Crete while revelling in the history of this giant fortress. History is everywhere for you to enjoy when staying in Heraklion.

  • Water Fun

Heraklion offers an array of ways to play in, on and under the water. Slide into the water at Water City Water Parks or sit beside the water at Ammoudara Beach.

Take a cruise around the island in a Rib boat with The Crete Cruise Rib Boats or a yacht at Yacht in Crete.

Watch the marine life at the CRETAquarium or go snorkelling and experience sea life with them. Heraklion will keep you busy and entertained whichever way you enjoy the water in Crete.

  • Take a Tour of Heraklion

Take a guided tour while in Heraklion with its many attractions and learn its incredible history as you go.

Many tour companies will guide you through the historical attractions, as well as the many other activities available, while you are in Heraklion.

Many tours offers Archaeological Tours, Hiking Tours, along with a host of other options. Consider taking a tour while you are in Heraklion to complete an already excellent adventure.

Top 5 favorites accommodation options for Heraklion

Best places to stay in Heraklion

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Heraklion

Budget accommodation in Heraklion

Mid range accommodation in Heraklion

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Heraklion, Greece -  Old venetian harbor with boats in Crete island

Elounda – Where to stay in Crete for honeymooners

At the eastern end of Crete lies the Gulf of Elounda. Luxury travelers flock to Elounda for the posh resorts and villas. 

This former fishing village is the premier Crete destination for the rich and famous, with the yachts proudly perched in the harbor. 

Wondering where to stay in Crete for couples? Elounda is perfectly romantic, it’s the best places to stay in Crete for young couples too as well as the best place to stay in crete for older couples!!

Scuba divers also choose Elounda, or nearby Plaka, for the offshore dive sites. Several Elounda resorts claim to be the best resort to stay in Crete, with many boasting access to a private beach for guests only. 

For a smaller, more “authentic” Greek town, the fishing village of Plaka is just ten minutes away.

Why Stay in Elounda

Are you looking for that quiet getaway to celebrate just the two of you? Staying in Elounda will give you that romantic getaway you are looking for.

Wine and dine on the beach as the sun sets after a day of exploring the beautiful area in and around Elounda. Wondering best place to stay in Crete for foodies? Elounda Has a lot of great Greek food options.

Offering miles of beautiful beaches with first-class resorts and attractions that will give you lasting memories of a fun romantic vacation. 

Things To Do in Elounda

  • Experience the History in Elounda

Visit the Windmills Poros Elounda on the island of Kalydon and explore the ancient ruins of Spinalonga Fortress. Walk the streets and through the villages of Elounda and experience the true Cretian atmosphere of living on this ancient island.

With bridges built back in the 15th century to the stone windmills that dot the beaches, there is history everywhere you look in Elounda.

  • Enjoy the Water in Elounda

Have fun in and around the water in Elounda. Diving the reefs and spectacular dive sites in and around Elounda is a popular pastime. Diving Center Blue Dolphin Elounda has everything you need to have a safe and magnificent dive.

Visit the many beaches that line the shoreline and swim and lounge the day away. Take a boat tour and do some fishing and tour the islands near Elounda. Water fun is abundant in Elounda.

  • Wine and Dine in Elounda

Celebrating each other with a wonderful meal, a good wine, and a beautiful sunset could not get any better than it does in Elounda. Many restaurants on the coast will give you a memory that will live with you forever.

Enjoy the variety of foods available in Elounda. Enjoy the elegance of Moon Spinners, have a great seafood dinner at Vritomartes or some Cretian cuisine at Rakomelo Cretan Cuisine. It will be a memorable meal when dining in Elounda.

Best places to stay in Elounda

Budget accommodation in Elounda

Mid range accommodation in Elounda

Family Friendly accommodation in Elounda

Affordable Luxury accommodation in Elounda

Elounda, Crete, Greece - Colorful fishing boats in the picturesque little harbour. Here is the point where the tourist boats leave for Spinalonga island.

Agios Nikolaos – Where to stay in Crete for relaxation

The East Coast town of Agios Nikolaos is at the same time a port town and a lake town. Backed by mountains and built on hills, it’s a highly picturesque town that is popular for all kinds of travelers. 

The lake is a saltwater lake connected to the sea by a small river, and the city also has a port and a marina, offering several waterfront districts for visitors to explore.

Kitroplatia is a beach right in town, offering cafes and taverns along the beach. Many nearby areas offer sandy beaches and a few pebble beaches. Agios Nikolaos is also a great spot to shop for authentic souvenirs and crafts.

Why Stay in Agios Nikolaos

When you are looking for authentic Greek and a laid-back atmosphere, Agios Nikolaos is the best place to stay on Crete when visiting the island. Sandy beaches, small shops and delicious cafes await your stay in Agios Nikolaos.

Walk the beaches and see not only the beautiful view but the interesting statues and art that are displayed. Touch a little history and stroll the streets in this seaside village of Crete.

Things To Do in Agios Nikolaos 

  • Feel Authentic Greece in Agios Nikolaos

 Experience fine Greek dining and shop in the small boutiques carrying local merchandise. Walk the streets of Agios Nikolaos and mix and meet the locals who call this seaside village their home.

Get the feel of real life in Crete and enjoy the fabulous food that they have created. Everywhere you go, you can see, hear and feel authentic Greek.

  • Spend A Day at the Beach

A walk along the beach can be relaxing, and in Agios Nikolaos, it comes with a few surprises. Admire the scuptured art of the Horn of Amalthea and The Abduction of Europe as you stroll along the sandy beaches.

Take a sailing cruise with Yachting Evolution Sailing Cruises or just sit back and enjoy a cool drink while dipping your feet in the warm sand. Relaxation is waiting at the beaches in Agios Nikolaos.

  • See the Sights of Agios Nikolaos

History is all over the island of Crete, and Agios Nikolaos is no exception. Visit the Fisherman’s Crypt on the shores of Limni Voukismeni or take a tour of the Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos.

Visit an Art Gallery and see the street art of the Minotaur Mural. Enjoy the spectacular views from the oceanside or Agios Nikolaos Viewpoint. Walk the streets and take in the architecture that makes up this quaint seaside village.

Top 4 favorites accommodation options for Agios Nikolaos

Best places to stay in Agios Nikolaos

Budget accommodation in Agios Nikolaos

Mid range accommodation in Agios Nikolaos

Family Friendly accommodation in Agios Nikolaos

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Beautiful Agios Nikolaos town on lake Voulismeni on sunset. Lasithi region of Crete island, Greece

Malia & Hersonissos – Where to stay in Crete for nightlife

If you are looking for the best place to stay in Crete for nightlife, then Malia & Hersonissos is your spot. These two towns along the North Coast draw a young crowd due to the nightlife scene in each town. 

With a plethora of Irish and English pubs, budget-friendly accommodation, this is the spot for backpackers passing through Crete. 

As with the other towns of Crete, there are beaches, restaurants, and outdoor activities in addition to the well-renowned party scene happening here.

Why Stay in Malia & Hersonissos

On the north coast of Crete is a nightlife gem waiting for your enjoyment. With a multitude of bars and nightclubs in Malia & Hersonissos, the party begins when the sun goes down.

Spend the day at the beach or see the beautiful sights of these northern towns and dance the night away at one of the many clubs.

The north shore of Crete will keep you moving both day and night when you stay in Malia & Hersonissos. 

Things To Do in Malia & Hersonissos

  • See the Sights

Like all of Crete, Malia & Hersonissos has its fair share of historical and modern attractions. Have a mesmerizing time at Labyrinth Park. Play a round of mini golf with the Greek Gods and try to traverse the giant labyrinth built within the park.

Get in a little history at Lychnostatis Open Air Museum. With many things to see in the area and island excursions just around the corner, Malia & Hersonissos will keep you dancing day and night.

  • Spend a Day at the Beach

Relax after a hard night of partying at the many beaches that line these northern coastal towns. Take a cruise on a pirate ship with Pirates of Crete for a different kind of sea cruise.

Play on the water in a banana boat or jet ski rental from Star Beach Water Sports, or play under the water and scuba dive with Coral Diving Center Crete. In, on or beside the water, it is a great day spent at the beach. 

  • Enjoy the Nightlife

When you are looking for a great time day and night these two northern towns will light that fire. Stop for cocktails on the beach at Lostas Coco Bar Stalis or sit in a hammock seat and sip some lavish cocktails at Chill Out.

Experience a little Irish atmosphere at Peggy Gordons Irish Pub and sing along to some fun live music.

Dance the night away at The Venue and watch the party spill out into the street at Apollo Club Malia Crete. Nightlife of all genres can be found in Malia & Hersonissos.

Top 5 favorites accommodation options for Malia & Hersonissos

Best places to stay in Malia & Hersonissos

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Malia & Hersonissos

Budget accommodation in Malia & Hersonissos

Mid range accommodation in Malia & Hersonissos

Family Friendly accommodation in Malia & Hersonissos

Affordable Luxury accommodation in Malia & Hersonissos

Malia. Crete, Greece - Beach and luxury hotel in Malia on Crete, Greece

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  • Samantha King

    Sam, a seasoned traveler across four continents and 49 countries, is a leading authority in travel planning. Her website, Travelling King, offers tailored itineraries and expert guides for seamless trips. Sam's expertise in luxury travel, fast travel, and destination guides keeps her at the forefront of the travel community.

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