Saturday, December 3, 2022

Best Area To Stay In Heraklion Crete

Chania Or Heraklion For Nightlife

Where to stay in Crete – The 7 best areas & towns

Chania is in a regional tourist hub and the international crowd dominating the night scene is the best example of this.

If you want to party with the wide variety of night owls, the town offers several nightspots.

If you want a chilled bar vibe, you check out Ammos and Ilios Beach Bar or Café Café Cocktail and Gin Bar which is about 20 minutes from the main town centre.

For a wilder night out, Mylos Club will definitely scratch the itch.

Heraklion, on the other hand, has more of a youthful crowd with most party-goers being students from the University of Crete.

One of the most popular spots in the area is Jailhouse Rock Bar where you get to party with the locals.

Stone Project Cocktail Bar is also worth checking out for the awesome music and unique cocktails.

Chania Or Heraklion For Families

Heraklion is ideal for families with older kids.

You have a lot to explore in this historic gem from archeologic ruins like the Palace of Knossos to historical collections in the Museum of Crete.

The main pedestrian area is a heaven for shopping and a nice place to have a walk and wander around the old and new buildings

The children will also enjoy trips to the nearby waterparks like Bravo Water Park and Watercity Water Park.

Chania is a beautiful beach paradise that is ideal for families with younger kids with shallow and calm water.

Plan to visit the beautiful Municipal garden of Chania which makes for a wonderful family day out as you explore the town.

Chania is also a short drive away from the Limnoupolis Water Park which the kids will love.

Hotels In Heraklion By The Beach

Though some of the best beaches in Heraklion lie east of the city, we dont recommend staying there. They tend to be overcrowded, and the beaches are not especially nice either. If you want to stay on the beach in the city, we recommend Ammoudara Beach west of the Old Town. Its quieter, less crowded, and boasts a wider hotel selection.

Civitel Creta Beach

Most of Heraklions exclusive hotels are on Ammoudara Beach. Civitel Creta Beach is one of the best all-inclusive hotels in Crete and has the best location in Heraklion. It offers spacious rooms, lavish gardens, a large swimming pool, and direct access to the beach.

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The Best Areas To Stay In Chania Region Crete


The second largest city in Crete and one of the most beautiful, Chania has 2 parts- the new part and the old part. The old town is full of historic character, the picture-postcard harbour instantly recognizable with its Venetian lighthouse and lively bars, cafes, and restaurants that surround the waterfront.

Behind the Venetian harbour in the heart of the old town, visitors can wander the narrow backstreets that contain countless souvenir shops and boutique hotels but also family homes with kids bikes thrown down outside the front door and old ladies in traditional black gossiping together on their front steps.

The new town contains a good range of shops including international designer fashions and the historical indoor market with Saturday street market close by. Along the seafront, leaving the old town a short walk behind, there are many large hotels catering to family beach holidays.

A large Naval Museum plus smaller museums can be explored and theres a glass-bottomed boat along with other boat day trips to go on. Limnoupolis water park is a 30-minute journey away and there are buses every hour to Rethymno and Heraklion. If you rent a car, you can easily take a day trip to visit the surrounding countryside to see ruins, village life, and the famous pink-sand beaches of Balos and Elafonissi.

Suggested places to stay in Chania Town, Crete

Similar to the Scala de Faro is also the Domus Renier Boutique Hotel.

You might also like: Things to do in Chania.


Where To Stay In Crete For Beaches Families And Couples In A Nutshell

Best places to stay in Heraklion, Greece
  • Where to stay in Crete for the best beaches: Crete has 4 of the best beaches in Greece. Two of them are on the west coast and Chania is the best place to be based for them, besides having a local beach too. The other 2 amazing beaches are on the east coast and reachable from Sitiaor Agios Nikolaos, both lovely towns to be based. Read more below about staying next to the best beaches
  • Where to stay in Crete for couples: Sissiis one of the most romantic boutique towns I have ever seen, with a small harbour area that is so charming. Paleochorais the perfect place to relax with a long beach and the possibility of day trips to the isolated south coast. Maleme, close to Chania, has access to two of the most beautiful beaches in Greece and some of the best trekking, perfect also if you are on a budget. Read more below about staying in Crete with your partner.
  • Best places to stay in Crete with family: Agios Nikolaos is a lovely town that works great with bigger kids. If you are travelling with smaller kids then the quiet Almyrida may be a better and more relaxed destination. Gouves is the area that works better for an all-inclusive stay, with many resorts around. Read more below about staying with your family in Crete.

In this video, you can see the areas with my commentary on the pros and cons.

I have more video on Crete in this dedicated YouTube playlist.

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Which Part Of Crete To Stay In

Roughly speaking, the north coast is developed and is home to the main cities and also most of the beach resort towns. Crete is divided into four provinces, each headed up by a regional capital on the north coast Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion, and Agios Nikolaos. The coastline between these cities is the busiest and most developed part of the island.

The south is wild and remote with a spectacularly rocky coast and a few standout beach resorts.

The main cities and towns on the north coast are linked by regular buses each regional capital has buses going to the south of its region. Be aware that roads and bus routes in the south are sparse, its easier to plan an itinerary that takes in one region or travels along the north coast. Crossing the south of the island is difficult.

Crete is a large island the fifth largest in the Mediterranean and you can find whatever youre looking for in each region. Therefore it can be easier to decide on arrival airport/port first, or any attractions that you particularly want to visit, in order to narrow down where to stay.

The main airports in Crete are Chania International and Heraklion International, both well served by budget airlines. There is also a domestic airport in Sitia with flights from Athens.

The Best Areas To Stay In Heraklion Region Crete


The bustling capital city, also spelled Iraklion, is not many peoples first choice for a holiday but with top museums, a working fishing harbour, designer shopping, and tourism mixed with local life, it can tick a lot of boxes for culture vultures and families seeking a city break no matter if its Summer or Winter.

Heraklion contains some of the top museums including the Archaeological Museum, Natural History Museum, and Municipal Art Museum with plenty of smaller museums and art galleries to explore too. The world-famous archaeological site of Knossos Palace is a 20 minute drive away and Creta Aquarium, located 30 minutes away, is sure to keep the kids happy.

The fishing port is still very much a part of daily life and you can see the fishermen bringing in their catch and sorting out their nets with a 16th century fort behind that you can visit. All sorts of shops can be explored, from high-end Greek and international designer stores to quaint indie boutiques and youll never be far from a trendy cafe or restaurant, theres also good local nightlife thanks to this being a University city.

You might like: Things to do in Heraklion, Crete.

Suggested places to stay in Heraklion, Crete:

GDM Megaron, Historical Monument Hotel This 5-star historical hotel has spectacular views over the old fishing port and fort from its rooftop pool area. It may have been built in 1925 but has been beautifully refurbished to ensure guests can enjoy modern day comforts.


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The South Coast Of Heraklion

Suppose you prefer a more relaxing holiday, with less crowded beaches, and a completely different atmosphere. In that case, you should forget about the capital and head straight to the southern coast of Heraklion.

Over there, you can discover the caves of Matala Beach and swim in the pristine waters of the Libyan sea. If youâre in the mood for more history, the Archaeological Site of Faistos is another place you can visit, just 15 minutes away from the beach.

Those keen on hiking will be able to reach the spectacular Red Beach, located just 20 minutes east of Matala Beach, walking along a relatively easy path with spectacular views of the sea.

Where To Stay In Heraklion On A Budget

Best Places to visit in Crete including 2 hidden gems

Crete can be quite a convenient destination. Having a somewhat limited budget will also let you find a good place to stay without having to spend millions. This is as true for Heraklion as it is for any other region on the island.

Lets begin by check the best places to stay in Heraklion for a reduced fee.

These are some of the best places to stay in Heraklion within a budget limit of 50-60 per day.

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Best Hotel In Chania: Alcanea Boutique Hotel Chania

Combining modern comfort with old world charm, the Alcanea Boutique Hotel is the best hotel in Chania. Each room is well equipped with a refrigerator and mini bar and offers guests comfortable robes and slippers.

Close to a great variety of restaurants and bars, this charming hotel is a short walk to the city and its major tourist attractions.

Stay In Agios Nikolaos

Porto Maltese Boutique Estate is Ag Niks most stylish des res, with a waterfront location, courtyard, and sympathetic restoration.

St Nicholas Bay Resort Hotels & Villas is a large 5* complex with direct beach access.

You can find private plunge pools at Miramare Resort & Spa.

5* Minos Beach Art Hotel has 1km of beach access, spacious grounds, and calming minimalist decor.

Drive 10 minutes south from Agios Nikolaos for the stunning 5* resort Daios Cove, which has its own beach and private seawater plunge pools.

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Heraklion Best Area To Stay In Crete For Sightseeing

Heraklion proves to be both the biggest and densest populated prefecture on Crete as well as the islands capital. It lies in the arms of two towering mountain ranges the Mt. Psiloritis in the West and the Dikti in the east.

Heraklion is most famous for its incredible archaeological treasures, impressive museums, pretty villages, important settlements on the coast, and huge valley populated by vineyards and olive groves.

It also boasts the most organized and strongest tourist apparatus on the island. This one of a kind combination of natural appeals with urban convenience helps Heraklion to be a year round destination of appeal, making it one of the best areas to stay in Crete.

Among the major urban cities of Greece, Heraklion offers incredible sights that you should not miss on a proper tour of Crete. The walls dominating the old city are well worth your time. The Arabs originally built these, though it was the Venetians who reinforced and completed them in the 1400s.

Of the original seven bastions, the is the lone survivor today. In here visitors can also pay respects at the tomb of N. Kazantzakis, the internationally famous writer. Fabulous views of the city are included here. Of the original four entrances gates to Heraklion, Chanioporta and the New Gate to the south are the last survivors.

Best Places to Stay in Heraklion

See also:Best things to do in Crete

Agios Nikolaos Good Place To Stay In Crete

Road trip in Heraklion: the best places to visit

A favorite with British holidaymakers for generations is Agios Nikolaos. This is one of the four primary centers of Lasithi prefecture. The area offers visitors the Vai mythical forest of palm trees, the Plateau of Lassithi windmills , the picturesque Gulf of Mirabello, crystal water lapped beaches, lovely cities, and luxury hotels.

Agios Nikolaos itself is aptly described as unique to every other city or town in Crete. Somehow the town mixes together the ambiances of leisurely, artsy, bustling, and sleepy altogether where it sits spread over three hills. The present day city was constructed over the ancient ruins of past residents houses. Fans of the town simply refer to the town as Ag Nik.

The town itself is medium sized but offers you a true smaller town atmosphere, albeit one with plenty to offer. It is imminently walkable with its couple of waterfronts. Ag Nik faces the sea on three fronts in the Kitroplatia Beach, the Lake and port, and the marina.

The lake is a considerable bit of water that has a narrow inlet to the sea. Restaurants and cafes overlook this, making it an important place for the tourists and local residents alike to gather and mix. Cafes share the space with classic Greek tavernas overlooked by the finer dining restaurants above. Ferries ply the narrow inlet taking people from the open port out into the lake.

Best Places to Stay in Agios Nikolaos

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Best Places To Stay Close To Heraklion

Many people prefer to visit the city without staying in the heart of town. And its quite a reasonable idea since Heraklion is Greeces 4th biggest city, so it tends to be busy, crowded, and nosy, while the traffic is usually a serious issue too.

Some of these resort areas on the northern coast represent a great compromise to enjoy some beach time not far from the city.

Where Are They Located Can I Visit All 3

Below is a map to help you get oriented and locate those 3 major towns.And the driving times are:

  • Chania to Rethymno = 1h10 drive
  • Rethymno to Heraklion = 1h15 drive

Chania, Rethymno and Heraklion in Crete – Map

Find all my favorite places in my Travel Guide eBook that helps you easily plan your road trip around Crete:

Be overwhelmed by the beauty, not the planning!

  • 5 easy-to-plan Maps

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Region Of Chania: The Extreme West And Cretes Best Beaches

The final region we are still missing to explore is Chania, on the extreme western portion of the island of Crete. Chania is a fantastic area for any kind of holiday. In the region, you can venture into the breathtaking gorges of the White Mountains if youâre fond of trekking.

Alternatively, you can spend the day on a beach lounge in one of the over 30 fantastic beaches of Chania. In fact, this may actually be the best place to stay in Crete for beaches.

Rethymno Best Place To Stay In Crete On A Budget

Where to stay in Crete: Best Areas to Stay in Crete, Greece

Im sure youll want to visit this perfect little village on the Greek island once you find out about the amazing hotels and little local shops around this area. The town is located in the north, just 45 km away from Chania. The long sandy beach will be the best place to relax and spend some time admiring the crystal clear water and enjoying the sun.

Travelers who go on holiday on a budget will love this place in Crete, Greece because it is a university town filled with students and youll find tons of affordable hotel options.

The streets are paved with cobblestones, so it will be like traveling back to ancient times. Explore the beautiful beaches of Rethymno they are great for water sports enthusiasts. Take advantage of the unique mountain scenery and wander around the charming traditional hillside villages but dont forget to visit an amazing museum or two in town.

The history in Greece is so rich youll catch yourself falling in love with every little stone and fortress that has a hidden story and meaning. This medieval town is very well preserved, probably the best out of all the villages in Crete, so the atmosphere near the Orthodox churches and mosques is quite fantastic.

Spend your holiday nights at the greek tavernas, under the moonlight, starry sky, with a glass of the best wine, and enjoy this unique experience. If you want to visit more parts of Greece during your holiday check this complete article on where to stay in Mykonos!

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Best Hotel In Hersonissos: Creta Blue Suites

Located nearly two kilometres outside of the city, you wont find a better family hotel in Hersonissos. This four-star hotel features a playground, miniature golf and a kids pool, perfect for entertaining little ones on holiday. Enjoy spacious rooms and contemporary amenities at this family-oriented hotel.

Rethymnon Good Area For Affordable Accommodation

A second of Cretes four regions, Rethymnon is also one of its most magical medieval era cities. This littlest of prefectures is found between Mt. Psiloritis and the White Mountains.

The region can be summed up by fantastic beaches, unparalleled mountain scenery, melodies centered on the Cretan lyre, caves of legend, historical monuments and monasteries, luxury filled holiday resorts, and traditional villages in the mountains.

Some would say this iconic and remote prefecture is the true essence of Crete. Ir runs the full gamut from breathtaking valleys to harsh mountains and rocky shores to sandy beaches. Small rivers etch their way through the mountains to the sea. It is truly a nature lovers paradise.

The city itself is a fantastic home base and among the best places to stay in Crete. Rethymnon City proves to be quite possibly the very best preserved of Greek medieval towns. It is filled with the charm of Venetian fortifications giving way to Catholic and Orthodox churches, fantastic Venetian mansions, mosques, arches, and cobblestone paved streets that all combine to make for a unique and wonderful atmosphere.

Another advantage is that in this area you will find good value for your accommodation.

Best Places to Stay in Rethymnon

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