Matala Beautiful Beaches Lying Near Famous Archaeological Sites
In the south of Crete lies a seaside village called Matala. Its biggest attraction is its close proximity to Phaistos, second biggest Minoan Palace on Crete. Matala appeared on the map in the Sixties as a haven for hippies who lived in the internationally renowned Matala caves near the beach.
Today the village is optimal as a place for where to stay in Crete for those individuals who want a quieter holiday in traditional Cretan atmosphere on beautiful beaches lying near famous archaeological sites including the ancient Gortys, Agia Triada and Phaistos.
The village has lost much of its traditional character through rising tourism, though nearby villages like Kamilari and Sivas provide all of this you could want in only a few miles distance.
For those who are looking for wild fun and rocking nightlife, Matala is not the best choice. There are a few hotels and bars that offer live music on the sea and good drinks, but this is the extent of the nightlife. Yet its amazing beach once frequented by Bob Dylan and contemporaries may be enough to make up for it.
Best Places to Stay in Crete in Matala
Where To Stay In Crete Without A Car
In that case, it is clearly easier to stay in one of the main towns so that you can enjoy the pubic transportation and the many day tours organized from those towns. And in a smaller town so that it is easy to get around.So mostly:
- Chania – a small town with a lot of character – ideal to explore the West of the island – See options
- Rethymno – Between a town and a resort area with hotels line up along the seafront – See options
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
You might also like: Things to do in Chania.
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Archaeological Museum Of Chania
Chania’s history dates back millennia to somewhere around 2200 BC, when the Minoans founded the ancient city-state of Kydonia on this same spot. Housed in the Gothic Church of San Francesco, a light and airy vaulted space , this museum holds archeological finds from western Crete dating from Neolithic times through to the Roman era.
The museum displays a wealth of Minoan ceramics, painted burial urns, gold jewelry, and clay tablets with inscriptions. Other notable exhibits include peculiar clay figurines of bird-faced women, votive ceramic bulls, a third-century Roman mosaic floor, and an impressive marble bust of Roman Emperor Hadrian.
Address: 21 Halidon Street, 73136 Chania, Crete
Best Airbnb In Halepa: Artistic Private Pool Villa
This beautiful villa is a great choice when youre deciding where to stay in Chania with kids or a group of friends. Its suitable for up to 6 guests and offers beautiful design and lots of large common spaces where you can socialize and enjoy the warm weather.
The owners have decorated the villa using art pieces and high-quality materials at every turn, making it endlessly fascinating to explore.
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Sporades Islands And The Pelion
Its location in the middle of the Aegean Sea just off the east coast of the Greek mainland means that the small Sporades group of islands is not very well known. But here you will find the island Skiathos which is popular with Europeans thanks to its sandy beaches, lovely forests, and variety of boat trips. The other islands in the group are low-key with beautiful natural scenery. So beautiful that they featured in the film Mamma Mia!
Skiathos has an international airport which is mainly served by charter flights. Package holidays from northern Europe are common. You can also connect by ferry. The most famous beach resort is Koukounaries with its long sandy crescent of beach backed by pines.
The coast from here to Skiathos Town on the other side of the island is punctuated by small resorts Troulos, Aghia Paraskevi, and Achladies both have hotels close to their long beaches. Stay in Skiathos Town if you prefer to be close to restaurants and nightlife, or nearby Megali Ammos for the best of both worlds. The prettiest area to stay is the tranquil Kanapitsa area.
The best hotels in the Sporades are:
The islands of Skopelos and Alonnissos are much quieter and more traditional, with mainly pebble beaches. They are connected to Skiathos and the mainland by daily ferries. You can find Mamma Mia! filming locations on both Skiathos and Skopelos.
Agios Nikolaos Good Place To Stay In Crete
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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Hersonissos Best Place To Stay In Crete For Families
About 15 miles east of Heraklion lies Hersonissos. Tourism has changed this once-sleepier part of the prefecture into the biggest tourist resort on the entire island. As such it is one of the best places to stay in Crete.
There may only be 3,000 permanent residents living here, but the summer time population massively increases as literally thousands of seasonal workers for tourism flood into town to service the hundreds of thousands of visitors coming to enjoy Hersonissos for their holiday.
The resort Hersonissos stands for mass tourism and big fun, busy and lovely beaches, and a modern town complete with dozens of shops and stores vending everything from jewelry and clothing to tourist necessities. Restaurants provide all sorts of food while bars, cafes, and nightclubs promise something to suite all interests of the visitors that stay here.
The city has hotels both large and small. It is renowned for conference tourism in the bigger luxury hotels. It boasts the one golf course on the island as well as the all inclusive holiday packages for tourists who do not plan to leave their hotels even to take in the stunning sights of the island. This is regrettable as this town is perfectly situated for convenient travel to the rest of the island by bus or rental car.
Best Places to Stay in Hersonissos
Nea Hora Where To Stay In Chania On A Budget
Nea Hora offers Chania accommodation thats a little cheaper than the city center but is still close enough to everything to be convenient. This area is right along the beach, so you can enjoy the sun and sand, and its also within walking distance of the city center and all its sites.
Basically, this is the best in Chania to stay in if you want the best of both worlds!
As a beach destination, Nea Hora has a lot to offer in terms of restaurants, cafes, and boutiques. Tourists love the offerings here, which means that it can get fairly crowded, particularly in the peak season.
Nea Hora is also close to several interesting and popular tourist sites as well as some great hotels at every budget point.
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Halepa Best Neighborhood In Chania For Families
Halepa is filled with historic buildings and architecture that will take you back to the time of noblemen and kings. In fact, one of the most interesting things you can do in this area is to wander and check out the streets.
These days, the historic buildings keep company with mansions and villas as this neighborhood has become a beacon for the richest people in the city.
Halepa is one of Chanias best neighborhoods if you want a quieter vibe. Youll find some of the most expensive accommodation options in this area as well as lots of historical sites that reflect the most important political events in the city.
This area is also fairly close to the coast, so you wont miss out on the beach while youre there either.
Things To See And Do In Hersonissos
- Get up close and personal with local sea life and reptiles from around the world, including snakes, turtles and lizards, at Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Centre.
- Explore the trades and lifestyles of early Cretans at the Lychnostatis Open Air Museum.
- Learn to press olives and make ceramics at one of the many workshops offered.
- Enjoy a great day out at the Greek mythology-themed Labyrinth Park, where you can play mini golf, try archery, make pottery and get lost in the maze.
- Rest, relax and enjoy the sunshine at Star Beach.
- Splash around at Acqua Plus Water Park, where a combination of waterslides and natural environment make for a great day out!
- Enjoy a traditional Greek feast at Taverna Harakas.
- Rent ATVs and explore the hills, trails, and valleys outside the city.
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Where To Stay In Spili
- Heracles HotelGuesthouse Great location in the heart of Spili, and parking provided on site. Walk just 50 meters outside your door to the towns restaurants and cafes. 9.2 Wonderful rating on Booking.com.
- Panorama Luxury RoomsLuxury A slice of true luxury in Spili, reviews rave about these rooms. 9.7 Exceptional rating on Booking.com.
- Metochi VillasGreat for family These two-bedroom villas are a great options for small groups of friends or families traveling together. Reviewers love the location, pool, and mountain views. 9.2 Wonderful rating on Booking.com.
Make Sure Youve Got Everything For A Hassle
I never move around the islands without my Osprey backpack, a sturdy but light travel partner that I love. For short trips, I carry this little crossbody bag. If I drive, I pack my Nikon D7200 and a good travel guide: Lonely Planets Best of Greece & the Greek Islands.
For accommodation, I use Booking.com. Traveling to remote places is easier with Discover Cars. Other times, I join organized tours with GetYourGuide, which features anything from cooking lessons to airport transfer!
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Where To Stay In Crete Greece: Best Places And Hotels In 4 Regions
When visiting Crete, the largest of all the Greek islands, some careful planning is required as you cant see it all on a one or two week holiday and each place offers something different with beaches, mountains and gorges, lively cities, sleepy towns, and so much history.
In this guide, we list the best places to stay in crete whether youre a younger or older couple, solo traveller, or a family travelling with young kids or teens. People who enjoy sightseeing and culture, relaxing on the beach, seeking epic nightlife, or visiting picturesque landscapes where peace awaits are all taken care of as there really is somewhere to suit every style of traveller on this beautiful island of Crete.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission. It costs nothing extra to you but helps keep my site running. Thank you for supporting me in this way.
Things To See And Do In Splantzia:
- Spend some time in Splantzia Square, the heart of the city.
- Check out whats on at the performance arts theater Theatro Anatolikis Tafrou.
- If youre a football fan, then learn more about the Greek version of it at the Greek National Football Team Museum.
- Head down to the market at Miden Agan for some of the best wine in Chania or just wander and see what catches your eye.
- Pick up some souvenirs or just sample the local food at the Old Chania Market.
- Check out the Agios Nikolaos, the church with a minaret that was imposed on it during the Ottoman occupation.
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How To Get From And To The Airport In Chania Crete
When arriving into the Greek island of Crete, youll want to check which airport you are arriving into and where you want to go. If you wish to travel from the airport in Chania to the city centre, you can either take a bus or a taxi. Your choice of transport will depend on the number of travellers in your group, the amount of luggage you have, your budget and time frame. The bus is the cheapest option but it takes a lot more time than travelling by taxi.
If you are in no rush, the bus is a cheap option that will take you into the centre of Chania in around 90 minutes but please note there can be a waiting time of up to two hours if you have just missed one. However, it is a great way to watch the world go by and get to know the island of Crete.
The bus runs from 6:00 to 22:45 during the week, so if you arrive later than 22.45 you will need to take a taxi. The bus journey only costs 2.50 EUR and tickets can be purchased from the driver using cash.
Youll find the bus stop right outside the terminal its not difficult to locate.
Time: 90 minutes
Cost: 2.50 EUR
Taking a taxi from Chania airport into the city centre is a much more convenient option as there are taxis available day and night and the journey takes just 25 minutes in regular traffic. There is a flat fare of 30 EUR, as long as you are travelling into the central zone of Chania city centre.
Private Airport Transfer with Welcome Pick-Ups
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Kissamos Where To Stay In Crete To Inmerse Yourself In The Local Traditions And Life
For a modern seaside town lying around 20 miles to the east side of Chania, you should try out Kissamos. Its 5,000 inhabitants are primarily engaged in agriculture still, Their wine and olive oil is justifiably famous around this part of the world. Tourism is a still growing trade here that has not yet overrun the town .
People who come to Kissamos love it for its authentic Greek town that has not been ruined by the tourism that it embraces. You can truly immerse yourself in the local traditions and life in Kissamos, ranging from magical cultural events held in summer time to the everyday experiences of locals.
The town has also focused on building up a reputation for natural eco tourism. It has become a magnet for those who love to walk, nature, and bird watching.
Kissamos remains friendly and extremely hospitable, yet still has the organization to provide all needed facilities for visitors like post offices, banks, health clubs, Internet cafes, stores and supermarkets, cafes, bars, and tavernas. The promenade lining the seafront is pleasant and covered by bars, cafes, and tavernas that run from early morning until late at night.
An added bonus for those staying here is that the town port offers ships running from Kissamos harbor on to mainland Piraeus , the Peloponnese, and Kithira. Daily cruises leave town to the Balos Lagoon and Gramvousa.
Best Places to Stay in Kissamos
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