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Introduction to Crete

A place of impressive antiquity, Greece’s largest island is the most fascinating of open-air museums, but alongside its ancient ruins, there’s abundant natural diversity, from dramatic mountains to the delicate spring flowers that bloom along walking trails and in canyons. Having the longest coastline of any Greek island at your disposal also means that a holiday in Crete comes with a generous choice of beaches, from Vai near Palekastro in the East to Elafonissi in the West – and wherever you go, there’s a warm welcome and a hearty Cretan feast to make your Greek experience complete. Why not extend your stay and enjoy a few nights in Athens as part of your Greek odyssey? To find out more, please visit our Short stays in Athens page.

Visit our collection of luxury villas and boutique hotels in Crete.

Explore our pre-bookable experiences in Crete



  • "GK Beach Hotel is a rare find, combining a family feel with a high level of quality, service and style."

    Mark Waine, GK Beach Hotel, Crete 2018

  • "Each villa is beautiful with fabulous views and they both have large pools and beautiful gardens for relaxing at any time of the day. Enjoy the swallows swooping low over the water in the evenings and the bats flying around at night. Magic!"

    Sarah & Martyn Pearce, Villa Antiopi & Villa Trouli, Crete 2018

  • "Villa Trouli is an absolute gem – a beautiful villa with expansive views over the surrounding olive groves to the sea in the north and to the White Mountains to the south."

    Alvin Wilby, Villa Trouli, Crete 2018

  • "The views are stunning and the villa is peaceful and private...It is ideally located to watch the sunrise and the sunset, a first for us..."

    Ellen Atkinson, Villa Isidora, Crete 2018

  • "Urania is comfortable, very well maintained and has superb views from the terrace. The gentle sounds of sheep bells and the lapping sea make it very special."

    Jill, Urania, Crete 2018

Regions in Crete

Each of Crete’s four regions offers a very different holiday experience making it a destination that deserves at least a second look. Around Palekastro in the east, you’ll discover the island at its most unspoilt, rubbing shoulders with the Gulf of Mirabello, its most exclusive corner. Meanwhile, around Chania, Rethymno and Heraklion, you can drift from charming town to sleepy mountain village in a single day, with an ancient archaeological site or two along the way. That’s if you can tear yourself away from the fabulous beaches, of course…

To make your stay complete, include one of our luxury villas, boutique Simpson Hotels or apartments in Crete.

Chania & West Crete

From the most magnificent gorges in Crete to the stunning White Mountains, Mother Nature has made this region, the greenest part of the island, her own. You’ll find beautiful beaches, some romantic and secluded, others made for families in every way, and for town life and architectural treasures, Chania obliges most generously.

The Gulf of Mirabello & South East Crete

With its Blue Flag coastline and waterfront tavernas, Elounda is the Cretan escape of choice for the rich and famous, whilst vibrant Agios Nikolaos takes a lower profile – but drift away from the bright lights, into the mountains or along the coast, and tradition takes centre stage in pretty villages like seaside Plaka.

Rethymno & Central Crete

Lapped by waves north and south, the heart of Crete has Knossos, the island’s most famous archaeological site, and Mount Psiloritis, the highest mountain surrounded by caves, gorges, myths and legends. Meanwhile, Rethymno with its charming Old Town and Venetian harbour is made for strolling, dining and people watching.

Palekastro & Far East Crete

The most easterly corners of Crete are largerly untouched by tourism. Here, village life takes centre stage, whilst ancient ruins are a reminder of those who came before, some 3,000 years before. This includes historic Palekastro itself, now a destination for windsurfers, beach lovers and travellers looking for authentic island life.