Wondering where to stay in Crete? For our first time in Crete, we stayed in three different hotels all in different locations. We wanted to have a varied experience so we can pick our favourite for our next visit. Crete is a wonderful island with sandy beaches, charming cities, enchanting villages and rugged mountains. From the crystal clear sea with the warm morning breeze, you can take an hour drive up the mountains and find yourself in need of snow boots and a warm jacket. Crete might not look it at first glance, but it's an island of many landscapes, suitable for an array of activities.
Finding where to stay in Crete might seem no easy task, but with authentic accommodation, delicious food and fantastic hospitality, you're guaranteed to have an incredible vacation.
Where to stay in Crete for first time visitors - Contents
Where to stay in Crete
During our first trip to Crete, we decided to stay in Heraklion. There were various reasons for this. We wanted easy access to the mountains and nearby charming villages. We also wanted to be close enough to the city so we can do a bit of local shopping and finally, we wanted to be close to the ferry port in case we decided to take any day trips to other islands.
We stayed in three different hotels in Heraklion, all aimed at different types of travellers. For your first time in Crete, we recommend staying in a comfortable hotel with access to various restaurants. In our opinion, visiting Crete should be all about experiencing the local culture through the means of food.
Where to stay in Crete - Heraklion
So why think Heraklion is ideal for a first timer to Crete? First of all, the hotels we stayed at were great. We loved their concept and their location. Second, we liked the proximity to the mountains and the many quaint villages we got to visit.
There are a few things you can do in Crete to enhance your island experience. We, of course, recommend trying as many traditional Greek meals as possible. Just remember that Greek dishes come in a variety of shapes and forms. When you think you finished your main, it may be that you only just finished a starter. So pace yourself and indulge in all the delicious food.
Crete is known for its wines too. With good soil and many sunny days, Cretan wines are full of flavour and aroma. You can talk to your hotel's reception to organise a wine tasting and sample some of the great local produce.
We recommend taking a day trip to the mountains and having a full lunch at Delina Mountain Resort. You can hire a local guide to show you around the local villages and drive you up to the mountain to Zeus' Cave. You can also arrange for an organised hike and learn a little more about the local Cretan heritage.
Heraklion is known for its beautiful Venetian walls and the Koules fortress. Make sure to add the two to your itinerary for a relaxing evening walk. Finally, Heraklion is close enough to many olive orchards where you can learn about how these beautiful trees are cultivated and how olive oil is being produced. To support the locals, you could purchase a local bottle of olive oil as a souvenir for family and friends.
All the above are the reasons why we stayed in Heraklion. Below, we'll explain in detail what accommodation we recommend in Crete based on your individual preferences and the type of trip you'll be taking to Crete.
Crete for couple travellers
If you wish to experience a honeymoon in Crete or just fancy some romantic time away with your partner, we recommend staying in a luxury five-star hotel which offers a one of its kind gastro experience. We are talking about the Legacy Gastro Suites, our favourite hotel on the island.
Why stay here when you visit Crete? Because Legacy Gastro Suites offers a unique culinary experience designed in a luxurious yet cosy and elegant environment. All 12 sea view suites have gastro units where you can pick local produce curated from all over Greece and indulge in authentic delights right from the comfort of your own room.
We recommend Legacy Gastro Suites because the mini-bars are unusual too: they feature cold cuts and cheeses, an array of full bottles of wines from Crete and home made drinks. You have a dedicated table with chairs and cutlery so you can eat in your suite and above all, you can also order a la carte breakfast at no extra cost. The breakfast will be delivered to your room so you can have your coffee with a view. The suites also feature balconies where you can eat authentic items and enjoy a traditional book from one of the hotel's shelves.
Crete for sustainable travellers
If you love the idea of an eco-friendly hotel who takes the environment seriously, then Olive Green Hotel is your best bet. Olive Green Hotel has been designed with the concept of contemporary, high-tech luxury, combined with nature’s marvels and tradition.
The rooms are nature inspired and they all feature large images of Cretan landscapes. All rooms feature olive oil with Cretan bread, a bit of salt and raki to welcome the guests in the typical hospitable Cretan style.
The hotel is self-sufficient due to its power generated by solar panels and other innovative features. Since we decided to focus on sustainable travel, Olive Green was a natural choice for us. We wanted to see a Cretan hotel which is at the forefront of doing something in helping combat climate change.
For example, we loved that all rooms feature a smart tablet from which we could control the air conditioning, the lights and the overall environment. We also liked that rooms come with a mobile phone which can be used at no extra cost for internet browsing or international calls.
The hotel also features a fantastic restaurant called 626 All Day Lounge & City Garden. You can have a la carte breakfast there or indulge in a delicious cocktail in the evening. There is also a buffet breakfast available for hotel guests which features yummy jams and all sort of Cretan goodies.
Crete for versatile travellers
Tell us, what is the first thing that comes to mind when you're thinking of Crete? Sea views, mild morning breeze, fantastic food and laidback atmosphere. If that's your idea of awesome, then we have just the hotel for you: Lato Boutique Hotel.
Lato Boutique is a fantastic option for the versatile traveller who loves a good view. With nautical elements and breathtaking panoramic vistas, Lato ticks all the boxes for business and leisure travellers who want to explore Crete.
Lato's location is also brilliant, being just 8-minute drive away from the airport and 10-minute walk from the main ferry port. It is less than 5 minutes away from the main shopping street too, so no matter your interests, you are right in the heart of Heraklion with access everywhere.
Lato Hotel features 71 rooms and 8 suites. We recommend one of the suites which are located at the upper levels. They come with large balconies and sitting areas for lounging and relaxing. Lato Boutique Hotel prides itself in delivering one of the most breathtaking panoramic views from its balcony. It overlooks Heraklion’s Venetian landmark Koules Fortress, which can be reached within minutes from the hotel's entrance.
Do you now know where to stay in Crete? Which hotel will you pick for your upcoming travels? Tell us your preference in the comments section below.