Where to Stay in Crete First Time: Best Areas & Towns

The best areas to stay in Crete for both first time and returning tourists are the beautiful resort towns of Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion, Hersonissos, Malia, Elounda. In this blog post, I’ll discuss where to stay in Crete without a car, for couples, honeymoon, families, beaches, nightlife.

Crete is a the biggest island of Greece and the fifth biggest in the Mediterranean. Steeped in history, and home to some of the most notorious nightlife in the world, this beautiful island has something for everyone. This stunning island is split into four regions (Nomos): Heraklion, Lasithi, Chania, and Rethymnon. Each has its own main city and character, and you should start off deciding where to stay by choosing the best areas for you.

The areas of Chania and Heraklion are the best for sightseeing, visiting well-known attractions and enjoying museums. If you’re more interested in stunning natural landscapes then the regions of Lassithi and Rethymnon will be for you. The charming old town of Chania full of attractions with its picturesque streets and charming cafes are great base for families and couples.

If you are looking for where to stay in Crete without a car, look into towns with the bus station such as Chania, Heraklion, Iraklion and Agios Nikolaos. Chania has lots of bus tour and boat trips start, so you can get around and see the sights without needing a car at all. You will also be within walking distance to tourist attractions, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.

If you are looking for nightlife, look into Malia. The Malia Strip is 1.5km of non-stop clubs and bars, Malia is very much an unmissable stop on the global nightlife stage. Just take into account the rest of this guide and make your decision based on what you want to fill up your trip with! Also, read this guide about how many days in Crete to see how long should you spend in Crete and the best things to do and see.

💖 Best Area for First Time:Chania
💎 Best luxury hotel:Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Samaria Hotel
💰 Best budget hotel:Royal Sun


14 Best areas to stay in Crete

1. Chania, where to stay in Crete for first time tourists

Chania, where to stay in Crete for first time tourists

Located on the western end of the north coast, Chania, also known as Hania, is the second biggest town in Crete and the best place to stay in Crete for first-time tourists. It’s very well-connected by public transport and close to Crete’s western international airport, you can easily have a day trip to other sites such as Knossos and Samaria Gorge in Samaria National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve without a car.

This ancient city is surrounded by beautiful beaches, historical attractions, archaeological sites, and the wonderful White Mountains. Chania is a popular tourist destination, so be prepared for crowds if you stay here in the summer.

The 14th-century Chania old harbor is a particular beauty spot overflowing with seafood restaurants, cafes, bars, and surrounded by monuments that date back to Venetian, Ottoman, and Egyptian times.

If you stroll around the harbourfront, you will find the small mosque built by Ottoman Turks in 1645, an authentic 16-century Old Venetian lighthouse, the 17th-century Firkas Fortress, and the Maritime Museum.

The historic old town is filled with narrow, pedestrian-only streets, with souvenirs shops, boutique hotels, the beautiful Venetian mansions, the fountains and the churches, well-preserved historical monuments, the Grand Arsenal, Kum Kapi.

Chania has plenty of museums, including the Cretan House Folklore Museum, Greek National Football Team Museum, the Archaeological Museum of Hania, Byzantine Museum, the Municipal Art Gallery, and the Post-Byzantine Collection which are great for family days out.

Another must-see attraction is located 10 kilometers east of Chania, The Monasteries of Akrotiri Peninsula, home to three monasteries including Agia Triada, Gouverneto, and Katholiko.

After spending the day sightseeing, you can visit the Al Hammam Turkish bath for a relaxing day of self-care.

Chania is located close to the best beaches in Crete such as :

  • Agia Marina, Stalos, and Platanias.
  • the exotic Balos beach (Balos Lagoon) with turquoise waters, fine white sand, and rock formations;
  • and Falassarna beach with pink sand, the clear, turquoise water.

Other beaches in Chania region are Elafonisi beach, Marathi beach, Sougia beach, Chrissi Akti beach-Golden Bay, Stavros beach, Pachia Ammos beach, and Seitan Limania beach.

In the summer season, from July to September, you can join Cultural Summer performances in theatres at the Conservatory of Venizelos, the Park of Peace and Friendship, the Public  Garden, and Eastern Trench.

The island of Crete is famous for its wine for more than 4,000 years. Visit several wineries, meet the winemakers, and learn more about the amazing Cretan wine. The Mavredakis Winery has 25 acres of vineyards on the hills of the White Mountains, you can sample wines and traditional Cretan food.

The region is also the starting point of many bus and boat tours, making it ideal as a family destination, for first-time visitors who want to explore the island without a car. Chania is also an ideal place for couples, solo travelers, backpackers, who enjoy culture, sightseeing, and beaches.

Best Places to Stay on Crete in Chania:

luxury: Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa This 5-star authentic 17th-century Venetian mansion is set right in the heart of Chania. it has a courtyard, a rooftop terrace overlooking the town and the Venetian harbor, a stylish bar, and a spa. It offers spacious rooms with marble bathrooms, an LCD TV, free wifi.

mid-range: Samaria Hotel is an exquisite 4-star hotel offering chic luxury at the heart of Chania Town, within walking distance from famous attractions. It provides air-conditioned rooms with a balcony, hardwood floors, a marble bathroom, a satellite TV, free WiFi, and a buffet breakfast.

budget: Royal Sun is a superbly modern hotel, located on a hillside, boasting rooms with stunning views across the local city.

See more:

2. Rethymnon, where to stay in Crete on budget

Rethymnon, where to stay in Crete on budget

Located right in the middle of the North coast, Rethymnon, also known as Rethymno or Rethimno, is the best place to stay in Crete if you want a convenient location to explore both Chania and Heraklion as it is located approximately halfway between the two famous areas. You can easily reach within one-hour drive from the Heraklion airport.

Rethymnon is a beautiful medieval city with a magical atmosphere and fantastic old Venetian mansions, this region is characterized by stunning mountain scenery, rivers, and traditional villages – this is a paradise for nature lovers and anyone who wants to get a feel for traditional island life.

Rethymnon is packed with a multicultural influence, founded by the Minoans, ruled by the Venetians, and conquered by the Turks.

Like Chania, the Rethymno Old Town is one of the best-preserved Renaissance towns. It is filled with many traditional tavernas, cafes, and shops among the narrow cobblestones streets, Venetian mansions, Catholic and Orthodox churches, arches, mosques.

If you stroll along with the old town, you will find the star-shaped Venetian Fortezza, 16th-century Venetian Loggia, the 17th-century Rimondi Fountain, Historical & Folk Museum of Rethymnon, and Neratzes Mosque.

The romantic Venetian harbor of Rethymnon is an ideal place to grab a fresh fish meal in a seaside taverna. Here, you will see the 17th-century lighthouse and 13th-century breakwater.

If you are a history buff, there are numerous museums like the Archaeological Museum of Rethymnon which is housed inside the Venetian-built St Francis Church, Historical & Folk Art Museum of Rethymnon, and Paleontology Museum.

Other interesting places to visit are

  • the Arkadi Monastery at the foothills of Psiloritis, (Mount Ida),
  • Preveli Monastery,
  • Imbros Gorge 
  • Argyroupoli,
  • and Biotopoi Natural Park.

If you want to take a break from sightseeing, head to Preveli Beach which is about 40 km south of Rethymno. This is one of Crete’s most beautiful beaches where the Kourtaliotis River meets the Mediterranean Sea.

In the Rethymnon region, you will also have fantastic beaches such as Agios Pavlos Ammolofoi Beach, Triopetra Beach, Maliou Riaki Beach, Damnoni Beach, Panormos Beach, Bali Beach, Agia Galini, Plakias, and Adelianos Kampos Beach.

If you visit Crete in summer, you can attend the Wine Festival and the Renaissance Festival which runs from July to September, the historic Erofili Theatre in the Fortezza. In winter, February, check out Rethymnon Carnival to experience local culture.

The Rethymnon region is also a good area for affordable accommodation, so if you’re a solo traveler or backpacker then this is the destination for you. There are many places to stay ranging from luxury hotels to rent a room, bed and breakfast apartment buildings.

Stay in Rethymnon if you’re traveling on a budget; you enjoy dramatic scenery, you like exploring villages;

Best places to stay in Rethymnon Region:

2. Heraklion, where to stay in Crete for culture vultures

Heraklion, where to stay in Crete for culture vultures
Heraklion Region

Located on the eastern side of Crete, Heraklion (also known as Iraklion or Iraklio) is the biggest city and the capital city of Crete, home to the main port and Heraklion airport (HER). It’s a bustling urban center, full of tourists, students, shopping, and nightlife.

Heraklion is the best area to stay in Crete for families and culture vultures looking for a city break or stay close to the amazing Knossos Palace, many top museums, and cultural attractions.

Heraklion is also a good base for those who travel to other islands by ferries and want to stay near the port.

The ancient Minoan site of Knossos is the most visited archaeological site in Crete and the main attraction that brings tourists to Heraklion. It’s within 30 minutes by bus from Heraklion.

Heraklion was the port of Knossos in ancient times, where the Minoans (first European civilization) traded ceramics and gold. Today, visiting the Minoan Palace of Knossos is one of the must-see attractions in Heraklion.

Heraklion also has a beautiful old town along the seafront which has a certain old-world charm. Around the old Venetian Harbour, you will find the 16th-century Venetian Fort of Koules (Rocca a Mare Fortress) and the Venetian Arsenals.

Head to the city center, you will see Lion Square, the Morosini Fountain, the Venetian Saint Mark’s Basilica, the Church of Agios Titos, and the Venetian Loggia (Town Hall) on 25th of August street, which is the best-preserved Venetian building in Crete.

One of the most notable landmarks is the Grand Venetian Walls of the city, Venetian fortification walls of the city during the 16th and 17th centuries. If you reach the top of Martinengo Bastion, the highest point of the Heraklion’s Wall, you will see Kazantzakis’ Tomb, the resting of the famous Cretan author, Nikos Kazantzakis.

If you love antiquity, you must see the Archaeological Museum with a broad collection of Minoan art, the small statue of the Snake Goddess, and the Phaistos Disc.

History and art lovers will also want to see the Natural History Museum, the Historical Museum of Crete, the Municipal Art Museum, the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology, and many art galleries.

If you want to shop, you can find many souvenir shops among the maze narrow alley of the Old Town, especially on the pedestrian-only 1866 Street (Central Market) which stretches from the central square to Kornarou Square.

Families and kids can spend a day at Cretaquarium Thalassocosmos, 15 km east of Heraklion. it’s home to more than 2000 sea animals and 200 different Mediterranean species.

As well as that, there are also many vineyards inland and a selection of beaches along the coast, making this region great for an all-around trip of culture, sunbathing, and historical exploration.

You can book a wine tasting and tour at Lyrarakis winery, which was founded in 1966 by Manolis and Sotiris Lyrarakis. On the tour, you can taste wine, cheeses, and visit the 14th-century Karoula wine press.

Stay in Heraklion if you enjoy historical and cultural attractions, you want a varied trip, you don’t mind tourist crowds.

Best Places to stay in Crete in Heraklion:

3. Agios Nikolaos, where to stay in Crete in a relaxing destination

Agios Nikolaos, where to stay in Crete in a relaxing destination

On the eastern coast of Crete, Agios Nikolaos (often shortened to Ag Nik) is the capital of the region of Lasithi. it is set on the largest natural bay in Crete, Merabello Bay.

It is home to the island’s best beach resorts while simultaneously being the most untouched by tourism. It’s a favorite with British holidaymakers.

Lassithi region is known for its spectacular beaches, unsullied landscape, and pretty rural villages, where you can experience island life without being caught up in the bustling crowds of tourists. Kitroplatia Beach, Voulisma Beach, and Ammos Beach are the most famous beaches.

The town has three faces to the ocean: the Marina, Lake Voulismeni and the port, and Kitroplatia beach. The jewel of the town, Lake Voulismeni is a beautiful inland lagoon, which is connected to the sea through a narrow canal.

According to one of Greek Mythology, the goddesses Athena and Artemis are bathing in this sweetwater lake. There are several open-air cafés and seafood restaurants around the lake.

Within walking distance from the west of the charming Lake Voulismeni, Kitroplatia beach is surrounded by many taverns, restaurants, holiday rental apartments, and hotels. It’s a great place for families with children.

For adventure seekers, you have a lot of outdoor activities in Agios Nikolaos such as hiking, cycling in the path of Kolokytha Peninsula, and Gorge of Andrianos; horse riding at the charming village of Fourni; scuba diving at Mirabello Bay.

For foodies, check out Karnagio, an authentic Greek restaurant, in the heart of Agios Nikolaos, with views of Voulismeni Lake; and Piato Restaurant with views of the waterfront.

If you are interested in history, check out the Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos, Folk Art Museum of Agios Nikolaos, while art lovers can enjoy paintings and sculptures at the Spirit of the Stairs.

Lasithi is definitely the region to choose if you want a mixture of nature and history on your visit to Crete and will be a relaxing destination. From here, you can easily take a day trip to the Lasithi plateau to see windmills and Spinalonga island.

Stay in Agios Nikolaos if you enjoy exploring nature, you want to stay away from the tourists, you enjoy a slower pace of life, you like visiting ancient sites, you like cities with a friendly atmosphere.

Best Places to Stay in Agios Nikolaos:

5. Malia, where to stay in Crete for nightlife

Malia, best place to stay in Crete for nightlife

Located 40 km east of Heraklion on the northern coast of Crete, Malia is best known for its vibrant party scene, most people have heard of this town as a favorite destination for mates’ weekends away or bachelorette and bachelor parties, and for good reason;

Malia is certainly the best town to visit for booming nightlife and popular for young European tourists with numerous English and Irish bars along Beach Road.However, it does have something else to offer, with a bustling town center and even a small old quarter with traditional buildings and bars.

When it comes to evenings, nights come alive not only in the beach bars set directly on Malia’s coast but along the main road in town in Dimokratias Avenue.

You will find fish and chips, Scottish pints, and whisky at Malia’s only Scottish Pub, The Saltire Lounge; Corkers Nightclub which is the most popular discos in town; Zig Zag Club and Lounge, Warehouse Club are also popular nightclubs in Malia.

Apart from the nightlife, there are plenty of things to do during the day. Families with kids will want to visit Amazonas Park, which is 25km from Malia. Kids can interact with animals in this zoo. One of the not-to-miss landmarks is the Minoan Palace of Malia, the third biggest Minoan Palace after Knossos Palace and Phaistos.

To learn more about the Minoans and this archaeological site, you can visit the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.

The Palace of Malia, Kirche church, canyoning at the Roza Gorge, Dia Island, Bay of Malia, and Potamos Beach are other interesting places to see in Malia.

Although certainly not the most culturally rich area of Crete, there is the palace of Malia close by which is more than worth a visit, and there is a range of accommodation available from budget to luxury.

Stay in Malia if you want lively nightlife, you like to go shopping in the day, you don’t’ mind late-night noise, you are coming with a group of friends.

Best Places to Stay in Malia: 

6. Elounda, where to stay in Crete for luxury

Elounda, where to stay in Crete for luxury holiday
Elounda Alison Pope

Elounda is a beautiful seaside fishing village located on the Gulf of Mirabello, north of Agios Nikolaos, and south of Plaka. It’s developed from a pretty little traditional fishing village to a bustling small town.

Full of character and one of the islands smaller coastal towns, Elounda has the highest concentration of luxury accommodations and five-star restaurants – although it does have cheap eateries to offer and make it worth a visit for the budget traveler as well, and there are a few mid-range accommodations to be had.

This luxurious town is a favorite destination of famous movie stars, American actresses and actors, Greek celebrities and politicians, and Russian tycoons.

The town is centered around the main square, where you can find the buses to Agios Nikolaos and Plaka. If you head to the harbor, you will pass many popular tavernas and exclusive seafood restaurants overlooking the bay.

Elounda boasts a couple of important archeological sites of Cretan history, The Sunken City of Olous, and the Venetian fortress on Spinalonga island (also known as The Island or Leper Island). Olous was an ancient Greek city from the Minoan age.

Kolokytha Beach, Windmills Poros Elounda, Monastery of Aretiou are other things to look at if you have more time in Elounda.

It isn’t far from the city of Agia Nikolaus, and it’s a great base for hiking as it’s surrounded by a network of donkey paths.

Stay in Elounda if you’re looking for a luxury break, fine dining, and authentic feel, you like to go for walks, you don’t want to stay in the city.

Best places to stay in Elounda:

7. Matala, famous for its hippie man-made caves

Located 70km from Heraklion, where the plane of Messara meets the Asteroussia Mountains, this most bohemian beach on Crete is the best destination for young travelers finding themselves or looking for a really relaxed trip.

Home of the famous hippie carved caves in the rock and an amazingly dramatic natural landscape, Matala is busy with tourists during the day but, since most people just come on a day trip it quietens down a lot in the evening.

In the 1960s, Matala became famous because hippies  (flower children) came here from all over Europe to enjoy the natural environment and live free, making their homes in the caves. Today, Matala has become more developed with many accommodations and facilities.

It has not only the hippies’ caves, the beaches of Matala, Kommos Beach, and Red Beach are parts of the Natura 2000 network, a European Union network of nature protection areas. These Blue Flag beaches overlook the Libyan Sea, giving you a taste of the African ocean.

Malta is also very close to the second biggest Minoan Palace in Crete, the Palace of Phaistos on Messara Plain. You can also easily visit a Minoan Villa, Agia Triada, the ancient Gortys, and the villages of Sivas and Kamilari nearby!

Best Places to stay in Matala: 

8. Hersonissos, where to stay in Crete for families with kids

Hersonissos, where to stay in Crete for families with kids
Lyttos Beach hotel in Hersonissos

Hersonissos is the biggest seaside resort in Crete, 15 miles east of Crete’s capital, Heraklion. In recent times, it has changed dramatically with the growth of tourism. What was once a sleepy part of Crete is now the first place tourists look to for a Cretan holiday. Hersonissos is a great place to stay in Crete for families with kids as it has many family-friendly resorts and many activities for children.

Only 3,000 people live here permanently but that number increases many times over with both tourists that come but also the people who work in the tourism industry but live in other parts of Crete for the remainder of the year.

The beaches are great, and a fun place to be during the season. Gefyri beach is a lovely beach with beautiful turquoise, Starbeach, Hersonissos Beach, Saint Paraskevi Church are popular beaches around.

The town has plenty of shopping, bars and cafes, restaurants, and nightclubs, especially around the harbor. A range of hotels, large and small provides plenty of accommodation alternatives.

Families can spend their fun day out with kids in water parks:

  • Acqua Plus Waterpark which is the biggest waterpark in Crete,
  • the Star Beach Waterpark,
  • The Labyrinth Theme Park,
  • CretAquarium or Thalassokosmos,
  • and the Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Centre which is Crete’s first aquarium.

There’s also a golf course for golf enthusiasts, and for history buffs and culture vultures can visit:

  • the Cave of Zeus,
  • the Lychnostatis Open Air Museum which is the largest folk tradition and ethnology museum in Crete,
  • the Museum of Rural Life,
  • and the Church of Saint Paraskevi.

There are countless accommodation options ranging from simple rooms to let, family studios, 3-star hotels, to 5-star resorts with swimming pools, spas, and amazing views of the sea.

Stay in Hersonissos if you are looking for an ideal family location, it is important to you to have amenities close at hand, you don’t mind tourist crowds.

Best places to stay in Hersonissos:

9. Palaichora, a big village in the south coast of Crete

Palaichora, a big village in the south coast of Crete
Aris Hotel in Palaichora

Located on a peninsula on Crete’s southwest coast, Palaiochora (also known as Paleochora or Paleohora) was a hippy town long before mass tourism attracted huge numbers to Crete.

Times have changed somewhat with the pace of life quickening up a little as more hotels have appeared to cater to tourists.

Bars and restaurants now crowd the main street which is fully pedestrianized at night. If you want to relax on a large beach by day, Palaichora could just be the place for you. There are restaurants close by where you will find plenty to tempt you, mostly made from fresh local produce, and fresh from the sea.

The coastline stretches from Anydri village to Kountoura village with plenty of sandy and pebbly beaches. You will find Gialiskari or Dialiskari, Karavopetra Coves, Pahia Ammo, Grammeno beaches, and Keratides beach.

The spectacular Castel Selino is a famous Cretan Fortress built by the Venetians. If you want a day trip elsewhere, the ferry heads along the south coast which is otherwise remote because of lack of roads.

Palaiochora is just 70 km away from Chania, and a 90-minute drive from Chania International Airport (CHQ), provides easy access to some of the best gorges in Crete such as Samaria Gorge, and Agia Irini Gorge.

Palaiochora offers plenty of choices of rooms, studios, and self-catering apartments.

Stay in Palaiochora if A large relaxing beach is important; You don’t want a resort that is too busy, Seeing natural parts of Crete appeals to you.

Best places to stay in Palaiochora:

10. Kissamos, where to stay in Crete for local vibe

Located 40 km from the capital Chania, the modern seaside town of Kissamos (also known as Kastelli) is located in northwestern Crete. its bay is formed by Gramvousa Peninsula and Rodopou Peninsula.

It has a direct ferry to Peloponnese, Kithira, and Piraeus (Athens). It’s also a great base to explore the island of Gramvousa, the beach of Falasarna, and the Balos lagoon.

Kastelli is a small town of about 2,000 residences, with a small harbor, shops, tavernas mostly along the waterfront. Heroon Polytechniou Street is the main street along with Tzanakaki Square is lovely to stroll around.

Agriculture remains an important part of the economy. The wine and olive oil produced here have gained a good reputation far and wide. 

Tourism is growing but it does not dominate the town in any way. Kissamos is the Greek Islands at their best. That is its appeal for many visitors. Traditions have not changed here, and several cultural events take place all year round which tourists can enjoy alongside the locals. 

It is nature lovers and those enjoying the natural environment to whom Kissamos appeals most. Walkers and bird watchers often pick it ahead of other parts of Crete. All the amenities visitors need are on hand, bars, restaurants, shops, banks, and the post office. 

Stay in Kissamos if you enjoy walking, Big tourist crowds do not interest you, You want a real feel of Greece and its islands.

Best places to stay in Kissamos:

11. Platanias, the largest tourist resort in West Crete

Platanias is the largest resort in the west of Crete, 10 miles from Chania whose airport serves the west of the island. It is a purpose-built development behind a lovely sandy beach.

You will find plenty of restaurants and food stalls here while the shops are good once you drag yourself away from the beach. 

Platanias is a place that has become very popular with package tour visitors, largely from Northern Europe and especially the Scandinavian countries.

 The old village Ano Platanias (Upper Platanias) is located on the hill, and the new seaside resort, the Kato Platanias (Lower Platanias) because of its tourist demand.

The War Museum is one of the attractions in town, which is in tunnels under the church Agios Dimitris. The old village with its narrow, winding streets, traditional tavernas, and small old houses will give a feel of the charming traditional village of Crete.

It is very busy in the high season with accommodation to suit both budget travelers and those wanting luxury. Regular bus services link to Chania as required.

The nightlife is good with a few clubs adding to the many bars for music and dance.

Stay in Platanias if you want a resort with plenty of amenities, crowds do not bother you, you want to stay fairly close to the airport, and will hire a car to see other island attractions.

Best places to stay in PlataniasMinoa Palace Resort & Spa Alkionides Seaside Hotel

12. Sissi, where to stay in Crete for couples

This small town, Sissi by the Sea, is 35km east of Heraklion and your probable airport of entry to Crete. Its appeal is such that many tourists visit time and again. Couples wanting a romantic break could do worse than choosing this lovely inlet surrounded by palms. 

It is a small port where weapons were unloaded during the Cretan Revolution in.

Sissi is very much different than neighbouring Malia or nearby Hersonissos with a little nightlife as well in bars and restaurants. The fresh fish is delightful with buyers coming from Heraklion as well as locally from their restaurants.

Boufos Beach is the best place for swimming before you head to the pier area for dinner. You also have Avlaki (Little Garden) Beach, which is a little east of Boufos Beach.

Nearby attractions are the Monastery of Aghios Georgios (St. George), the interesting Malia archaeological site, the village of Milatos, Milatos Cave.

Accommodation ranges from budget options to boutique hotels. There is plenty to choose from, depending upon your budget.

Stay in Sissi if you are looking for the best area to stay in Crete for couples; you prefer quiet holiday bases, crowds don’t appeal to you, you love good food; perhaps a romantic dinner or two?

Best places to stay in Sissi:

Check out my virtual tour of the best places to stay in Crete in this video:

13. Maleme, where to stay in Crete for quiet holiday

If a quiet beach is your idea of heaven, Maleme is a place to investigate when you are choosing your next holiday. It is just a short distance from Chania and its airport.

You can easily visit busier places before heading back to your base. Bars and restaurants are readily available both at the beach and in the town. 

There are other beaches a drive away and if you want a day exploring, the Samaras Gorge is an hour to the south. Park up and walk around. You will need a modicum of fitness to take in the lovely scenery there.

German paratroopers landed here during the War and the military airport allowed them to create supply links. The German cemetery is the final resting place for many Germans and British RAF personnel. 

Other attractions nearby are the Vaulted Tomb of Maleme, the village of Platanias, the city of Chania, and the Gonia Monastery.

Stay in Maleme if You prefer a quiet base, Exploring on day trips from your base is in your plans, Relaxing on a nice beach appeals to you.

Best places to stay in Maleme:

14. Panormos, a traditional village in the Rethymnon region

Panormos, a traditional village in the Rethymnon region

Located 20km east of Rethymnon city, a traditional Cretan fishing village is surrounded by plenty of beaches and with a seemingly infinite range of independent seafood restaurants to eat at, you can enjoy a relaxed and cozy feeling holiday here while not being so far away from the city that you can’ travel in and enjoy all the cultural attractions and interesting history that it has to offer.

Panormos is packed with narrow cobbled streets, a delightful harbor, shops, and tavernas. there are lovely sandy beaches with calm waters for swimming and sunbathing.

Its quiet nature and sheltered beaches make this village a lovely stay for a family holiday, and you can find accommodation for a range of budgets, mostly in the mid-range of prices.

Stay in Panormos if you’re looking for the best part of Crete for families, you want to stay away from the crowds, you like to feel like a local, you like trying different restaurants, you don’t like staying in the city, you want to be near beaches.

Best places to stay in Crete in Panormos:

See Also: Frequently Asked Questions Best Places to Stay in Crete

See Also:

So, to help you decide where to stay in Crete, I’ve presented you with the best areas and towns to stay in Crete and hopefully answered many of your questions too. Now, all that you need to do is to pick the place that appeals to you most. I know that you’re going to have a great stay on this beautiful Greek island. Enjoy!

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