Where To Stay In Crete: 25 Best Hotels & Towns Guide

Chasing the Donkey may include affiliate links - if you decide to make a purchase through these links, we receive a commission without any additional cost to you. Disclaimer & privacy policy.

This detailed guide to the top places to stay in Crete is organized by region, so you can make sure you stay in a great location where you want to play on Greece’s largest island.


If you’re planning a holiday in Greece, and the island of Crete is part of your itinerary, then you must be wondering not only about the things you can do there but probably your first question is where to stay in Crete.

The island is huge, and there are so many things to see that choosing the perfect place to stay can become an overwhelming task, especially if it’s your first trip.

This guide comes to the rescue! Here, we will discover what there is to do in each of Crete’s four regions so that deciding where to stay in Crete is not as hard as it might seem.

It doesn’t matter if you travel to Crete for its beaches or discover the fantastic mountain landscape. Or if you want to visit Crete to explore the hidden south or practice extreme sports. This guide will help you understand the island’s geography and decide where to book your stay on Crete. Let’s begin!

Best Areas To Stay In Crete

Snorkeling In Greece - Crete


Crete is the biggest Greek island, and the land is divided into four distinctive regions, each with essential highlights and landmarks you don’t want to miss.

It’s important to know that the four areas of Crete have access to beautiful beaches and that they all have impressive mountain ranges that you’ll need to cross to move from the more developed northern coast to the lonely but heavenly south.

Therefore, this guide is divided not only by regions but also between northern and southern coasts; that way, you’ll be able to know where you’re going and what you can do in the area.

If you’re heading to Crete for a short vacation (from four days to a week), it will be much better to focus on just one (or a maximum of two) of the regions to have enough time to explore and discover.

If you have more time available (anywhere from ten days to two weeks), you can attempt to see three regions or even all of them. If that’s your case, you will need a bit more organization, and it will help a lot to rent a car and avoid depending on public transportation and schedules.

As a matter of fact, there’s no better way to see Crete than driving, as many of the inner villages and southern beaches have more difficult access, and the public bus service does not reach all of them.

It’s also a great idea to change accommodations as you go, so consider staying in at least two different hotels during your stay. If you plan carefully, you certainly won’t need to change hotels every two days.

You can book a stay in Chania or Rethymnon to visit these two regions and then move to a hotel or rental home in the regions of Heraklion or Lasithi to explore these last two areas.



Central Crete

Greek Ports - Heraklion. Sea port at sunrise.

Heraklion receives thousands of visitors annually and several thousand more every summer. The main reason for that is the magnificent Archaeological Site of Knossos, the cradle of Western civilization, located about 11 km from the center of Heraklion.

This makes the capital one of the best places to stay in Crete since you’ll be able to reach and explore the famous archaeological sites easily.


The Easternmost Region Of Crete

Guide To Where To Stay In Crete, Greece - Agios Nikolaos

Once you leave Heraklion, it’s a good idea to head toward the East to explore the region of Lasithi.

While the northern area of Lasithi is home to two different cities that offer all kinds of entertainment, the southern coast is Crete’s most remote region. So it’s ideal for isolating and disconnecting from the rest of the world completely.

For more exciting experiences, rent a car and explore the mountain villages of Lasithi, especially the ones scattered along the Lasithi Plateau.

A day trip to the area will take you to discover special places such as the Cave of Zeus, one of Crete’s most impressive geological formations with mysterious links to Greek mythology. In fact, according to the legend, it’s here where a goat raised the Greek god Zeus.


Moving Towards West Crete

Rethimno, Crete Island, Greece

If you travel to the west instead of going east from Crete’s capital, the next important region you’ll find is Rethymnon.

While the northern coast of Rethymnon is a great place to choose if you want to visit the beautiful old town, the southern area of the region has some superb beaches to explore, beautiful monasteries, and Mount Psiloritis, Crete’s highest mountain peak, with a height of 2456 meters above the sea level.


The Extreme West And Crete’s Best Beaches

Best Chania Beaches - Aerial view of beautiful tropical Elafonissi Beach

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

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



Where To Stay In The Region Of Heraklion

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete

Best Hotels In Heraklion (North Coast)

Heraklion receives thousands of visitors annually and several thousand more every summer. The main reason for that is the magnificent Archaeological Site of Knossos Palace, the cradle of Western civilization, located about 11 km from the center of Heraklion.

This makes the capital one of the best places to stay in Crete since you’ll be able to reach and explore the famous archaeological sites easily.

In Heraklion’s northern area, it’s also possible to visit several water parks, an aquarium, and different theme parks that children love, such as Dinosauria Park and Labyrinth Park, all of them just minutes from the city center.

It’s also possible to explore the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion and the Minoan Palace of Malia, another excellent archaeological site that both young kids and adults enjoy exploring.

1. Galaxy Hotel Iraklio – Luxury

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay in Athens_Galaxy Hotel Iraklio
Photo Credit: Galaxy Hotel Iraklio

Galaxy Hotel Iraklio is one of the few hotels in town with a pool and such an incredible outdoor swimming pool! They also offer allergy-free rooms, a gym, a sauna, and probably the best breakfast service in town.


2. Cretan Malia Park Resort – All-Inclusive Resort

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Cretan Malia Park a Member of Design Hotels
Photo Credit: Cretan Malia Park

If you’re in Heraklion for more than archaeological sites and are interested in some unique relaxation, book a stay in the seaside town of Hersonissos, where you can enjoy the lively nightlife. The village is known as the mecca of all-inclusive vacations on Crete, the best place to holiday in Crete if you’re looking to relax, sunbathe and chill. You’ll find many of the leading resorts in Crete here.

Cretan Malia Park Resort offers excellent service and accommodation, a private beach, and a fantastic pool for its guests.


3. Hotel Ibis Style Heraklion Central – Family Friendly 

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Ibis Styles Heraklion Central
Photo Credit: Ibis Styles Heraklion Central

Hotel Ibis Style Heraklion Central is perfect for a family stay as it is close to all major attractions in town and the city’s best local restaurants. Ibis Hotel is conveniently close to Heraklion’s station, from where you can board a bus to Knossos. This is one of the top places for families to stay in Crete.


4. Metropole Urban Hotel – Budget

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Metropole Urban Hotel
Photo Credit: Metropole Urban Hotel

Those traveling on a budget can find great accommodation deals in Metropole Urban Hotel, which is also very central and caters to every need at affordable prices.


Best Hotels In Matala (South Coast)

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 you’re 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.

There’s minimal accommodation in Matala. It’s a relatively small village; therefore, we suggest you book once you have decided that Matala is another place you want to visit in Crete. As soon as you find availability, don’t let it escape!

5. Matala Luxury Apartments – Family Friendly 

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Matala Luxury Apartments
Photo Credit: Matala Luxury Apartments

Matala Luxury Apartments is in the center of the village and just a few steps away from the seaside. It’s an excellent option for families with kids since you get the flexibility of a home and the comforts of a hotel all in one.


6. Matala Bay Hotels & Apartments – Budget 

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Matala Bay Hotels & Apartments
Photo Credit: Matala Bay Hotels & Apartments

Matala Bay Hotels & Apartments is an excellent budget-friendly place to stay. There’s a pool to enjoy, they serve a rich breakfast, and they offer basic but pretty rooms at fair prices.


Brands We Use And Trust


Where To Stay In The Region Of Lasithi

Best Hotels In Agios Nikolaos (North Coast)

The central city to stay in on the northern coast of Lasithi is Agios Nikolaos. This small but vibrant town is home to the beautiful Lake Voulismeni, which connects to the sea, creating a unique and interesting landscape. This might be the best location to stay in Crete for a holiday that combines a vibrant coastal town vibe, charming scenery, and access to historical sites and beaches.

Booking a stay with a view of the lake is not as expensive as it might sound. It will guarantee that you’re just a stone’s throw away from most attractions in town, including the Folklore Museum and the beautiful city beaches of Agios Nikolaos.

7. Porto Maltese Boutique Estate – Boutique  

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Porto Maltese Boutique Estate
Photo Credit: Porto Maltese Boutique Estate

Porto Maltese Boutique Estate is the ideal place to stay in Agios Nikolaos to get the best views of the lake and the sea. It has fantastic family-friendly rooms with private patios and beautiful sitting areas, too.


Best Hotels In Elounda (North Coast)

For those with a higher budget, Elounda is one of the most exclusive seaside resorts on Crete, and it’s just a few minutes away from Agios Nikolaos.

Elounda is right in front of Spinalonga Island, Crete’s former leper colony, and now an archaeological site worth a visit either on your own or with an organized tour.

8. Domes Of Elounda Autograph Collection – Luxury Hotels

Greece Travel Blog_Honeymoon Hotels In Crete_Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection
Photo Credit: Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection

Domes of Elounda Autograph Collection is one of Crete’s most exclusive hotels. A stay in this resort is perfect for a romantic escape without kids or a second honeymoon! Each suite has private access to the shore and fantastic views of Spinalonga Island.


Best Hotels In Sitia (North Coast)

Those wanting to explore the extreme northeastern coast should book a stay in the coastal town of Sitia instead. This will allow you to quickly go on day trips to the fantastic Monastery of Toplou and taste the delicious wines produced by the monks.

It’s also a good idea to visit the Palm Grove Beach of Vai, Europe’s largest natural palm tree forest in the region.

9. Minos Apartments and Studios II – Budget

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Minos Apartments and Studios II
Photo Credit: Minos Apartments and Studios II

If, instead, you can’t resist the idea of combining Toplou’s wines and the palm trees of Vai Beach, book a stay in Sitia. Don’t worry if you’re on a budget, though. Minos Apartments and Studios II offers excellent views of the sea and convenient accommodation in town for very affordable prices.


Best Hotels In Ierapetra (South Coast)

Crete’s remote southeastern tip comprises pristine beaches and isolated roads, ideal for complete rest, relaxation, and peaceful holidays. In the area, don’t miss the Archaeological Site of Zakros and the heavenly beaches of Xerokampos.

If you’re traveling with kids in the mood for adventure, a trip to the uninhabited island of Chrissi will ignite their imagination!

The island is so tiny that it can be explored in a short period of time, and it has some of the cleanest waters in Crete. Kids can pretend to be pirates while mom sunbathes and dad enjoys a drink at the beach bar.

It’s not possible to spend the night in Chrissi, but the best coastal town to stay in to visit the little island is Ierapetra.

10. Villa Marmelada – Luxury

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Villa Marmelada
Photo Credit: Villa Marmelada

Villa Marmelada is a whole house all to you and your family. It has beautiful mountain views, a great garden, and a pool to enjoy when it gets too hot to go to the beach.


11. El Greco Hotel – Mid-Range

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_El Greco Hotel
Photo Credit: El Greco Hotel

El Greco Hotel is a family-friendly place to stay in Ierapetra; their basic fee includes breakfast.


12. Villa Erato In Kalliope Estate – Budget

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Villa Erato In Kalliope Estate
Photo Credit: Villa Erato In Kalliope Estate

Villa Erato in Kalliope Estate is a good place to stay close to Ierapetra if you’re on a budget. It has a pretty garden, and all your Wi-Fi needs will be definitely covered.


Where To Stay In The Region Of Rethymnon

If you travel to the west instead of going east from Crete’s capital, the next important region you’ll find is Rethymnon.

Best Hotels In Rethymnon City (North Coast)

Rethymnon is a well-developed coastal city and one of Crete’s four geographic regions. It’s home to a pretty old town with a distinctive Venetian character and some Turkish reminiscences from the period of Ottoman domination on the island.

When visiting the old town of Rethymnon, don’t miss the impressive Venetian Fortezza, a massive defensive castle facing the cost that, despite all the remarkable security features, was never strong enough to deter the several pirate incursions on the island.

A stroll along the old port is another thing to do in town. You’ll be able to admire the small but picturesque lighthouse and sit to enjoy a brunch by the sea.

About 25 minutes from the center, driving south towards the mountains, stands one of Crete’s more important religious centers, the Monastery of Arkadi, with a beautiful baroque church and peaceful gardens.

The beauty of the place is in direct contrast with its terrible past, the theatre of the Holocaust of Arkadi. This episode saw the death of hundreds of local women and kids who preferred to sacrifice their own lives rather than surrender to the Ottoman rulers.

Because of the area’s diversity, from lighthouses and Venetian architecture to gardens and historical sites, it is arguably the best part of Crete to stay in if you’re after a relatively alternative holiday in Crete.

13. Avli Lounge Apartments – Boutique 

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Avli Lounge Apartments
Photo Credit: Avli Lounge Apartments

Avli is one of the most exclusive boutique hotels in Rethymnon; it’s located in the heart of the Old Town and also features one of the best restaurants in town.


14. Pepi’s Boutique Hotel – Adult-Only Boutique 

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Pepi’s Boutique Hotel
Photo Credit: Pepi’s Boutique Hotel

Another fantastic boutique hotel in Rethymnon is Pepi’s Boutique Hotel, which has a refreshing garden and elegant suites. This is an adult-only hotel, perfect for a romantic escape in town.


15. Archipelagos Hotel – Family Friendly

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Archipelagos Hotel
Photo Credit: Archipelagos Hotel

If you’re traveling with the whole family, choose the Archipelagos Hotel for a genuinely kid-friendly experience, a fantastic pool, and great views of the Fortress of Rethymnon and the sea.


16. Olympic Palladium – Budget

Greece Travel Blog_Crete Travel Blog_Olympic Palladium
Photo Credit: Olympic Palladium

There are many affordable hotels in the modern city; the Olympic Palladium is one of the most comfortable ones since it’s conveniently located a few steps away from the old Venetian town of Rethymnon.


Best Hotels In Plakias (South Coast)

A trip to the southern coast of Rethymnon can be enriching for those searching for off-the-beaten-track beaches and pretty landscapes.

Among the best beaches to enjoy in the area, check out Plakias, Ligres, and Triopetra, with their unique, bizarre rock formations and wide shore.

Also, in the south of Rethymnon, you can discover the magnificent beach of Preveli, with a wide river ending right into the sea and fantastic palm trees on both sides of the river.

The best area to stay in south Rethymnon is the small village of Plakias, where you can enjoy the beach and all the immersion activities on the coast. In Plakias, you can also discover the most authentic flavors of Cretan cuisine in one of the village’s many tavernas.

17. Lamon Hotel – Family Friendly

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Lamon Hotel
Photo Credit: Lamon Hotel

Lamon Hotel is a unique accommodation option for those traveling with the whole family. The property is clean and comfortable and offers a fantastic swimming pool and exceptional views of Plakias.


18. Corali Studios – Budget 

Corali Studios is a beautiful place to stay in Plakias. The hotel has a fantastic fish tavern, and all units are self-catered.


Where To Stay In The Region Of Chania

The final region to explore is Chania, on the extreme western portion of the island of Crete.

Best Hotels In Chania Old Town (North Coast)

Known as the island’s prettiest town, Chania is a fantastic coastal town facing the Sea of Crete.

Chania is home to an old Venetian town with elegant Venetian buildings, unique Turkish minarets, and some great boutique hotels once home to aristocratic mansions and Venetian palazzi.

19. Casa Delfino – Boutique 

Greece Travel Blog_Where to Stay In Crete_Casa Delfino
Photo Credit: Casa Delfino

Casa Delfino is undoubtedly the best boutique hotel in Chania’s old town. It features an elegant Italian patio, a magnificent terrace with views of the harbor, and one of the most renowned spas in town.


20. Santa Elena Boutique Rooms – Budget

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Santa Elena Boutique Rooms
Photo Credit: Santa Elena Boutique Rooms

Santa Elena Boutique Rooms is one of the best budget accommodations in the old town; the rooms have been completely renovated and offer great views of the Jewish quarters. This hotel has a very central position, and it’s perfect for a short stay in Chania.


Best Hotels In Agia Roumeli (North Coast)

Not far from town, you can reach the Omalos Plateau and embark on an outdoor adventure, hiking Samaria’s spectacular gorge extending for over 13 kilometers, connecting the North and the south of Crete. This makes the North Coast of Chania one of the most popular places to stay in Crete for hiking and other outdoor recreation.

If you plan to take up this adventure, it’s a good idea to spend the night in the coastal town of Agia Roumeli to have a good night’s rest. On the following day, take a ferry to Chora Sfakion and then a bus back to Chania.

21. Agia Roumeli Hotel – Mid-Range

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Agia Roumeli Hotel
Photo Credit: Agia Roumeli Hotel

If you want to spend the night in Agia Roumeli after your Samaria adventure, check out Agia Roumeli Hotel for mid-range accommodation right in front of the beach and comfortable beds after the tiring trekking experience.


Best Hotels In Elafonisi (South Coast)

There is a collection of heavenly beaches all over the region. Arguably, the most beautiful and popular one is Elafonisi, on the extreme western tip of south Crete. You can reach Elafonisi by driving through the imposing gorge of Topolia and spending a fantastic day swimming in the emerald waters or sunbathing on the unique pink sand beach.

22. Glykeria – Mid-Range 

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Glykeria Hotel
Photo Credit: Glykeria Hotel

Glykeria is a special place to stay in Elafonisi; it’s also quite close to the beach and has an astonishing restaurant run by the same family.


23. Kalomirakis Family Resort – Family Friendly

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Kalomirakis Family Resort
Photo Credit: Kalomirakis Family Resort

Kalomirakis Family Resort is Elafonisi’s place of choice for families with children. The comfortable bungalows are located among peaceful olive groves with spectacular beach views.


Best Hotels In Palaiochora (South Coast)

You can also choose to visit the somewhat bigger village of Palaiochora, not far from Elafonisi and with a broader accommodation offer. It’s common for tourists to select Palaiochora as their place to stay when planning to visit the beaches of Elafonisi, Kedrodasos, and Aspri Limni, all of them just a few kilometers away.

In any case, if you would rather stay in Palaiochora, the village is also home to some unique beaches, such as Gialiskari, Krios, and Karavopretra.

24. Glaros Hotel – Family Friendly

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Glaros Hotel
Photo Credit: Glaros Hotel

Glaros Hotel is quite close to the city center, which allows for pleasant walks at night to reach your favorite bar or restaurant. Kids love the local hospitality, and parents enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of this simple but welcoming hotel.


25. Filoxenia Studios – Budget

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Filoxenia Apartments
Photo Credit: Filoxenia Apartments

Filoxenia Studios is a place of choice for those traveling on a budget. Besides, it’s not only close to the city center but also not far from the main Palaiochora beach.


So, now all you have to do is decide where to stay in Crete! Which area and accommodation will you choose?

Written by Gabi Ancarola from the Crete travel blog The Tiny Book. Every summer, she hosts gastronomic tours in Chania, and she has published her second travel guide to the island. 

Move This Adventure To Your Inbox & Get An Instant Freebie

Subscribe To Unlock Your FREE Customizable Travel Packing List & All Our Best Tips!