Crete East - Heraklion

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The largest and most southerly of all the Greek islands, wonderful welcoming Crete has something for everyone. Head east to Heraklion, on the central part of Crete’s north coast to explore the wide ranging and superb beaches.

Description

Crete is the largest and most southerly island in Greece and is set apart from the other Greek Islands. Situated in the southern part of the Aegean Sea, the island is one of the most distinctive and beautiful, making holidays to Crete exceptional, unmistakable and with something to suit both couples and families. Start planning your 2018 Crete holiday now. The island boasts a wide selection of fantastic hotels and great value without compromising on the finer details.

Crete is family-friendly, yet sophisticated. Wherever you choose to stay, you won’t have to travel very far to enjoy the coastline - from wild beaches with rolling surf to secret coves for sunbathing and romance, feel the wind in your hair and leave your footprints in the sand on this unique, captivating island. Head out to Rethymnon, a gorgeous town that looks like a watercolour painting, with tavernas, cobbled streets, little piazzas and a castle at the top. Its biggest draw though is the 12 kilometre stretch of beach. North east Crete has some of the best beaches on the island and Rethymnon Beach is one not to be missed, perfect for adults and families alike.

Crete is blessed with a longer summer than any other Greek Island and there’s an abundance of nature reserves and beaches with crystal clear waters so if you enjoy outdoor pursuits, there’s plenty here waiting to be explored in the glorious sunshine. Adults and families of all ages will love the waterparks too. Head out to Acqua Plus Water Park in Hersonisson or Watercity Water Park in Kokkini Hani for a change from the beach and a fun day out on the waterslides.  

Cosmopolitan, yet with a landscape that is a magical mix of sandy beaches and rugged mountains, lively cities, traditional rural villages and lush green valleys. The glorious scents of orange and lemon groves fill the air. 

Holidays to Crete are so diverse, with remnants of the ancient Minoan culture rubbing shoulders with chic restaurants, clubs, bars, boutiques and jewellers. Lovers of ancient history will find a wealth of treasures here. Explore the labyrinthine palaces and discover all about the mysterious Minoan and Venetian times, through to the German occupation.  Crete is also the birthplace of Zeus, father of all the Greek Gods and the Minoan Empire, where the legend of the Minotaur has its origin. The rich culture, legends and history are celebrated with both music and poetry, making Crete a very romantic island to holiday on and the perfect place for an unforgettable Greek wedding.

Heraklion, the capital, is centred along the Venetian-influenced waterfront. Roam through the city, visit the world-class museum and soak up the Mediterranean atmosphere. There are cafes, bars and plenty of nightlife for relaxation or partying under the stars. Cretan cuisine sets a great example for simple and delicious food. Tuck into some delicious bougatsa, a traditional Greek breakfast pastry pie with cheese, custard or a minced meat filling, between layers of filo pastry. And be sure to try dakos rusks while in Crete. Consisting of sliced and soaked dried bread or barley rusk, and topped with tomatoes, feta cheese, oregano, peppers and olives. This is Crete's answer to Italy's pizza.

The Island’s interior is home to the White Mountains, which are the perfect place for scenic hikes or a drive through to enjoy the spectacular scenery. Gentler mountains can be found in the east where you’ll find the basin of the Lasithi Plateau, charmingly dotted with white windmills, like ghosts from a bygone era. The south coast is more rugged, with remote villages and isolated coves and from here it’s easy to visit the smaller islands to the south of Crete.

Explore the island and take a leisurely lunch or dinner at a welcoming taverna. Chat with the friendly locals – full of character, who love to talk and share their stories. Every village produces its own speciality dishes so choose from mouth-watering cheeses to mountain honey, washed down by home-made wine for an intimate and unique dinner to remember.

Make the most of your trip Things to see & do

Beaches

Best beaches in Crete east - Heraklion

Amoudara - With three miles of golden sands the fine sandy beach at Amoudara is widely regarded as one of the best on the island.

Lerapetra - 36 miles south of Aghios Nikolaos, Lerapetra has the longest beach on Crete.

Malia - The fantastic beach at Malia is regarded by many to be one of the best on the island with deep-piled sand stretching for miles and no shortage of water sports available.

Vai Beach - With a gently curving golden sand beach, Vai Beach is famous for its natural palm forest, the largest in Europe which forms the backdrop.

Stalis – Stalis boasts a vast expanse of beautiful sand beach. It is a short taxi ride from Hersonissos and has lots of amenities close at hand.

Rethymnon Beach - The sandy beach of Rethymno is just one kilometre east of the city centre, next to the Venetian port. A lovely beach with golden sand and crystal clear shallow waters and with nesting turtles May to September. The beach has great facilities and is conveniently close to all amenities of the city.

Preveli Beach - Located in Rethymnon, Preveli Beach is one of the most attractive on the island. It boasts crystal clear waters and many palm trees. 

Kolokytha Beach - On the Kolokytha Peninsula, the beach can be reached by crossing the narrow isthmus occupied by windmills and heading for the small church of Agios Loukas. A small path takes you down to this uncrowded little beach. 

Driros Beach - A lovely spot backed by pine trees and views of Spinalonga island situated a few kilometres north of Elounda. Here you will find sun loungers and a cafe with tables and chairs on a wooden jetty. Water sports are also available here.

Plaka - A little further on past Driros beach are two picturesque pebbly beaches with crystal clear waters. The beach of Agia Marina, named after the nearby Byzantine church, in front of a large hotel, has big pebbles and deep waters. Access is via a small path alongside the church cemetery.

Geropotamos - Head out about 18 kilometres towards Heraklion to find this uncrowded sand and pebble beach. The sea is clean but deep shelving with no lifeguard present, so we recommend that extra care should be taken with children. It can get windy in summer.

Platanias - This well-organised, long beach with lovely soft sand is four kilometres east of Rethymnon, and is very popular during the summer months.

Transport

Bus: Public buses are a convenient and easy way to get around and see much more of Crete.

Taxi: Getting around by Taxi during Crete holidays is a cheap and convenient way of exploring the island.

Car: An excellent way of getting around during Crete holidays, car hire gives you complete flexibility.

Weather

Best time to go to Crete

In the north of Crete the weather is typically Mediterranean; in the south it's almost subtropical. Spring comes early with average temperatures of 15C/61F in March and 20C/68F in April. Summers are baking hot and dry but with strong sea breezes. July and August are the hottest (and breeziest) months - temperatures typically average at 25.9C/85F and can reach 40C/104F. 

Max_temp  Max Temp C Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
Crete East -Heraklion 16 19 23 25 25 23 20
London 13 16 20 22 21 19 13
Sun Sunshine Hours Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
Crete East -Heraklion 7 9 11 12 11 9 6
London 5 6 7 6 6 5 3

Things To Do

Crete East Holidays - Excursions

Make your Crete holidays extra special and book one of our wonderful excursions in the Heraklion area. Carefully selected to cater for everyone's interests, here's just a few of our most popular excursions to tempt you:

The Island: Sail across to the historical and beautiful island of Spinalonga. Stroll in the cosmopolitan resort of Ag Nikolaos. Sun sea, sailing, BBQ and history all rolled into one fantastic day.

Garden of Crete: Discover the secret delights of hidden Cretan life and see more of the traditional side of Crete. Wine tasting and lunch is included in this day.

Lazy day island: Sail to Europe’s most Southerly point and enjoy the glorious beaches. Leave footprints in the sand on Robinson Crusoe Island.

Real Crete: Take a wonderful day trip up into the mountains. The laid back, sleepy village life which is so unique to Crete, is what this trip is all about. A lovely day out.

Go Greek: Enjoy a fun filled exciting night out. A full evening of entertainment awaits you o this traditional Cretan night out. You’ll enjoy fabulous food and free flowing wine, which is all included as well as the transfer.

Knossos and Heraklion: Experience the culture and history of the Ancient Palace of Knossos. You’ve not been to Crete without going to Knossos. Then explore the cosmopolitan city of Heraklion and do a bit of shopping.  The perfect day out for all the family.

Watercity: A thrilling excursions for adults and kids of all ages. Experience the rides, slides and kamikaze dives when you visit Crete’s biggest waterpark.

Jeep Safari: Enjoy unforgettable scenery and a wonderful 4 x 4 adventure on this ultimate off-road experience. The best way to reach the almost inaccessible and see more of the island of Crete.

Santorini: Visit ‘picture-postcard” Greece on a trip to the stunning island of Santorini. Whitewashed houses perched on sheer clifftops amid a blue eternity of sky and sea. A holiday within a holiday and not to be missed.

Horseriding: Fabulous fun on horseback as you explore the peaceful countryside, trekking though olive groves and fruit orchards. A highly popular activity and great holiday memory, worth creating.

Samaria Gorge: A great day for those that enjoy a challenge. Why not hike the longest gorge in Europe? With 18 kilometres of spectacular scenery to enjoy. Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime experience.

Sailing Cruise: Sail on a newly built wooden sailing boat, with stops off for swimming and snorkelling opportunities, with a sizzling BBQ, wine and water.

Labyrinth (Elounda to Kokkini): A must do activity on your family holiday in Crete. The perfect fun day out in this amazing place in Crete, exploring a maze and having fun on electric go-carts and much more.

These are just a few of the exciting days and nights out available from your representative in resort. We strongly advise you to confirm your place at the Welcome Get Together as places are limited and we don't want you to miss out.

Weddings

Dream settings in Greece

If you're planning to tie the knot abroad, then weddings in Greece are the perfect solution for a paradise venue on your special day. Take your pick from a wide variety of idyllic settings in nine of our Greek Islands: Rhodes, Crete, Zante, Corfu, Kefalonia, Santorini, Skiathos, Kos and Parga. Each island offers its own unique atmosphere, from quaint to sophisticated and from modern to traditional. We can provide civil wedding ceremonies and renewal of vows in a variety of locations, which include registry offices, open air venues and stunning hotel settings. For more information and inspiration, take a look at our weddings pages.

Our favourites in Crete East - Heraklion

More destinations in Crete East - Heraklion

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