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 and unmistakable, with something for everyone.

Crete is family-friendly, yet sophisticated. 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. And, Crete is also blessed with a longer summer than any other Greek Island.

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.

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

In Crete you don’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 of this unique, captivating island.

Make the most of your trip Things to see & do

Beaches

Amoudara - With 3 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 1km 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 kms towards Heraklion to find this uncrowded sand and pebble beach. The sea is clean but deep with no lifeguard and so extra care should be taken with children. It can get windy in summer.

Platanias - This well-organised, long beach with lovely soft sand is 4 kms east of Rethymnon, and is very popular during the summer months.

Transport

Bus: Public buses remain a solid possibility for seeing much of Crete.

Taxi: Getting around by Taxi during Crete holidays is cheap and convenient.

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

Climate

In the north of Crete the climate 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 windiest) months - temperatures typically average at 25.9C/85F and can reach 40C/104F.
From November to March the weather is cooler and damper, although even in January the average temperature is 12C. During this period, many attractions close, and it can be very cold indeed in the mountains, where snow falls regularly.

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

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