Best Area to stay in Crete

Crete, the largest and southernmost island of Greece, is renowned for its stunning beaches, rich history, and vibrant culture. When planning a trip to this captivating Mediterranean gem, it becomes essential to carefully select the best area to stay in Crete to make the most of your experience. Considered the top choice by many travelers, the region of Chania offers a bewitching combination of natural beauty and historical charm.

Chania, situated on the western side of Crete, boasts a captivating history that dates back to ancient times. It was initially occupied by the Minoans, one of the most advanced civilizations of the Bronze Age. Throughout the centuries, Chania experienced the influence of various conquerors, including the Byzantines, Venetians, and Ottomans. Today, this rich tapestry of history can be explored through its well-preserved architecture, archaeological sites, and diverse cultural traditions.

Choosing Chania as your base in Crete also provides you with access to some of the island’s most idyllic and pristine beaches. The famous Balos Beach, with its crystalline turquoise waters and pink-tinged sand, is a must-visit destination for beach lovers. Additionally, the stunning Elafonisi Beach offers a unique sight, with its shallow turquoise lagoon and the small islet just a few meters away. Whether you prefer sunbathing, swimming, or engaging in water sports, Chania caters to all kinds of beach enthusiasts.

Apart from its breathtaking natural wonders, Chania also offers a plethora of delightful traditional villages nestled in its picturesque hillsides. These charming settlements provide a glimpse into the authentic Cretan way of life, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in local customs and traditions. Exploring the narrow streets of villages like Aptera, Vamos, or Alikianos is a perfect way to witness the warm hospitality and rich cultural heritage of the island.

In recent years, Chania has experienced a surge in popularity among travelers seeking a more immersive and authentic Greek experience. This comes as no surprise, as the region has received numerous accolades for its hospitality, culinary scene, and quality of life. In 2020, Chania was named the “Best City to Visit” by the European Commission’s European Mobility Week, highlighting its commitment to sustainable tourism and preservation of its unique character.

Whether you are in search of historical landmarks, stunning beaches, or a taste of authentic Greek culture, Chania emerges as the best choice for accommodation in Crete. Its blend of rich history, natural beauty, and warm hospitality ensures an unforgettable experience that will leave you longing to return for more. So, pack your bags and embark on a journey to Chania, the gateway to Cretan wonders.

What is the Best Area to Stay in Crete?

When planning a trip to the captivating island of Crete, it can be difficult to decide on the most suitable location for your stay. However, determining the best area to stay in Crete is crucial, as it can significantly impact your experience and overall enjoyment of the island. In the following sections, we will delve into the various regions of Crete, highlighting their unique features, attractions, and advantages, to assist you in making an informed decision about where to stay during your remarkable Cretan adventure.

The Best Area to Stay in Crete

When planning a visit to the beautiful island of Crete, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is where to stay. With so many incredible areas to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming. However, we’re here to help you narrow down your options and find the best area to stay in Crete for your vacation. Let’s dive right into the answer!


Heraklion, the capital city of Crete, is a top choice for many tourists. Its central location makes it a convenient base for exploring the island. Here, you’ll find a perfect blend of history and modern amenities. Visit the famous Heraklion Archaeological Museum to learn about Crete’s ancient past, or wander through the narrow streets of the old town and marvel at Venetian-era architecture. Heraklion also offers a vibrant nightlife scene and a wide range of accommodation options to suit any budget.


Chania, located on Crete’s western coast, is another popular area to stay. Known for its picturesque Venetian harbor and charming old town, Chania has a unique and romantic atmosphere. Lose yourself in the maze-like streets lined with colorful buildings, boutique shops, and delightful restaurants. Don’t forget to visit the beautiful beaches nearby, such as Balos, Elafonisi, and Falassarna, where crystal-clear waters and breathtaking landscapes await.


Situated between Heraklion and Chania, Rethymno offers a quieter and more laid-back experience. The town’s enchanting old town is a delight to explore, with its narrow alleys, Turkish-style houses, and traditional taverns. Stroll along the Venetian harbor and enjoy a romantic sunset or soak up some sun on Rethymno’s long sandy beaches. If you’re looking for a relaxing and authentic Cretan experience, Rethymno is an excellent choice.

Agios Nikolaos

For those seeking a more tranquil and sophisticated holiday, Agios Nikolaos is a wonderful option. This charming coastal town is known for its picturesque Lake Voulismeni, surrounded by cafes and restaurants. Take a leisurely walk along the town’s waterfront promenade, or discover the nearby enchanting beaches of Elounda and Plaka. Agios Nikolaos offers a more upscale and exclusive experience, with luxury resorts and boutique hotels catering to discerning travelers.


According to recent statistics, over 4 million tourists visited Crete in 2019, making it one of the most popular destinations in Greece.

FAQs for the Best Area to Stay in Crete

1. What is the best area to stay in Crete for a beach vacation?

The Chania region offers some of the most beautiful beaches in Crete, including Balos Beach, Elafonisi Beach, and Falassarna Beach.

2. Which area in Crete is best for history and sightseeing?

Heraklion, the capital city of Crete, is ideal for those interested in history and sightseeing, as it is home to the impressive Palace of Knossos and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum.

3. What is the best area in Crete for a luxury getaway?

Rethymno is known for its upscale resorts and picturesque Old Town, offering a perfect destination for a luxurious escape.

4. Where should I stay in Crete to experience local culture and traditional villages?

The Lasithi Plateau, located in eastern Crete, is dotted with quaint villages where you can immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy traditional Cretan hospitality.

5. Is there a specific area in Crete suitable for hiking and outdoor activities?

The Samaria Gorge, located in the White Mountains of southwestern Crete, is a popular spot for hiking enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers.

6. What is the best area in Crete for nightlife and entertainment?

The coastal city of Agios Nikolaos offers a vibrant nightlife scene with numerous bars, clubs, and live music venues to choose from.

7. Where is the best area in Crete for a family-friendly vacation?

For a family-friendly vacation in Crete, consider staying in the seaside village of Platanias, where you can find family-friendly accommodations, sandy beaches, and various activities for children.

8. Which area in Crete is best for food and culinary experiences?

The town of Chania is renowned for its gastronomic offerings, featuring numerous tavernas, restaurants, and local markets where you can indulge in traditional Cretan cuisine.

9. Where should I stay in Crete if I want to explore multiple attractions?

Heraklion is a central location in Crete, making it an excellent base for exploring the island’s top attractions, such as Knossos, the Archaeological Museum, and the historical town of Rethymno.

10. What is the best area in Crete for a peaceful and secluded getaway?

The southern coast of Crete, particularly the village of Loutro, offers a tranquil and secluded retreat where you can escape from the crowds and enjoy the untouched beauty of the island.


After examining the different areas to stay in Crete, it is clear that each region has its own unique charm and appeal. If you are looking for a vibrant and lively atmosphere with plenty of nightlife options and a cosmopolitan vibe, then Heraklion is the ideal choice. With its historic sites, bustling city center, and proximity to the airport, it offers convenience and a wide range of accommodations.

On the other hand, if you prefer a quieter and more peaceful environment surrounded by stunning landscapes, then Chania is the perfect destination. Its beautiful old town, charming Venetian harbor, and picturesque beaches make it a paradise for those seeking relaxation and tranquility.

For nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers, the region of Rethymno provides a great mix of stunning beaches, rugged mountains, and charming towns. Its central location also makes it a convenient base for exploring other parts of Crete.

Lastly, for those looking for a luxurious and exclusive experience, Elounda in the east of Crete stands out with its high-end resorts, stunning views of Mirabello Bay, and access to the famous Spinalonga Island.

Overall, the best area to stay in Crete depends on your personal preferences and the experience you are seeking. Whether you are interested in history, nightlife, nature, or relaxation, Crete has something to offer for everyone, making it an excellent destination for your next vacation.