Crete, the largest and one of the best Greek islands, promises year-round sunshine, scenic hikes, and incredible ancient sites like Aptera and Malia.
Home to an incredibly healthy Cretan diet, full of fruit and vegetables and a magnet for travelers who laze on fine sandy beaches, frolic in hidden coves, hike to explore sun trails, or visit world-class archaeological sites Greece’s largest island comes with a few that are blessed with one of the most stunning views in the country.
Combined with the beaches of Crete, this island offers the recipe for an excellent summer vacation, especially for families.
Captivated by the postcard picture of Venice’s harbor and proximity to the pink sands of Elafonisi, visitors generally flock to Chania in the northwest.
However, with many new big hotels opening their doors, the lesser known eastern part of the island – famous for its almost deserted beaches with mirror-clear waters and reasonably priced tavernas serving local specialties – is gaining popularity.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect boho-chic oasis for a romantic getaway, a family-friendly resort with lots of fun activities, or a relaxed country-style hotel where authenticity is key, Crete is here to help.
1. Elounda Dome
Cretans love children – so family-friendly hotels aren’t hard to find. But this sprawling retreat, descending the hillside and offering spectacular views across the sparkling sea to the island of Spinalonga, is one of the best.
More a village than a resort, the facilities – including a sandy beach shaded by olive trees, several large pools (one for adults only), fine restaurants, a kids club, and a playroom for teens – are excellent, and the sleek spa even has special spa treatment menu for children.
Connected by winding cobblestone pathways shaded by red paper chains of bougainvillea and star white jasmine, the rooms, suites, and villas range from the very comfortable to the very luxurious many have plunge pools or whirlpools. Families will love the self-catering facilities at Luxury Residences, but ultimate privacy in the ultra-luxury villas, which are like individual homes with a fitness center and sauna, as well as indoor and outdoor pools.
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2. Cabanon Concrete Retreat
Two small glass-walled cottages peek through the silvery haze of the olive groves here. Medieval furniture, raw concrete walls and modular, minimal living spaces with maximum comfort pay homage to Le Corbusier’s ideal Mediterranean balance. A true immersion in nature for those who love modern design.
3. Kapsaliana Village,
Rethymno Crete’s beautiful beaches are hard to resist, but if you want to experience some of the more authentic island charm, head inland to Kapsaliana, a village built of rock surrounded by groves of fragrant olives and citrus groves. miles away from 16th century Arkadi, one of the most famous monasteries on the island.
Patient as an ant in Aesop’s fable, Myron Toupogianis, architect and resort owner, has been buying houses in the village since the 1970s and returning them to rooms and suites connected by a tangle of cobbled pathways and original features.
Think high beam ceilings, tables made of giant stone wheels of an olive squeezer, and beds made by hand from fragrant olive wood along with lots of modern touches, including soft beds and walk-in showers.
This beautifully restored village focuses on a raised terrace where traditional Cretan-inspired breakfasts and dinners are served under the shade of fragrant citrus trees.
4. Metohi Kindelis, Chania
Tales of Venetian dukes, and Ottoman pashas rustle against avocado and mango trees in a majestic 17th-century estate on the outskirts of Chania. Behind the pink walls is an organic farm, a family home, and three independent guesthouses. Each has a private pool, garden and dining terrace to sample homemade produce and delicious dishes replenished daily – figs, persimmons, lychees and strawberries, spicy graviera cheese and smoky heather honey.
5. Abaton Island, Hersonissos
Overlooking a fine sandy beach, this stylish spa is ideal if you are looking for a shoe-free and no-news getaway. The glass-enclosed reception area with panoramic ocean views opens onto a wooden deck with rocking chairs where you can sit and sip cocktails while gazing at the turquoise mirror in the infinity pool.
Narrow pathways lead to the many rooms, suites and villas with heated pools housed in low-rise white buildings spread out over manicured lawns surrounded by relaxing lagoon-style water features.
Five restaurants serve everything from Cretan specialties to surf and turf, and there’s also a jetty that stretches deep into the sea dotted with beanbags and tables, it’s the perfect place to relax in the sun by day and enjoy a romantic dinner at night. .
6. Ammos Beach Hotel, Malia
Like jazz improvisation, the elements of this beach hotel blend in incredible harmony: uplifting interiors, delicious food, bold cocktails, and cheerful staff who don’t budge when toddlers slather ketchup on top. from designer chairs all with a bit of humor and lots of genuine Cretan hospitality.
7. Daios Cove, Agios Nikolaos
It may be large there are 300 rooms and 39 villas built of stone scattered around a bay overgrown with olive trees but the service at Daios Cove is as smooth and smooth as marble floors.
Families are very well catered for, with free buckets and shovels for the beach and electric buggies that take you silently to your door. The villas are divided over two floors, with a living area leading to the infinity pool and terrace, as well as the master bedroom and balcony below.
A lot of effort goes into making your stay more comfortable, from the extensive pillow menu to your choice of air-conditioned mango, vanilla or purple scents, to small treats like macaroni or feta muffins waiting for you whenever you want to come back. your room.
The bar, restaurant and pool area are all located on different levels on the rocky side of the bay and are accessible by cable car. Below the beach, the beach is lined with sun loungers and the sea is shallow, making the waves kid-friendly.
8. Domes Zeen Chania, Chania
This is one of our favorite Greek island hotels, especially for families. Palm Springs-style concrete bungalows and pavilions line the hillside toward the sea, some built especially for families and have private pools.
Outside, there’s a black-tiled pool surrounded by thatched umbrellas for sleeping, and the kids’ club is a quirky haven with yurts and teepees. If you feel like walking, you can take a boat trip or explore beautiful Chania.
9. Nana Princess
This property’s beautiful black stone building near the seaside town of Hersonissos offers a striking contrast to the resort’s popular souvlaki stalls and gift shop behind the high stone walls, the outside world disappearing as you explore the glass-walled rooms lined with masterpieces. funky art with views over two large pools and a small but sheltered beach.
Suites and villas feature private terraces with panoramic ocean views with whirlpools or heated plunge pools and many high-tech amenities and amenities, including color therapy lighting, LCD mirror TVs and (for some) a fully equipped gym.
Pinball and Pac-Man fans should book the Royal Villa, which has an entire dungeon full of vintage games. However, the icing on this stylish cake is the space spa, which has an entire wing of treatment rooms where wait for wellness therapies tailored to your zodiac sign.
10. Blue Palace, Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Elounda
Located on a private pebbled beach in the northern coastal town of Elounda, Blue Palace maintains an authentic Cretan vibe compared to its grander resort neighbors.
There is no main building to speak of, but mostly bungalows, suites and villas all with private pools scattered around the hillside leading to the beach.
There are also wooden fishing boats that take you across to Spinalonga Island, an open-air cinema on the beach, and an old fisherman’s waterfront taverna serving freshly caught fish and classic Greek mezes.
11. Minos Beach Art Hotel, Minos Beach Art Hotel
As the name suggests, this charming hotel – with its manicured lawns, plant-lined alleys lined with sculptures and artwork, and an award-winning restaurant by chef Giannis Baxevanis, which serves skillfully recreating the Cretan specialty all about aesthetics.
It stretches along its own (very) private peninsula in a hidden corner of magical Mirabello Bay, surrounded by winding seaside paths lined with beanbags and sun loungers, periodically interrupted by stairs leading to the mirror-clear waters below.
Situated by the sea, the low-rise buildings emerging from mature bushland have not changed much since being built here in the 1960s. However, inside, there is now rattan furniture and a shower cubicle.
For the best ocean views, choose one of the Superior Waterfront Bungalows, where you’ll be lulled to sleep to the sound of the waves crashing against the sea urchin-studded rocks below.
12. Cayo Exclusive Resort & Spa,
The boho charm of Elounda Cayo blends perfectly with the sparkling sea and almost deserted beaches of Elounda, the laid-back fishing village where shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis and his cronies once loved hanging out.
Perched on a low hill overlooking Mirabello Bay to Spinalonga, the island of leprosy from Victoria Hislop’s best-selling novel, the common areas are dotted with a magpie array of beautiful objects brought together by their owners spanning the globe by cable car, whose glass cabins offer spectacular views. amazing bay.
The light-filled rooms, suites and villas feature gleaming light wood floors, plush Coco-Mat beds and terraces. Families will love the Cayo Grand Pool Villa, with its basement bedroom featuring Bond-style underwater windows overlooking the villa’s sparkling pool. There is also a (free) shuttle bus that takes guests to the small sandy beach.