Coastal towns and resorts across Crete

Agia Gallini

Agia Gallini on map of Crete

Agia GalliniBuilt around a small harbour with its few streets, several hotels, restaurants and apartments climbing the hill above. Many places to stay and most with views to the sea. Harbour-front cafes and eateries. The beach stretches away to the east and at its end three, quite appealing medium class, hotels have many rooms with a view. A medium/small place which can seem pretty busy when the season gets into full swing. A few clubs for entertainment.


Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos on map of Crete

Agios NikolaosWith its «lake» of unknown depth – actually an inlet from the sea – and more contoured layout, Agios Nikolaos suggests a tasteful resort town. It is pleasant, with many hotels and places to stay.


Elounda

Elounda on map of Crete

EloundaHome of the select and luxury resorts and some charming smaller hotels and apartment units. Elounda boasts a large variety of De Luxe hotels and resorts – many are pleasingly designed, sporting wonderful gardens and attractive areas, pools and walkways. The village itself has a number of restaurants and cafes and a rather ordinary seafront. Nearby attractions – if you can tear yourself away from all the resort facilities – include visits to the nearby historic Spinalonga island.


Hersonisos (or Hersonissos)

Hersonissos on map of Crete

Hersonisos harbourA mix of «party-hearty» bars, discos and beach life which requires partying till the early hours and surfacing for aspirin in the early afternoon, to try for better pickings all over again – and – several Luxury resort hotels which are somewhat insulated from these noisier pursuits, offering a more tranquil variety of fun in the sun. For many the mere half-hour trip from Heraklion airport allows them to make the best of the time they have for a holiday.
Numerous cafes, theme bars, discos, clubs and more provide a choice collection of intensive entertainment. There is also much to do nearby Hersonisos for families and children. Good, frequent bus service to Heraklion and to the east.


Ierapetra

Click to see Ierapetra on map of Crete
IerapetraSouth it is. Agriculture surrounds the fabric and economic success of the town. Greenhouses are scattered throughout the hills nearby, growing a variety of produce during the winter’s south coast sunshine.
On the south coast, this is one of the larger places that takes a bit of a journey to reach. Perhaps as a result, it has more of a local (to Crete) atmosphere than some resort areas and larger towns. It is not overly touristy. Several hotels and choices of places to stay, a pleasing waterfront and good beach. Much history to learn about this ancient town, though only a small number of signs of this survive, including the Venetian fortress at the harbour.


Kissamos (Kastelli)

Kasteli on map of Crete

Kastelli - KissamosIn a broad sweeping bay, with both sand and pebble beaches, Kissamos has fewer signs of tourism than most places its size – excusing the town’s limited appeal, most remarkable are the areas you can explore in the surrounding area.
Visit some amazing, isolated beaches like those at Falassarna and Balos (perhaps more tropical-like than even Elafonisos, which is itself easily reached from here). Boat trips to Gramvousa island & Balos.
Many significant archaeological sites surround, and villages such as Polyrinia have splendid views and ancient buildings.
Along the coast going east, Kolymbari has some appeal, with its Odigitrias Monastery (superb icons) and a very fine stone built cafe at one end of its beach. It is a little hidden away from the main swing and is showing signs of being slowly but carefully improved.


Malia

Malia on map of Crete
Minoan Palace of MaliaMost of the comments about Hersonisos, apply to Malia, however it’s layout is different. A long main street – the focal point of bars and clubs runs towards the beach, the beachfront itself has the usual and the varied in beachside refreshments and entertainment and more disco-thump music than some may choose. If you stay in a resort hotel you can choose to participate in the club/party scene or not. Also at the east end of Malia is the renowned Archaeological site, the Palace of Malia – lots to see and a significant find. In the same area is a much quieter sandy beach. Many family entertainment attractions are close. Easy, regular bus services to Heraklion and also to the east.


Rethymno

Rethymno on map of Crete
RethymnoBlessed with an almost endless sandy beach (home to bathers and turtles alike) stretching from Skaleta, to the west end of Rethymno – its old town, which is marked by the ancient fortress, old harbour, historic walk-streets and waterside fish restaurants, cafes, bars and a few clubs, a pleasing place with extensive popular tourism. Museums, churches & gardens. Good food and fish. A blend of smaller hotels of all categories, apartments and wide range of medium and large resort hotels – you can pretty well tailor-make your stay. Rethymno is a manageable journey from Heraklion and Chania, can also be reached by daily direct ferry service from Pireas (Athens). Easily reached mountain areas, Arkadi Monastery, fascinating drives and trips to Chania or the south coast. Home of the largest annual carnival in Crete.


Sitia

Click to see Sitia on map of Crete
With a long sandy beach, assortment of hotels, waterside tavernas and cafes, the fortress «Kazarma», a clear sea to swim in or windsurf on, a friendly welcoming non-touristy atmosphere – it’s big enough, but it’s small! A perfect anchor for exploration of the palm-fringed beaches, aged mountain villages, archaeological remains and abundant flora.

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