There are hundreds of hotel, resort, apartment, and Airbnb accommodation choices on Crete. And let’s face it, the main attractions of the island are the people and culture, and the natural wonder-scapes. There are, however, a few vacation stays that stand out. Here are a few choices to take in before you book Crete.
Fodele Beach & Water Park Holiday Resort
Best for… the ultimate active family fun experience
If ever there were a care-free village for active families, this luxury resort only 25 km west of Heraklion Airport is it. Carved into an amazing cliffside, overlooking the sea, this all-inclusive truly does have it all.
Whether you want an Island bungalow surrounded with lush gardens or a poolside view of an incredible seascape, you’ll find this and a lot more magic in the tiny village of Fodele. 412 stunning guestrooms reflect centuries of style and culture, and Fodele Beach is perfect for sunning or wave running. Every room has its reward, dining is the best of the all-inclusive set on Crete, and service is stellar throughout.
Oh, and in case we forget to tell you, the fantastic water slides at the top of the cliff curl their way down to stunningly clear swimming pools beneath. You have to see it to believe it, actually. Fodele Beach Resort has indoor and outdoor activities from family entertainment options via the animation team, to watersports to beach sports, and nature, swimming, and wellness so you’ll never be bored unless you want to be. Younger guests will have hours of fun at the Kids Club, where they can play all day in a safe, supervised setting. And we’d be remiss if we did not mention the ethereal sunsets over the resort, as you can see from the photo.
What we love: The choo-choo that carries guests to the top of the mountain and the massively fun waterslides and pool attractions.
What’s around: A couple of kilometers off the beach is the wonderful little village of Fodele where you’ll find the Museum of El Greco, amazing handicrafts, and half a dozen fantastic traditional Cretan tavernas. There’s a ton of hiking and nature activities close by too. Rent a 4-wheeler, explore a hidden gorge, or grab a taxi and head for shopping in Heraklion’s pedestrian shopping district.
Rooms are from €366 a night, but longer stays are the best deals. To book, call 00 30 2810 522 000 or visit www.fodelebeach.gr
Enagron Ecotourism Village
Best for… Nature lovers with picky tastebuds
For travelers who long for something pure, untouched, fine-grained and yet refined, Enagron is a piece of heaven. This eco-tourism ranch of more than 50,000 square meters is an idyllic setting with olive groves, vineyards, gardens, and fruit trees sitting 500 meters above sea level. Near the quaint village of Axos in the foothills of Mt. Psiloritis, Enagron is one of those special places that has to be experienced.
Unforgettable, for anyone who’s stayed here, Enagron is made up of 32 apartments (35 – 80 m2) furnish in traditional Cretan style and equipped with every amenity. The public areas of Enagron include a restaurant – tavern, traditional kafenio, lounge, bar, and many open covered areas all set in a truly magnificent landscape. Outdoor excursions differentiate the village, as do the gastronomical treasures here. Enagron not only plates some of the most amazing Cretan diet specialties, but guests are also encouraged to participate and to learn about this amazing diet via day activities like the short taste trip of “initiation” to the farm.
What we love: The Bucolic Excursion To The Shepherd’s House is a transportive outing that delivers on the Cretan promise of unbelievable nature and hospitality.
What’s around: The nature around Enagron is incomparable. This is not the place for shopaholics to vacation, but for hikers or those who want to ride a donkey where the Minoans trod, this is paradise. Traditional activities in nearby Axos are a highlight, and the 30 or so Byzantine churches within walking distance offer a window into Cretan devotion over the centuries. St. Irini, St. John and St. George are just a few worth mentioning. Just 7 kilometers away, the stunning views from the medieval monastery of Halepa are another highlight. Finally, when you return from your nature adventure, relax and look out over Vulture’s Gorge from Enagron’s amazing spa.
Stays are from €144 a night in peak season, but there’s a two-night minimum. To book, call 00 30 2834 061 611 or visit www.enagron.gr
Creta Star All-Inclusive
Best for… Adults after a private economy beach stay
This adults-only 4-star hotel complex is situated on the magnificent beach of Skaleta, just 12 km east of picturesque Rethymno, and 65 km from Heraklion airport. Surrounded by lush gardens running down to its a fabulous beach, the resort has 3 restaurants and 3 bars to sustain you while you suntan or play at water sports on one of Crete’s nicest beaches.
Creta Star has 324 rooms on 6 floors each with a balcony or terrace overlooking the sea or the Cretan mountains. The resort is a stone’s throw from some of Crete’s most beautiful scenery and historic attractions. Guest will find 2 great swimming pools, tennis courts, and a gym. And, there is also an activity program which includes water aerobics and beach volleyball, plus evening entertainment.
What we love: The value of service at this resort is amazing for a pocketbook-friendly all-inclusive set in a lovely location.
What’s around: A few minutes by taxi, car, or bus, Rethymno’s Old Town is one of Crete’s most interesting and beautiful towns. The Venetian Harbor there is iconic, a must-see, and there’s also, sightseeing, shopping and gastronomy choices galore. History buffs will be happy to find the archaeological sites of Pigianos Kampos and Choros Stavromeno only minutes from the lobby entrance of the resort. There are also literally dozens of natural wonders and traditional Cretan villages nearby. Make sure you visit the Amari Valley and Arkadi Monastery during your stay, as well.
Rooms are from €160 a night, but longer stays are the best deals. To book, call 00 30 2831 071 812 or visit www.cretastar.gr/en-gb
Irida Hotel Apartments
Best for… Adults after a private economy beach stay
Situated overlooking Crete’s most picturesque seaside village the Irida Hotel Apartments are the perfect luxury/economy stay in Agia Pelagia. Only a few meters from arguably the best swimming beach on Crete, these 12 Studios and 21 Apartments are both luxurious and economical. Accentuated by a wonderful Cretan Cuisine certificated restaurant, Irada also has a pool bar and a lounge bar. Special Cretan evenings with dancing and music, are perfect for those who want to experience the way of life on this amazing island.
What we love: The LAIA Luxury Seafront (annex) is situated in front of the beach on Agia Pelagia Bay. It’s one of those places you have to dream of and then see.
What’s around: Agia Pelagia is a secluded bay adjacent to other pristine beaches accessible by boat, by foot, or by car. The whole area is a sea and sand lover’S paradise, but there are many other attractions not far away. This was the location of the ancient city of Apollonia, and a place enveloped in myth and history. A few minutes from Heraklion’s amazing Archaeological Museum, pedestrian 25th August Street, and a world of history and shopping, the apartments are the perfect basecamp for travelers. Countless traditional village experiences surround Agia Pelagia, as well as gorges, nature walks, and ancient monasteries galore. Oh, and for wine lovers, some of the best vineyards in Greece are a few minutes from the apartments.
Rooms are from €77 a night. To book, call 00 30 2810 811 223 or www.iridahotelcrete.gr/en_gb