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Crete Destination Guide

Exclusively Elegant Travel Since 1988

For more information, please call our Luxury Travel Specialists on:01244 897 771

Your guide from the Luxury Travel Specialists

Welcome to the Elegant Resorts Destination Guide for Crete, created to help make your choice of luxury holiday as easy as possible. Here, you will find more detailed factual information about the destination you have selected.

If you require further information, not featured on this page, please call one of our Luxury Travel Specialists.


Language Greek
Time Difference 3 hours
Currency Euro
Voltage 220V

Crete is not just Greece’s largest island but arguably its most diverse. Its remarkable history is evident across the island, from the ruins of the Minoan palace of Knossos to the Venetian fortresses of Rethymo; from old mosques and Byzantine monasteries to the cave that is the legendary birthplace of Zeus. Spectacular mountain ranges dotted with caves are sliced by dramatic gorges that spill out to sea, and a rugged interior is interspersed with vast plateaus and fertile plains.

The island is big enough for independent travellers to venture away from the package tourism trails and find quiet beaches and mountain villages to explore. The lower coast of Crete with its lovely beaches and isolated coves is where you can sense an older, truer, more timeless Crete, whilst the east boasts Europe’s only palm-tree forest beach. Cretans are proud and hospitable people who maintain their culture and customs, particularly their strong musical tradition, and throughout the island you will come across traditional settlements unaffected by tourism, plus the odd flock of sheep with shepherd in tow.

Spinalonga Island

Just across from the bay of Elounda, visit the fascinating island of Spinalonga, which translates to ‘long thorn’. Controlled by the Venetians until the 17th century, it then fell to the Ottomans, before becoming a leper colony. The island has been uninhabited since 1957, but today you can visit and walk around the ruined fortress, emblematic churches and colourful reconstructions of store fronts. The tiny island also inspired author Victoria Hislop, along with her own family connection to the island, to create the 2005 bestselling novel, The Island.


Foodies will be in heaven in Crete! Olives and olive oil are a staple part of any Cretan dish, so visit one of many Olive Oil producers and see how the liquid gold is created. The mountains above Neapoli open onto the enormous fertile Lasithi Plateau, where family farms produce the rich Greek yoghurts that enliven Cretan cuisine. Pair your meal with brilliant local wine from the region beyond Sitim, covered in vineyards that produce highly commendable wines - especially whites. Whatever you decide to sample, flavoursome Cretan cuisine does not disappoint!


Crete is well known for its lovely beaches - ranging from small stone shingle coves, to long sandy stretches, accompanied by stunning gorges rising dramatically from the sea. Perhaps less frequented, the island’s interior landscape is just as beautiful; mountainsides are populated with vineyards, olive groves and fields of artichokes, whilst other areas are densely forested and even desert-like, filled with cacti and palm trees. If you’re a keen walker, you may wish to attempt the Samaria Gorge walk within the Samaria National Park, surrounded by the canyon’s undeniable raw beauty. Generally, the gorge is open from May to October and is approximately sixteen kilometres from the starting point.

Incredible Archaeological sites

There are scores of monasteries, churches and archaeological sites on Crete. Just a few kilometres outside the town of Agios Nikolaos, discover Crete's greatest ecclesiastical treasure, the 13th-century church of Panagia Kera. Head to Knossos, just outside Heraklion, to discover a complex of Minoan ruins, unearthed by the British Archaeologist, Sir Arthur Evans, in the early 1900s. There isn't much left of Phaestos, one of Crete’s most important sites, but the stone foundations are largely intact and allow you to vividly picture the layout of this ancient Minoan palace.

Travel Gems+

Travel Planning
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.

On The Water
Take a trip on Blue Palace, A luxury Collection Resort & Spa's traditional Caique fishing boat, from the resort’s own jetty and sail through the crystal clear waters around the Mirabello Gulf, enjoying the sun set as you sip a glass of Champagne.


May to September enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate with hot days and warm, pleasant evenings. Winters are mild but do expect rain.

Temperature Guide

These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Crete.

  Temp °C Rain mm

Getting There+

Flight Time
London Gatwick to Heraklion, Crete: 3 hours, 55 minutes. Other UK Regional flights are also available.

Travel Documentation+

Travelling With Children or Without an Adult

Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.

Visa and Advance Passenger Information

All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.

Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.

For up-to-date resort information, visit


Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit Insect and tick bite avoidance. In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations i.e, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling. Visit the FCDO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: Foreign Travel Advice. Additional sources of information include: Public Health England, The National Travel Health And Network Centre, Foreign And Commonwealth Office and your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.

Talk to our Europe & North Africa experts

Our dedicated Europe & North Africa experts are ready to help you design your luxury holiday to Crete. Furthermore, we have many Luxury Travel Specialists who've personally visited Crete and can offer you their first-hand knowledge and experience.

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Although our awards and long history stand testament to our success, independent reviews from our clients via Feefo further support our unrivalled travel experiences.

We are proud to have been awarded the Feefo Platinum Service Award in 2021 for achieving Gold Trusted Service for three consecutive years. This independent seal of excellence recognises businesses for delivering exceptional experiences, as rated by real customers. Trusted Service is awarded only to those businesses that use Feefo to collect genuine ratings and reviews and achieve an overall score of 4.5 or more – a testament to our seamless, personalised service, no matter what the world throws at us.

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