Luxury holidays in Crete

Thank Zeus (or Hera, or Poseidon) that Theseus dealt with that pesky minotaur, because now the coast is clear for the rest of us to enjoy Crete in peace. There’s still plenty of adventure to be had, though: hike wildflower-scented gorges or the mountains that mark the birthplace of gods, then choose between turquoise lagoons and candyfloss-pink beaches for a Hypnos-approved rest. Byzantine monasteries, Ottoman mosques and Chania’s Venetian harbour show off the island’s imperial heritage, and the ancient ruins at Knossos, Malia, Zakros and Phaistos will impress even the most reluctant of historians.

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When to go

Crete has a long high season – from mid April to October. The island sizzles in June and July, with temperatures above 40ºC, so avoid these months if you prefer a milder Mediterranean stay.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Crete has three airports: Heraklion, Chania and Sitia. Seasonal flights from a host of European cities including London, Manchester, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Frankfurt touch down at Heraklion and Chania, some connecting via Athens.
  • Boats

    If you’re visiting in high season, hop on a ferry from mainland Greece. Boats from Piraeus in Athens stop at Chania, Heraklion and Sitia, and boats from Rafina drop anchor at Rethymno. Alternatively, dock at Heraklion from Thessaloniki. Ferry services are limited from November to April.
  • Automobiles

    Hiring some wheels is essential if you want to explore inland. Unpaved roads aren’t uncommon in the more remote regions, so a four-wheel drive may come in handy.
  • Taxis

    Flagging down a taxi in the mountains might prove irksome; ask your hotel to book cabs for you.