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Introduction to Crete

A place of impressive antiquity, Greece’s largest island is the most fascinating of open-air museums, but alongside its ancient ruins, there’s abundant natural diversity, from dramatic mountains to the delicate spring flowers that bloom along walking trails and in canyons. Having the longest coastline of any Greek island at your disposal also means that a holiday in Crete comes with a generous choice of beaches, from Vai near Palekastro in the East to Elafonissi in the West – and wherever you go, there’s a warm welcome and a hearty Cretan feast to make your Greek experience complete. Our Special Interest Holidays and Walking Holidays in Crete add an extra dimension to our portfolio or why not enjoy a few nights in Athens and extend your Greek odyssey? To find out more, please visit our Short stays in Athens page.

Visit our collection of luxury villas, Simpson Hotels and boutique hotels in Crete.

Explore our pre-bookable experiences in Crete


  • "We had a fabulous family holiday. The hotel was lovely. Simple, clean, quiet, friendly and intimate. The beach location was perfect with a good sized pool. Couldn’t have asked for any more, total relaxation!"

    Johanna Orbell, GK Beach, Crete

  • "Wow what a view and what a location! Beautiful villa in a wonderfully remote part of Crete, perfect for getting away from the hustle and bustle."

    The Bennet family, Villa Kambos, Crete

  • "Arosmari Village Hotel is set in an idyllic location and the gardens and pool are so beautiful. The staff were amazing and so welcoming; they made you feel like family! Susan had great knowledge and was very friendly."

    Mrs Bishop, Arosmari Village Hotel, Crete

  • "Urania villa was very comfortable and had an excellent position – quiet and with beautiful views. We had everything we could have wanted and the owners, Maria and Manolis, were exceptionally kind – fresh figs every morning!"

    Catherine Sims, Muses Beach Villas – Urania, Crete

Regions in Crete

Each of Crete’s four regions offers a very different holiday experience making it a destination that deserves at least a second look. Around Palekastro in the east, you’ll discover the island at its most unspoilt, rubbing shoulders with the Gulf of Mirabello, its most exclusive corner. Meanwhile, around Chania, Rethymno and Heraklion, you can drift from charming town to sleepy mountain village in a single day, with an ancient archaeological site or two along the way. That’s if you can tear yourself away from the fabulous beaches, of course…

To make your stay complete, include one of our luxury villas, boutique Simpson Hotels or apartments in Crete.

Chania & West Crete

From the most magnificent gorges in Crete to the stunning White Mountains, Mother Nature has made this region, the greenest part of the island, her own. You’ll find beautiful beaches, some romantic and secluded, others made for families in every way, and for town life and architectural treasures, Chania obliges most generously.

Agios Nikolaos & The Gulf of Mirabello

With its Blue Flag coastline and waterfront tavernas, Elounda is the Cretan escape of choice for the rich and famous, whilst vibrant Agios Nikolaos takes a lower profile – but drift away from the bright lights, into the mountains or along the coast, and tradition takes centre stage in pretty villages like seaside Mochlos.

Rethymno & Central Crete

Lapped by waves north and south, the heart of Crete has Knossos, the island’s most famous archaeological site, and Mount Psiloritis, the highest mountain surrounded by caves, gorges, myths and legends. Meanwhile, Rethymno with its charming Old Town and Venetian harbour is made for strolling, dining and people watching.

Palekastro & Eastern Crete

The most easterly corners of Crete are largerly untouched by tourism. Here, village life takes centre stage, whilst ancient ruins are a reminder of those who came before, some 3,000 years before. This includes historic Palekastro itself, now a destination for windsurfers, beach lovers and travellers looking for authentic island life.