THE biggest Greek Island and the fifth biggest island in the Med, Crete has spectacular landscapes, ancient history and plenty of beautiful beaches.
Plus, it’s a just under four-hour flight from the UK.
You can enjoy year-round mild temperatures – 23 to 29C from May to October – making it a great choice for some late summer sun.
Where to start? We’ve narrowed it down with our guide to the best holiday spots on the island.
The most popular part of the island is the area around Crete’s capital, Heraklion, which is home to bustling resorts with lively nightlife but also traditional villages and quieter areas if you seek them out.
Hersonissos is the island’s biggest resort and boasts plenty of waterfront pubs and clubs as well as two water parks and great beaches with water sports – from Jet-ski to windsurfing.
Book a Hersonissos week-long holiday for September 2019 – including flights and self-catering apartments – with On the Beach from £158pp.
Party people should head for Crete’s nightlife capital, Malia, which is packed with beach bars, restaurants and dusk ’til dawn clubs – book a week’s stay this September with Love Holidays from £202pp.
Amoudara is also well-equipped with restaurants, shops and bars but is more family-friendly, with a great beach – book a seven-night holiday with TUI from £378pp (based on travel in October).
Our tips for finding top holiday offers
There are plenty of choices to make with breaks away – even after you’ve decided on a destination. Here’s how you can ensure you’re getting a good deal
BOOK LAST MINUTE If you’re able to look last minute you’ll often find good deals, as companies look to encourage bookings and fulfill availability.
SPECIAL OFFERS Great offers depend on travel companies’ willingness to cut prices, but some companies maintain a special offers section – like Jet2Holidays. Deal sites like Travelzoo are also worth checking.
BE FLEXIBLE Flexibility of travel dates and connections can save you money. As can travelling outside of peak periods, or – if not travelling with children – outside school holidays.
SET ALERTS Airfarewatchdog and Skyscanner provides alerts on air fares, so you can get flights at their cheapest. Kayak offers alerts for flights and hotels.
If you’re looking for somewhere a bit more sophisticated and laid-back, Stalis has a nice mix of traditional and more touristy spots – plus one of the best beaches on the island.
Book a week-long Stalis beach break for September 2019 – including flights and self-catering apartments – with Love Holidays from £200pp.
A seaside town and hilltop hideaway in one, Gouves has the best of both worlds with blue flag beaches and a hill-side village – but still not far from the bright lights of the livelier Heraklion resorts.
Book a seven-night Gouves holiday with Thomas Cook from £367pp – including flights and accommodation in a self catering studio (based on travel in September).
Around Chania, in the west of Crete, you’ll find Venetian Harbours and Minoan ruins to explore – along with tons of beautiful beaches to choose from.
Chania is the second biggest city on Crete and has an attractive Venetian harbour and plenty of sightseeing opportunities as well as a great selection of restaurants, bars and clubs.
Book a Chania break for a week this September with hotel and flights from £272pp with On the Beach.
If you’re after a quieter spot, you can enjoy traditional Greek food and kick back on the beach in Maleme – book a week’s holiday with TUI from £364pp (based on travel in October).
Platanias is located just outside Chania and has a great strip featuring some of the island’s best pubs and clubs – as well as a quaint old town and blue flag beach.
Book a Platanias seven-night stay with Easyjet Holidays from £284pp for flights and self catering apartment (based on travel in September).
Sandwiched between Heraklion and Chania, the Rethymno area of Crete has top quality beaches, medieval architecture, pretty villages and buzzing resorts.
Rethymno Town features a historic old town with mosques and Renaissance buildings – and you can walk to the beach just moments from the town centre.
Book a Rethymno holiday for seven days this September – including flight and hotel – with Love Holidays from £201pp.
Agia Galini in this area is a former fishing village that makes a great base from which to explore the beaches and attractions of this area of the island – book a week’s stay in a hotel plus flights here this September with Lastminute.com from £298pp.
Around Lasithi in the east is arguably the most authentic part of Crete with traditional villages, ancient sites and unspoiled beaches.
The upmarket resort town of Agios Nikolaos sits on a hillside with stunning views of Mirabello Bay and Lake Voulismeni – book with TUI from £483pp for a week’s holiday this October.
A charming seaside town with a colourful harbour and traditional Greek tavernas, Elounda is a picturesque spot to stay with access to the famous Spinalonga Island.
Book a seven-day holiday in Elounda from £295pp with Thomas Cook this October – for a self catering apartment and flights.
If you’re looking for peace and quiet, Sissi on the north coast has secluded coves and golden sands to relax on – book a week’s stay with On the Beach from £200pp (based on travel in September).
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