The Best Hotels to Book in Crete Without Splashing Out

The charming harbour of laid-back Agios Nikolaos, on the east coast of the island
The charming harbour of laid-back Agios Nikolaos, on the east coast of the island | © Milan Gonda / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Mandi Keighran
9 September 2021
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The island of Crete, Greece, offers golden beaches, fascinating archaeological sites, cosmopolitan cities, tiny coastal towns and dramatic gorges. Whether you’re looking for a classic beach holiday, an urban getaway or a trip packed with adventure, we’ve rounded up the best affordable hotels in Crete – from family-friendly resorts and guesthouses to romantic boutique hotels, all bookable with Culture Trip.

Stella Maria Hotel

Hotel
Exterior of Stella Maria hotel overlooking the outside pool area, flanked by sunbeds, parasols and greenery.
© Stella Maria Hotel / Expedia

This small, family-run hotel, located just three minutes from the beach in the seaside town of Malia, is ideal for families with young children. There’s a swimming pool surrounded by sunbeds and umbrellas, with a nearby paddle pool for children, and a cafe-bar where you can pick up ice cream as well as cocktails. There’s a choice of double or triple rooms, the best of which is the Luxury Triple Suite that comes with its own private terrace and a whirlpool bathtub.

Dom Boutique Hotel

Guest room at Dom Boutique Hotel featuring a large bed, wooden interior design and a private balcony.
© Dom Boutique Hotel / Expedia

This boutique hotel, in the heart of Heraklion, offers a sophisticated base for a city break – think gourmet restaurant, slick interiors by local designer Valia Lemonaki, and a cosy lobby lounge with a fireplace for the winter months. The best rooms in the hotel are the two junior suites, which are furnished with handcrafted pieces and come with a spacious timber terrace with private hot tub. The Business Double features a desk and comfortable seating. Don’t miss the breakfast, which is a selection of local produce from Cretan farms, including a variety of cheeses, cured meats, pastries and fruit.

Yiannis Manos

Outdoor pool area at Yiannis Manos hotel, with sunbeds and parasols
© Yiannis Manos / Expedia

Looking for self-catering accommodation with all the amenities of a resort? Yiannis Manos in Malia offers one- and two-bedroom apartments and studios with fully-equipped kitchens alongside standard twin and triple rooms. There are two large pools surrounded by sun loungers, as well as landscaped gardens dotted with hammocks, offering the perfect spot to relax. The on-site bar is open until 2am and there’s a restaurant serving poached eggs with avocado on toast for breakfast, and roast chicken with chips and salad for lunch and dinner.

Hotel Porto Antico

Hotel room at Hotel Porto Antico with textured stone walls, a wooden bed frame and a private balcony with sweeping views of the sea.
© Hotel Porto Antico / Expedia

Fascinating Chania is known for its picturesque 14th-century Venetian harbour, winding laneways and impressive 16th-century lighthouse. Hotel Porto Antico, which is located in an historic Venetian-style building by the harbour, offers 10 rooms with sea or city views and three self-catering two-bedroom apartments nearby. The rooms are simply decorated with stylish furniture and original architectural details such as stone feature walls, giving the hotel an air of relaxed elegance. There’s also an eco single room that offers affordable accommodation for solo travellers.

Rethymno Hills

Guest room at Rethymno Hills, with a bed facing a wall-mounted TV, a turquoise headboard and a private balcony with sea views.
© Rethymno Hills / Expedia

Rethymno, on the north coast of Crete, offers a similar vibe to Chania but is less crowded. Here, you’ll find a Venetian harbour filled with colourful fishing boats, early 19th-century lighthouse, a 16th-century citadel, and an impressive star-shaped fort. Located just a few minutes from the long, sandy beach is Rethymno Hills Hotel, a small, boutique hotel with rooms decorated in a contemporary Aegean style. Rooms range from a self-catering budget studio, which offers comfortable accommodation at an affordable price, to luxurious VIP suites with private spa and sea view.

Nostos Beach Boutique Hotel

The outdoor pool area at Nostos Beach Boutique Hotel, complete with fancy pool daybeds, guestroom balconies and a view of a mountain.
© Nostos Beach Boutique Hotel / Expedia

In recent years, the sleepy fishing village of Bali – located just 40km (25mi) from Heraklion – has been transformed into a popular holiday destination, thanks to its pretty beaches and well-protected bay. Nostos Beach Boutique Hotel is right on the beach and is the ideal destination for family holidays – especially if you’re in search of activities on the water. The hotel has a team of professional water-sports instructors who provide lessons in waterskiing and wakeboarding for all ages, as well as jet-skis, speedboats, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and a flyboard.

Balos Beach Hotel

Th outdoor pool area next to a beach facing the sea at Balos Beach Hotel
© Balos Beach Hotel / Expedia
Balos is one of the best beaches in Crete – and is often listed as one of the best in the whole of Greece. It is located 60km (37mi) north west of Chania and comprises a small sandy isthmus that connects the mainland to the island of Tigani and shallow, lagoon-like waters. Balos Beach Hotel, located just a 25-minute drive from the secluded Balos beach, makes an excellent base to explore the region. The hotel features four buildings cascading down to a private beach which offer a choice of suites, studios and apartments that sleep up to seven guests.

Vranas Ambiance Hotel

Exterior of Vranas Ambiance Hotel with a parked-up Vespa next to the door and a casual lobby to the left.
© Vranas Ambiance Hotel / Expedia

The picturesque Old Town of Chania is often referred to as the Venice of the East thanks to its blend of Venetian, Ottoman and neoclassical architecture, Venetian harbour, lively restaurants and pretty flowered balconies. Vranas Ambiance Hotel is located 50m (164ft) from the harbour and lives up to its name, allowing guests to soak up the ambiance of the town. If you’re travelling on a budget, book the cosy double room, which features classic blue and white furnishings and enormous windows overlooking the city.

Petradi Beach Lounge Hotel

White-walled guest bedroom at Petradi Beach Lounge Hotel that opens up to a private balcony with sweeping bay views.
© Petradi Beach Lounge Hotel / Expedia

This boutique hotel, which is set on the Blue Flag beach of Koumbes on the west coast of Rethymno, boasts prime views over the sparkling Aegean Sea and the imposing Venetian fortress. The hotel is designed with relaxed beach days in mind – think private sun loungers beneath chic umbrellas, a large swimming pool surrounded by a lush garden that overlooks the ocean, and stylish rooms and family apartments decorated in bright whites and elegant timbers. There’s also a separate pool for children and a pool bar for cocktails and snacks.

Asion Lithos

Exterior of Asion Lithos amongst rural Greek fields with the villa complex's pool in sight on the left.
© Asion Lithos / Expedia

Looking for a taste of authentic Crete? Head to the village of Asites near Heraklion, where Asion Lithos has a complex of traditional stone houses and villas on a rural hillside. Nestled amidst olive trees, the seven buildings have all the amenities of home – fully-equipped kitchens, televisions, living rooms, fireplaces and whirlpool baths. There’s also impressive shared amenities, including an outdoor pool, sundeck with loungers, a garden with a barbecue and a gym. Massages and yoga classes are also available. Fancy a day out? Head to the nearby Diamantakis winery.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Ethel Dilouambaka.

Looking for more inspiration? We’ve also narrowed down the best luxury hotels and the best resorts in Crete so that you can confidently book your dream stay on Culture Trip. Or if you’re heading to Chania, here are some great places to stay. Our wellness guide will then help you plan the perfect relaxing getaway while these unusual things to do will take you off the beaten path.

These recommendations were updated on September 9, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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