Dip your toes into Greek island culture when you book a holiday apartment in Crete. You’ll have a choice of beachside escapes, boutique pads in the capital of Heraklion or traditionally built rural properties. Many apartments are family-run and, as you’ll discover, Cretans are fiercely proud of their culture and will welcome you with a shot of raki or a home-cooked meal straight from the wood-fired oven. These apartments are perfect for exploring the golden beaches, rural villages and ancient ruins of the Greek island.
Longing to be near the sea? Well, you can hear the waves crash from your apartment at Nana – Angela, which lies on the pale sands of Analipsi Beach in Hersonissos. Drag yourself from the seaside to enjoy the property’s pool, which has a bar and separate kids’ splash area. The Kasapakis family provide a breakfast buffet and up to two-bed apartments with kitchenettes and balconies.
Join locals in the Greek tavern at Earino, which is known to serve the best soft cheese pies in the area. It’s the focal point of this property, which offers three Cretan-style, wood-and-stone guest houses with fireplaces. Take in views of the Malevizi Valley, an agricultural region of outstanding natural beauty, which the owners of Earino are keen to share. Optional activities include raki production lessons and wine harvesting.
Immerse yourself in rural life at Asion Lithos, set in a mountainous landscape dotted with wineries and monasteries near the village of Kato Asites. The villas here blend with the local architecture and are made from stone and timber with rustic kitchens, fireplaces and up to four-bed configurations. Outside, you’ll find a swimming pool with a view across the gardens to green rolling mountains. Try Cretan dishes at the restaurant, or take advantage of the barbecue facilities.
The fortnightly Greek nights with barbecue, music and dancing are a highlight at this property in Ligaria village. Run by the Mavrakis family, you can expect home-made local specialities in the restaurant, including Greek mezze and meat sprinkled with garden herbs. The one- and two-bed apartments are decorated with local mosaic tiles and set in gardens planted with olive and eucalyptus trees. All have kitchens and sea- or pool-facing balconies.
Villa Archanes is an alternative holiday home for people interested in nature, relaxation and culture. Stay in a renovated property built in 1890 on a hillside overlooking Archanes, one of the most authentic villages in Crete. Although refurbished into six apartments, the design honours the original architecture with thick stone walls, wood-beamed ceilings and splashes of colour on the window frames. Revel in countryside views from the outdoor pool, go for a hike or book a class with a yoga master.
The ancient capital of Crete, Heraklion, is a top draw for history lovers with a Venetian port, castle and nearby archeological site, Knossos. Set on the water’s edge just 600m (1,970ft) from the port, these modern apartments are ideally placed for exploring the treasures of Heraklion. The 11 refurbished apartments each sleep up to six people and have fresh white decor, featuring new kitchens and living areas.
Named after a Minoan-era double axe, Lavris offers boutique apartments close to the historic centre of Heraklion. There are four concept suites – Phaistos, Prince, Ariadni and Knossos – with distinctive headboards decorated with stencils of Greek icons. Contemporary and chic, you’ll find ecofriendly Coco-Mat mattresses and a sleek kitchen for preparing meals after a day of sightseeing in the capital.
Set in the foothills of the Talaia Mountains in central Crete, this 4ha (10-acre) property has a farm that is home to donkeys, camels, hens and more. Guests are invited to try horse riding and explore the gardens, which are filled with home-grown fruit and veg – there’s even a small winepress. Stone Village has 37 self-catering apartments on a half-board basis; each is made from local materials and has a garden, plus access to three tempting pools.
Fancy discovering more places to stay in Crete? Check out our pick of the best hotels in Hersonissos, Crete, for every traveller, bookable with Culture Trip.
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