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Find your perfect Crete Villa

Framed by picture-perfect sandy beaches and translucent waters, Crete perfectly embodies the ancient mystique and dreamy sun-drenched beauty of the Greek Islands

It’s easy to see why Greeks often refer to Crete as Megalónisos – the Great island. Not only is it the largest of the islands, it is also the most culturally distinguished and historically rich. To its many admirers, this expansive, diverse island transcends the picturesque, sun-kissed charms of its neighbours. Crete complements Mediterranean beach life with strikingly varied inland landscapes and the rich architectural legacy of numerous civilizations, stretching all the way back to the Aegean Bronze Age.

Villas in Crete

Renting a villa in Crete is arguably the best way to experience the island’s many charms. Like all the Greek Islands, Crete is blessed with a huge choice of holiday villas that collectively cater to every taste. Whether you’re looking for affordable Crete apartments or sprawling luxury villas complete with pools and sea views, you’re certain to find a property that’s perfectly equipped to play host to your dream stay.

Cretan villas come in all manner of shapes and sizes, from well-equipped modern properties with plenty of space for the whole family to rustic village houses that offer an authentic and characterful taste of Cretan life.

This is an island that lets you live life at your own pace, so it makes sense to find a Crete villa that invites you to make the place home for the duration of your stay.

The cradle of European civilization

Crete’s historic significance cannot be underestimated. This, after all, was the land of King Minos and the cradle of Minoan civilization. As the home of Europe’s oldest civilization, the island was the centre of a maritime trading network, and an astonishingly advanced society, as early as 2000 BC.

You’ll find extraordinary historic sites pretty much wherever you go on the island but here’s our pick of a few highlights.

  • Heraklion Archaeological Museum
  • The centrepiece of Crete’s remarkable wealth of archaeological wonders, this recently renovated museum should be considered a must-visit by anyone who hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the island’s rich history. Many of Crete’s greatest treasures are housed in this world-class collection.

  • Knossos

    Crete’s most famous historic site, the Minoan Palace of Knossos – legend has it, the seat of King Minos himself – is one of Europe’s most important archaeological sites; unmissable, even if you’re not much of a history buff. Knossos is just 5 km south of Iraklio.

  • Spinalonga Island

    Accessible by boat from Ayios Nikolaos, Elounda and Plaka, this barren little islet off the coast of the Lasithi prefecture has passed through a succession of surprising previous lives. In the late 16th Century Spinalonga Island was utilised by the Venetians as the site of a fortress and remained in Venetian hands even after the rest of Crete fell to the Ottomans. Between 1903 and 1957 the island was used as a leper colony and is the setting for Victoria Hislop’s novel, The Island.

  • Phaistos

    Perhaps Crete’s second most significant Minoan Palace, Phaestos is less extensive than Knossos but its 4,000 year-old ruins are thought to be in a more authentic state.

  • Agia Triada

    3 km west of Phaistos, Ayía Triádha is a smaller but unusually well-preserved ancient site and home to a remarkable collection of Minoan artworks.

Where to go in Crete

If your Crete villa is suitably equipped, it’s entirely possible you’ll find yourself spending much of your visit catching rays by the pool, but for those of a more adventurous persuasion, there are plenty of reasons to jump in the car and explore the island.

In many ways, Crete feels like a country unto itself. Its sheer size and geographic diversity encompasses lively cities, spectacular mountainous countryside and, of course, an abundance of gorgeous secluded beaches.

The north coast of Crete is the island’s most populated area, here you’ll find the capital, Iraklio (also commonly known as Heraklion). Greece’s fifth largest city is bustling and not conventionally attractive, certainly by Crete’s high standard’s, but boasts a world-class museum and a thriving restaurant scene.

Further east along the north coast you’ll find major resorts like Agios Nikolaos, a buzzy coastal town, arranged along the shoreline of Lake Voulismeni, that plays host to wealth of tavernas, restaurants, boutique shops and a lively nightlife scene.

While many visitors stick to the coast, dramatic mountainous landscapes await those who venture inland. The spectacular White Mountains are especially towering towards the western half of the island, where there’s plenty of scope for rewarding hikes and scenic drives. To the east is the Lasithi Plateau, an arresting rural landscape that’s famously dotted with white-sailed windmills.

  • Loutro
  • A small but perfectly formed fishing village on the south-east coast of the Chania prefecture, Loutro makes for a peaceful and picturesque base or a fine day trip destination.

    Nestled between a cliff and the bay’s crystal clear waters, Loutro’s blissful seclusion owes much to its inaccessibility by road – you can reach the village by boat (there’s a scheduled service from Sfakia) or on foot. The magical stillness of the bay and the beautiful white buildings – complete with unique deep blue framed windows – further enhance Loutro’s magical charms.

  • Hania
  • Arguably Crete’s most beautiful town, Hania, located on the north coast of Chania, retains a distinctly Venetian atmosphere and should appeal to anyone looking for a buzzy town that isn’t overwhelmed with bar-hopping revellers. The stylish old town is a wonderful place to spend time, even if it can get a bit busy at the height of the summer, and visitors will find a wealth of atmospheric, characterful restaurants and bars here.

    The highly-regarded Portes restaurant, found down an especially picturesque lane in the Old Town, is one of the best places on the island to sample authentic but creatively presented Cretan cuisine.

  • Rethymno
  • Like Hania, Rethymno is an enchanting little harbour city that still wears the influence of its time as an important Venetian commercial centre. The bustling old town, a beguiling maze of narrow cobbled lanes flanked by elegant balconied houses and arched doorways, is everything you could want from an atmospheric medieval town centre.


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                                                                                                      Recent Reviews

                                                                                                      An exceptional Villa - a credit to its lovely owners.

                                                                                                      5 of 5
                                                                                                      April 2017 and we have just returned from Alonia Villa and yes it is a full 5 stars again! The villa is owned by the Nisanak family - Costas, Zaxarenia and daughter & son Antonia and Giorgos. What a wonderful and friendly family. They personally service the villa and it is absolutely immaculate. My only suggestions for improvement would be some small saucepans and some extra coffee mugs. Make no mistake; this is a lovely, lovely villa and a credit to them. The garden is beautiful and the surrounding stone walls make it sheltered and secluded. You can find either sun or shade all day long. Driving from Heraklion Airport to Alonia Villa takes approximately 55 minutes. Leave the Airport and take the New National Road along the coast. Take the slip road off (signed Panormos) and then immediately turn left (signed Perama), going through a tunnel beneath the National Road. Continue towards Perama and on the outskirts, having passed two filling stations and a supermarket on the left, turn left at a crossroads (signed Melidoni Cave). There are two sharp bends at the start of this road as it climbs towards Melidoni. Alonia Villa is on the left on the outskirts of Melidoni Village. A very good free Satnav App (MapFactor) is available for Android and Windows devices, from their App Stores. You download the map of Greece (Open Street Map), so you can use it offline. It was far superior to my son in laws TomTom and was easy to use and up to date, including speed cameras and points of interest.
                                                                                                      • Review Submitted: Apr 26, 2017
                                                                                                      • Date of Stay: Apr 2017

                                                                                                      Cretan holiday

                                                                                                      5 of 5
                                                                                                      Agia Galini is a lovely village and the apartment is near the tavernas and bars. The apartment was well equipped and nicely decorated and very clean. It is situated on a road with steps without traffic. We had a great time and can't wait to go back again!
                                                                                                      • Review Submitted: Apr 21, 2017
                                                                                                      • Date of Stay: Oct 2016