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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

Fabulous

5 of 5
Great villa, amazing welcome basket and local service.. . Marianna was incredibly friendly and helpful. Walking distance of everything. A bit of road noise but, location more than makes up for this.
  • Review Submitted: Apr 07, 2018
  • Date of Stay: Mar 2018

Lovely quiet villa & private pool in rural Crete

5 of 5
Villa Helios lived up to it's name, being well appointed to bask in sunshine during our stay. It's an extremely well set out villa with 4 double bedrooms, two bathrooms, dining/lounge area & cosy kitchen and convivially coped very well with 7 busy adults. The outside space with verandah, own swimming pool, barbecue area etc., is fantastic, and also quiet, being screened from the road and other (not too nearby) villas by beautiful long established olive trees. It's a really, really lovely place to stay, within easy walk of local village, cafes, shops etc., - we will certainly return soon!
  • Review Submitted: Dec 17, 2017
  • Date of Stay: Nov 2017