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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

A wonderfully private and peaceful villa

5 of 5
We stayed in Villa Armonia from late August to mid September and absolutely loved it. The villa is located in a tiny, clean village that was incredibly quiet both during the day and night. It's essential to have a car to get to and get about, but there is a great local taxi company that will come to pick you up and return you to places like Panormo beach if you wanted a night out. The local village Perama has lots of shops for getting villa essentials, or if you need a pharmacy, and Thraka restaurant even deliver pizza, pasta and Greek food to the villa if you're too lazy to move! The villa is spotlessly clean, and has everything you need whether you're using it as a base to travel, or spending the whole day in there relaxing. Nothing is too much trouble for the owner, Amalia, who left us the most beautiful gifts nearly every day, including homemade cheeses, local raki, olives and a wonderful supply of fresh fruit and vegetables from their garden. She is on hand all of the time, and really made us feel welcome. There are some wonderful walks with historical ruins not far away in any direction, and amazing ruins like Knossos only an hours drive away. Gorgeous seafood and an abundance of vegetarian options in restaurants everywhere, but especially beautiful food in Panormo, and Margarites art village. If you want a relaxing villa, away from tourists, that you can use as a base for exploring or just relaxing, this is 100% the villa for you. We can't recommend it enough!
  • Review Submitted: Sep 23, 2017
  • Date of Stay: Aug 2017

Fantastic

5 of 5
A very private villa, incredible views and only a short drive to the local town of Plakias. You can also walk into the local village of Seilla to a some really nice restaurants and a couple of local craft shops. Would definitely visit again!
  • Review Submitted: Sep 22, 2017
  • Date of Stay: Sep 2017