Hints, tips and hidden gems -- here's our advice on getting the most from this year-round holiday hotspot
Crete is the largest, most populous and, in my humble opinion, most beautiful of the Greek Islands (with the possible exception of Poros). With its temperate climate, profusion of places to stay in or go out, and an abundance of flight options (should you choose to self-package) it makes for an excellent year-round holiday option for pretty much any demographic.
Although the traditional tourist season runs from April to mid-October, more and more people are now turning to off-season getaways to enjoy a less crowded, more tranquil (and needless to say, less expensive) version of this southernmost island in Europe. It’s the perfect time to appreciate the drama of Crete’s natural beauty and its often sub-tropical winter temperatures.
Where to stay
Although I have never actually counted, there are probably close to a million places on offer to suit each and every budget, from super-luxurious to cheap and cheerful. Family-friendly resorts and private villas are pretty much everywhere, and then there’s my personal favourite -- the adults-only option -- which I opted for in the cosmopolitan resort of Hersonissos, a mere 25-minute transfer from the capital’s airport at Heraklion.
Aquis Silva Beach Hotel, Hersonissos
Back in late spring of this year (and again in October) Travelzoo published a fantastic week-long package deal to stay at the Aquis Silva Beach Hotel. So, having never visited Crete and being an avid watcher of Channel 4’s “A Place in Greece”, I decided to stock up on a bit of early-autumn sunshine, get my fill of feta and dust off my Shirley Valentine hat and sunnies.
Built in the style of a traditional Cretan village, the Aquis Silva Beach Hotel operates as an adults-only* all-inclusive resort hotel (although half board is also possible if you prefer the flexibility of exploring alternative lunch options). With its superb seafront location, extraordinary levels of service and hospitality, it’s an absolute must -- first class all the way, without putting too much of a dent in your wallet.
Tips (should you choose to stay in Hersonissos):
So, whether you choose to travel in or out of season, and whether or not you choose this hotel, Crete is a definite must. Click here to find the best Crete deals available right now.
*Currently 18+ years
**You absolutely have to buy a ticket before boarding -- on this occasion you definitely should purchase from one of the local ticket agencies in the high street