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Crete – Favoured by Families, Craved by Couples and Perfect for Parties

Crete is Greece’s largest island and also one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean. So when you hear the cliché that it offers something for everyone ( and your eye’s roll ) – believe me when I say, it is actually true!


Because of its sheer size ( over 3000 square miles), you can discover isolated beaches on one side of the island or dance all night in a 24 hour bar on the other. You will find sun-drenched beaches with stunning mountain backdrops, pretty villages and bustling resorts. Crere is an island of contrasts.  A trek through the Samaria Gorge, the longest canyon in Europe, and a visit to the Venetian harbour town, Rethymnon are a must. History lovers will appreciate the ancient Minoan palace of Knossos and beach lovers will love the famous pink and white sandy beach of Elafonisi. Whether you are a culture vulture or a party animal, family focused or a solo traveller, Crete will satisfy all your holiday needs – and then some. There are parts of the island that are more suited to families, couples or night owls – so here is my quick guide.


Best for couples:


Quiet life:

Gouves is a great choice for couples who want a relaxing holiday. The old village has typical Greek white washed houses and there are plenty of bars and restaurants along the beach front. Lively Hersonissos is only a 15 minute drive and you are also close to Heraklion where you will find sight seeing and shopping in abundance.

Where to stay:

The adults only 4* Island hotel is perfect for couples looking for a relaxing stay. The choice of dining options, infinity pool and the proximity to the resort centre are just some of the reasons this hotel is rated number 1 on tripadvisor.

Bit of both:

If you are looking for a livelier resort Stalis is a good choice. Sandwiched between the lively resorts of Malia and Hersonissos, Stalis, although busy, is the quieter of the three. The long sandy beach here is one of the best on the island and there are plenty of bars, restaurants and clubs to suit all tastes.

Where to stay:

The self catering Stefania apartments have been a firm favourite with Irish holiday makers for many years. Located in the heart of the resort centre and close to the beach, they are a great value for money option.


If you like the finer things in life, try Elounda. This colourful town is surrounded by luxury hotels and a sandy beach. The main square is full of Greek tavernas and lively bars and the cosmopolitan town of Agios Nikolaos is only 15 minutes away. The university town of Rethymnon is also a good choice. This Venetian town has more of a city feel but old town is a sight to behold. Rethymnon also offers plenty of upmarket restaurants, stylish shopping, trendy bars and great nightlife.

Where to stay:

3* Manos apartments are a great choice for couples who want to dine out at night time. Don’t be put off by the three star rating, these excellent apartments are rated number 1 on tripadvisor and are ideally situated ten minutes walk from Elounda’s main square.

5* Sensimar Royal Blue adults only hotel has its own private beach and is close to the marina. There are excellent onsite dining options including a beach bar serving sushi.


Best for families:

Stalis is a good all-rounder with a long sandy beach and a good choice of bars and restaurants. If you are looking for something more upmarket try Elounda or the cosmopolitan resort of Rethymnon.

Where to stay:

4* Atlantica Akti Zeus Hotel is an all inclusive property with a host of family facilities including a waterpark on site.

3* Christina apartments offer great value for money and have excellent reviews on tripadvisor. The lively pool bar and entertainment programme make it a good all round family property.

A family deal to the Algarve by The Travel Expert


Best for nightlife:

Malia and Hersonissos are the liveliest resorts on the islands, with 24 hour bars, Ibiza style clubs and the islands best beach parties. They are only 8km apart so if you are staying in one you can always pop down to the other for a change of scenery. Malia is well known across Europe as one of the best beach resorts for 18 – 30 year olds and takes the title for Greece’s party capital. However Hersonissos is catching up fast and tends to be very popular with Irish holidaymakers. No matter which one you choose, if you are looking for a lively holiday – Hersonissos or Malia will keep you satisfied.

Where to stay:

Falcon Holidays NRG programme offers a selection of apartments and hotels right in the heart of the action. They are only geared for 18-30 year olds so expect up all night, sleep all day kind of places. All properties have free wifi and packages include transfers and checked baggage – so there are no hidden extras.

Leaving Cert Holidays

Descriptions are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by Falcon Holidays but all views, as always, are my own 🙂

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