Crete in Winter
- Penny Samara
Jul 24, 2020
Crete in winter ... a beginning
"Out of season" and "off-season" the right time to enjoy Crete's more peaceful nature. A good time to pursue interests, studies, hobbies, and hikes. By winter, we mean November until late March. Winter months offer the chance to explore the uncrowded vision of Crete. In some years there is significant snowfall in the mountains (the highest peaks always receive some winter snowfall).
The winter of 2004 saw record-breaking snowfall during February.
Vistas open up in the winter and you can meet local people, experience hospitality that is offered so genuinely when you pause on your journey around the island. Don't expect to bask in the sunshine every day, but on those lucky sunny days, you get a bonus of bright island light.
Crete is an island of drama, something the weather often reflects. Come prepared for driving winds and rain, then enjoy the bright spells. (If you are concerned about the weather, have a look at our weather page).
Rent a car- visit villages, museums, shops - walk/hike, play tennis - see the natural beauty of Crete, the snow-capped mountains, uncrowded roads and be here when travel seems as civilized as it did decades ago!
You will find below some more good hotels or places we would be happy to stay in, that are open year-round.
Note: some hotels use air-conditioning for heating, whereas some have proper central heating. Hotels or villas with pools may have their pools emptied or unheated (unless we write otherwise). Ask if you need more information about winter facilities.
Crete winter warmers: We have a delightful place for you to stay in Crete, in a village near Heraklion, Thalori Traditional Village
Tip: Browse the full, up to date list of hotels we offer that operate in the winter here.
Or find below some more good hotels or places we would be happy to stay in, that are open year-round.
As a mountain village in the heart of Crete, near Anogia - this is the place that is most steeped in history, rich in archaeological finds and filled with hospitality and heartland feel.
Yakinthos hotel, on the edge of the village, is actually a collection of 3 apartments/maisonettes and 3 studios, tastefully decorated in traditional style. The hotel overlooks the village and valley and the family that owns and runs it provides some of the warmest and genuinely Cretan hospitality on the island.
Lato Hotel after a total make-over and renovation is now a most desirable and stylish place to stay in Heraklion. Family-owned, designer hotel, with rotating displays of contemporary Greek art in rooms and public areas. Conveniently located between the Venetian Koules Fortress and Eleftherias Square. Most of its rooms have a direct, remarkable view of the fortress, harbor and Dia island across the sea. Balconies or terraces, air-conditioning/heating, double-glazing, local internet access provided in every room, and satellite TV. The dining room serves breakfast and full meals and there is an elegant and comfortable bar for drinks and coffees. Workout room, steam room, and Jacuzzi, roof terrace for guests. Open year-round.
Atlantis Hotel, is Heraklion's largest luxury hotel. Located in the heart of Iraklion city and within 200 metres from the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, the 5-star Aquila Atlantis Hotel features an outdoor pool with unobstructed views over the harbour, a semi-covered heated pool and an elegantly decorated restaurant.
Around Heraklion (within 30 Kilometres /18 miles):
New winter additions near Heraklion:
Kalimera Archanes in Archanes, and Asion Lithos in Kato Asites.
Fabrica House in Anopolis, traditional stone village house with real character, comfortable interiors & good views. Heating by a fireplace and air conditioning. Price range: H2. Review, photos, rates & reservations with CreteTravel.com.
Thalori Traditional Village, If you’ve dreamed of staying in a wonderfully restored, traditional house in a real Cretan village - you have found it.
Casa Delfino. Rooms/suites individually decorated, in the streets just behind the Venetian harbour, wonderful employees. WINTER price range H1/H2. Casa Delfino has been created with the kind of attention to detail, sense of quality and atmosphere that's much in demand in Crete. Open for its first winter season in 1992, it has since appended a second original Venetian building - suitably refurbished and decorated. Though it would be tempting to stay either in your room or sipping coffee at breakfast looking onto the hotel's courtyard, the attractions of Chania and surrounding area beckon.
Porto Veneziano. 1st class. Neat and functional rooms and balconies - front ones face the Venetian harbor and lighthouse - dining room - bar - WINTER price range H3/H2. This hotel is a member of the Best Western selection and does it proud. It is well run, well-staffed with knowledgeable friendly people. In a wonderful position, the quieter part of the harbor, with some great restaurants nearby. It is well-heated and a great and comfortable base camp.
Porto del Colombo Hotel. Traditional Hotel, Venetian building, price range H3. It provides another charming choice nearby the Venetian harbour. Porto del Colombo is a nine-room and suite hotel configured out of an old Venetian building, with style and atmosphere.
DomicileChania Venetian Residence, a dream come true. The path to heaven is not a secret one...
New winter additions near Chania:
Natalia's Houses in Douliana, Samonas Inn in Samonas village, Apokoron Villas (all three in the Apokoronas/Vamos area), Villa Sevi in Melisourgio village, near Kissamos, Falasarna Villas, above Falasarna beach.
And the luxurious "SK Place" Villas in Almirida, with floor-to-ceiling windows that bring in the spectacular sea views.
Villa Kalliani near Herethiana village (Kissamos, west Crete). A three-bedroom villa with spectacular, panoramic views of the bay - in the winter, views of dramatic weather & sunsets too. Very private. (Pool might be emptied in the winter).
In the mountains:
Milia: Recreated traditional Cretan village. Houses and rooms built out of local and national stone, wood beams, set in the well-wooded mountains between Elafonisi and Kissamos. Many walking trails and peace and quiet. An alternative venue with a taverna serving foods made with local healthy ingredients. Unique setting. Off the beaten track - the last kilometer is a mildly rough road, you can do it in a rental car!
Avli Luxury Suites: 7 wonderful suites, with flair and atmosphere, in restored Venetian buildings. Very romantic, honeymoon perfect. The gourmet restaurant and wine-bar. In the heart of the old town. Price category: H1+. Review, photos, rates & reservations with CreteTravel.com
Veneto Suites: When a wealthy Venetian merchant invites you to stay in his home - this is it. Traditional suites of character in a faithfully restored building. In the center of Rethymno's old town. Suites have cooking facilities, central heating, and the hotel has a fine restaurant.
Abelos Villa has two traditional, adjoining, wonderfully restored village houses. A beautiful countryside location, with wood beams, fireplaces, terraces & courtyards, garden, open views (a swimming pool is available only April to October). Being on the edge of Roustika village, near Rethymno, makes Abelos a convenient, not too isolated nest & base for exploration.
Kastellos Village: (near Lake Kournas, 25 min from Rethymno and Georgioupoli). Restored house dating from 1910. Chania and Rethymno within easy reach. Provides two units, exposed wood, stone, and delightful terraces. Surrounded by fruit trees and gardens. Views across trees and old village to the sea. Atmosphere and comfort. Fireplace and central heating.
Plakias (south coast):
"Thalassa House" Apartments: Delight in your own bright apartment, looking out to sea, catching the sun's winter rays and the changes in the weather, typical on the south coast in winter. You will have peace and quiet, you can buy supplies, and eat when you please at one of the few places that will be open in Plakias itself. Thalassa House is by the seafront at the edge of the village. For walking and driving trips, multiple choices exist - all the way to Sfakia, where small villages, small local shops, kafeneia and a handful of tavernas serve local people. Stavros, the owner, provides discreet, knowledgeable assistance with walks, maps, etc.
Agia Galini (south coast)
Romantika Apartments: Just the place to feel the joys of having your own beach, yet being able to easily walk to find somewhere to eat and drink. These select few apartments face the sea across private gardens which lead straight on to the sand. The village, though quiet, is a 10-minute seafront walk from your balcony. It has enough local residents to mean that you can eat well and enjoy a coffee or a drink in the company of locals. A great place for solitude, softened by the fact that the family owners are around to offer hospitality and local knowledge (they speak English, german and greek). Nearby: Phaestos (must visit), Zaros village and gorge, the village of Pitsidia, near Matala, with both local and international residents and a creative feel.
Reputation for mild winters, but on the north coast midway between Agios Nikolaos and Sitia. The small fishing-village with archaeological ruins on the islet opposite. There are one or two tavernas open all winter and a small village store. This makes for a peaceful retreat, with the sea, often a chance of sunny days and a real local atmosphere. Be one of the few, instead of one of the crowd.
You need a car or motorcycle to get to and from Mochlos and for worthwhile drives and visits to villages on the spectacular "Riviera-like" coast road between here and Sitia (an hour and change, away).
Mochlos Mare: Great apartments with a sea view - set out like a small hotel, in gardens with more flowers than you can count! On the edge of the village, ten minutes' walk from the small beach and seaside village center.
New in Zaros: Eleonas, an inn with lots of activities on offer, including horse riding, and a good restaurant at hand.
Idi Hotel: In its own grounds just outside the village. Small mountain hotel, in the foothills of impressive mountains, near scenic villages, Zaros gorge, and lake. The hotel has a gymnasium, indoor and outdoor swimming pools (although these seem to be open erratically) and pleasant landscaped gardens. The rooms are simple and basic. A 45-minute drive to some good south coast beaches for the days when the sun sparkles in a cool breeze. To explore, catch up on reading or writing - a good winter base for taking in the best of the un-crowded seasons.
Keramos Hotel: In the village of Zaros. Charming simple rooms and truly special breakfasts of homemade dainties, pastries and more. A modest price for a really warm and friendly place. Again, providing a superb base for the walks, drives and deserted-beach visits that the winter season offers.
Makrigialos (south coast)
Traditional houses in a protected gorge. At Aspros Potamos, you are staying in a real old Cretan hamlet...very old! A few minutes from the pace of Makrigialos on the south coast, ages away in feel. One of the calmest and most relaxing places just "to be". This really is back to nature and it has to be said also "back to beauty". A unique experience.
St Nicolas Bay Hotel is a Small quality hotel in Agios Nikolaos. If it is to be a special hotel, we say it should have some atmosphere, character, and style - St. Nicolas Bay achieves all of this together with very high standards of service, location, and design. The flavor of Crete with much natural stone, contrasting with white walls and numerous magical "areas" to lounge, read, whisper, cuddle or relax. Indoor heated pool, delightful natural outdoor pool area. Lounge chairs on natural rock platforms hover at sea's edge from which you step onto the small sandy private beach.
Both in the center of Sitia & seafront. Walk or really just step, to tavernas and cafes, shops, the Fortezza - visit Vai when no-one is there, Kato Zakros and the Toplou Monastery. Christmas here, with a company, can be fun too. You'll feel more like a pioneer than a tourist, but you'll receive good hospitality and places are open. On several days over Christmas, we have happily breakfasted outside (with the help of transparent screens and those marvelous outdoor heaters) at cafes by the harbor.
Ierapetra (south coast)
Dorovinis Country Houses are two of the finest stone-built houses, with Libyan sea views. A large three-bedroom house (Pasiphae) and a one-bedroom 'honeymooner’s nest' (Kallirhoe), 100 m from each other, in the old Anatoli village. Expertly restored, finest quality, furnished in good taste. Antiques, warmth, comfortable, quiet, cozy and romantic. Several inspiring terraces with countryside and sea views.
Maybe now you would like to have a look for reasonable Flights and then to book your car with us.
We are here to help you.