Crete has many fantastic things to see: long luxurious stretches of sandy beach combine with charming villages, and Cretan residents sit outside traditional tavernas and enjoy the glorious sunshine. As well as beautiful beaches for relaxing and impressive mountain ranges for walking, Crete has a lot to offer in its towns and villages. So you know where to visit when you stay in one of our villas in Crete, we’ve put together this handy guide of great places in the western part of the island.
Rethymno is situated about a third of the way into the island, between Chania and Heraklion. It is Crete’s third largest town, so it has plenty of amenities and attractions. Rethymno is a town of contrasts; to the east side is a long strip of hotels with a glorious beach, and to the west is the old town with cobbled streets and Venetian buildings. Don’t miss the impressive Venetian Fortress that was built in the 16th century to deter the Turkish invasion.
A little further along the coast is the small but charming resort of Kalyves. This lovely and traditional town has a range of excellent facilities, including beach-side cafes, craft shops and well stocked mini-markets. Kalyves has two impressive blue flag beaches with sand, sun beds and clear water. These are divided by a stream and a footbridge. On the western side of the beach you can hire jet skis, water skis or take boat trips.
Chania is a bustling and beautiful city that is set on its own prefecture in the west of the Island. All of our holiday cottages are located within 50km of the island, so you can easily have a trip here if you hire a car. The city is a web of atmospheric streets that converge and open out onto the magnificent Venetian harbour. The blend of buildings from different historic periods, such as the Ottoman and Turkish empires, gives Chania an exotic feel. Don’t miss the maritime museum nestled in the Ventitian shipyards or the Archaeological museum.
If you are looking for a long but worthwhile day trip, or even a night or two away, then you must visit Elafonisi; possibly the most stunning beach on the island. This is a 75km drive from Chania, and you can also get coach trips. Elafonisi is a small peninsular and the sandy beach, pink from coral, breaks into two when the tide comes in. You can still cross to the “island” because thewater is calm and shallow. The eastern side of the beach, in front of the lagoon, is well organized with umbrellas, lifeguards, snack bars and changing rooms.
Although western Crete tends to be quieter than the eastern side, apart from around Chania, this gives you an opportunity to unwind and appreciate the stunning scenery. The Chania area where our villas are based has many things to do, however longer excursions are well worth it to visit tranquil beaches, spot rare wildlife and immerse yourself in traditional Crete.