Crete is Greece’s biggest island, with year-round warm temperatures that don’t dip below the high teens, even in winter. The island has a varied natural landscape, plus a rich history – so you can be sure of plenty to see and do. The sandy beaches are a hit with families; the bigger ones come with a raft of watersports and activities to keep kids entertained.
Things to do
The uniqueness of Crete is its fascinating historical background. If you’re a culture vulture then visiting Knossos is a must, where you can discover all the nooks and crannies in these ruins built by King Minos. Or hop on a boat over to the island of Spinalonga, where you can explore the castle built by the Venetians, wander down to the seafront, or take a dip in the sea.
If you’ve got the kids in tow, head over to one of Crete’s amazing waterparks. With extreme slides and plenty of water games, Acqua plus is the most popular on the island. We also recommend Water City, with slides for all ages and chill-out pools – perfect for post-lunch relaxation.
If you want a full day out, there are plenty of options. The island’s gorges are ideal for walkers. One of our favourites is Richtis Gorge. We recommend hiking the trail through the tropical greenery, past glistening waterfalls – perfect for a cool down. Once you reach the end of trail, you will arrive at the beautiful Paleohora beach. Relaxing here is the perfect end to your active day, however it’s a day in itself with exciting cruise excursions where you can go dolphin and whale spotting.
The Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas boasts a fantastic location overlooking the picturesque Daios Cove and the dazzling blue sea, seven kilometres from Aghios Nikolaos. Well-equipped modern guest rooms, luxury suites and villas all provide superb views and have been finished in crisp, neutral tones. The impressive infinity pool and poolside bar provide the perfect place to relax and enjoy the hypnotic views. The hotel also has many sundecks, which offer comfortable sunbeds and direct access to the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea. The dining is superb, try the traditional Greek Taverna or head over to the Ocean Restaurant overlooking the infinity pool and enjoy Mediterranean cuisine with a modern twist. Alternatively, for those looking for a pampering experience, the hotel's spa and health club, Anne Semonin, has a range of rejuvenating treatments, allowing you to truly relax on this luxury holiday.
Basking in a stunning waterfront location and surrounded by colourful gardens, the Minos Beach Art Hotel achieves discreet luxury. Rocky landscapes and sandy coves provide the perfect backdrop to a serene hideaway where relaxation is first on the agenda. Featuring contemporary works of art complemented by the traditional Cretan architecture, this hotel offers a great choice of restaurants, ranging from traditional Cretan to gourmet Mediterranean cuisine. Ananea Wellness invites you to revive and rejuvenate with an exciting range of signature treatments, perfect after a morning exploring the lively town of Aghios Nikolaos. Just 800 metres away, you will be able to find an abundance of tavernas, fine dining restaurants and shops, while having the beautiful Mirabelo bay to explore.
St Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas is set in six acres of gardens on a rocky headland with sea on three sides, close to the pretty port of Aghios Nikolaos. A member of 'Small Luxury Hotels of the World', this intimate resort offers bungalow style accommodation and suites, some with their own private pool, which are decorated in a fresh, modern style with superb views. There is a choice of dining including a traditional Greek Kefenion located on the resort's private sandy beach or head over to the Minotaure restaurant overlooking the pool for fine dining with a twist and contemporary Japanese. Pampering is available at the Poseidon Spa using ELEMIS® and CINQ MONDES® products and for families the facilities are ideal, including a children's club.
Situated on the outskirts of Chania, the Domes Noruz Chania, Autograph Collection is a brand new adults only boutique hotel offering luxurious, modern and contemporary accommodation. All of the 83 rooms and suites feature either a plunge pool, outdoor Jacuzzi® or a private pool with the option of a sea or pool view making it the perfect choice for couples and small groups of friends.
The hotel aims to create a chic and chilled ambience reminiscent of the high end resorts in Mykonos or Ibiza. Guests can enjoy à la carte dining, fine wines and cocktails in a relaxed and inviting atmosphere whilst it's beachfront location offers stunning sea views and the natural sandy beach and crystal clear waters are perfect for an afternoon dip. During the day guests have the choice to relax at the quiet zone pool, ideal for tranquil reading, or get in the party spirit at the vibrant sea view swimming pool complete with a resident DJ.
Depending on traffic, the old town of Chania is a fifteen minute drive away as is the trendy resort of Aghia Marina which offers a variety of all-day lounge beach bars serving Champagne and cocktails at afternoon parties and evening events with well-known DJs.
Adult Optional All In Blue
Nestled on the water's edge in Mirabello Bay, the whitewashed bungalows of the Aquila Elounda Village slope gently towards the sea, affording breathtaking views over the nearby islands from throughout the resort. Cascading pools, set in colourful Cretan gardens, and a private beach ensure you'll be able to find the perfect spot to relax and appreciate the peaceful panoramas. Elegant guest rooms are beautifully decorated in blue and white with wooden furniture, and have lovely garden or sea views. The hotel's three restaurants serve a variety of cuisine, where you can enjoy a delicious meal and views of the sunset, and the spa offers a range of treatments and facilities including a sauna and steam bath.
Surrounded by luscious gardens and enjoying an enviable seafront location, the outstanding Elounda Beach Hotel and Villas, a member of the 'Leading Hotels of the World', truly achieves unbeatable tranquillity. Inspired by a traditional Cretan village, this hotel offers a complete range of superb accommodation, from luxurious rooms to opulent waterfront bungalows and multi-room villas with private heated pools, each one enjoying a remarkable level of personal service. A choice of excellent restaurants takes dining to a new level where supreme attention to detail is evident throughout. A visit to the Espace Vitalite Chenot will complete your luxurious experience. Offering rejuvenating and relaxing holistic therapies in a tranquil atmosphere, you can enjoy a personal service and renowned treatments.
The exclusive Elounda Gulf Villas and Suites are beautifully located on the hillside overlooking the Gulf of Mirabello on the outskirts of Elounda. Boasting stunning, panoramic views across the bay and mountains beyond, this wonderful addition to the 'Small Luxury Hotels of the World' is a deserving winner of Greece's Leading Villa award. This intimate, family owned boutique villa-hotel perfectly combines the privacy and independence of a villa or suite with all the services and facilities of a deluxe hotel. Villas feature private pools with whirlpools, while some even boast their own spa. One or two bedroom suites are individually decorated and have a separate living area with access to the main pool and children's pool. The Elixir Spa is the perfect location to unwind, and with a choice of two restaurants and cosy lounge bar, guests of this superb resort are assured of a wonderful stay with a tailor-made and personalised service. Guests can also enjoy the private Beach Club whilst children will love having fun at the kid's club.
Perched on the water's edge, the exceptional Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel enjoys breathtaking views across the iridescent Aegean Sea and surrounding coastline. The sophisticated interior of natural woods and soft, neutral colours creates a warm ambience of serene elegance. A series of excellent, well-appointed suites are the epitome of luxury: each has a lounge area and terrace featuring its very own private pool. Excellent standards of service, delicious cuisine and modern facilities will be sure to provide a memorable experience of a luxurious holiday.
The contemporary and stylish Elounda Bay Palace lies on the beach amidst 20 acres of bougainvillaea-filled, jasmine-scented gardens. A member of 'The Leading Hotels of the World', this hotel enjoys panoramic views over the island, where secluded sandy beaches contrast with the beautiful clear waters of the Aegean Sea.
The Smart and Prestige Club concepts allow the opportunity to choose the level of exclusivity and service to suit, whilst an impressive series of guest rooms and bungalows offer a supreme standard of comfort.
A superb choice of gourmet opportunities awaits: from the informal and atmospheric Greek taverna, to the award-winning Thalassa Restaurant set on a romantic waterside deck.
With outstanding service and an excellent range of facilities, this hotel is undoubtedly one of Crete's finest.
The Elounda Mare Hotel, Relais & Châteaux is a charming hotel designed to create an exclusive and elegant atmosphere: a hotel characterised by impeccable service provided by dedicated warm and friendly staff. The hotel boasts an excellent variety of well-appointed guest rooms, all finished with individual touches and adorned with antiques. Exclusive menus and extensive wine lists are available at all three of the hotel's restaurants where the traditional Relais & Chateaux excellence pervades, whilst the Karavia Bar and Yacht Club are ideal for taking in the picturesque scenery. If you are looking for a top-class hotel, with refined luxury and comfort combined with a traditional and personal feel, then the Elounda Mare Hotel, Relais & Châteaux will certainly be the perfect choice.
The Sovereign Standard
To help you choose your perfect holiday we have rated all of our hotels using our own system.
Classical Sovereign hotels are more modest hotels offering charm and character, or an exceptional location. Many of these hotels have been firm favourites with Sovereign customers for countless years and offer great value for money.
Luxury Collection hotels offer everything you would expect to go hand in hand with a luxury holiday. They offer high standards of service and attention to all those important little details.
Exclusive Collection hotels provide the ultimate luxury; they are the finest, most opulent hotels offering superlative service and excellent facilities, which will satisfy the needs of even the most discerning traveller.
Family Collection hotels are some of the finest family-friendly resorts and offer a wide range of facilities for both children and parents. Families can enjoy a whole host of amenities including fun kid's clubs, a dedicated children's pool and spacious accommodation.