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Agios Nikolaos coastline, Crete

Luxury Crete Holidays

Crete has more than its fair share of pretty harbours and sandy beaches, but the island has a dramatic side, too - inland, its landscape is slashed with gorges, scored with valleys and dominated by mountains. Hire a car to help you nose inland and discover half-hidden villages and hamlets. Knossos is a page worth bookmarking in your guidebook - it's the biggest and most impressive of Crete's Minoan palaces.

Cretan hotels set the bar high when it comes to luxury, and we've handpicked the cream of the crop. They're scattered along the island's north coast, in button-cute waterside towns like Elounda and Aghios Nikolaos.

Family holidays in Crete

Sweeping sandy beaches and wave-free coves make it a popular pick for family holidays. You also get the educational element - running around ruins that are steeped in myth and legend is a great way to get kids interested in ancient history. Hotels here are big on service, and that includes making little ones feel like VIPs too. Lots of them offer family-sized suites and villas with private pools, so are ideal if you're looking for a bit more space. Domes of Elounda is one of our favourites, but just ask if you want more recommendations.

Things to do in Crete

Explore the ruins at Knossos
Legend has it, the huge Minoan palace at Knossos was built by King Minos as a labyrinth to contain the Minotaur. Nowadays, you won't need a ball of string to find your way round, but you can still snoop around the 4,500-year-old ruins and check out the restored wall frescoes.

Step back in time at Spinalonga
Just off the coast at Elounda is the rocky islet of Spinalonga, a former leper colony and the setting for Victoria Hislop's bestseller, The Island. Boats zip back and forth from Aghios Nikolaos, Elounda and Plaka, so it's easy to pop over and explore the Venetian fortress and archaeological site. If you're up for a bit of a climb, walk up the hill to the old hospital for photo-worthy views across to the mainland.

Hike Richtis Gorge
Crete's gorges are a walker's playground. One of the easiest to get to from the east is Richtis Gorge. Most of the island's gorges are dry and rocky, but this one has more of a tropical feel, with lush greenery and a waterfall that's perfect for a swim stop. It takes between three and four hours to hike the trail, which finishes up at a lovely pebbly beach.

Our recommended offers of the week

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Domes Noruz Chania, Autograph Collection

Domes Noruz Chania, Autograph Collection

Crete, Chania

5 nights Bed and Breakfast
Sun 22 Oct 2017
From £1479 per person
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The Sovereign Standard

To help you choose your perfect holiday we have rated all of our hotels using our own system.

Classical Sovereign

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

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

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

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.

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