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.
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.
Hotels in Crete
The north-eastern region of Elounda is home to an impressive selection of luxury hotels. There's the elegant Elounda Mare Hotel, the innovatively designed Domes of Elounda, or the secluded suites of the Blue Palace. If you're after a more contemporary feel, take a look at Elounda Bay Palace Hotel or the Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel. The Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort, meanwhile, is home to a Six Senses spa, once named the best in the world by The Sunday Times. Just down the road from Elounda, you'll find the Minos Beach Art Hotel. It sits in a beautiful waterfront location, just 15 minutes' walk from the lively town of Aghios Nikolaos.
See our complete list of hotels in Crete.
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.