getting to crete

Travel Options

There are two airports on Crete, Chania and Heraklion, both are well served by a variety of flights from many of the UK's regional airports. Most of our properties can be reached within an hour's drive of Chania and 75 minutes of Heraklion.

Nowadays, the variety and choice of flights from UK airports to European destinations is considerable. We do not tie you in to a package holiday with prearranged travel; you are free to choose flights from your closest airport using any charter, scheduled or low cost airline.

We always recommend booking your flights and hire car as soon as you have decided on your holiday accommodation. You will find that fares are usually lower and the choice of flight times is wider.

If you need to place a 'hold' on your chosen property whilst you are booking your flights we are more than happy to do this for you. We can book flights on your behalf if you would like us to, for this service we charge a fee of £30 for each return flight booked

Fly from:

  1. Birmingham
  2. Bristol
  3. East Midlands
  4. Gatwick
  5. Heathrow
  6. Leeds Bradford
  7. Manchester
  8. Stansted

Useful links

Villages and towns in Crete

Tavronitis lies about 20km west of Chania, on the north coast of western Crete. Named after the river which flows into the sea nearby (though is dry in summer), Tavronitis is a traditional Cretan village set in farmland, olive groves and vineyards. It has a long pebbly tree-lined beach which looks out to the hilly Rodopou peninsula at the western end of the bay.

Located on the hillside with excellent views to the coast of Almyrida and Souda Bay, Plaka is one of the best known and most authentic villages in western Crete. Ideal for those looking to relax, enjoy nature and to explore the quieter side of the island, Plaka has preserved its traditional character and welcoming ambience. This verdant, picturesque village is bursting with the colours of an assortment of plants and flowers - a photographer’s dream. Village life focuses on the main square, where locals and visitors come together to meet in the kafenions and a handful of tavernas.

Just a short drive downhill from Plaka, the small, quaint fishing village of Almyrida is waiting to be discovered. Boasting two sandy beaches (a long curving bay to the east and a smaller stretch to the west), and glistening blue sea that entices swimmers into its fairly shallow waters, Almyrida is ideal for families with younger children.  Sunbeds and umbrellas are available for hire. An ample choice of beachside tavernas, cafés and charming bars can be found on the water’s edge, whilst in the village itself there are a few tavernas. This popular seaside location has retained its Cretan charm and still has the atmosphere of a fishing village - an ideal place to relax and re-energise.

Platanias, 10km west of Chania, offers all amenities and a choice of restaurants and bars, many of them overlooking the beach and sea. There are lots of watersports available including sea diving, and boat trips around the island just off shore, Theodoru, which is home to Cretan wild goats. Inland, the country lanes wind their way past fields and olive groves and through tiny villages such as Patellari and Kirtomados, onto the Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete in the foothills of the White Mountains.

With its charming harbour and imposing Venetian fortress, Rethymnon is one of the most picturesque towns in Crete. The town boasts many wonderful sights, in particular the marvellous Venetian fortress (Fortezza), the largest of its kind in the Mediterranean and an incredibly imposing vantage point. The Old Town is a maze of narrow streets, graceful wood-balconied houses, and ornate Venetian monuments with minarets displaying a glimpse of the Ottoman influence. Small pleasure craft mingle with the fishing boats moored in the harbour, and the waterfront cafés and restaurants offer a shady spot to enjoy a coffee or a fresh fish meze featuring the morning’s catch. The soft, warming tones of the stone and wood façades seem to invoke a gentle pace of life and give the town an enchanting ambience.  With a strong, local community that crosses many generations and, as home to a university, Rethymnon successfully combines the old and the new to create a vibrant town proud of its past yet embracing its future.

Megala Chorafia, with a population of just 300 or so, is one of the prettiest villages to be found in Crete’s Apokoronas Mountains. From its hilltop location it enjoys panoramic views towards the coast, and is ideally situated for discovering ancient archaeological sites as well as beautiful countryside and the unspoilt beaches of western Crete. At the centre of the scattering of houses and farms that make up the village stands an ornate orthodox church. Three tavernas (one proudly displaying a Rough Guide recommendation), a coffee house and minimarket offer ample opportunities for food and refreshments.  

With the tinkle of goats’ bells in the background, local farmers go about their daily business. Traffic jams are frequent in Megala Chorafia, but here they involve following sheep slowly through the peaceful lanes. The eastern side of Megala Chorafia lies on a ridge, reaching out towards the remains of the important historic city of Aptera, spread across two hills. Beyond, a Turkish castle looks out to sea from its strategic position on the headland.

From a vantage point seated outside a kafenion in the main square, under the shade of a mighty plane tree, visitors can expect a typical introduction to everyday life in bustling Vamos, a large village with a rich cultural tradition and activities taking place throughout the year, including the annual Snail Festival held in April. Relaxing with a cup of coffee, people watchers can observe villagers busily running errands to the shops and post office, greeting each other with calls of ‘kalimera’ or ‘kalispera’, depending on the time of day. At neighbouring tables at the kafenion, the traditional retreat for the men of the village, the older men sip strong Greek coffee over a game of cards or backgammon, whilst putting the world to rights.                                                                                  

Vamos is a traditional village with a colourful history, its first inhabitants having been 8th century Saracen pirates. The stone roads of the old neighbourhood reveal an interesting architectural heritage with many of the houses having been restored using local stone and cypress wood. Tucked away in one such building can be found a tourist information office, offering a friendly, comprehensive information service and a selection of locally made produce. Buildings of interest include the Agios Nikolaos and Agios Georgios churches and the restored old school, and just outside the village, the Karydi monastery. Restored in 1996, it was home to an old olive oil factory and the 12 arches of the old olive press are an impressive sight. 

Situated on the north-west coast of Crete, 16 kilometres west of the town of Chania and between the villages of Tavronitis and Gerani, the small, quiet village of Maleme is surrounded by olive trees and vineyards. In its centre amenities include a supermarket, bakery, pharmacy, bars, tavernas and churches. On the sandy part of Maleme’s long beach, facilities include sunbeds and umbrellas for hire, water sports and a taverna, while the other section, of shingle and pebble, remains undeveloped, with tamarisk trees providing shade. The village is of particular interest because of its involvement during WWII, with the fight for its airfield considered the hardest battle in the history of the Battle of Crete.

For what is possibly the ultimate Cretan beach experience try Elafonissi Lagoon on the most south-westerly tip of the island, where the stunning pink coral and white sands give the shallow reef a brilliant shade of turquoise more often associated with the Indian Ocean than the Aegean!

Kissamos, also known as Kastelli (named after the Venetian fort that once stood here), is situated on the north west coast in a region that is known for its beautiful beaches and stunning countryside.  Kissamos itself has good amenities and a wide choice of tavernas and cafes which overlook the blue waters of the Cretan Sea. The old village remains and its traditional arched buildings are now home to local shops and tradesmen, and the archeological museum, which is full of interesting Roman artefacts and beautiful mosaics found in the local area.  There is also a pretty fishing port and slightly further on, a ferry port.  From here, there are boat excursions out to the island of Gramvousa and Balos beach lagoon, often described as one of the best beaches in the world! 

Many history books will confirm that Chania is the oldest inhabited city in the world, dating back more than 5,000 years and no trip to Crete would be fully complete without a visit to this atmospheric town with its grand Venetian mansions and attractive Turkish minaret.

Its beautiful Venetian quarter is a web of atmospheric streets that open out onto a magnificent harbour. Restored Venetian townhouses have been converted into chic restaurants and boutique hotels, while ruins house intimate tavernas. A spacious promenade provides a backdrop to the waterfront, and out on a headland a lighthouse sits centre stage, highlighted in the evening as the sun sets. The former mosque on the harbour reflects the influence the Turkish rulers once had on this city, and adds to the exotic charm.

Close to Chania, the pretty villages of the Apokoronas and those hugging the coastline due west to Kissamos remain unspoilt, traditional and timeless. From the small cluster of houses of Veni to the seaside villages of Almyrida and Kalives east of Chania, a magnificent array of hamlets, settlements and beaches have been selected by Vintage Travel to show off the charm and variety of Crete.

Our Villas in Crete


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