The north coast of the island is the most populated area and the most well-known to tourists. Heraklion is the island’s capital and main entry point. A working city, it can be off-putting at first, but it has a world-class museum. Rethymnon and Hania to the west are much more pleasant and retain a distinct Venetian influence. To the east, Agios Nikolaos (or Ag Nik to Brits), is one of the island’s major resorts but still retains some character.
The interior is home to the White Mountains, which soar to over 2,000m and offer some spectacular hikes and drives. The mountains are a bit more gentle to the east and, in their midst, they hide the extraordinary basin of the Lasithi plateau with its white windmills. The south coast is much more rugged and less visited than the north, criss-crossed with gorges and dotted with isolated villages and coves. It is also the stepping off point for the solitary islets to the south of Crete.
Getting there and deals
For details of how to get there, the best places to stay and the best tavernas see our online guide: gu.com/p/4v5g7.
Hotel Splanzia (doubles from £99 a night B&B or £624 for seven nights, splanzia.com) has eight rooms with neo-classical furnishings in an authentic Venetian building set in the quiet maze of back streets behind Hania’s harbour.
Sunvil Holidays (020 8758 4758, sunvil.co.uk) has 15% savings on a week’s stay at the Mimayia Apartments in the delightful village of Paleochora in the south-west, near a kilometre-long golden beach and wide range of tavernas, and access to inland walking. Departing on 28 July, seven nights’ self-catering now costs £639pp (two sharing), down from £754pp, including flights from Manchester and transfers.
People wanting to travel alone could choose a week with Solos Holidays (0844 371 8860, solosholidays.co.uk) at the Iraklis Apartments in Gouves. It includes three dinners, welcome drink and information meeting, and costs from £859pp including flights from Gatwick, transfers and accommodation for single use. The 11 August departures are from £875pp and the 18 August departures from £869pp.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
Crete enjoys a Mediterranean climate, where weather can be characterized by mild winters and hot, dry summers. Warm weather is enjoyed for nine months of the year from April to November and winter months are just December to March.
The coastal areas have a dry summer and mild winter. Good weather prevails throughout the season while it can rain sporadically from December through to March. Snowfall along the coast is a rarity.
In winter, the mountainous areas enjoy much snow and even when the weather warms sets in and swimming at the beach is possible, snow can still be seen on the White Mountains creating a stunning visual contrast! It is this Mediterranean climate which so graciously enhances the way of life on Crete and so positively affects disposition.
January to March: Crete’s winter months, which can only be termed as mild, when compared to other countries of northern Europe, is where we experience moderate cold and rain. Mountains are beautifully covered in snow and coastal villages are remote and peaceful. Liveliness is centered on the city and the mountain villages. Trips for lunches and meals at taverns with wood burning ovens become the focus. Temperatures remain moderately cool and sunny days are a blessing; locals are quick to make the most of them. In February, the first of the trees bloom – these are the almond trees, icing the landscape with white and pink colors.
April: Spring time on Crete; several days of which are very pleasant and a gentle reminder that summer is just around the corner. Day time temperatures are warm with cool and refreshing evenings. Dedicated swimmers start swimming in the sea, the soil (enriched with the winter rains) begin to show its intent with several shades of green in trees, bushes and shrubs, wild flowers begin to blossom and citrus trees are full of fruit. This is also beginning of the tourist season – the start is well combined with the Catholic Easter. The Greek Orthodox Easter (most often one week after the Catholic Easter) is the most significant religious feast of the year allowing you to experience Cretan hospitality at its best.
May and June: In May, warm and sunny weather can almost be guaranteed and rain is quite unlikely. The sea is calm and warmer and of course beach activities and excursions by boat begin. This is described by many to be the best time of the year as tourists are still few in number, the weather is gloriously mild, flowers are in full bloom and the landscape is a beauty. For these reasons, these months are particularly preferred by those who enjoy hiking, walking and trekking. On May 1st, locals decorate the entrance to their homes with wreathes made of wild flowers. In June it is sunny and hot and the beach is the place to be!
July and August: A busy time for this beautiful island; tourists aplenty and visitors from the mainland too. The sea is ‘bath-like’ warm and truthfully, spending every day at the beach, enjoying all sorts of water sports is just the thing. Swimwear, sun screen, ample fluids and your hat are all the essentials required for long days where the sun rises early and sets after 21:00.
September and October: The heat of the previous couple of months have subsided, while the sea remains warm. The atmosphere amongst locals is more relaxed as the crowds too have lessened. Again, much like the month of May, hiking and other outdoor activities are blissful at this time of the year. Evenings are slightly cooler too. October is the month in which the traditional drink of Crete “raki” is distilled from grape skins. Days are noticeably shorter.
November and December: Autumn – the tourist season has now ended however good weather continues on. Sunny days are at times accompanied with southerly winds. Swimming in the sea is still possible. Few days of rain may be expected as the weather becomes unpredictable. It is these rains that wash away the summer dust, where nature assumes its responsibilities and where metamorphosis occurs; green grass carpets the island and Crete wakens from its dry summer slumber. Olive picking becomes the task at hand to ensure olive oil for the family and even to sell surplus production.
For our guests on request by contacting us in advance, we offer the opportunity organizing to rent a car.
Free parking on the street just outside the hotel & on side streets.
Free municipal parking around five minutes walking distance from the hotel.
Private parking with security just opposite the hotel at a cost of 8€ (between 18:00 – 09:00) or 12€ all day.
We organize transfers with co operating Taxi drivers
Turn to our reception staff to help you make the most of your stay at our City. We offer assistance for dinner reservations and insider tips on the city hottest nightlife. We are here in answering any queries and give you recommendations; walk you through map after map and bus schedules to show you all the little things that make this leg of your journey as fantastic as possible. For our guests on request by contacting us in advance, we offer the opportunity to rent a car, transfers with co operated taxi to and from the airport.
Both with friendliness and professionalism we take the time to discuss with you the sights and attractions of Chania, guidance on the weather etc and to recommend you the best of your daytrips in the island as:
Located close to the southwest corner of Crete, Elafonisi is in fact an island taking its name from the Greek words ‘elafi’ and ‘nisi’ meaning ‘deer island’. The beach and island are quite tropical in style with fine white sand and clear turquoise waters. In fine weather you can in fact walk to the island through the shallow water. This beach is a destination in itself for travellers and locals alike.
While visiting Elafonisi you could include visits to the Monastery of Chrysoskalitissa (5km from Elafonisi beach), the nearby ancient city of Polyrinia which is considered to be the oldest city that the Dorians built in Crete (following the Minoan period) as well as the Archaeological Museum of Kissamos housed in a Venetian-Turkish monument.
Falassarna is an ancient Greek harbor and today serves as an agricultural area (with olive groves and greenhouses cultivating mainly tomatoes) and huge traveller attraction. Located on the northwest coast of Crete its beach highly visited as it offers a large stretch of sandy beach (wide section of sand before the sea) and crystal clear waters. Falassarna beach is also filled with activities such as kite-surfing, surfing and even paragliding from the mountain which faces the sea.
Take a ferry from Kissamos port (depart daily from May to October) and spend a day sunbathing and swimming at Balos lagoon and the islet of Gramvousa. The tour includes a total 55 minutes spent travelling, while you tour the gulf of Kissamos viewing caves and dramatic landscapes. Arriving at the private islet of Gramvousa you disembark for 2 hours. A 20 minute walk will get you to the height of a Venetian castle from which you enjoy panoramic views and then continue on to swim at the beach.
A 15 minute ferry ride gets you to Balos lagoon – a uniquely beautiful beach with wonderful shells!
A nature-lovers dream, the well-known gorge of Samaria, where thousands of visitors come to Crete to hike this gorge is a 16km (mainly downhill) hike. You can do it in one of 2 ways, either on your own by use of the local bus service from Chania central bus station or by booking an organized tour. Either way, this is a whole day event beginning early in the morning and returning between 19h00-20h00.
The Samaria gorge is a National Park of Greece (home to the Cretan goat ‘kri-kri’) and a World’s Biosphere Reserve located in southwest Crete. It was created by a small river running between the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) and Mount Volakias. This 16km long gorge starts at Omalos at an altitude of 1,250m and ends at the shores of the Libyan Sea at the small coastal town of Agia Roumeli. The most significant part of the gorge is the stretch known as the Iron Gates where the sides of the gorge have a width of just 4 meters and soar up to the height of 1100 meters. The only way back once reaching Agia Roumeli is to take a ferry (these run either to Chora Sfakion or Sfakia) where the regional bus or tour bus waits for the hikers and returns them to their starting point.
Explore the Akrotiri peninsula (this is where the airport of Chania is located). Just north of the airport, visit the Monastery of Agia Triada (open from sunrise to sunset) as well as Gouverneto Monastery (one of the oldest monasteries on Crete). From here you could even take a short hike to visit a chapel as well as see a cave. Seitan limania beach is located a short drive away towards village Chordaki.
On route to these monasteries, or perhaps on your return, you can also stop at the Eleftherios Venizelos Tombs – a historical site with wonderful views to the Venetian harbor of Chania – as well as at the Souda Bay War Cemetery.
Our breakfast is a simple, wholesome diet including an abundance of Cretan pastries, local specialties and other delicacies made up of delicious sweet and salty dishes of Cretan cuisine, fresh produce homemade to order, based on Cretan recipes, using local Cretan products.
This is not buffet breakfast: you are served at the table from a wide selection which includes coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, mountain teas such as ‘malotira’ a Variety of Cretan pastries, eggs with tomatoes, mushrooms and bacon, scrabble eggs, omelet, toasts, yoghurt, honey, jam, milk, cereal, musli, cakes, cookies, savory pies, crepes with banana and chocolate, fresh fruit, the list goes on and on.
It is served from 8 until 11 am in the patio with its luxuriant vegetation among billowing bougainvilleas, which is like an oasis in the middle of town. For early Samaria hikes etc, we prepare a to-go breakfast with sandwiches, eggs and fruits to take with you.
A fact not to be underestimated is that this diet consists almost exclusively of products that the locals produce naturally within an ideal climate conditions. Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids Cretan olive oil (‘liquid gold’ as Homer puts it) plays an imperative role to this diet and to overall well-being.
The entrance of the original Venetian doorway, with the iron emblem of the Turkish symbol over the head, hints at the history behind this extraordinary hotel, a stronghold during the Turkish occupation in the early 19th century. The original features depict its history, such as the iron barred windows and wooden barrier behind the front door – of such thickness it would be impossible to remove without breaking the walls down; a fair deterrent against unwelcome visitors during more turbulent times on the island and a stark contrast to the warm welcome extended to guests today!
Once inside, the picture changes to the warm, cosy parlour of the breakfast area, bar and reception. Stonewalls, arches and the original fireplace in the corner are a reminder of the former elegance of this Venetian mansion. The décor is very reminiscent of its historical past and the theme is “Eastern Chic” – a mixture of custom contemporary and classical furnishings with lots of granite, iron, wood and bold fabrics made from luxurious silks, lush embroidered drapes and silk Turkish carpets; a real Aladdin’s cave.
The attention to detail is exquisite and in perfect keeping with roots of the original building and area. Furnishings are opulent, contemporary and comfortable, and though the general ambience is of years gone by, the facilities most certainly belong to the future; all rooms are fitted with the latest technology.
The style continues throughout the hotel and the eight individually styled rooms and suites have elegant furnishings throughout, many with romantic four-poster beds, a rich array of luxurious fabrics and up to the minute features and facilities.
In the summer, breakfast is served in the private little courtyard at the back of the hotel, as are drinks and snacks in the evening. The bougainvillea covered stone walls surround this and the old Turkish well, one of only three left in Chania, providing a haven of tranquility from the city; the only sound coming from the bells of the nearby Agia Aikaterini with its minaret towering above. There is also a little west facing roof-terrace where drinks may be taken, perfect for watching the sun go down over the minarets, spires and red tiled rooftops of intriguing and historical Chania!
Splanzia hotel has made important environmental improvements to its structure in order to minimize its impact on the environment. The hotel is an environmentally responsible lodging that follows the practices of green living.
We follow strict green guidelines to ensure that our guests are staying in safe, non-toxic and energy efficient accommodation.
Set in the quiet maze of back streets behind the hustle and bustle of Chania’s harbor, next to the Kastelli area, the former residence of the Pasha during the Turkish rule, is the Splanzia district; the Turkish quarter for over 200 hundred years of the occupation. The area is instantly recognizable for its prominent 1645 restored dome shaped Mosque on the waterfront and the spiraling Minarets that adorn the majority of the Christian Churches in the district.
Chania old town is considered the most picturesque urban district in Crete. The main square which is the starting point of the old town is known as ‘Syntrivani’ (Fountain) as there is a fountain there. This is the heart of tourist activities, restaurants, cafes, museums, galleries, historic monuments and is full of life!
Some of the more popular places there are the light house (which has been revamped and now you are able to enjoy a long walk to it), the Naval Museum, the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Museum, the Archaeological museum, the Turkish mosque (which now functions as an arts exhibit hall), the Municipal Art Gallery of Chania, the Jewish Synagogue and Halidon Street (the most famous street of the old town which leads down to the harbor front).
The old town has a heart-warming atmosphere with many narrow alleys, pedestrian streets, charming old buildings most of which have been wonderfully restored. The city center of Chania is alive with the hustle and bustle of daily life activity and offers every type of facility, store and convenience you may require. As well being in a quiet location, it is superbly situated to visit any of the sites and places of interest in the town.
Within just a few minute walk from the harbor, and close to the Municipal market, it makes the perfect base for today’s visitor to Chania. There are numerous excellent restaurants nearby and there is also a private car park with security just opposite the hotel. A couple of minutes in the other direction will take you into the heart of Chania’s shopping district, the leather market and the central bus station.
We have a background of many years in hospitality. We have been working with passion taking care of our guests in order to understand and fulfill their tastes and wishes.
Splanzia hotel, is our way, of suggesting a new idea of hospitality, strictly related to the concept of familiarity and design, together with the Greek taste for beautiful things that make life pleasant.
Our charming little family run, eight room “boutique hotel”, emphasizes on hospitality and local traditions as well as on the comfortable, contemporary and discrete décor of this stylishly restored Venetian building. Service is intimate, relaxed and friendly, with emphasis on using fresh homemade and local produce in anything we serve – we believe the famous Cretan friendliness should not be forsaken to be “chic”!
At Splanzia hotel style and comfort combine in our designer rooms. Your beautiful room, lavish and timelessly elegant, are be equipped with the best facilities. Every room at Splanzia boutique Hotel has been individually designed by (Bentley Awards World’s best architecture winner) designer John Yiannikakis with a perfectionist eye for detail and with the guest’s comfort foremost in mind creating a calming and luxurious ambience. Adorned with a mixture of contemporary and classical furniture are decorated in a mixture of quiet yet elegant style while utilizing state of the art equipment available to achieve our guest’s comfort , all within a stunning Venetian building, epitomizing the timeless style of Splanzia hotel.
Eight rooms, each uniquely designed and furnished, offer a different, yet common approach to coziness. Ample space throughout, plentiful ambient light plus the height of the original roof make the setting in which we placed custom designed furniture, all made from solid wood. All rooms have King size beds with premium Cocomat mattresses, pillows, quality sheet and duvets. The atmosphere is lit with energy efficient light, plus the unique ambience of the mood light system which elevates the experience of staying in this unique location. In some rooms, we even provide a “starlit” ceiling… extending your horizon to infinity! Deco private bathrooms all have modern showers.
In this medieval setting, technology is our companion…hidden from plain sight, this building’s modern infrastructure is present throughout: whether in climate control, security, sound and heat insulation, or just in the form of a tiny USB charger… all testify on the thought and effort put into providing our guests with a one-of-a-kind experience.
A couple of rooms are interconnecting, making them ideal for groups of family and friends. The entire hotel except from the external areas, including the guest rooms, is non-smoking.
Free parking on the street just outside the hotel & on side streets.
Free municipal parking around five minutes walking distance from the hotel.
Private parking with security just opposite the hotel at a cost of 8 euros per day.
For our guests on request by contacting us in advance, we offer the opportunity organizing to rent a car, transfers with co operated taxi to and from the airport.
The cleaning of the room is daily and will be carried out from 11:00 – 15:00.
Check in from 14:00 to 23:00
Check out by 12:00
The property does not have a lift.
Children older than 3 years old are welcome. Extra beds are not available. There is no capacity for cots in the room.
Pets are not allowed.