Honeymoon in Crete: The Ultimate 2024 Guide for a romantic getaway

Looking for a honeymoon spot that’s both romantic and off the beaten path? Consider a honeymoon in Crete. It strikes the perfect balance, offering lively harborside dining and also the intimacy of hidden mountain escapes and untouched shores.

Here, the charm of the Greek Islands for a honeymoon comes with more tranquility and greater value. Sure, there’s plenty of wine, olive oil, and breathtaking sunsets, but it’s the quiet moments on secluded beaches and in quaint villages that will stay with you. Imagine days spent in each other’s company, with the island’s beauty as your conversation’s only interruption.

A clear turquoise sea gently laps onto a pink-tinged sandy beach with a mountainous backdrop.

Why Crete is the perfect honeymoon destination

Crete is a treasure trove of experiences, making it a versatile choice for honeymooners. Whatever your budget, from lavish splurges reminiscent of romantic Mykonos luxury to cost-effective getaways, Crete fits the bill perfectly.

Beyond the budget, Crete’s beaches are the stars of the show. They’re not just Instagram-worthy; they’re soul-stirring in reality. Imagine strolling hand in hand along the shores of Vai or Balos, or snorkeling in the clear waters of Elafonisi. These are the places where memories cling and time stands still.

And if you’re tempted by the thought of island-hopping or cruising, Crete’s stellar connections by sea and air offer the perfect launchpad. It’s the ideal spot to start or end a Greek odyssey.

A seaside promenade with palm trees, street lamps, and boats moored along the waterfront, with a view of a densely built hillside town under a blue sky.

Cretan culture

Crete promises a honeymoon packed with discovery and never a dull moment! Start in Chania, absorb its charm, then venture out. From the historical allure of Heraklion to the coastal beauty of Sitia, each corner of Crete is a new chapter in your adventure.

And oh, the flavors you’ll savor here! Dining in Crete is a royal affair, a celebration of love on a plate, with every dish crafted from the island’s bountiful produce and seasoned with Mediterranean zest.

Top off your meal with a glass of raki or a local wine, sipped slowly as the Cretan sun sets. Trust us, indulging in the local spirits is not just a taste experience; it’s a toast to life, love, and endless Cretan nights.

Mid-adult caucasian waiter serving greek food at a taverna in Crete.

Cretan hospitality

Crete’s got it all, but seriously, the best part is the people! Every tavern owner becomes your buddy, and they won’t let you leave hungry or unhappy. Even the random folks on the street will give you tips to make you fall in love with the island.

Whether you’re relaxing in your private honeymoon villa or living it up in a fancy couple’s resort, expect amazing service. The hotel staff will treat you like royalty, and the locals will go out of their way to help.

Crete’s the perfect mix: stunning beaches, clear blue water for diving, delicious food, and Cretan culture that’ll make you feel like family. They know how to make you feel right at home, no matter where you’re from. Seriously, it’s magic!

A boat anchored in a secluded blue cove surrounded by rugged cliffs.

The best time to plan your honeymoon in Crete

Crete is a beauty for all seasons, with a charm that shifts from the sun-soaked summers to the cozy, windswept winters.

Planning a winter honeymoon in Crete? Pack some warmth in your suitcase, as the island’s winter embraces you with a brisk chill. Beach days may be few, but Crete’s villages offer a heartwarming embrace, perfect for snuggling up with your loved one.

Summer brings the island to life, yet with it comes the crowds, especially during peak season. For a tranquil escape, consider the shoulder seasons — spring and early autumn — where the weather is blissful, and the throngs of tourists thin out.

May, early June, or anytime from late August to early October, Crete blooms with perfect weather, less heat, and space to bask in the island’s romance.

And if you’re yearning for uninterrupted serenity, an adults-only resort is your haven from the summer’s youthful energy. Here’s to Crete — your romantic haven at just the right time.

Moored boats in a clear turquoise bay with white buildings against a hillside in the background.

Explore the regions of Crete

Forget memorizing regions! Crete’s basically four slices, each with a capital city on the north coast. Handy, right? Three even share the same name as their region, like Chania in…Chania!

A view of a coastal city with colorful buildings, an old mosque, and a bustling waterfront promenade under a cloudy sky.

Chania

Chania’s got it all: stunning mountains, turquoise waters, and a history as rich and layered as baklava. Explore the Venetian quarter’s hidden alleyways and market stalls, then wander the charming Splantzia district with its wooden balconies and cobbled streets. History buffs will love Fort Firkas’ museum, while beach bums can catch some rays on the gorgeous shores nearby. Chania: your one-stop shop for Cretan charm!

An aerial view of a coastal town with a stone breakwater and traditional buildings next to a calm sea.

Rethymnon

Rethymno, with its rich past, truly came into its own in the 16th century under Venetian dominance, blossoming into a hub of culture and the arts. Today, it’s still revered as Crete’s intellectual heart. Stroll through the old quarter, where Venetian and Ottoman designs stand as testaments to a bygone era, and the waterfront, a tapestry of history, buzzes with life. The imposing Fortezza, perched above the harbor, recalls the days of pirates and protection. Along the water’s edge, the present-day vibrancy unfolds in the form of bustling taverns, lively bars, and inviting shops, while its museums and an ancient mosque offer a glimpse into the 17th century.

Twilight over a harbor with boats and an old fortress with lit street lamps.

Heraklion

Heraklion, is steeped in history, now boasting striking Venetian structures, a harbor adorned with boats, and the robust city walls and fortress that tell of its storied past. The heart of the city beats in Plateia Eleftheriou Venizelou, a bustling pedestrian haven with superb cafes and shops surrounding its central fountains. Brimming with historical treasures, the city is home to landmarks like the Heraklion Archaeological Museum and numerous majestic cathedrals. A short drive south takes you to the ancient Palace of Knossos, with its 1900 BC origins. Here, echoes of antiquity linger in the Royal Apartments, Throne Room, and the storied Priest-King Fresco.

Evening view of a lit-up waterfront with buildings and moored sailboats in a Greek town.

Lasithi

Nestled on the eastern shores of Mirabello Bay, Agios Nikolaos charms with its picturesque harbor and intriguing museums. Further east lies Sitia, another harbor town boasting cafes and shops huddled around its waterfront. Art and culture enthusiasts take note: Sitia celebrates its rich heritage with the Kornaria Festival, featuring music, dance, theater, and sports events throughout July and mid-August.

Aerial view of a coastal resort with a swimming pool, beach chairs lined up on the sand, and Mediterranean-style buildings nestled in a hilly landscape.

Top honeymoon hotels in Crete for a romantic stay

Crete offers a stay for every style, from luxurious all-inclusive beach resorts to quaint guesthouses in sleepy mountain villages. Wherever you choose, you’ll often start the day with a generous breakfast spread that includes creamy yogurt, fresh milk, savory olives, crisp paximadia, a variety of cheeses, and rich coffee. To round it off, there’s usually a selection of granola, cold cuts, fresh fruits, vegetables, and eggs prepared in many ways.

Aerial view of a seaside resort with white buildings surrounded by greenery, adjacent to a calm blue sea with beach chairs on the shore.

Minos Beach Art Hotel, Agios Nikolaos

Seeking Cretan charm with a modern twist? Check out Minos Beach Art Hotel! This stylish spot near Agios Nikolaos boasts a secluded location, stunning gulf views, and a private beach (some suites even have their own pools!). Take a dip in the big pool, explore the art gallery, or unwind at the on-site spa. Feeling adventurous? Rent water sports gear and hit the waves! Foodies rejoice – the hotel offers a variety of dining options to tantalize your taste buds.

Aerial shot of a rocky shoreline with clear blue waters, featuring sun loungers and a swimming pool.

St. Nicolas Bay, Agios Nikolaos

St. Nicolas Bay is a stunning, upscale private beach resort located just a stone’s throw from Agios Nikolaos. It offers breathtaking views of both the bay and the town, with its bungalow-style layout exuding Mediterranean charm. The resort combines modern design with outstanding service, delicious food, and superb facilities. The junior suites feature their own private seawater pools, expansive garden terraces, cozy lounge areas, and separate living rooms, alongside marble bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, and Wi-Fi. For relaxation, the Poseidon Spa is unbeatable, and the dining options are exceptional.

Evening scene at a resort with a reflective pool, dining tables set up, and a person standing by the water's edge, with a view of the ocean and a pastel sky.

Amirandes, Heraklion

Live in luxury at Amirandes, a Minoan palace-inspired resort near Heraklion. Dive into the vibe with reflection pools, pristine beaches, and top-notch sports options. Relax in peace, or get pampered at the Elixir Spa. Foodies rejoice – there’s a culinary adventure waiting with 7 different restaurants! Most rooms offer stunning views, and some even have private pools. Cretan luxury awaits!

Twilight view of a rooftop swimming pool overlooking a lit pier and a historic building, with lounge chairs and a gazebo.

Megaron Hotel, Heraklion

Megaron Hotel stands out for its elegance, from design to service and amenities. Every room offers a view and surrounds an airy atrium, providing both style and space. The service is top-notch, ensuring a pleasant stay. Its location in Heraklion makes it easy to explore the city on foot. The hotel also features a variety of facilities, including a restaurant, café, bar, and even airport pickup. Guests can enjoy Wi-Fi, a health club, and a rooftop pool for relaxation and leisure.

Evening view from a balcony with lanterns, overlooking a coastal town and waterfront.

Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa, Chania

Intimate & historic: that’s Casa Delfino in Chania! This family-run gem boasts 24 unique rooms, blending antiques with modern touches. Exceptional service and a location in the heart of the Old Town, steps from the waterfront, make it ideal for those seeking an authentic Cretan experience. Relax on the rooftop terrace, unwind in the pebbled courtyard, or indulge at the spa. Suites offer all the modern comforts you need for a memorable stay.

Interior of a cozy living room with stone walls, wooden beams, comfortable furniture, and a balcony door.

Avli Lounge Apartments, Rethymnon

Avli Lounge Apartments offers a unique stay in Rethymno, nestled within a historical Venetian building. This boutique, all-suites hotel is known for its superb restaurant, extensive wine cellar, and on-site shopping, perfectly marrying modern luxury with classic Cretan design. The suites are notably roomy, boasting balconies that provide views over the charming old city streets. Guests will find themselves indulged in luxury with four-poster beds, elegant crystal chandeliers, marble-lined bathrooms, and secluded terraces. It’s recognized as one of Crete’s premier boutique hotels in the city.

Courtyard of a hotel with wicker chairs, tables with umbrellas, and a small pool, against a backdrop of a pink-hued building and green plants.

Rimondi Boutique Hotel, Rethymnon

Hidden gem in Rethymnon’s Old Town! This luxurious spot oozes charm, not snobbery. Choose from cozy rooms & suites around beautiful courtyards. Bonus: prices are surprisingly friendly, starting under $100!

View from a poolside overlooking the sea, with a person relaxing on a lounger, speedboats in the water, and historic ruins on the hillside in the distance.

Domes of Elounda, Elounda

Chic hillside getaway! This Autograph Collection gem boasts geometric architecture, private beach access, and stunning pool views. Prices are flexible: snag a room for under $200 in spring or fall, but expect pricier rates in peak season.

Two goats resting on a wooden platform with a backdrop of trees and rocky terrain.

Experiences for a memorable honeymoon in Crete

Skipping the tours and activities in Crete on your honeymoon would be a missed opportunity. They’re sure to enhance your Greece itinerary, offering memorable experiences.

A wooden walkway running between tall, smooth rock walls beside a clear stream in a narrow gorge.

Hike the longest gorge in Europe, Samaria Gorge

Exploring Samaria Gorge is an adventure you can’t miss in Crete, boasting some of the island’s most breathtaking landscapes. This European marvel, a National Park since 1962, offers trails winding through towering rock formations, past historical chapels, and through ghostly villages. Starting from Xyloskalo, around 27 miles south of Chania, the trail stretches for 11 miles to Agia Roumeli, a quaint coastal village. Completing this hike is no small feat, but the local taverna’s wine and Cretan dishes are a perfect way to celebrate your achievement.

A mountain landscape with snow-capped peaks, a green meadow with trees, and vehicles parked under the shade.

Explore Mount Ida, the birthplace of Zeus

Snag a pic with Crete’s tallest peak, Mount Ida! This snowy beauty near Rethymnon is legendary for being Zeus’ birthplace. Feeling adventurous? Conquer the 8,000-foot summit for epic views and major bragging rights (and maybe burn off some of that delicious Cretan cheese!). ️

Coastal landscape with a clear turquoise lagoon, sandy shores, and a rocky hill under a blue sky.

Sail to the beautiful Balos Beach

Driving along the cliffside to the northwest edge of the island, you’ll find yourself at the breathtaking Balos Beach. The hike down offers a stunning view of what many consider the most beautiful beach in Crete, where turquoise seas embrace a slender sandbar leading to a grand, rocky outcrop. It’s the perfect spot for that Instagram-worthy photo.

Wade through the shallow bay, where you can venture far out with water barely reaching your ankles, or swim in the clearer, cooler waters of the deeper bay. Choose a spot on the sandbar and enjoy alternating between the unique characteristics of each side.

Despite its remote location, Balos attracts many visitors, with ferries bringing in crowds daily. To experience its beauty more privately, aim for an early morning or late afternoon visit, dodging the busiest times.

Aerial view of a sandy beach with rows of umbrellas and sun loungers, adjacent to clear blue waters.

Sail to the quaint Elafonissi Beach

Don’t be fooled by the hype! This “pink sand” beach is really white with tiny pink and red seashell bits. Still pretty? Absolutely! Perfect for nursery décor? Definitely. Just be prepared for crowds. Like Balos, it’s a tourist magnet. But hey, the calmer island beach and secluded trails are just a lagoon-hop away! ️‍

Ancient structure with red columns, frescoes, and partial stone walls framed by trees under a clear sky.

Tour the Minoan palace of Knossos

Not feeling the romance of ancient ruins? Think again! Knossos, Europe’s oldest civilization dating back to the woolly mammoth era, is surprisingly fascinating. Partially restored, it offers a glimpse into the lives of the 1%. History buffs (or their spouses!) will love it. For an even deeper dive, grab the combo ticket with the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Beat the crowds by arriving early or late, and escape the heat with the museum’s air conditioning.

Aerial view of a coastal town with historic buildings, a prominent lighthouse, and a curved seafront against a backdrop of mountains.

Visit the picturesque Chania Harbor

Despite the crowds, Chania’s Venetian Harbour retains its enchanting allure. Stroll along the harbour wall to the lighthouse or enjoy a sunset wine, witnessing the sky’s changing hues as the lighthouse begins to glow.

Narrow street in a Mediterranean town with traditional houses, potted plants, and lanterns.

Visit the beautiful old town of Rethymnon

This spot feels like a step back into what Chania might have been like years ago – quieter and more charming than the bustling Old Town. With more affordable shopping and dining, it’s the perfect place for a relaxed day of picking out souvenirs.

Open-faced sandwich topped with tomatoes, cheese, olives, and herbs on a plate.

Taste the famous Cretan cuisine

Foodie lovebirds, unite! No Crete honeymoon is complete without a delicious dive into the local food scene. Indulge in a food or wine tour in one of Crete’s regions and tantalize your taste buds. Craving the secrets of their world-famous olive oil? An olive oil tour unlocks the magic behind this liquid gold. Feeling adventurous? Master the art of Cretan cuisine with a traditional cooking class and whip up mouthwatering dishes together. ‍‍

Panoramic view of a curving coastline with a blue sea, sandy beach, palm trees, and surrounding mountains.

Top beaches in Crete for a magical honeymoon experience

Crete is home to countless mesmerizing beaches, making it a top pick for couples looking for the perfect Greek island getaway. From beaches fringed with dunes to those with unique pink sand, each is backed by enchanting scenery, whether it’s ancient castles or cedar forests stretching right to the water’s edge. The crystal-clear waters, shimmering in every shade of blue, add to their allure. While it’s impossible to list them all, we’ll share some of our favorites.

Scenic view of a beach with turquoise water, rocky outcrops, and people enjoying the sun and sea.

Top southwest coast beaches in Crete

Kedrodasos: Think fairytale vibes with white sand, tropical waters, and juniper trees that look like cedars. Tranquil escape? Check!

Elafonisi: Turquoise waters, pink sand, and stunning scenery. Popular for a reason, but worth the crowds for its unique landscape. Pacific vibes in Greece? You got it!

Balos: The most photographed beach in Crete (and for good reason!). Award-winning beauty with fine white & red sand, shallow waters, and a turquoise lagoon. Honeymoon must-visit!

Aerial panoramic view of a long sandy beach with clear blue waters and a mountainous backdrop under a partly cloudy sky.

Top northwest coast beaches in Crete

Falassarna: Crystal waters, endless sandy beach, stunning red and white sand, and mountain views make this a proposal-worthy paradise. Found 17 km from Kissamos in northwest Crete.

Souda: Escape the crowds at this hidden gem near Rethymnon. Lush green valley, palm trees, and thick sand await you. Just be warned: the wind can get strong!

Vai: Europe’s only palm forest meets stunning beach on Cape Sideros, east of Sitia. Tropical vibes and crystal waters make this a must-visit.

Crete’s beaches offer something for everyone. Which one will you explore first?

Charming alley with outdoor dining tables, plants, and blooming flowers in an old town.

Best dining spots in Crete

Cretan cuisine shares much with traditional Greek fare, offering dishes like grilled meats, Greek salads, eggplant, dolmades, and tzatziki. Unique to the island are delicacies like dakos, akin to bruschetta, and various Cretan cheeses. Despite its coastal location, seafood is less common on local menus, largely due to overfishing and the resulting high prices. Olive oil from the island’s groves features prominently in most dishes. Dining out, even in more sophisticated spots, won’t break the bank, making it tempting to indulge in an extra carafe of local wine and dessert with your partner.

Seaside taverna with blue and white checked tablecloths and a view of the ocean.

The Old Phoenix, Chania

The Old Phoenix taverna in Finix bay is reachable only by boat or foot, but the journey is worth it. Nestled on a shaded seaside terrace, it serves up fresh, local fish, veggies, and fruit. Feeling the island vibes? Stay the night at their on-site inn! ️

Plate with grilled cheese, tomato slices, and cucumber garnished with herbs and sesame seeds.

Kyria Maria, Rethymnon

Kyria Maria, a cozy family-run taverna nestled in Rethymnon’s old town, offers a taste of traditional Cretan cuisine. Its outdoor seating extends into the quaint, narrow streets, providing the perfect spot for diners to enjoy some people-watching along with their meal.

Group of men standing by the sea, engaged in a cheerful conversation.

Pelagos Seaside Restaurant, Chania

Pelagos Restaurant in Chania serves up fresh catches in a stunning setting. Dine al fresco at elegant tables along the picturesque harbor for a romantic and delicious experience. ️

Table spread with various Greek dishes, bread, and a bottle of beer at a taverna.

Gramboussa Restaurant, Chania

This spacious taverna, while popular among tourists, retains an authentic Cretan vibe. It’s the perfect spot to wrap up a day spent at Balos Beach. Try to grab a table near the musicians for the full experience, and don’t be surprised if they invite your wife to join in the dance – it’s all part of the charm here.

Plate of grilled fish with lemon, fries, and a side salad on a wooden table.

Metohi Vai, Lasithi

Palm-forest pitstop! This taverna near Vai, owned by local monks, used to house their shepherds. Refuel after exploring the beach with Cretan classics like salad, grilled lamb, veggies, and dolmades.

Close-up of a noodle dish with vegetables and herbs.

Pulse, Chania

For vegans and vegetarians, finding a spot that caters exclusively to their dietary needs can be a challenge in Crete, but this gem offers a full vegan menu that impresses at any meal, dessert included. Even those who typically eat meat will be delighted here. The Manchurian balls, a type of dumpling, are particularly popular. Located just a block from the Chania harbor, you’ll discover that the food and value here outshine what you might find right on the waterfront.

Gamopilafo with a creamy sauce, garnished with herbs and radish slices.

Cretan local products and dishes

At the heart of Cretan cuisine lies its prized olive oil, a staple that effortlessly replaces other fats and is celebrated for its nutritional benefits and antioxidants, guarding against diseases and aging.

Cheese holds a versatile role in Cretan dishes, enjoyed as an appetizer, main course, and even dessert. The island’s cheese varieties, such as gruyere, kefalotyri, and mizithra, enrich salads, pies, and cooked meals with robust flavors. Experimenting with cheese and fruit, like pairing watermelon or melon with gruyere, offers a delightful taste experience. Signature Cretan dishes include Dakos, snails, ‘apaki’, stuffed potatoes, ‘gamopilafo’, smoked greens, smoked meats, and ‘kserotigana’.

And no meal is complete without a sip of raki, rakomelo, or Cretan wine, enhancing the dining experience and lifting spirits.

Historic stone church with a dome and arched doors, fronted by a large paved square and surrounded by trees.

How many days should you stay in Crete

Crete adventure awaits! But how long to stay? The answer? It’s like asking how long a piece of string is!

Want beach bliss and relaxation? 5 days could do. Craving history, hikes, and hidden gems? 2 weeks might be more your style.

The activities you choose and how much time you soak up each spot will decide your perfect Crete honeymoon length.

An ancient citadel on a rocky outcrop above a city, with a clear sky at sunset.

Reaching Crete from Athens

Heraklion Airport, also referred to as Kazantzakis International Airport, serves as the primary gateway to Crete, with roughly 15 daily flights from Athens. It provides a range of services, including car rentals, taxis, shuttle buses, and other public transit options, all conveniently located just about 3.5 miles from the center of Heraklion.

Alternatively, a high-speed ferry from Athens to Crete via Piraeus takes about four hours, offering a scenic route to the island. For schedules, tickets, and updates, the Hellenic Seaways website is your go-to resource.

Sunset view over the sea with islands in the distance, seen from a balcony with a bell tower and pottery.

Reaching Santorini from Crete

Honeymoon island hopping? Crete & Santorini are a dream duo! ️

Regular ferries connect the islands in 2-3 hours, making day trips from Crete to Santorini totally doable.

Whether you split your time or just do a quick Santorini honeymoon escape, this combo offers diverse experiences: history, beaches, romance, and stunning views.

A serene cove with rocky cliffs and turquoise waters under a sunset sky.

Conclusion

Exploring Crete offers a blend of historical richness, culinary delights, and scenic beauty, making it a versatile destination for newlyweds. From the bustling streets of Heraklion with its convenient airport and proximity to ancient wonders, to the tranquil beauty of Balos Beach and the timeless charm of Rethymno’s Venetian Harbour, Crete invites visitors to immerse themselves in its diverse landscapes. The island’s cuisine, highlighted by its world-renowned olive oil, traditional cheeses, and unique dishes, promises a gastronomic journey that encapsulates the essence of the Mediterranean diet. Whether arriving by air or sea, the accessibility of Crete sets the stage for an unforgettable adventure that combines leisure and exploration. With honeymoon trip options for every type of traveler, from luxurious resorts to quaint tavernas, Crete stands as a testament to the enduring allure of Greek island life.