Options are vast and varied no matter when you decide to come to Greece’s largest island. And the best time to visit Crete has to do with your personal style, mood, and interests.
Alpine skiing with sea views. Swimming, snorkelling or playing in exotic, pink sand beaches. Drinking raki and dancing to the sound of the Lyra. Exploring ancient palaces and solving the mysteries of the Minoans. Hiking amid charming countryside. Chating with wise old locals in kafeneia and listening to them reciting mantinades. And this is just an idea. Packed with original, authentic experiences Crete is a four seasons wonderland.
No matter when you decide to visit Crete, you’ll be spoiled for choice for exciting things to do. Indeed there is really no best time to visit Crete – this largely depends on your tastes and inclinations. In our previous blog post, we focused on the joys of autumn and winter. Read on for what’s it like to experience Crete in summer and fall.
Best time to visit Crete: Summer (June through August)
Flaunt your bikini body and bask in the cosmopolitan vibes
Sporting some of the world’s best shores– from the exotic, pink-sandy Elafonissi, to the naturists’ favourite that is Sougia – Chania is a veritable beach lovers’ paradise. With average temperatures hovering between 22- 30o Celcius (70 – 80 Fahrenheit), summer inspires visitors and locals alike, to don their swimming suits and hit the beach. As temperatures soar, however, so do the crowds: Popular attractions like the scenic old port of Chania, tend to get swamped and the traffic can be at times appalling. Yet with some foresight and planning, you can make the most of your trip even in the busy summer months.
Choose your accommodation wisely –you’ll want to consider basing yourselves somewhere which is close to the sights and the action, though safely removed from the brouhaha – and book well in advance. Also, make sure to work some off-the-beaten-track locations and activities into your itinerary. The good news is that days stretch luxuriously long in the summer, and everything stays open until late. This means you’ll have plenty of time to soak up the sun, but also explore Crete’s incredible archaeological heritage, sample its food and get acquainted with its people.
Key Summer Events in Crete
- Navy Week (June): Celebrated in Souda Bay, near Chania town, it is dedicated to swimming, sailing, and the sea.
- Cretan Diet Festival (July): Celebrated in the city of Rethymnon, it features cooking classes, wine tastings, booths selling local products, and musical performances.
Best time to visit Crete: Fall (September through November)
Get a taste of authentic Cretan life, try local alcohol and learn how to make your own
Fewer crowds, nicer prices and beach weather that still holds: Fall comes with all the perks of spring and summer – plus you don’t have to compete with the hordes for the best Instagram spots. With average temperatures between 18-25o Celsius (60 – 70 Fahrenheit), September and October especially, are ideal for swimming and sunbathing; but also for hiking in the island’s astonishing gorges and trails – without getting scorched from the sun. Fall is also a great time for sightseeing, as most landmarks and attractions remain open, yet are significantly less busy. Ancient Aptera is at a stone’s throw from the Adeste Chania Luxury Villas; and Crete’s emblematic ancient monuments, like the Minoan palaces of Knossos, Phaistos, Gortyn, and Malia, are well worth a day trip there. The annual harvest and raki making moreover takes place in the fall – and it is a prime opportunity to get a taste of authentic local life. There are several wineries and farms across the island which allow you to join in the process. The work is certainly laborious but at the end of the day, you’ll be rewarded with copious amounts of wine, raki and food.
Key Fall Events in Crete
- Oxi Day (October): Oxi, sometimes written ohi or ochi, means “no” in Greek: This national holiday commemorates Greece’s refusal to allow Mussolini’s troops to enter the country in 1940 and is celebrated with lavish parades on the 28th of October.
- Chestnut Festival (October): Taking place in the village of Elos, it offers visitors a chance to taste various types of chestnut products.
- Tsikoudia Festival (November): Held in Voukolies in the Chania region, it’ll teach you all about raki making and give you the opportunity to sample various types of the potent local spirit.