The 3 best “hidden” places in Crete
Most of you, have Crete in mind as a popular destination for families. The major cities and tourist resorts are flooded by thousands of tourists from all over the world, who enjoy the major hotel units with all the amenities and visit the nearby landmarks, every season.
Don’t get us wrong, these holidays are great too. However, Crete has unique places that are popular amongst locals, but they are relatively unknown to tourists. Your family photos will become very popular on social media and your family memories will be unforgettable.
Palekastro is a village on the east side of the island and is famous for two things: the great beaches and fresh fish.
The beaches of Kouremenos and Hionas are located nearby and the crystal clear waters attract hundreds of locals, who have associated their holidays and their relaxation with this peaceful destination in Lasithi. In some parts of the beach, there are umbrellas and beach chairs, but the biggest part is protected from the sun by tamarisks.
Especially at Kouremenos, the weather conditions are ideal for windsurfing. This location of the gulf and the wind create the ideal conditions for the fans of windsurfing. The most important thing is that there are no waves which can ruin your family’s swim.
The famous fish tavern Hiona, which belongs to the Amanaki family, consists a tourist attraction, as all the locals come from all the island, either by car or by boat, just to taste the famous kakavia (the Greek traditional soup of the fishermen) and bouillabaisse (the French edition). The owner is passionate about fishing and undoubtedly knows a lot about fresh fish. Moreover, his wife Maria, is the soul of the place and will make you feel like home.
Where to stay: If you want to combine the beauties of Palaikastro with your own comforts, we suggest you stay in Palaikastro Villas. A complex of three villas with a shared pool and many additional facilities in a very quiet location amidst olive trees but only 500 meters from the beach of Hiona.
If you do not get enough of the sea, you can choose the apartments of Glaros, right on the beach of Kouremenos. They do not offer the elegance and comfort of Palekastro Villas, but the family rooms are spacious and the most important is that they are right by the waves.
NOTE: The nearest city with an airport is Sitia, which unfortunately has limited flights. The nearest airport is one of Heraklion.
About 70 kilometers south of Chania and in a short distance from Sfakia, lies the picturesque but also cosmopolitan fishing village of Loutro. God has been very generous with it. Apart from its incredible natural beauty, it is probably the only place on Crete that is never windy, since its gulf and the small island at its entrance, form a natural harbor.
Even the way to reach Loutro is unique. You will have to reach Sfakia and from there take the boat, as there is no possibility to reach Loutro by road. This means that there are no cars in the village and so you will not have the slightest anxiety about your children.
The hotels are all small and family-friendly without many amenities and the taverns are quiet and not crowded and noisy. The waters have a deep blue and green color, and the beach in front of the village is just one of your swimming options. Other nearby beaches with calm waters and without strong winds are Glyka Nera, Marmara, Timios Stavros, and Perivolaki, which you can reach either by boat or by taxi. In Marmara, you will have the chance to taste authentic Sfakian flavors from Chrysostomos, one of the most famous chefs in the region of Chania.
Families who love walking will love Loutro, as the paths around the village lead to gorges and paths in Cretan nature.
Where to stay: Daskalogiannis Hotel has some of the most spacious rooms for families.
NOTE: If you want to book a room, you have to do it very early as the rooms are limited and the locals love Loutro.
Some of the most beautiful beaches on the island are south of Rethymno. An ideal one for children is Rodakino. The local families look for tranquillity here, and they can enjoy the wonderful sea and the great food.
The hotels are small but clean and just one step away from the crystal clear waters of the Libyan Sea. Besides, when you swim in such seas, comfort and sophisticated services are of little importance. Such holidays will surely awaken memories of your childhood and carefree age.
If you want a little fun, the village of Plakias is a few kilometers in the east and is more tourist and cosmopolitan, with bars and cafes. Even in Plakias there are organized diving centers where bigger children can enjoy wonderful explorations in the deep waters.
Also, if you ever visit Rodakino, you should definitely visit Fragokastelo, a little further to the west, to admire your children the Venetian castle right next to the beach.
Where to stay: Polyrizos Hotel is the best you can find in the area of Rodakino. It is economical and clean, with a nice breakfast and just a few meters away from the beach.
Note: The longest beach is Korakas, which has small pebbles and is more organized with umbrellas and beach chairs. However, we suggest the Polyrzidos beach, which is 1-2 kilometers to the west and has sand and tamarisks.
We would advise you to rent a car for a few days to see other beautiful beaches in southern Rethymnon.
Best season to visit