Inland Crete is surprisingly different from the impression you might receive of the island if you stay on or near the coastal areas with their - admittedly - lovely sandy beaches, and rich archaeological treasures and historic sights (the Minoan Palace of Knossos, Heraklion Archaeological Museum and medieval Réthymno are just three highlights not to be missed). But our pick of the best off-the-beaten-track hotels on Crete will allow you to explore the island as it has existed for centuries, away from the tourist glare and the seaside crowds.
Inland you will find olive and lemon groves, rounded hills and hill-top villages with frescoed chapels and friendly tavernas - the latter often make their own produce such as olive oil, cheese and wine. To the west are the snow-capped White Mountains; craggy limestone peaks with karst plateaus and deep canyons running to the coast. Here is a botanist's and birdwatcher's paradise: hoopoes, eagles, vultures plus wild thyme, lavender and rare orchids.
Choose one of the best off-the-beaten-track hotels on Crete to experience the peaceful side of island life.
If you want to get under the skin of the island, and discover its true beauty, choose one of the best off-the-beaten-track hotels on Crete. Nothing here that fits the bill? Expand your search and check out all our Crete recommendations.
A home-away-from-home deep in rural tranquility with beaches, bars and tavernas a walk away. Small collection of traditional stone cottages make perfect base for families. Self-catering and BBQ available for all. Return to simpler times at this beautiful hideaway on Crete.
A charming hamlet of 13 former shepherds cottages surrounded by olive groves and citrus trees. The self catering studios are rustic and quaint and with stunning views of the local area and sea. This authentic and secluded spot is a 15-minute walk from the beaches and local town.
A remote mountain stay in traditionally restored houses with stunning views of the mountains. This tranquil escape offers rustic comfortable rooms and communal dining for all. Relax and enjoy the delicious organic food, lovely walks and break from the modern world.
Ano Vouves, Crete
This small, rustic spa retreat offers peace and quiet in the Cretan hills. With a pool and a good traditional restaurant, it's the kind of cosy cocoon that some guests won't want to leave, but for those who do the bright lights of Chania are a short drive away.
A renovated 18th century olive press mill with simple Cretan architecture. Stone walls, arches and wooden beams combined with minimalistic chic interiors. Rooms feature comfy beds, sofas and private terraces with views. Contemporary greek cuisine at the restaurant and an outdoor pool. Heaven.
A great getaway on an idyllic blue bay in a car-free village, right on the beach. Off the beaten track, this tranquil hotel is ideal for a simple seaside holiday for families. Boasting unspoilt bay views, life plays out on a different tempo here. Utterly relaxing.
Families with children of all ages love this stylish, family-run hotel that hides itself on a quiet street just moments away from the beach in a low-key village resort. Cool rooms with canopied beds appeal to romantic couples too.
Stone cottages with classic furniture set amidst beautiful scenery. An on site restaurant and cafe serves local products. Cooking classes, archery lessons and wine tours available. Their sun terraces offer wonderful views, perfect to enjoy a sundowner drink.
Perched on a hill in the quiet and peaceful village of Achlada. Features balconies in rooms, sit out terraces and an outdoor pool to soak in the ocean views. Contemporary interiors, fireplaces and a small kitchenette. Popular with young couples, families and group seminars.
A shining example of how to do low-impact tourism. Vamos is a collection of locally owned self-catering accommodation in and around a sleepy village. Interiors are comfortable and rustic and many feature private pools. Stunning views of the White Mountains are thrown in too. Ideal for families.