Photo of Anissaras

About Anissaras

A holiday resort 25km east of Heraklion, Anissaras is the perfect place to go for a family beachside holiday. Boasting a 1km stretch of white sandy beach, a treasure trove of watersports and some great restaurants, it is perfectly placed for exploring the rich tapestry of Crete's ancient heritage. The notable Minoan palaces are a short drive away and are hauntingly beautiful. The accommodation options are broad but the best places to stay in Anissaras tend to be right on the coast.

Neither a town or a village, locals like to say that Anissaras is just a high-class suburb of Hersonissos, which is only 1km away. Nestling on a large hilly area overlooking the bright blue sea, there are no bars or nightclubs in Anissaras, making it the perfect place for families looking for tranquillity, something they definitely wouldn't find in the wild and roaring lights of Hersonissos. In the hills above the resort, charming and quaint villages like Ano Hersonissos and Piskopiano are just waiting to be explored by the curious holidaymaker, known for their dusty cobbled streets and picturesque old houses. A few restaurants line the 1km stretch of beach and a few minimarkets and tourist shops are dotted around the resort; you can rent sun loungers and make use of the public showers. There are countless watersports on offer here, from jet skiing and windsurfing to kayaking and catamarans; the water is as clear as glass so is ideally suited to scuba diving and snorkelling though watch out, the depth suddenly drops very quickly! At the tip of the peninsula stands a small church and the walk there is absolutely lovely.

Crete has a fascinating history and plenty of ancient relics to explore. The Minoans, an incredibly advanced civilisation dating back 2000 years before Christ, made their home on Crete before being wiped-out by a spate of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. Known for their highly technical and unnervingly beautiful art of bare-breasted goddesses, flower princes and bull-leaping ceremonies, their sewage systems, advanced bureaucracies and the arguable equality between men and women, many of their palaces, cities and temples still remain, and because they were buried in molten lava and layers of earth and dust, they remain wonderfully intact. One such example is Malia, 10km from Anissaras, dating back to 1800 BCE; be sure to also visit Knossos, a thirty minute drive away, the site of the mythical king Minos' palace and the inspiration behind the myth of the labyrinth.

What not to miss

  • Rent out a jetski or catamaran and have a fun day at the sea.
  • Go scuba diving in the crystal-clear waters.
  • Visit the Lychnostatis Folk Museum on the outskirts of Hersonissos.
  • Head out to the Minoan Palace of Malia, 10km away.
  • Take a day trip to visit the Minoan palatial complex of Knossos - you'll need a whole day of exploring to see it all - and marvel at the advanced ingenuity of that very ancient civilisation whose tragic end unalterably changed the course of history...
  • Explore the lovely old villages in the hills above the resort. Ano Hersonissos and Piskopiano are particularly charming.
  • Spend a day sunbathing at the beach with a good book.

Anissaras is perfect for families looking for a quiet but fun seaside holiday. An ideal stepping stone to exploring the area and many of the best places to stay in Anissaras are well catered to families.

The best places to stay in Anissaras

Seaside resort

  • Aldemar Royal Mare Village and Thalasso: an enormous modern beach resort with lush grounds, 4 swimming pools and its own private beach. The rooms are blue, light and airy, some come with private terraces and pools, and guests can enjoy tennis, watersports, the pampering spa and many different dining options. Luxury on a budget!
  • Amirandes: true luxury with utmost ease, offering villas with their own private pools and bright white rooms. There are 9 restaurants, not to mention cocktail bars, an extensive and spoiling spa, tennis courts and a scubadiving course. A palace fit for the king of the Minoans.
  • Paradise Island Villas: a super chic collection of villas in sophisticated Cretan style. Each villa has its own pool and living areas. Ideal for a romantic escape.

For an apartment or villa

  • Our partner Booking.com has a wide range of villas and apartments in the nearby area.

Travel information

  • Fly to Heraklion International Airport and get a bus to Anissaras, a 30 minute journey.
  • If you want to rent a car, contact our partner Rentalcars.
  • The weather there is hot without being unbearable. The best time to go is during the summer, when the temperature ranges between 19 and 29 degrees.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Anissaras

  • Aldemar Royal Mare Village and Thalasso Anissaras (Crete) 385 rooms from £117

    Romantic Break  -  Fine dining and sunset walks hand in hand meet luxorious suites with private plunge pools, plush beds and romantic sea views.
    Cooking classes  -  Resident chef George Hatzopoulos gives free weekly cooking classes on traditional Cretian food.
    Kids Club  -  Mini club for kids, swimming and all sorts of activites ages 4-12.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor

    A vast contemporary beach resort with all the trimmings, lush grounds, four pools and private beach area. Rooms mirror the outdoors, blue and breezy, some suites come with terraces and pools. Enjoy the many dining options, good spa and lots of activities - tennis, water sports and nearby nightlife. See More

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  • Amirandes Anissaras 205 rooms from £215

    Spa breaks  -  Signature treatments using organic plants and extracts from Crete’s rare herbs and Ayurvedic therapies by Indian therapists.
    Fishing  -  Spend a relaxing day at sea on one of the local fishing excursions.
    Sights nearby  -  The Minoan Palace of Knossos is approx 9 miles away.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor, outdoor and private pools
    Recommended by  -  Kiwi Collection

    A palace fit for the legendary King Minos himself. Villas boast private pools, white on white decor and huge picture windows. Choice of nine casual and fine dining restaurants and bars. Lots of activities for couples and families. See More

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  • Paradise Island Villas Anissaras 12 rooms from £215

    Local exploring  -  1km from the Traditional Cretan Villages of Koutouloufari, Old Hersonissos and Piskopiano.
    5* Luxury  -  All villas are individually designed with private pool & every comfort
    Private villas  -  12 separate villas to rent.
    Groups  -  Villas from 2 to 6 guests
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, CN Traveller

    A super chic collection of villas in sophisticated Cretan style. Each villa has its own pool and living areas. Romantic rooms have parquet floors, four poster beds, and attractive furnishings. Excellent restaurant, lots of spa treatments. Romantic, grown-up, close to the beach, and family friendly. See More

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