101 Holidays

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The Sunday Times Travel writers Mark Hodson and David Wickers.

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Boutique Crete

Mark and David's verdict:

Crete is one of our favourite islands. Away from the package resorts, it has some stunning villas, boutique hotels and hideaways - as well as mountain villages, hiking trails, archaeological treasures, wild flowers and unspoilt coastlines. The season is long: you can get a tan in March and swim in the sea as late as November.

Recommended accommodation website: i-escape

SK Place VillasPretty harbour townsCharming boutique hotelsAvli Lounge Apartments

i-escape says

Greece’s largest island has a bit of everything: glorious sandy beaches, idyllic villages perched among olive groves, bustling coastal towns with Venetian harbours, immense snow-capped mountains with deep gorges, riots of spring flowers and 300+ days of sunshine per year.

  • Fascinating island
  • Lovely places to stay
  • Unspoilt locations

Add to that the famous Cretan hospitality which starts with a raki on the house and ends with an evening of impromptu folk music under the stars.

But, if we’re honest (and that’s our style), it also has some pretty grim resorts – making it vital to choose your accommodation on Crete carefully.

Over the last 10 years, we’ve cherry-picked our very favourite boutique hotels and stylish houses for rent, visiting each one in person and writing the most detailed, trustworthy reviews you’ll find on the web.

They range from a rustic hideaway high in the White Mountains to an opulent suite in an exquisitely restored Venetian palazzo in Rethymno; and from a stunning villa for 12 on the south coast to a trio of gorgeous family-sized houses (each with its own pool) tucked away on the north.

You can also book them at guaranteed best rates, ask us for impartial advice, read our detailed guide to Crete or check the latest special offers available exclusively to i-escape guests.

With lots of direct flights into Chania and Heraklion from various UK airports, it’s a doddle to arrange – just make a no-obligation enquiry at your chosen property on i-escape (you can hold rooms for 5+ days), then book your flight and hire car independently, and away you go.

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