Where to Stay in South Crete: Best Areas and Hotels to Enjoy the Libyan Sea!

where to stay in south crete

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You’ve probably heard many times already that southern Crete is the best area to visit on the island. And that’s true.

What’s also true is that the south remains quite wild and uninhabited and that finding suitable accommodation facing the Libyan Sea can be challenging.

In this article, I bring you a complete guide to where to stay in South Crete, including areas that, besides great beaches, also offer essential services, a few shops, and reasonably good roads to access.

The guide also includes some of the best hotels in South Crete.


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Where to Stay in South Crete

WHERE TO STAY IN SOUTH CRETE

ARE YOU PLANNING YOUR TRIP TO CRETE LAST MINUTE?
Be sure to book accommodation and tours in Crete ahead of time to ensure availability!

📍 Top tours in Crete:
Full-day Samaria Gorge trek (#1 tour in Crete!)
Boat cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa (another top-selling tour!)
Boat Trip to Spinalonga with swim stop (most popular in Agios!)
Ticket to Knossos Archaeological Site (top tour in Heraklion)
Day trip to Elafonisi (a must in Chania!)

🛌 Top picks for places to stay in Crete:
Lyttos Beach (top beachfront hotel in Hersonissos)
SanSal Boutique Hotel (in Chania Old Town with a pool!)
Grecotel Lux Me White Palace (the best resort in Rethymnon)

🚗  Looking for the best way to get around Crete? Check rental car rates for Crete now!

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Divided in half by three mountain ranges, the island of Crete features an over-developed northern coast with plenty of hotels and activities geared to tourism, and a more tranquil southern coast with just a few villages and some of the most spectacular and solitary beaches in the Mediterranean.

Best Areas to Stay in South Crete

where to stay in South Crete

If you’re planning to enjoy a holiday off-the-beaten-track in Crete, then check out these villages facing the Libyan Sea to find the best places to stay in South Crete.

From the westernmost region of Chania to the easternmost region of Lasithi, these are the top places to stay in South Crete!

Elafonisi

  • Chania region
Greece - Crete - Elafonis

One of the most visited beaches in Elafonisi, this excellent beach is a must-see when spending time in the region of Chania.

Even when the visit can be perfectly organized as a day trip, every summer, more and more travelers choose to spend one or two nights in Elafonisi to enjoy fewer crowds and stunning sunsets.

GREECE - CRETE - ELAFONISI

Although the area is very isolated, there are a few convenience stores and supermarkets in the area. There are just a few houses, a couple of tavernas, and not much more. Keep in mind that the closest village is Elos (about 30 minutes – 19.1 km) where you can find other facilities, including a pharmacy and more restaurants.

Best Places to Stay in Elafonisi

Paleochora

  • Chania region
GREECE - CRETE - PALEOCHORA PENINSULA

Facing the Lybian Sea, Paleochora is one of the most visited destinations on the island’s southern coast since it is quite a big village.

That’s the main reason for travelers to choose Paleochora: despite being remote and solitary, ideal for a quiet vacation, there are also several shops, convenience stores, markets, restaurants, hotels, and vacation homes to rent.

The place is lively and you can visit a few interesting nearby places with easy day trips.

where to stay in South Crete

There is much to do in Paleochora, making it perfect for couples of all ages and families with kids. Besides, there are dozens of beaches to choose from – sandy and pebbled beaches – some of them with organized structures and other beaches completely lonely.

And if you enjoy outdoor adventures, Paleochora is perfect for snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, safari rides, and fishing trips.

Best Places to Stay in Paleochora

Sougia

  • Chania region
where to stay in South Crete

Quiet and relaxing, the small seaside village of Sougia is a popular place to spend a weekend (or more!) in South Crete.

The village of Sougia features a gorgeous beach (included in our list of Crete’s naturist beaches) with very basic structures. There is also another beach just opposite the village with facilities including a bar, umbrellas, and toilets.

where to stay in South Crete

Although the village is not as big as Paleochora, it is still a convenient place to stay, with a few restaurants, and shops as well as hotels and rooms to rent. The town can be accessed by car from Chania or by boat from Chora Sfakion.

Best Places to Stay in Sougia

Agia Roumeli

  • Chania region
Boat Trips Crete - Port Agia Roumeli
The small port of Agia Roumeli.

Most travelers reaching Agia Roumeli arrive here after hiking through Samaria Gorge, the most important canyon on the island.

However, it is also possible to spend a few days in Agia Roumeli getting there by boat (daily ferries depart from Paleochora, Sougia, and Chora Sfakion) even if you have no intention to hike through Samaria.

Especially in that case, keep in mind that booking in advance is particularly important!

where to stay in South Crete

INSIDER’S TIP: Many hikers think that they will pass Samaria and head back to Chania on the same day, not counting on the extreme exhaustion that walking through Samaria might imply and, by the time they reach Agia Roumeli, they are desperate to find accommodation to spend the night and rest their sore feet! So booking a hotel in Agia Roumeli in advance is key!

The village is small but traditional and with a unique familiar atmosphere. Services are basic but convenient, prices are usually affordable, and it also hosts some of the best taverns in South Crete!

Best Places to Stay in Agia Roumeli

Loutro

  • Chania region
where to stay in South Crete

One of the best southern places to visit in Crete is Loutro, a charming fishing village close to the impressive Aradena Gorge, a few hours on foot from Chora Sfakion.

In fact, the charm of Loutro is also given by the fact that it’s only possible to get there on foot or by boat since there are no cars or roads leading to the village!

where to stay in South Crete

The place is relaxing and offers just a few souvenir shops and restaurants, an ATM, and no pharmacies. Since many restaurants and hotels only accept cash, it’s always better to withdraw some money before getting there.

Most ferries to Loutro leave from the port of Chora Sfakion. You can read more about this unique southern village in this complete guide to Loutro.

Best Places to Stay in Loutro

Chora Sfakion

  • Chania region
sea, mountains, village

One of the best places to stay in southern Crete is Chora Sfaklion since the place is really convenient to explore the Libyan coast of the Chania region.

The place features dozens of restaurants and other shops, several hotels and flats to rent, and… the most important thing is its port, with boats and ferries that will take you to all the beaches in the south of Chania that cannot be easily accessed by car, including Loutro, Agia Roumeli, Marmara Beach and Illingas.

where to stay in South Crete

From here, there are also regular ferries to the southernmost island of Gavdos (another incredible place to stay in South Crete!)

Best Places to Stay in Chora Sfakion

Frangokastello

  • Chania region
Frangokastello - Crete

Frangokastello is another favorite place of mine when looking for an area in Crete that feels authentic and far from everything.

The small village is located a good 20-minute drive east of Chora Sfakion and it features a few hotels and studios for rent, some small taverns (mostly in the hotels), a couple of convenience stores, and one or two minimarkets. That’s all!

where to stay in South Crete

The village is known for its great sandy beach adorned with the ruins of an ancient Venetian Fortress facing the sea which, of course, gives name to the small town.

Best Places to Stay in Frangokastello

Plakias

  • Rethymnon region
GREECE - CRETE - RETHYMNON - PLAKIAS BEACH

Moving on along the southern coast, from Chania to Rethymnon, Plakias is a popular coastal town on the Libyan Sea. The village is quite relaxing and picturesque, featuring some incredible beaches nearby.

Plakias is also famous for scuba diving, snorkeling, and other underwater activities since it is home to a unique seabed that attracts diving aficionados year after year. In the area, there are some unique nudist beaches too.

The village has several shops, restaurants, and hotels making it a good destination either for a short or a long stay in Rethymnon.

where to stay in South Crete

Plakias is easy to reach from Rethymnon town going through the mountains (the road is in very good condition even if the trip can be long and tiring).

Plakias is an ideal base to explore the south of Crete, although a car is necessary to move around since the area is quite isolated.

Plakias is also close to the neighboring region of Chania, and the coastal trip from Plakias to Frangokastello is among the most beautiful road trips you can take in Crete.

Best Places to Stay in Plakias

Preveli

  • Rethymnon region
where to stay in South Crete

Famous for the stunning ancient monastery to be found in the area, Preveli is quite an isolated southern beach where there’s little to do other than lazily lounge under the sun, bathe in the freezing-cold river, or explore and hike the beautiful natural surroundings.

Visiting Preveli and its beach in a day can be quite exhausting, especially if you choose to hike to the beach after exploring the historic monastery. In that case, finding accommodation in the area for the night can be a good idea.

where to stay in South Crete

Although there are just a few rooms to rent in the surrounding area, once most tourists have left, the place is a calm oasis where to rest and enjoy silent walks and unforgettable sunsets.

The small, nearby village of Kerames is the most convenient place to stay around Preveli.

Best Places to Stay near Preveli

Triopetra

  • Rethymnon region
where to stay in South Crete

One of the most excellent beaches in the south, Triopetra is a gorgeous shore to visit either as a day trip from Rethymnon or as a quiet destination for a holiday.

Although most structures and services are located in nearby Plakias, the place is perfect if you’re looking for a very isolated area to stay in Crete.

where to stay in South Crete

Nearby, it’s possible to visit the small beaches of Katsounas and Ligres and the impressive dunes of Agios Pavlos beach, three incredible gems in the Rethymnon area.

Best Place to Stay in Triopetra

Agia Galini

  • Rethymnon region
Where to stay in Crete, Agia Galini

Probably the most popular place to stay in the south of Rethymnon, Ahia Galini is a popular destination that receives hundreds of visitors yearly.

The lively seaside resort is a pretty favorite destination among tourists from the Balkan countries, with a nice center with shops and tavernas, plenty of accommodation, lovely beaches, and a tourist port.

There are also several good beaches within a short drive from the village. Agia Galini is about 60 km from the city of Rethymnon, and it attracts tourists from April to October.

Best Places to Stay in Agia Galini

Matala

  • Heraklion region
Matala beach and beach umbrellas

One of the most famous villages on the southern coast of Crete, the small town of Matala is a gorgeous hippie settlement with an impressive bay famous for its ancient caves, once home to several ancient civilizations that dwelled on the island.

The village is an active summer destination with plenty of places to see nearby and exciting things to do.

There are dozens of hotels and restaurants, many shops, markets, and ATM points, as well as pharmacies and essential medical services nearby.

Souvenir Shop Matala Crete

In the area, it is possible to visit more isolated beaches such as Kokkini Ammos and Kommos or explore the impressive archaeological site of Phaistos, the second-most important Minoan Palace on the island after Knossos.

You might also want to read How to Get from Heraklion to Matala.

Best Places to Stay in Matala

Kamilari

  • Heraklion region
where to stay in South Crete

A traditional village just minutes from the busier Matala, this is an excellent place to stay that allows you to explore the southern coast of Heraklion.

The village is quite active during the winter, and there are a few lovely souvenir shops with prices far more convenient than you might find in Matala.

The smell beach of Kalamaki, just a few minutes from the center of Kamilari, is a tranquil alternative to Matala and a safe, shallow shore for families with children.

Best Place to Stay in Kamilari

Pitsidia

  • Heraklion region
where to stay in South Crete

Also close to Matala, this place can be more affordable than the famous hippie village.

There are some excellent restaurants in the area, and essential services, including kiosks, convenience stores, and minimarkets, while it won’t be challenging to find a pharmacy and an ATM.

Nearby beaches include Matala, Kokkini Ammos, Kommos, and Kalamaki.

Best Places to Stay in Pitsidia

Kaloi Limenes

  • Heraklion region
where to stay in South Crete

Located on the southern coast of Heraklion, right under the shadows of the Asterousia Mountains, this is one of the most laid-back places you can choose to stay in Crete.

The area around Kaloi Limenes is ideal for a very quiet holiday for those who have spent a stressful year at work and only long for an area where to disconnect and relax without noise or chaos.

There is not much to do, but that is the village’s charm. Kaloi Limenes features just some basic shops, convenience stores, and a couple of very good traditional tavernas.

Best Places to Stay in Kaloi Limenes

Tsoutsouros

  • Heraklion region
where to stay in South Crete

Also known as Tsoutsouras, this fantastic area in the south of Heraklion is quite off the beaten path in order to guarantee highly relaxing holidays in an utterly isolated environment.

The small village has a partly organized sandy beach with calm and crystalline waters, shallow enough to make it a perfect destination for a family vacation.

Tsoutsouros is the name of the village and the area’s main beach. However, there are several other small shores you can visit.

The little settlement offers essential services, a few restaurants, and some convenience stores, but for more shops, banks, supermarkets, and pharmacies, it is necessary to reach the inner village of Mesochori.

Best Places to Stay in Tsoutsouros

  • Triton Hotel – A beautiful beachfront property with a seaside café-bar, free Wi-Fi in public areas, and air-conditioned rooms overlooking the mountain or the Libyan Sea. The hotel features an à la carte restaurant, and the café-bar offers snacks and drinks. Continental breakfast is served daily to guests.
    Click here for more information and to get the latest prices.

Myrtos

  • Lasithi region
GREECE - CRETE - LASITHI - MYRTOS

Located very close to the bigger city of Ierapetra, Myrtos is a picturesque seaside village with a tranquil vibe.

It is an excellent base to explore the southeastern portion of the island and offers gorgeous souvenir shops and amazingly charming alleys to wander in the evening after a long day at the beach.

Although the village lacks pharmacies, banks, or ATM points, these facilities can be easily found in nearby Ierapetra, which can be reached by car or local bus.

where to stay in south crete

The agricultural center is very quiet in winter and the shoulder seasons, while it gets quite busy in summer.

You will find all you need, including rooms for rent, hotels, restaurants, taverns, cafeterias, a gas station, and a few convenience stores and minimarkets.

Best Places to Stay in Myrtos

Ierapetra

  • Lasithi region
where to stay in south crete -  ierapetra

The most important city in the Lasithi Region is not Agios Nikolaos, as you might have guessed since it’s also the region’s capital, but it’s the southern Ierapetra.

The city, which is a must-place to stay for all those interested in visiting Chrissi Island, is a lively center with plenty of things to do, accommodations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, and some interesting sights to explore.

Ierapetra, Crete

Ierapetra is only 30 km from Agios Nikolaos, making it a perfect day trip destination and a great place to spend a few days when looking for a quiet vacation in Crete.

Best Places to Stay in Ierapetra

Makrigialos

  • Lasithi region
Makrigialos Beach in Crete

Sometimes also written as Makri Gialos, this is a small village a few minutes by car from Ierapetra with a more relaxing vibe and a beautiful beach.

Located between the isolated Xerokampos and the more lively Ierapetra, this small village offers a quiet and relaxing environment but also several seaside restaurants, a picturesque port (from where it’s possible to reach Chrissi Island), as well as ATMs, small convenience stores, a few seaside bars, and a pharmacy.

where to stay in South Crete
Seaside, Makrigialos.

It is an excellent destination for families because the beaches are safe and shallow too.

Best Places to Stay in Makrigialos

Xerokampos

  • Lasithi region
XEROKAMPOS - CRETE

Arguably the most remote area on the island, Xerokampos (also written Xerocampos) features one of the best collections of isolated beaches in South Crete.

Although there are just a few convenience stores and minimarkets in the area to purchase just a few essentials, the place is ideal for a relaxing holiday in complete solitude.

Just a couple of traditional, very simple taverns, incredible beaches with no organized structures, and a good access road to reach the coast are some of the highlights of a stay in Xerokampos.

Xerocampos beach, southern Crete.
Xerocampos.

Best Places to Stay in Xerokampos

  • Villa Agrilia – About 40 minutes from the closest beach in Xerokampos, this is a fantastic villa in a quiet location on the southern coast of Crete. The villa has a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a garden, and a terrace. There are 2 bedrooms, a dining area, a kitchen, and a living room. Free private parking is also available
    Click here for more information and to get the latest prices.

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Where to stay in South Crete


About my blog:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I moved to Crete in 2016. During these years, I learned much about the island.
In Crete, I juggle being a solo mom, hosting culinary tours, and writing for several travel media.
I’ve written for Greek Reporter, published travel guides about Greece, co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete, and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

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