By the time you actually set foot on Greece’s biggest island of Crete, the reality of the picturesque surroundings you’ve been dreaming of hits you in a way you might not have anticipated. You definitely won’t be disappointed. If anything, the actual reality is more majestic than what is suggested by any pictures or videos you might have seen. Crete offers this lingering beauty which you simply cannot “un-see,” to be remembered for as long as you live.

So, it would be folly to want to run around and try to organise accommodation only once you’ve landed, which is something that’s definitely possible, as Crete is one of those destinations which although very popular, never really gets filled to capacity. You get a lot of day-visitors who ferry across from the mainland, which adds to the daytime numbers. So, it’s possible to try and organise a place to stay as you arrive, but you’ll be hit with those proverbial on-the-spot prices.

I suppose every traveller knows to get organised before heading to any destination really, but this applies even more so in the case of this colossal island.

So where should you look to stay?

That largely depends on what your plans are as soon as you touch down and for the duration of your stay. It’s really not bad at all, but many visitors who have only stayed in the north of the island are lured into the trap of spewing the mantra that it’s not all it is made out to be. This is usually because they don’t much wander beyond the perimeters of their holiday resorts or hotels, even in the case of those possibly being beachside resorts.

If your visit is going to be largely based around beachside activity (or non-activity), you’ll want to find a place to stay which allows easy walking access, otherwise Chania and Western Crete make for the best area as far as beaches go.

For any first-time visitor to Crete, Chania should probably make for the nearest central point to stay. This is where the hospitality industry is pretty much at its most vibrant, with many hotels, villages and towns.

If you’re looking for somewhat of a small-town charm and the radiance of cute, remote villages, the south of the island will be more up your alley.

As far as it goes with getting around in Crete, there is pretty much no other viable option other than car hire. It’s definitely possible to get around with the island’s version of what can be referred to as public transport, but then you won’t quite have the flexibility which will be required of someone who can come away from Crete having had the fully quintessential experience of the city. I mean as much as this is indeed quite a big island, having access to a car means that you can drive from the east coast all the way to the west coast in merely an hour-and-a-half, but try doing that by bus or taxi and it can make for quite the frustrating exercise.

Otherwise between the drives, walk as much as you can or perhaps even cycle.