When to Go

The best times to visit Crete are May, when every outcrop of rock is ablaze with brilliant wildflowers and the sea is warm enough for a brisk dip, or September and October, when the sea is still warm and the light golden and clear.

Most of Crete, outside the major cities, is really only noticeably busy from mid-July through August, when the main sights and towns on the north coast come close to overflowing with tourists. Beaches get busier, and reservations can be essential in the most popular restaurants, too. Even in the height of summer, though, you can enjoy many parts of the east, west, and south coasts without feeling oppressed by crowds.

Crete can also be a pleasure in winter, when you can visit the museums and archaeological sites and enjoy the island's delightful towns without the crush of crowds. Remember, though, that rainfall can be heavy in January and February, and note that many hotels and restaurants, especially resorts, close from late October or November through mid-April or May.

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