Crete was one of our first vacations as a gay couple and although there isn’t a huge gay scene in Crete we felt very welcome on this beautiful island and have returned since!
Crete is the largest island in Greece offering everything from beautiful soft sand beaches, to rich historical sights, a thriving nightlife scene and mountains inland to explore by car.
During our trips we had no issues being gay in Crete and felt particularly comfortable around the touristy areas.
In our Gay Crete Travel Guide we have put together the shortlist of the places we have stayed and visited, investigated what the gay scene is like and put together some unmissable trips for your visit!
- 1 Where to stay in Crete for Gay Travellers?
- 2 Gay Bars in Crete
- 3 Gay Beaches in Crete?
- 4 Things to do in Crete
Where to stay in Crete for Gay Travellers?
We have been to Crete twice and being the largest island in Greece there are a lot of places to stay.
The first time we stayed in Hersonissos and the second time we split our time between Stalis and Malia. In both cases we made sure to explore as much of the island as possible.
Take a look at the following places which we suggest staying at:
Hersonissos is a very popular destination in Crete with its sandy beaches, ancient ruins, quaint sea front town and it’s short distance to Heraklion airport.
The town itself is very relaxing during the day with plenty of places to explore, but come the evening has a lively nightlife scene with many clubs and bars.
We enjoyed walks along the coast here in particular.
Hotels in Hersonissos
- The Grand Hotel: We stayed here on our first visit. This is a 4* all inclusive hotel with a beautiful pool area, spacious rooms, great service and it continues to get great reviews. Check rates and availability.
- Mitsis Laguna Resort & Spa: lies on the beach of Anissaras in the area of Hersonissos in Crete. It is a majestic and luxurious five-star hotel with a state of the art Wellness Spa that provides premium service. Check rates and availability.
- Nana Princess: The one we wish we could have stayed at. Nana Princess is one of the top rated hotels in the area and looks stunning with its own private beach and spa! Check rates and availability.
Malia is a town of two halves.
The old town is small, picturesque and quiet.
However, the ‘new town’ or ‘strip’ is the nightlife hub for the entire island and attracts a very young crowd. On both occasions we have met other gay travellers visiting Crete on a night out in Malia.
This is the cheap fun in the sun hotspot.
Nightlife aside, we did enjoy going for morning jogs along the coast which was lovely.
Hotels in Malia
We stayed in a small AirBnb during our stay in the old town of Malia, however these hotels are highly rated and worth looking at:
- Ikaros Beach Luxury Resort and Spa: This 5* hotel is positioned on a rocky peninsula with sandy beaches, coastal flora and sweeping views overlooking the Cretan Sea. The hotel looks incredibly stylish and reviews commend the service of the staff. Check rates and availability.
- Notos Heights Hotel & Suites: Just 5 minutes from Malia Old Town and a comfortable distance away from the nightlife this hotel is set back from the coast with beautiful views. Check rates and availability.
We love Agios Nikolaos and even if you don’t stay there it is definitely worth a day trip.
Agios Nikolaos is a small coastal town centred around a deep lagoon which has lots of nice little cafes and restaurants dotted around the edge.
Hotels in Agios Nikolaos
- Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas: This hotel offers a private sandt beach and a spacious Balcony or Terrace in each Room or Suite. It is one of the highest ranked hotels on TripAdvisor. Check rates and availability.
- Minos Beach art hotel: This hotel offers whitewashed bungalows and villas with terraces and minimal interiors right next to the sea. Some bungalows even offer private pools! Check rates and availability.
Gay Bars in Crete
In terms of gay bars in Crete, there are a couple of places that are known to frame themselves as gay friendly.
The ones that keep being mentioned are La Brasserie, YOLO and Ababa Bar.
However, as we mentioned above, we have met other gay travellers on a night out in Malia on the main strip on both occasions so if you are just looking for a big night out, consider looking into the strip.
We would suggest speaking with your reps when you arrive for the latest updates on where the gay hotspots are.
Gay Beaches in Crete?
There aren’t any gay beaches in Crete like you might find in Mykonos, however there are typically some that are more popular in high season with the gay crowd.
One of the most popular is Sarantari Beach near Hersonissos. Climb down the rocks in front of Sarantari Tavern and you will find a nudist beach.
Unsurprising, like many places we have been it’s always the nudist beaches that attract the gays!
Things to do in Crete
Being the largest island in Greece there are a lot of thing to do in Crete, makes sure you tick off the following during your stay:
Hire a car for the day
After spending plenty of time on the beach, we hired a car for the day and took a trip into the mountains.
At the time we just picked a spot on the map and drove, finding places along the way to stop and eat.
The following are considered some of the most popular roads/routes:
- Kallikratis – Kapsodasos Road.
- Balos beach road.
- Hora Sfakion – Anopolis Road.
- Kolokytha road.
- Agia Sophia Cave – Gorge of Topolia road
Visit Spinalonga Island
Spinalonga is a tiny island which can be easily reached by boat.
There are lots of small travel agencies around Crete offering day trips to the island or you can just organise it yourself by jumping on one of the boats leaving Elounda every 30 minutes (or so).
Visit Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos is a small hilly village centred around a stunning lagoon lined with small cafes and restaurants.
We really enjoyed meandering the streets before stopping for food and plenty of wine!
Visit the Fishing Village Sissi
We took a long walk from Malia to Sissi and upon arrival were taken aback.
Sissi is a beautiful small fishing village and the water looks so inviting! It’s a popular stop on many of the boats trips that go along the coast daily.
We don’t need to tell you twice to get yourself down to the beach, however one that many beaches people make a special trip for is Elafonisi beach.
Elafonisi is a small islet full of white and pink sandy beaches. You can walk to the island through the shallow water, or on some days through no water at all.
If hiking is more your things, take a trip to Samaria Gorge National Park. This is something unique to Crete that you simply won’t find on the typically smaller Greek islands.
Crete has a lot to offer for both gay and straight travellers alike. We will be sure to return again one day.
In the meantime, if you visit do let us know if you come across any new gay hotspots or gay bars in Crete!
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