Christmas in Crete

14/12/2022
Despite being an island, there are several snow-capped mountains in Crete, creating an authentically festive vibe. In addition, Crete offers sizable cities with a wide variety of places for eating, drinking, and endless strolling.
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There are many reasons to visit Crete at Christmas. Although it is an island, it has several mountain destinations with snow and an authentic, festive vibe. In addition, it has large urban centers with many options for dining, partying and endless strolling. Low budget proposals for food and accommodation, as well as boutique hotels with high quality services, make Megalonisos accessible to everyone. These are the ideal ingredients for an unforgettable Christmas and New Year in Crete.

Whether you want to see historical sites such as the Minoan Palace, take a culinary trip or experience the traditions of Crete for Christmas, you will reach your destination easily and comfortably with Let’s Ferry.

Crete is magical during the festive season

Crete is magical during the festive season

Chania at Christmas

From the beginning of December, the square of the Municipal Market in Chania puts on its festive face, with decorations such as the Christmas tree, an amusement park and events for children. The Venetian Port becomes the protagonist in the decoration, since thousands of lights adorn the already impressive port. On December 24, locals and visitors go to Kissamos, and visit the cave of Ai Giannis the Hermit. There, the Nativity of Christ is reenacted with real animals, fires are lit and the experience becomes unique. One of the mountain villages that receive many visitors from autumn to spring is Apokoronas. Many call it "Little Tuscany" of Crete, since the landscapes are reminiscent of the magical Italian city. The opening hours of the shops in Chania during Christmas are announced at the beginning of December.

View of the port of Chania at night

View of the port of Chania at night

Heraklion at Christmas

Heraklion means warm sweet bougatsa fyllo pie, from outdoor stalls on New Year's day to make sure the whole new year is sweet. Of course, you can also find one in pastry shops, but most people prefer the real deal, at the stalls. The heart of the island beats at Eleftherias Square in Heraklion at Christmas. Wooden houses with sweets, mulled wine, decorations, theatrical performances, Christmas tunes from the city's philharmonic and, of course, Santa Claus, await young and old alike, every year.

View from Koules Fortress in Heraklion

View from Koules Fortress in Heraklion

Christmas at the Museum

In recent years, the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion has been organizing events for children in order to combine knowledge with fun. The Historical Museum, where workshops are held for children, follows the same path. The Christmas program at the CRETAquarium Thalassokosmos, the Aquarium of Crete, has turned into a staple. During the holidays, a program is designed with events mainly about and for children. Last but not least, the Exploration Children's Museum also organizes Christmas activities.

Rethymnon at Christmas

The city's philharmonic makes sure to pass through the center of Rethymnon and put the residents in a festive mood through melodies. At the same time, Paichnidochora (Toyland) is the absolutely festive destination in Rethymnon for children. In Mikrasiaton square, every day for about a week, there are theatrical and musical events, carols are heard, and delicacies and drinks are offered. If you want to experience an even more traditional Christmas, choose one of the most beautiful mountain villages on the island, Anogeia, which is usually snowy during this time of year. The locals will treat you to raki and serve you apaki, graviera cheese, sausages and introduce you to the art of Anogeian oftu (a delicious lamb recipe). You can stroll through the area's museums, the most famous of which is dedicated to musician Nikos Xylouris, while the Monument to the Fallen Anogeians is particularly emblematic.

Colourful Christmas decoration at Rethymnon

Colourful Christmas decoration at Rethymnon

Saint Nicholas at Christmas

The prefecture of Lasithi is the ideal part of Crete where you will find traditions and events. Every year on December 6, the day when the patron saint of the city is celebrated, the impressive Christmas tree is lit up. In the days before Christmas, the neighborhoods smell of christopsomo, the traditional bread of the holiday season. Taverns with fireplaces and wood-fired ovens await you for special delicacies such as hochlioi snails, kakavia, scrambled eggs and much more! On the Lasithi Plateau, you will find tiny village cafes for coffee and raki.

The Old Venetian Port of Chania during Christmas season

The Old Venetian Port of Chania during Christmas season

Carols in Crete

On the largest island of Greece, you will not hear the typical Christmas carols, since here they are sung in the Cretan dialect. The custom during the past wanted children and adults to form groups and sing carols to the accompaniment of the Cretan lyra. The reward was diples sweets, melomakarona traditional sweets, pies and some raki for the adults. Today, most of them give money, but the lyra still accompanies the carols.

Accommodation in Crete

At Christmas in Crete, many hotels are open, welcoming visitors from Greece and abroad. You will also find many holiday packages with festive menus or private guided tours of cultural sites. Other hotels provide car rental services in case you arrive by plane or ferry, without your own vehicle. Book the accommodation that suits you as early as possible, in order to have more options.

The Chania lighthouse, an all-time classic monument

The Chania lighthouse, an all-time classic monument

Organize your dream Christmas vacation in Crete to discover the traditions, but also to celebrate the holidays in the way you wish. The island is a destination that you can visit all year round and have an unforgettable time, with all the comforts of a big city and the natural beauty of the villages. Book ferry tickets and your cabin at Let’s Ferry for a comfortable trip to Crete and may the new season be the best!