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Living - Winter in Crete
Winter in Crete
October / November see the last of the direct flights going back to the UK & Europe and from November to March
Crete returns to its old rhythms of life.
Some hotels in the towns stay open during the winter months, but there is little winter tourism and beach resorts
close down. There are no direct flights to the island from Europe between November and March but there are
regular domestic flights to and from Athens.
The towns and villages are still very much alive and busy in the winter months as the locals go about their daily
business. On the roads there are numerous pick-up trucks loaded with olives, firewood or livestock as well as the
usual traffic, but with hardly a hire-car in sight.
Nightlife changes from the summer scene of beach bars and outdoor tavernas to trendy indoor town cafes and
restaurants, and cozy village cafeneons and tavernas with wood-burning stoves or open fireplaces.
Cretans turn to their fields and gather their olive and orange harvests. Nearly every Cretan family owns at least
one olive grove on the island. Weekends are often spent away from the towns as people head for their 'horio'
(village) to gather their olives, or to visit relatives.
The weather is changeable. November and December tend to be reasonably mild, with January and February
generally the coldest months. Crete has some very heavy rainfall and spectacular storms during the winter months,
but invariably the sun always comes out at some point and there are glorious warm sunny days too. Temperatures
vary; at sea level it can be as low as 2°C or as high as 25°C plus.
There are regular snowfalls in the mountain villages and the White Mountains are usually snow-covered from
November to April. If you are in Crete in winter a trip up to the snow is a must.
Winter & Spring Festivals in Crete
A number of festivals take place during the winter season in Crete. Click on the links for more information.
Christmas and New Year festivities The 12 days of Christmas are celebrated between 25th December and 6th
Epiphany on the 6th January is the Holy Blessing of the Waters - waterside ceremonies.
The Carnival period runs for three weeks from 17th February 2019 - a party atmosphere, carnival
parades and masked balls.
Clean Monday 11th March 2019– marked by Lenten picnics and kite flying
March 25th is Greek Independence Day as well as a major religious holiday - marked by school and military
parades throughout Greece
Greek Easter - Sunday 28th April 2019. Greek Easter is celebrated with many local customs and traditions.
Getting to and from Crete In Winter
FLIGHTS TO CRETE IN WINTER
For the winter months (November to March) it is possible to fly to Crete via Athens or Thessaloniki, with daily flights
throughout the year to and from Athens operated by: Aegean/Olympic Airlines to both Heraklion and Chania.
(Note Ryanair flights between Athens and Chania / Thessaloniki and Chania were cut for the winter 2017/2018
period and will resume at the end of March 2018).
All offer cheaper fares if you book in advance, and online, with their etickets. Aegean also offer cheap add-on
fares if you book their through flights from/to another country, e.g. London/Athens/Chania.
Look out for special winter offers on off-peak winter dates - usually in November and January/February/March -
when prices start from around 20 Euros one way, including all taxes, between Crete and Athens.
FERRY TO CRETE IN WINTER
Ferry services run daily to and from Piraeus to Chania and Heraklion throughout the year.
ANEK lines run overnight services to and from Piraeus/Heraklion and Piraeus/Chania daily (approx 9 hour sailings).
Blue Star / Superfast Ferries run services to and from Piraeus/Heraklion daily.
Minoan Lines run an overnight service to and from Piraeus/Heraklion daily
(approx 9 hour sailing)
Online booking is available via the above links.
All have large modern ships with comfortable lounges, bars and restaurants.
At peak times - weekends and holidays throughout the winter (e.g. Christmas, New Year, Apokries, Easter) as well
as during the summer, the ferries can be very crowded and advance booking is essential around peak dates.
Ferry prices start at around 30 Euros per person one way for deck class.
Hotels and accommodation on Crete in Winter
Many hotels and apartments are open throughout the winter season in Crete, particularly in the main towns. Prices
are reasonable, with special offers during this off-peak season.
Search for winter accommodation; hotels and apartments in: