It might be a little quieter these days, but the Cretan spirit is still alive and well! Crete remains the vibrant, welcoming island it always was.
Travelling is at an all-time low since the effects of Covid-19, but Crete is one of the safest places in Europe according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The Greek Government is assessing and updating the situation daily for the country to return to peak operation when possible.
Whether you’re travelling to Crete for fun, business, a family emergency, or something else. Here’s how to keep safe throughout your journey. We’re all living our lives a little differently now, but that doesn’t mean it has to take away the enjoyment of travel. Take care of the simple and responsible things during your trip to Crete, and leave the rest to good weather, good food, and a good time.
Where to stay in Crete post-Covid
Choose small hotels and independent boutiques
The smaller the hotel, the fewer people will be staying in the building making public interactions lower. Staff are well equipped and rooms will be properly sanitized before your stay, but it’s always a good idea to have a quick wipe down of touchpoints when you arrive – such as door handles, light switches, tv remotes, telephones, and taps.
Book a private villa with a pool
Treat yourself to a luxurious upgrade by booking singular accommodation in a villa and enjoy the pool and facilities all to yourself, without a soul in sight. Booking a private villa is one of the best ways to enjoy a tranquil getaway and keep safe doing it. You’ll feel right at home when staying at Villa Hara Crete, in the heart of Agia Pelagia.
What you should expect to see in the hotel
- Social distancing (2 metres) within the property and its grounds
- Use of face masks and gloves by accommodation personnel
- Later check-in (after 3pm) / earlier check-out (before 11am) to allow for enhanced cleaning
- Hand sanitiser available at reception (and elsewhere around the property)
- Breakfast served in the room if requested (room service) or at single portions on the buffet. If you decide the buffet way, sanitisers will be allocated at the entrance to the restaurant. ‘Keep safe distance’ floor signs will be also placed. Waiters will clean and disinfect the surfaces, coffee makers, every 20 minutes.
- Reduced guest capacity. Only 80% of the rooms will be booked.
- Frequency of guest room cleaning is reduced with most properties offering cleaning and linen change upon request
- Immaterial objects are removed from guest rooms i.e. magazines, leaflets, minibar items.
- Contactless payments are strongly encouraged – all shops, tavernas, cafes and bars accept these
Use the hotel’s services in a slightly altered way
Some hotels and accommodations have had to place limits on some facilities. On-site gyms and indoor pools are likely unavailable. Do ask for outdoors activities at the concierge.
The spa facilities may be temporarily unavailable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a little pamper session. You can request a massage or face treatment in your room by a certified practitioner with a negative covid test.
Moreover, valet parking may be suspended so as to avoid the car use by third parties, but a map should be available at the reception desk, for finding easily the parking lot provided (for free or upon charge).
Most hotels have implemented house rules to keep guests safe and give peace of mind.
- Hotels will ask to register your contact details and phone number for tracking purposes in line with the government regulations.
- Non residents should not be allowed to enter.
- Long stay customers may ask for extra towels and linens to do their own bed. Turn down services can still be offered if requested.
- Minibar are cleaned and disinfected after every departure. It will only be used as a fridge to put your own groceries.
- Hotels have regular PPE points stocked with protective equipment.
- Hotels always use disinfectants and cleaning is performed according to suggested safety regulations.
- Room service menu is presented online rather than printed in the room.
Suggestions that will make you feel safer
There are a few helpful ways you can make a stay in Crete safer and simpler. These easy examples are not too much trouble and make yourself and everyone safer during the pandemic.
- Use your mask anywhere outside your room
- Use stairs instead of elevators
- Order breakfast in bed. See this one as the safe option as well as the luxurious. It’s not often you get to enjoy breakfast in bed at home. Go all out and dine on a delicious full Greek breakfast from the comfort of your sheets.
- Ask for fresh towels and room service to be left outside your door.
- Make your own bed – Of course, this takes away some of the little luxuries we enjoy whilst on holiday. But it limits staff interaction and means fewer touchpoints for the virus.
- Keep windows open – Thankfully the weather in Crete is always agreeable. Even in winter you’re bound to enjoy the fresh breeze of air wafting in through an open window. If you don’t want to leave them open whilst you’re inside, try to remember to open them slightly when leaving to let fresh air circulate. If your room has AC, keep the fan sign on for the sea breeze to come inside.
- Make as few touch points as possible – The less you touch, the less chance there is of spreading Covid-19. Hotel staff are working hard to keep their premises Covid-free and many non-essential items such as magazines and minibars have been removed, but every good action helps.
- Karatarakis Hotels and others have an app service to act as a contactless concierge. Ask your hotel for details.
Enjoy the Perks of Cretan Cuisine
Dine out in restaurant terraces and local tavernas
It wouldn’t be a trip to Crete without some delicious dinner. Most restaurants in Crete are making use of their outdoor terraces so you can still enjoy dining out and enjoying some exquisite Cretan cuisine. Restaurants and hospitality services are doing an excellent job to keep you safe and make sure you can still enjoy the many delights of dining out.
Restaurants and tavernas are well equipped to deal with Covid-19 precautions by now. All tables will be well spread out and sanitised between each customer, with cutlery and condiments presented individually. All that’s left to worry about is how much of that mouth-watering Cretan cuisine you can fit in your stomach.
Useful Tip: In case the government imposes the restaurants closure, remember that you can always use the hotel’s restaurant as resident, and/or the take away & delivery service. In Crete efood is wellknown
Enjoy the Cretan Way of Life
There may be a global pandemic, but the sun, the sand, and the scenery are still beautiful on the Island of Crete. We can still enjoy every bit of the island with extra safety in mind.
Enjoy the fabulous cretan beaches
The beaches in Crete are world-famous. For sun-seekers, less crowding is far from a bad thing. As the weather warms up, it’s the perfect time to appreciate the golden sands and azure waters. Even the busier beaches are quieter at the moment, and sunbeds are spaced out evenly to adhere to social distancing and ensure you have your personal spot on the sublime sand. Even in February the temperature can get 20 degrees and locals enjoy beaches closeby. We would recommend our favorite in Heraklion, the Tobruk beach.
Enjoy the great outdoors
Getting out into nature is free, and also one of the recommended activities to keep active and enjoy the world during Covid-19. Thankfully, Crete has more than enough hiking tracks and routes to keep even the most avid adventurer happy. Take a day trip out into the wilderness to enjoy the fresh air from the Psiloritis mountain range. There are plenty of sites just a stone’s throw away from Heraklion, and the views from this spectacular island where the mountains meet the sea are always worth it.
If you wish to wander around the city, Heraklion is surrounded by defensive walls built from Arabs & Venetian conquerors worth visiting..or should we say…’worth walking on or along’. Their moats have been transformed to immense garden & playgrounds (such as the Efkalyptos Park).
Guests could also work out by walking to Georgiadis park, running along the coast (5km one way) to Talos area, or to the lighthouse (2.5km long – one way)
Here are some more suggestions:
- Go for SUP – stand up paddleboarding – at a beach nearby
- Windsurfing at Karteros beach
- Hiking in Rouvas forest
- Mountaineering in Asterousia
- Drive to the traditional villages and enjoy the sights
- Enjoy a picnic.
- Discover wine tasting at the famous wineries.
Scheduling appointments to museums and attractions for post-Covid travel
Many fabulous museums and attractions are still open or partially open to the public post-Covid-19. Top sites such as the Palace of Knossos and the Heraklion Archeological Museum are an absolute must. It’s a great idea to make your visit stress free by pre-booking and making appointments to see museums and attractions and preparing for your visit accordingly. Many Archaeological sites have extended their operating hours to control crowding with summer hours (08:00-20:00) and winter hours closing at 18:00. You can also take free guided tours from the municipality’s office, and take advantage of early morning tours to attractions
Helpful Tips for Travelling in Crete Post Covid
Travelling Safely in Crete (current as of February 2021)
Residents of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, UAE and United Kingdom are also allowed to travel to Greece.
Permanent residents of other countries are allowed to travel to Greece only for essential travel.
Before your trip make sure to contact your Embassy in Greece for the latest COVID updates. Here is another official source of update.
As of November 11, 2020 all people traveling to Greece from foreign countries are required to have a negative molecular test result (PCR) for COVID-19, performed up to 72 hours before their entry to Greece. This includes air and land arrivals to Greece.
Moreover, all travellers must complete their Passenger Locator Form (PLF) until the day before entering the country, providing detailed information on their point of departure, the duration of previous stays in other countries, and the address of their stay while in Greece. One PLF should be submitted per family.
People traveling to Greece should be aware that as of November 6, 2020 Greece is in lockdown. Information about eligible ways and means of transport and movement permits within Greece is available on forma.gov.gr.
If travellers plan to have multiple stop-overs in Greece, they must declare this and report their initial destination and their travel itinerary for the next 7 days.
Once you reach your destination, there are all necessary protocols in place on public transport. Use private taxis as often as possible, or take advantage of car hire services for full peace of mind during your stay in Crete. Face masks must be worn on all transport and temperature checks may be in place for ferries. Rent a car instead of bus tours, the hotel’s concierge will recommend the best places and tours. Check local restrictions and new lockdown rules that might have come into place. The concierge desk of your hotel will be more than happy to keep you updated too. Also, the following sites are official and translated to English:
Remember, that every trip is a new experience worth living. The only change this time is to live it in a more healthy way.
Crete saves a warm and safe welcome to all!