Accommodation in Crete: Where we stayed in Heraklion, Paleochora, and Chania

What to expect of accommodation in Crete as a digital nomad? We stayed on the Greek island of Crete from the 25th of October till the 24th of November, 2023. These are the places we booked to both work online from, pet a lot of cats, and have fun day trips.

Heraklion / Iraklio

From the airport in Heraklion, we took the bus to the city and walked the last bit through the old town. We found the apartment and did a self-checkin. There was a small elevator that brought us to our floor.

The apartment itself was liveable for the short amount of time we stayed in Heraklion. The entryway opened up into the kitchen area, which was also our working spot. We’d already seen from the pictures that the kitchen table was a little weird and that the chairs looked too small for the height of the table. It was uncomfortable, but we fixed it by both sitting on thick pillows while working. The kitchen itself was basic but had most things we needed. Some things like a little olive oil and salt were provided. The stove was part of the oven, which was a new system to us. It worked.

The bathroom was in the middle of the apartment and was quite small. There were some special instructions to get hot water either from solar or electric heating, but the solar-heated water was good enough. We never had hot water issues. This is also where we learned that in Crete, you don’t flush the toilet paper. This has been a while for us and it’s the first time we had to do it in Europe that we are aware of. Either way, my map is still (relatively) correct; Greece is orange on the flush-it-or-bin-it map.

bathroom Heraklion apartment Airbnb

Moving on to the bedroom, this was rather spacious. To our surprise, we had to use the AC on the first night because we just came from frosty but lovely Estonia. The bed was big and comfortable. This is also where the TV was at. We used our Chromecast to watch the 2022 season of Borgen. There was a large wardrobe to stuff away our backpacks.

The balcony connected to the bedroom was really lovely despite looking a little neglected. We had our morning coffee and evening wine, olives, and cheese there. It was great for catspotting the neighborhood cats down below. Sometimes pigeons would rest there, so I’d expect an accumulation of birdshit if we’d stayed any longer. Yes, the street is noisy till quite late and you can hear it from the bedroom.

The apartment does not have a washing machine or a dishwasher. There are self-service laundries nearby. The WiFi worked well. But it was a little small to stay for an extended period. Working from the kitchen, there’s no natural light, so it felt a bit like a digital nomad cave there at times. It’s a good reason to go out for lunch at one of the many great restaurants in walking distance. Our favorites were Umami (vegetarian gyros) and Hacienda (eggs benedict/avocado toast). Heraklion also wasn’t exactly our favorite city in Crete, so the final verdict is that we would neither stay in this apartment nor this city again.

Chania I

Arriving in Chania by bus from Heraklion felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders. The city is a lot more walkable than Heraklion, although it still has its dumb urban planning moments. At least there’s not a highway on the coast that surrounds the old town. In fact, Chania Old Town is lovely and walkable and has lots of friendlier street cats and lovely restaurants and cafés.

We walked from the bus station to our apartment south of the old town. Again, it was self-checkin. The apartment was on the first floor, so we never used the elevator. The entryway is right next to the bathroom, which managed to fit a sink, toilet, and shower in quite a narrow space. The big mirror was angled downward and behind it was blurry glass that let in light from the hallway. People rarely walked there, but it still felt a bit weird sometimes.

We quite liked the well-equipped kitchen, since it allowed me to try and make vegetarian avgolemono soup that was on my to-cook list for a long time. There was one of those capsule coffee machines, of which a few were provided. We had a great time cooking in this kitchen after buying a lot of affordable fruit and veg at the Farmer’s Market (Laiki Agora) on Giampoudaki Street.

The living room is separated from both the kitchen and the bedroom with these cool glass dividers. The dinner table was far away from the window, so there was barely any natural light reaching my working spot. I worked on one half of the table and we used the other to eat. The couch and TV were not aligned and there was a little working desk that Jonas chose plus a rather random little side table. We ended up moving a lot of furniture around to make the place work for us (no pictures of that, it’s not very Feng Shui). The TV was on this really long piece of furniture that I loved to store stuff on.

The bedroom was very nice and spacious and had lots of natural light in the morning because of the balcony. The balcony itself was rather skinny and not really useable to sit and drink a glass of wine in the evening. Facing the (one-way) street, it was sometimes a bit loud. Jonas moved his tiny desk into the bedroom to the right of the mirror to make his working spot. There was a rack to hang clothes from. Along with another such improvised wardrobe in the living room and a bunch of drawers, we managed to store away our stuff pretty well.

The area was quite nice, being outside of the old town but still within walking distance of it. Around the corner was our favorite bougatsa place named Chania, a falafel place called Falavela, and Funky’s Pizza. In the evening, we would often go feed the cats during cat hour and then walk to our favorite halloumi place in the old town called Delish. Near the bus station is Pasta Al Mano with its pricey but excellent porcini pasta.

We liked the apartment, but I didn’t want to stay there again for our return to Chania. Nothing wrong with it, just exploring alternative options. Also, it didn’t have a washing machine. We went to a self-service laundry called Citywash (€3.50 for use of the machine plus detergent) and brought it home to hang dry.

Paleochora ⭐

We took the bus from Chania to Paleochora, where we walked to the maisonette we had booked for two nights initially. The idea was to go to Gavdos island, so we kept extending at this place every couple of days because the ferry people really didn’t have their shit together.

The host’s father met us and gave us a tour. It’s a building split in two halves and he and his wife live in the other. It’s separated, except that it’s possible to go from one property to the next via the upstairs balcony. But they understood privacy, so don’t let this put you off this amazing place.

Let’s start with the ground floor terrace. It’s behind a rolling fence and there’s enough space to park your rental car and absolutely ruin the vibe. We didn’t have a rental car or even a scooter, so it was just one giant open space to hang out with the cats. There are many cats in Paleochora, which are even friendlier than in Chania.

There was a big outdoor table we used for every meal we ate at home. Behind it is also an outdoor shower for coming home from the beach. The host’s father gave us two beach chairs we used for sitting at the beach but also for chilling with a cat on our lap in the evenings. Our best memories of Paleochora were made here.

The front door gives access to the living room couch and TV area. The TV was a bit small and up high, but it was manageable with our Chromecast. The indoor dinner table was our working table. We worked a lot here and could always see cats passing through our terrace asking for pets or food. The kitchen was well-equipped, but we made a point of eating out as much as possible. There’s also the downstairs bathroom here, which has a toilet, sink, and the main (warm) shower. We were asked to always wash off in the outdoor shower first to not clog up the pipes with sand.

Up the winding stairs is the bedroom. It was a nice bed and there was plenty of natural light. All windows and doors in Paleochora had mosquito netting, which we were thankful for. The upstairs bathroom had another toilet, a sink we used for brushing teeth, and to our surprise, a washing machine! Yay! The upstairs balcony was very nice and had a table and a drying rack with enough clothespins (it’s a windy town). However, we never sat here to watch the sunset, because downstairs we could have up to two cats on our laps.

What makes this accommodation in Crete get a gold star is that the host’s parents were so nice. The mother would sometimes cook food for us, which her husband brought over. She made dakos (twice!), stuffed peppers and tomatoes, and even brought over a whole cake. The last two were explicitly vegan, which we also thought was really cool.

In Paleochora, we swam at both beaches and hiked the E4 in two opposite directions (Elafonisi and Sougia). We visited a lot of restaurants, but our favorites were Roxani all day bar for the crêpes, the best Greek salad I’ve ever had, and the adorable friendly cats, Vakakis Family Bakery for the koulouri (bread rings with sesame or cheese), and Pizzeria Everest Food in the evenings when the terrace opened for pizza and Greek salad. We also often stuffed our food boxes with leftovers to eat on a hike or for a homemade meze. Also an honorable mention to Inochoos, where we ate twice, but were confined to live in appetizer land as vegetarians.

Chania II

Upon our return to Chania by bus, we had a lot of guidance from our new host Anna to get to Spring Apartments. This is more like a serviced apartment or a condo than an Airbnb. It was self-checkin once again. She also sent us a video guide on WhatsApp to learn how to operate the heating/AC.

We took the elevator up to our floor. The entryway shows access to all rooms. There’s a control panel in the middle for the temperature. There were two sets of keys, which is nice. To have the heating/AC and stove working, one key needs to be in this central panel thingamajig. When you pull it out, it doesn’t cut all electricity and light, just the energy wasters. The bathroom is between the two bedrooms. There’s mosquito netting on the window, so we could keep it open at all times for fresh air. There’s a sink, toilet, warm shower, and plenty of towels.

The master bedroom was nice and spacious. It has a large wardrobe with extra blankets, a safe, and those annoying hotel hangers that can’t hang elsewhere. This bedroom has direct access to a spacious balcony with a table, chairs, and morning sun. We drank our morning coffees here with great joy. There’s also a clothesline with a handful of clothespins. It was not enough hanging space. The second bedroom has two single beds, a closet, and another window covered in mosquito netting. Both bedrooms were really nice.

The living room, working area, and kitchen were quite big. There’s this long table that reminded us of the apartment in Heraklion, but this had a better execution. We could both work from this table and use one end for eating without having to move our tech. We were both very productive from here. This is by far the best digital nomad accommodation in Crete we stayed in.

This was right next to the kitchen, which has a dishwasher (two tablets provided), washing machine (two laundry pods provided), and everything we needed for basic meze at home. We were only staying for four days, so no need to do advanced cooking. The cooking equipment provided looks good enough for basic meals, although I haven’t put this to the test. Everything in the kitchen is very sleek, so opening the fridge door was a pain in the ass when my hands were not completely dry and grippy.

The couch area was very good. There’s a large TV on a shelf. We connected our Chromecast, but the WiFi is sometimes a bit unstable. It’s good enough for us to work, but not good enough for Netflix to keep running. So we ended up plugging in Jonas’ computer with an HDMI cable and watching Occupied like that. The living room has access to yet another balcony, which is a truly large one. But that one is facing a busy street, so we didn’t use it for eating or sitting. There would be sun here in the afternoon.

The host texted me halfway through our stay if we wanted cleaning. Though we like that it’s offered, we rejected it since we were only here for four days and we prefer not to have to move our stuff around. Also, we keep things clean.

Restaurant-wise, we had the same availability as the first time in Chania (see Chania I), except we were located about 200 meters further away from everything. We returned to all our favorite restaurants a bunch of times before leaving Crete. Another nice thing about Spring Apartments is that it’s easy to find for food delivery drivers with the glowing sign facing the street.

Unlock the Prices of Accommodation in Crete

To unlock the prices of the accommodations mentioned above, please sign up for my newsletter with your email address:

Want to know how I handle your information? Read more in my Privacy Policy (it's boring).

Heraklion: €144 total for three nights on Airbnb. That’s €48 per night. Find it here on Airbnb

Chania I: €490 total for ten nights on Airbnb. That’s €49 per night. Find it here on Airbnb

⭐ Paleochora: €650 total for thirteen nights on Booking. That’s €50 per night. We booked it on Booking, but it’s also on Airbnb where the price is slightly higher. Since it can’t be booked on Booking currently, here’s the Airbnb link

Chania II: €212 total for four nights on Airbnb. That’s €53 per night. The only reason why I took the initial ⭐ away from this place is that we found out it’s rented at a whopping €248 per night in summer. November is the only month when it’s this affordable, so I can’t recommend you rent this place at any other time than the lowest of low season. All the other apartments we stayed at increase the prices in the high season only within reason, i.e. less than double. Find it here on Airbnb

That’s a total of 30 nights in Crete, which comes down to an average of  (you guessed it) €50 per night.

Share or save for later? Awesome!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *