When in Heraklion, the best lodgings are centrally located. Sample an eco-conscious smart hotel, the residence of the first Aga of Heraklion during the Ottoman era, or a luxury hotel that once played host to the city's upper crust. If you're on a slower-paced trip, head to a local winery or the nearby village of Archanes for a sedate stay under the olive trees in your own cozy villa.

Olive Green

Photo courtesy of Olive Green

The convenient city center lodgings at Olive Green are within walking distance of most of Heraklion's attractions. The hotel focuses on being both eco-friendly and tech-forward. Rooms utilize minimalist furniture, LED lighting, and nature scenes to create a comfortable atmosphere, while high-tech touches like an in-room tablet allow speedy connectivity, energy efficiency, and remote control of room operations like TV, lights, and AC.

Photos of Cretan landmarks in the rooms come with QR codes that tell travelers how to see them for themselves. Try the olive oil tasting that accompanies breakfast for a taste of some Cretan specialties. Downstairs, the 626 All Day Lounge & City Garden serves all-day international cuisine alongside cocktails under the Mediterranean sun by day and bright, colorful light displays by night.

GDM Megaron

Photo courtesy of GDM Megaron

Five-star GDM Megaron sits in the center of the business and shopping district, overlooking the old harbor. The building was constructed in 1920, played host to some of Heraklion's most elite families, and was converted into today's luxury hotel in 2003.

Most of the 58 rooms offer views of the sea and Venetian fortress along with their plush fabrics and taffeta. Head to the health club for a workout or soak in the jacuzzi and sauna. Try Cretan cuisine at any meal at the Plaza Cafe or head up to the top floor to visit 5th, the terrace restaurant that serves dinner and drinks next to the seasonal hotel pool and sea views.

Veneziano Boutique Hotel

Photo courtesy of Veneziano Boutique Hotel

The Veneziano Boutique Hotel describes its historic landmark building in the heart of the city center as one of Heraklion's "most elegant architectural buildings." The owners collaborated with local archaeologists to preserve the Venetian and Ottoman elements of the building, which is classified as a “historical monument and a work of art” by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Public Works. Its many stairs, however, may be tricky for mobility-challenged travelers.

The building has an extensive history, including serving as the home of the first Aga of Heraklion during the Ottoman era, and the intricate wood accents are a testament to this today. Enjoy the inner courtyard as you savor a Cretan breakfast or bites from the cafe and wine bar. In the basement, the spa center dispenses facial and body treatments inspired by the Ottoman era.

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Metropole Urban Hotel

Photo courtesy of Metropole Urban Hotel

In the city center, on Saint Catherine's Square, you'll find the Metropole Urban Hotel. It's just off to the side of the Agios Minas Cathedral, so even though you're in the center of the action, you'll still get plenty of peace and quiet.

The 24 modern rooms are decorated in neutral hues and a wood-based design, and you can even choose your variety of pillow to truly optimize your sleeping experience. Breakfast can be delivered directly to your room, and stop in the library to pair it with the newspaper of the day. Otherwise, enjoy your morning meal in the hotel's bright cafeteria area, then come back at the end of the day, when it's been transformed into a bar.

Scalani Hills Residences

Photo courtesy of Scalani Hills Residences

Though they aren't in the city itself, the Scalani Hills Residences are worth the trip for wine-loving travelers. The three suites are situated within the Boutari Winery, close to the village of Skalani in the Archanes wine region, with views out over the vineyards and olive trees of the Fantaxometocho Estate. Classics lovers can also find something special to enjoy here: The Palace of Knossos is less than 3 miles (5 km) away.

Each suite is named for a local grape varietal and boasts a private terrace to take in the views. Guests can enjoy a breakfast of Cretan delicacies and additional fresh snacks available throughout the day, then opt to add a wine tasting or prearranged dinner with estate wine pairings to their stay. Take a cooking class or guided tour of the winery to get into the vineyard spirit, but don't be alarmed by any rumors of ghosts — those were fiction created by a previous owner to deter pirates.

Kalimera Archanes Village

Photo courtesy of Kalimera Archanes Village

If you want to step outside of the city life, head to the village of Archanes, about 9 miles (15 km) from Heraklion. The Kalimera Archanes Village is a group of four units ideal for travelers looking for an up-close experience with the Cretan lifestyle who can spend at least two nights unwinding.

There are three villas and one additional suite, all of which come with kitchens, common areas, and access to outdoor spaces. Touches like wooden furniture and carefully chosen decorative accents will make guests feel like they're part of the village life, and the courtyard and garden are the ideal spots for a lingering lunch or end-of-day drink amid lush local flora.

Manili Boutique Suites and Villas

Photo courtesy of Manili Boutique Suites and Villas

Want an entire neighborhood to stay in? Opt for the Manili Boutique Suites and Villas, also in the village of Archanes, designed to recreate the experience of village living with style. The hotel pairs luxurious modern details with accents that echo both the earth and water of the island to support their vision of providing guests with "luxury, relaxation, and comfort."

Lodging options include double rooms, suites, and even entire villas, all decorated with soothing natural influences like rock walls and organic wooden fixtures. Take a dip in the heated outdoor pools and relax in a sunbed. Then, when hunger strikes, utilize the barbeque facilities to prepare your own meal or head to the Manili Bistro for fine Cretan dining.

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