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Top Areas in Greece for Belgians: Crete (Feat. Loic & Stephanie)

There is a reason why Crete is the most popular destination for Belgian visitors traveling to Greece, and also for the Belgian who buy a home in Greece. In this article, we break down why Crete is the ideal place to buy a second home, with the help of our friends Loic and Stephanie. (aka @cretetravelguide)

Loic and Stephanie

About Loic and Stephanie

Meet Loic and Stephanie, passionate travelers who fell head over heels for the beauty of Crete a few years ago. Having explored the island multiple times, they’ve cultivated a deep love for its rich culture, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality.

 

Their mission with @cretetravelguide is to share their firsthand experiences and insights to assist you in planning an unforgettable trip to Crete. Whether you’re seeking hidden gems, practical tips, or personalized recommendations, they’ve got you covered!

Photo credit @loic.travels
Photo credit @loic.travels

Why Crete?

Great Weather

Crete has hot summers and mild winters. The hottest month is July, when the temperate is 32 C in the day and 22 C at night. July is also the driest month, with 31 sunny days on average. Unlike Athens and some areas of mainland Greece, Crete does not have temperature extremes that are suffocating in the height of the summer. The coldest month is January, with a high of 14 C and a low of 7 C.


Best Rentability

Crete has a long summer season, so it’s possible to rent out your home in Crete for up to 9 months. There is high demand for vacation stays in Crete, so your home will likely always be occupied. 

The average rental price in Rethymnon in northern Crete is 9.20 Euros per square meter, which is not far from the average rental price in central Athens (10 Euros per square meter). So, investing in Cretan real estate has some of the best returns in Greece.

Photo credit @my_travelpassport
Photo credit @my_travelpassport

Rich Cultural Heritage

The history of Crete goes back thousands of years and the island has treasures from the Minoan civilization. Among archaeological sites, the Palace of Knossos is the most popular to visit. The sites of Malia and Phaistos are also worth visiting. Phaistos is known for its palace from the second millennium BCE, and Malia is known for its stonework and frescoes. 

Biggest Island in Greece

Because Crete is the largest island in Greece, it has a wide variety of landscapes that are ideal for Belgian travelers. On the coast of Crete, you will find golden sand beaches. In the mountains, you will find traditional villages and scenic views. The island of Crete also has ancient ruins, gorges with steep cliffs, and a network of caves

Happy family on vacation in Greece

Most Southern Point in Europe

The island of Crete is father south than any other island in Europe, including islands of Italy and Spain. This is one reason why Crete has some of the warmest weather and the most impressive terrain. 


Accessibility

There are 3 airports to fly into in Crete: Heraklion Airport (HER), Chania Airport (CHQ), and Sitia Airport (JSH). Heraklion Airport is the largest, and it offers direct flights from Belgium and from the Netherlands.

Balos Lagoon
Balos Lagoon

Access to the Sea

Crete has more beaches than any other island in Greece. The coastline stretches for 1046 kilometers and has many sandy, romantic beaches. Uniquely, Crete has the biggest palm forest in Europe – Vai on the east coast of Crete. The beaches of Balos, Elafonissi, and Falasarna are some of the most popular beaches and are found on the west coast of the island.

 

Low-Cost of Living

Crete has a low cost of living, much like the rest of Greece. It’s possible to live on a small fixed budget of 800 euros a month, if you are savvy like the locals. 2,000 euros per month would give you a comfortable life. Eating out is affordable. You can have a lunch of tzatziki, village salad, and pork souvlaki for 2, with wine included, for 20 euros.

Photo credit @loic.travels
Photo credit @loic.travels

Winter Destination

Crete is a beautiful place to visit during the wintertime. The beaches are almost empty but in many areas you can still swim. Even in December, the sea temperature averages about 16 degrees Celcius. Another popular activity during the winter in Crete is skiing. You can also visit Crete’s historical sites without lines in the winter. During the Christmas holidays, the streets are lit up and decorated.

 

Delicious Cretan Food

US News and World Report ranked the Mediterranean Diet as the Best Diet Overall for the sixth year in a row. They classify Crete as “one of the best expressions of the Mediterranean diet.” Among the common foods in Crete are olives, grains, fish, cheese, and red wine, which are often produced locally.

 

Uniquely, Crete is known for its wild greens, with over 100 different types used in local pies and dishes. The result is a diet high in Omega-3 fats, vitamins, and fibers.

Rating Crete for Belgians

Ranking Methodology

How did we decide what factors are most important for Belgian home buyers? To solve this challenge, we first asked our sales and legal team, who offer consultation and legal handling to dozens of Belgian clients (both those who do and don’t purchase a property). 

 

We then combined this data with a small survey of Belgian clients who ultimately purchased a home to find out their highest priorities.

Sea View

Crete has one of the longest coastlines of any area in Greece, at about 1000 kilometers. Some parts of Crete are undeveloped and there are many opportunities for beachfront homes. Some popular areas to get a sea view in Crete are Ierapetra, Agios Nikolaos, and Koutouloufari.

Rating: 10 out of 10

 

Direct Flights

From Belgium, you can fly directly to Heraklion from Brussels and from Antwerp in about 3.5 hours. Flights from Antwerp are generally more expensive for this route. If you go north to the Netherlands, you can also fly directly to Heraklion in about 3.5 hours. 

Rating: 10 out of 10

Rethymno, Crete

Property Prices

Prices in Crete highly depend on the area where you buy a home. According to national averages from Spitogatos, prices range from about 1525 Euros per square meter to 2190 Euros per square meter in the three major towns. Prices in the south of Crete will likely be less expensive.

 

Especially when purchasing an off-plan beachfront home in the Crete, it is possible to find 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom villas near the water for under 250,000 Euros. Click here to see a few examples in Crete.

 

Chania: 2190 Euro/sqm

Rethymno: 1813 Euro/sqm

Heraklion: 1525 Euro/sqm

 

Rating: 9 out of 10

Internet Speed 

Internet Speeds are available in Crete via Speedtest by Ookla. Out of the towns listed in Crete, Chania’s speed is the fastest, at 50 MBPS. Compared to other areas of Greece, this is slightly above average.

Rating: 9 out of 10

 

English Speakers and Expatriate Community

If you choose one of Crete’s most popular towns, like Hersonissos or Chania, you will surely find English speakers or even French and Dutch speakers. This area of Greece is growing a lot in popularity, so you can expect to see many visitors. If you choose to buy a home in the more remote southern areas of Crete, the community of English speakers will likely be smaller.

Rating: 9 out of 10

 

Crete Overall Rating: 9.8/10

Bed and Breakfast in Koutouloufari

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