Crete Cafes in Heraklion, Rethymnon and other wonderful atmospheric locations on the island...
Crete has a fabulous café life, aside from the bars, restaurants and tavernas, locals and visitors alike enjoy its modern, funky cafes.
Whether you enjoy frenzied, fun gatherings where everyone is crammed within one inch of each other, or enjoy tranquil relaxing afternoons playing tavli with your friends, you can find great Italian coffee of any size or shape your heart desires.
Don't forget to try a Greek kafe, this strong middle-eastern style coffee is still available everywhere, especially in the kafenions where it is standard and where no shiny Italian coffee machine would dare to set foot.
Chances are, when you are in Heraklion, that you will visit or meet friends at the Liondaria. This Venetian fountain is the hub of the town, and very popular with tourists. The little plateia around the fountain gets very full, and all the cafés around it too.
There are some lovely big trees and cooling shade; one of our favourite cafés is just a step behind all the madness, down a little laneway called Katanoléon.
Street Café is one of our favourites because of its location, service and hot chocolates. It is a modern café, with high bench tops inside. Usually you have to jostle for elbow room. There are seats outside in the laneway, which is our favourite spot. Here we can gaze out across the large plateia El Greco, and watch the world go by.
The shopping here is excellent; within the journey from the Liondaria to Street Café you will find your SIM card, exotic jewellery, haute couture, stunning home wares, a wonderful bookshop and a fine bakery. Just next door is the Greek telephone office OTE and also another of our favourite shopping streets, Handakos.
With stunning modern decorations, such quality, wonderful service and good coffee, we love Street Café, and are glad to find it open often during siesta.
Street Café, Katanoléon 2, Heraklion
Sitting up above the old Venetian harbour, from this cafe bar you can see the small brightly coloured fishing boats, their nets in large piles on the dockside, yachts from all around the world sliding noiselessly in and out of the harbour, and gaze across the waters to the rough stones of the Venetian fortress ''Castello del Molo, from the 16th Century.
Inside, the long bar and high ceilings lend an aristocratic air to the cafe. The location just around the corner from both Korai and 25th August Street is handy to other cafes and restaurants.
We love relaxing at night on the open air terrace of the Veneto Café on 9 Epimenidou Street, watching the twinkling lights of the harbour below.
In the heart of Korai, an area of pedestrian streets and narrow alleys in the centre of Heraklion, is the expansive split-level Cafe Mayo, taking up a large corner, surrounded by other cafes and bars, at times oozing crowds and an eclectic mix of rhythms, at other times quiet, slumbering through siesta or the morning hours.
Korai, where the young and old of Heraklion gather to talk, party, drink, take coffee or while away the hours playing backgammon, known as tavli.
Crete Cafes don't get much better than this. Now known by the full name of Mayo Harem Oriental Club, if you only have time for one bar in Heraklion for a quick drink and a sample of the buzz, this would be the hotspot.
Korai is the part of Heraklion that visitors often miss, so ensure you follow the pedestrian streets from Dedalou and explore the laneways. You will find organic restaurants, internet cafes, a real Italian trattoria, and bars of every shape and style.
In the evenings, the crowds spill out onto the sidewalks, the faces are mixed, students, fashionable couples, lawyers, sons and daughters of olive farmers, and the unusual sight of a Norwegian traveller in teva sandles.
Milatou and Merambelou Streets, Heraklion
In the foothills of Psiloritis in Heraklion prefecture, in the very centre of the island, is a beautiful inland lake, just up the hill from the village of Zaros.
This is Lake Votamos, with parklands and walkways all around, and of course - cafes.
To sit and relax here, beside the water, breathing in the fresh mountain air, what a relaxing pleasure!
One of our favourite spots to sit and relax, dream and take in the view is Café du Lac in Agios Nikolaos, looking out over the beautiful Lake Voulismeni, over the lakeside tavernas, across the way to more cafes and tavernas, checking out the scene.
Depending on the season, there is hustle and bustle or just peace and quiet. We love this spot at dusk, watching the birds skimming over the lake.
This cafe bar is cozy and bohemian, with internet access, music, and is part of a hotel with a restaurant too.
If you have a favourite cafe in Kriti, write to us and let us know, send pictures and why you love it, on our safe contact form.