What is the best beach town to stay in Crete?

With my wife and 9-year-old son we're looking for a picturesque beach town in Crete with a nice hotel with a pool and enough interest for a 12-day stay. Arriving late so prefer close to the airport. C. Barnes, Box Hill, VIC

The medieval town of Chania is Crete's beauty queen, with architecture reminiscent of the Venetian and Ottoman empires that once ruled it.

Nearby Balos is the best of the island's beaches.

Agios Nikolaos is chic and pretty, with a reputation for its feisty nightlife.

Neither town is particularly close to the airport at Heraklion but they're both worth the drive, even if it means a late arrival.

September is still high season and hotel rates are high, particularly in the coastal hot spots.

A ritzy resort hotel with a pool, such as the St. Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas in Agios Nikolaos, stnicolasbay.gr/, will cost more than $1000 a night, and that is a room with a limited sea view. 

Forget the pool and you can pay far less, such as the charming Casa Delfino in Chania, casadelfino.com/,  where a one-bedroom apartment will cost about $250 a night.

You might consider Airbnb, airbnb.com.au/,  where spacious beachside self-contained apartments and even villas with great reviews start about $100 a night.

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