Crete in November: 7 best things to do (2023 guide)

Chania in Crete in November

Are you thinking about visiting Crete in November?

I’ve got all the details about why this is actually a great time to visit Crete and how it’s different from other months throughout the year! 

Crete’s weather remains pleasant in November, and it’s one of the warmest places in Europe during the fall/winter, so you’ll still have plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy during November in Crete.

Throughout this article, I’ll talk about the best things to do in Crete in November, and why it’s absolutely worth visiting in this month!

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Weather in Crete in November

In November, the weather in Crete transitions from a warm and dry climate to a milder and slightly more humid climate, which continues through the winter season. 

The drop in temperature usually comes at the end of the month, so it will be relatively warm during a November holiday. 

But you should expect more cloudy days, higher humidity, and more rain. 

Although November does mark the beginning of the rainy season, with an average of 6-8 days of rain, in my experience, these showers were often brief (rarely lasting more than an hour), so there’s still plenty of time to go hiking, relax on the beach, or wander around the villages of Crete. 

Average Temperatures in November

The average high temperature typically hovers at 18-21°C (64-69°F), which is very comfortable.

We even wore a T-shirt most days. 

However, you should pack a couple of long-sleeved shirts or a jacket because, after sunset, the temperature can drop to around 14°C (57°F).

Check out this table with expected weather:

Temperature17°C (63°F)
High Temperature21°C (70°F)
Low Temperature13°C (55°F)
Rainfall69 mm
Rainfall Days8 days
Sea Temperature20°C (68°F)

Best Things to Do in Crete in November

As a traveler in Crete, you can typically do almost everything that’s available in the summer, but there are a few exceptions.

For example, some villages (like Loutro) completely shut down, and some tour operators, especially those who focus on boat or snorkeling trips, go on holiday for a few months.

So, it can be hard to find tour companies still accepting bookings!

Here are the best things to do in Crete in November:

1. Lounge on Empty Beaches

Empty beaches with blue water and golden sand

With a few warm days left in the year, you can still enjoy lounging on the beach in Crete during November, and you can expect them to be significantly less crowded than usual!

We recommend staying near the beaches in the Chania Region because the facilities here stay open into November. 

Elafonissi Beach, Falassarna, and Balos Beach are the most popular beaches near Chania

But if you don’t want to spend the whole day driving to the beach, there are some lovely beaches much closer to the town, such as Stavros Beach, Katholiko Bay, Seitan Limania, Marathi Beach – or you can visit Nea Chora Beach right in Chania!

Once you leave Chania and head south, even the most famous beaches are literally ghost towns, including Preveli Beach and Plakias Beach.

This is ideal if you just want peace and quiet but don’t expect sunbeds for rent or local vendors. 

Unfortunately, the water in Crete is pretty chilly – 68ºF (21ºC) – ok for a quick dip but too cold to enjoy snorkelling or lots of time in the ocean!

2. Spend a Day or Two in Chania

Chania in Crete in November

Chania is the best city to use as a base in November.

The city has loads of history, culture, shopping, and an incredible food scene. 

While the summer months bring inflated prices and heavy crowds, everything slows down in November, so you can find much cheaper accommodation, and all of the shops offer deals to sell their remaining inventory. 

The best part is the enchanting Old Town, where you can wander through narrow, stone-walled streets, explore the Old Venetian Harbour, and even visit the Chania Lighthouse!

It’s also a wonderful city for indulging in authentic Cretan cuisine.

Taste souvlaki (gyros) at Oasis, delicious coffee at MonoGram, and some traditional Moussaka at Enetikon!

Despite being off-season in the Greek Islands, Chania has enough of a local population to remain lively in November!

3. Take a Road trip through Crete

Without a doubt, the best way to explore Crete is with a rental car.

You can rent a car in Chania or Heraklion (wherever you fly into Crete) and have complete freedom to cruise the island at your own pace.

Most of the time, you can rent a car for less than $25 per day and visit multiple villages/cities/beaches per day.

So, it’s not just more exciting, but it’s cheaper than taking taxis everywhere or booking a full-day tour.

Crete is a huge place, so you’ll need a few days to see a significant portion of the island. We recommend:

  • three days in the Chania region
  • two days in the Rethymno region
  • one day in the Heraklion region
  • two days in the Lassithi Region

4. Learn about Ancient Civilizations at the Palace of Knossos

Palace of Knossos

The Palace of Knossos offers a compelling glimpse into the rich history of Europe with remnants of the continents’ oldest known civilization.

The archaeological site isn’t huge (roughly 5 acres), but it dates back nearly 4,500 years to the Minoan civilization and is a must-visit in Crete.

Whether you choose to visit on your own or book a guided tour of Knossos, you’ll get to see intricate frescoes, sprawling courtyards, and ancient masterpieces like the Grand Staircase, the Royal Road, and the Throne Room. 

Many visitors pair the Palace of Knossos with the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, which holds thousands of Minoan objects found at the site.

Most of the time, I would encourage people to get here early and bring plenty of water, but with the mild temperatures and low crowds in November, it will be pleasant whenever you choose to visit!

5. Experience the Olive Harvest

November in Crete is an excellent time to observe and even participate in the olive harvest, a traditional activity that plays a substantial role in local culture and Cretan families.

The Cretan landscape has seemingly endless olive groves, which produce over 350,000 tons of olive oil each year (third-most in the world).

The harvesting season starts towards the end of October and continues into December.

In many families, harvesting olives together is a cherished tradition passed down through generations, so if you visit during November and mingle with locals, you might get the opportunity to join a day of picking olives and learn about the process of creating what locals call ‘liquid gold.’

Taking part in the olive harvest not only offers insight into Cretan culinary heritage but also presents a unique opportunity to engage with the vibrant local community and their deep-rooted love for their land.

If you don’t get the opportunity to take part in harvesting the olives, you can book a guided tour of Terra Creta to see the manufacturing process and from farm to bottle.

6. Day Trip to Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos is a beach-side town in the eastern part of Crete that is home to some of the most insta-worthy spots on the island.

The main attraction here is Lake Voulismeni, which lies at the center of town, and cafes, restaurants, bars, and boutique shops surround it.

The lake has been around since Ancient Greece and is said to be ‘bottomless’ – although that’s obviously not true!

Agios Nikolaos is a charming place to spend the afternoon having lunch or coffee, and there are some awesome beaches nearby, like Voulisima Beach and Plaka Beach. 

You can even book a boat trip to Spinolonga Island from town!

7. Go Hiking (Without the Heat!)

Hiking in Crete

Another of the best parts of visiting Crete in November is hiking in mild temperatures.

The hikes in Crete along the rugged coastline, deep gorges, and interior mountains are some of the most coveted in Greece.

In November, you can’t hike in the Samaria River Gorge (there’s a high risk of flash floods), but you won’t get bored with numerous trails throughout the White Mountains, Psiloritis in the Nida Plateau, and the south coast of Crete near Loutro and Chora Sfakion.

There are some incredibly scenic, and you won’t have to bear the intense heat of summer! 

Crete in November Isn’t for You If…

You want to do a lot of swimming and snorkeling: While Crete stays relatively warm in November, the sea temperatures drop to about 19°C (67°F). This makes swimming and snorkeling less enjoyable. The ocean conditions are also rougher, so snorkeling is often impossible.

You like beach clubs and nightlife: November in Crete is the off-peak season, and many beach clubs and tourist bars close down for the winter. The vibrant nightlife and lively beach scene that characterizes the summer months is almost nonexistent.  

You want to hike the Samaria River Gorge: The Samaria River Gorge, easily the most popular hike in Crete, is closed in November due to the risk of flash floods. There are plenty of alternative hiking trails and gorges in Crete, but if your heart is set on this specific one, you should plan your visit for a different time of the year.

Crete In November: FAQs

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about Crete in November!

Should I go to Crete in November?

Yes, you should definitely consider going to Crete in November! There are fewer tourists, which allows for a more relaxed exploration of the island, and the mild weather is great for hiking around the island!

Is November a good time to visit Crete?

November is a great time to visit Crete. The weather is pleasant, there are fewer crowds, and you can be around for local cultural activities like the olive harvest. Plus, exploring the island’s historical sites and scenic hikes is more comfortable in the fall. 

Is Crete still warm in November?

Yes, Crete remains relatively warm in November but drops toward the end of the month. Daily highs average a very comfortable 20°C (68°F). 

Final Thoughts: Visiting Crete in November

All in all, if you want a relaxed vacation with tons of beaches and historical attractions nearby, Crete is a beautiful island to visit in November! 

You’ll get comfortable temperatures, mild weather, and the opportunity to visit Crete’s most popular attractions without navigating hoards of tourists.

So if you’re looking for a more relaxed and authentic experience of Crete, visiting in November is a great option!

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