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Greece in May

We are going to Greece for two weeks in May. The first week will be a tour - Veria, Thessoloniki, Philippi, Kavala, Meteora, and Athens. The second week, we'd like to get a apartment/little house on an island and cook for ourselves - 3 adults - relax, sight-see and hang out at the beach.
My questions - Is one day in Athens with a tour enough? We are looking at staying on Crete in Old Town Chania - so we'd be close to sights, grocery stores, and the beach. It is cheaper in the countryside, but then we'd have to rent a car for the whole week. Is that worth it? Are the beaches that much better outside of the city? Will it be warm enough in May to get wet? Maybe there's another island that is better. Any and all suggestions are very welcome. Thank you.

Posted by
1172 posts

Teal

Whether a day in Athens is enough is obviously a matter of personal opinion and a question of how much you like sites and museums. I would certainly allow a couple: you can then be more leisurely in touring the sites and go to some of the less visited. The Ceramikos, for example, is great and quiet close to the Acropolis.

Because Crete is the most southern of the Greek islands it is also the warmest, and some people swim all year round. it will certainly be warm enough to swim in May, but the water will still be cool. For me it isn't hot enough to want to spend all day on the beach at that time of year, but again tastes vary!

Chania is a nice little town. There is a very small town beach at the east end of town and a larger sandy beach about 15 minutes walk to the west. Alternatively there is a regular bus along the coast to Rethymnon (1 hour), also worth a visit, and then Heraklion (2 hours). The coast between Chania and Rethymnon is almost all sandy beach and you can stop at, for example, Georgiopolis which is about half an hour from Chania.

I'm confused by you saying that you will be close to sites in Chania. I would have thought the main site is Knossos, and that is just outside of Heraklion.

Alan

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks, Alan. I am probably confused on what there is to do in Chania.

Posted by
2794 posts

Find the TripAdvisor forum threads for Chania. Enter "What to do in Chania" in the search box just above the list of threads. There are hundreds and hundreds of postings.

Posted by
1005 posts

I think Crete will be the warmest island. I was swimming there at the end of April one year (and got horrible sunburn). I'd consider renting a car at least part of the time you are in Chania. There are some great ruins on the island and the Samaria Gorge hike is spectacular.

Lots of travelers hate Athens, but I found the city center quite appealing. With only one day, you will probably have to skip the National Archeological Museum, which north of the Plaka. That's a pity since it has the greatest collection of Classical Greek art on Earth. If you can squeeze in one more day in Athens, I'd do it.

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you, Alan, T. and Lee for the good advice. We will have a little more time in Athens. We are trying to decide where to spend a week - Andros, Chania, or Ermioni. We definitely want to snorkel and maybe scuba. We like to wander around the town/countryside in the day, but we like to be home for a quiet dinner and evening. We want to stay in the same place for the week. I am sure we will have a wonderful time wherever we go. We are a little reluctant to drive in another country, so we would rather use public transportation when possible. How is access to ATMs in these towns? Thank you again for your help.

Posted by
1172 posts

Teal

There are ATMs in each of the towns.

You can get a hydrofoil to Ermioni from Piraeus which makes it an easy trip.

Alan

Posted by
714 posts

Chania is a good choice - the harbour is lovely with Venetian buildings and lots of cafes and tavernas. The town is worth a couple of days exploring - lots of small alleys, hidden away restaurants, a couple of small Minoan house sites. There are a couple of good museums - one archaeological, the other the Maritime museum which also has an excellent display about Crete in WWII. Outside the town is the site of Aptera where you have Minoan, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and WWII sites - a couple of thousand years of history in one place. There are some good sandy beaches along the coast from Chania. With a car you can do day trips to Knossos (though I would probably chose to spend a night in Heraklion as it is a long drive), Phaestos and the Roman site of Gortys -also easy to visit some of the towns on the south coast.

I love Crete and will, I hope, be enjoying my fourth visit this year.