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5 Nights in Crete. Itinerary Help, Please!

I have 5 nights in Crete and am feeling overwhelmed with how to divide my time (or if I even should?) without a car.

I was planning to arrive from Naxos on Sunday June 21 at 18:55 to Heraklion on Sea Jets (as far as I can tell this is my only option from Naxos to Crete?). Knowing that it is late, and knowing that we would like to do the museum, Knosos, Gortys, and Phaestos, probably the next day (is this doable?), where do you suggest I base myself? I am not thrilled with the idea of staying in Heraklion.

Is there a place outside of Heraklion that is easy to get to by public transport or is inexpensive by taxi that doesn’t have all the bustle of Heraklion or would you suggest I stay somewhere in the city that night? I would probably need to stay at least 2 nights wherever I am in order to avoid bringing my bags to the sites the next day.

We were also planning on heading for Chania after this as I have a very early flight out of there to Ionnina at 6:30 a.m. Friday morning. In Chania, we were hoping to do the Samaria Gorge, see some beaches, hang out in town, etc.

I hate to miss Rethymno, but I don’t think its doable with the short time I have.

I am currently thinking 2 nights in the Heraklion area and 3 nights in Chania, but I would love your advice if there is a better way to do things and a better place to situate myself (outside of Heraklion) that wouldn’t take too long to get to and wouldn’t be too expensive when I first arrive in Heraklion.

Another idea would be should I go from Naxos to another island for a night or two, one with ferry transport or air directly to Chania and just go to Chania while I am in Crete, saving the sights around Heraklion for another trip? Ultimately, I have to be in Chania because my flight out is booked. Thank you!

Posted by
16893 posts

Despite Heraklion being a larger city with less charm, I think your plan-in-progress makes sense and would not substitute another island.

Posted by
4018 posts

I don't think you can fly directly from any island to Chania without flying back to Athens first. Check Aegean Airlines about that.

We stayed 2 nights at the Lato Boutique Hotel in Heraklion. Very nice rooms, great breakfast and a nice restaurant. I highly recommend it.

It is just up the hill from the ferry dock and easily walkable if you aren't loaded down with too much luggage. Our ferry arrived about the same time as yours will. Keep in mind that if the weather is rough, the ferry will go slower.

The next day, we took a public bus to Knossos. The bus stop is a few blocks from the Lato and quite near the museum. We bought our Knossos/Museum ticket there before getting on the bus. We went to the museum after visiting the ruins, on our way back to the hotel.

That was enough for us for one day. We did not go to Gortyn or Phaistos. I think adding those would be impossible in one day due to their locations and the time needed to see them.

We did not experience any "hustle and bustle" in Heraklion. Knossos was busy, the museum was not and the streets seemed calm to me.

The next morning we walked back down the hill to the long-distance bus station, bought our tickets and took the bus to Chania. That was about a 3 hour ride.

We stayed 3 nights at the Vilelmine, an old hotel overlooking a square in the old part of town. The room was nice. The breakfast in the attached cafe was neither nice nor included and was overpriced. We ate it only once. We did have some other nice meals in town. The part of Chania we were in is somewhat touristy, but calm and charming. There was a self-service laundry within easy walking distance and with instructions in English.

The long-distance bus station is within a couple of blocks of the entrance to that part of town (mostly pedestrian). We were also able to easily walk to the public bus we took to the port where we took the overnight ferry to Piraeus. There is likely easy public transportation to the airport.

We did not get out of town much due to the weather, so I can't say anything about any beaches or the gorge. My husband did get a few laps in at the go kart track during a break in the rain, but the track people picked us up and brought us back to town. We were there in late October.

So we also had 5 nights on Crete, but under very different circumstances. For one thing, it will be hot and much more crowded when you are there.

The logistics of our visit to Greece were the most complicated of any trip I have planned. If you could work it out to go from Knossos to Phaistos or Gortyn, spend the night in the area, see those ruins the next day and then go to Chania all by bus without going back to Heraklion, I'd do it.

Keep in mind that the planning might be a lot of work and finding places to leave your luggage may be very difficult. There are taxi services that may be worth the extra expense. Google "Crete taxi prices" or something similar to get some ideas about that option. By car, it is about 1.5 hours from Knossos to Phaistos, about 1/2 hour from Phaistos to Gortyn and about 2.5 hours from Gortyn to Chania. These are not short rides, so I'd expect the taxi prices to be high.

Posted by
1 posts

If you want to spent some time to traditional side of Crete then you have to visit Apokoronas. Apokoronas area is situated between Chania and Rethymnon, in the beautiful rolling foothills of the White Mountains and only a short distance from the northern Cretan sea. It is the traditional area with a rich cultural heritage.

Widely known as a destination where someone can become immersed into the real authentic Crete, relax and combine holiday entertainment with cultural pursuits. Mountain and plain, river and sea, wild nature and cultivable ground.Landscapes of absolut beauty, settlements that maintain the traditional element, but also built-up areas with cosmopolitan atmosphere, good night life, modern hotel units with services of high quality, restaurants, travel agencies, car rentals and possibility of easy access in each point of Western Crete via the highway that links the big cities of island. In Apokoronas area the most known seaside villages are Kalyves and Almyrida.

Moreover in the Apokoronas regionyou will find several beautiful villages you can visit by renting a car. The biggest car rental companry in the area is called flisvos tours ( rent a car in chania ) . One the surrounding villages is Plaka. Plaka is a very nice village built on a hill at an altitude of 70 meters, almost amphitheatrically offering great views to Almyrida and of course to the blue Cretan Sea and the Bay of Souda.