My husband and I are considering making our first trip to Crete in September. We are 79 and 76 so we'll be traveling slowly and won't be renting a car. We'll have about a month. I've been doing some reading and would appreciate your thoughts before I make flight reservations.
One idea is to fly into Chania and stay somewhere outside the city (like Ammos Hotel) (2-3 nights) to recover from the long flight. Then bus to Falassarna for 3? nights, taking a day trip ferry to Balos. Bus to Paleochora (? nights), then catch the ferry that hops along the Libyan Sea. Stay in Sougia (?) and/or Agia Romeuli (? nights) and walk up to the end of the Samaria Gorge. Ferry to Loutro for 4? nights. Bus to Rethymnon for ? nights. Then back to Chania, explore and take day trips for 7-8 nights, and fly home.
The other option would be to fly into Chania and stay there for 7-8 days, then repeat the above itinerary (with whatever modifications you'd suggest) and end in Rethymnon, flying home from Heraklion (which may require staying one night there). I don't know if this open-jaw trip would make more sense . . . I guess I'm hesitant about jumping right into Chania on our first jet-lagged day.
We would prefer to not have so many hotel changes, but I don't know where to put the extra nights . . . which places can be seen as day trips and which are good places to just relax and wander for a longer time. Our last Greek vacation was very slow due to some knee issues -- Naxos (7 nights), Amorgos (6), Antiparos (6), Milos (6) -- and it was lovely. So we don't get bored easily.
We have seen lots of archeological sites in Greece, Sicily and Turkey so we are not planning to visit Knossos. We will look for excursions from various towns to interesting little ruins, wineries, etc.
Any suggestions would be much appreciated.