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A week in Crete

Hi there

My wife and I (both 61) plan on going to Crete for a week in early April after the RS tour on the Greek mainland. We're trying to decide where our base on Crete should be. Rethymnon is looking like a good option.

Our interests are much in tune with what RS tours focus on: history, architecture, art, food, drink. Any info or advice appreciated (e.g. day tours, to rent or not to rent a car, accommodations, places to eat).


Posted by
1112 posts

I stayed on Chania and it is truly one of Greece's most loveliest towns with beautiful Venetian/Ottoman architecture, pretty waterfront and lots of shops, markets and tavernas. It served as a great base to explore the west of the island.

I took the bus to Rethymnon for a day trip and it is also very nice, smaller than Chania and more in the central part of the island on the north coast. I think either town would be worth staying in.

I did a Jeep Safari from Chania into the White Mountains and it was spectacular. Small villages, gorges, mountains, goats and a wonderful guide. I forget the name of the company but the driver, Michalis was a riot! The lunch was classic Cretan food and lots of Raki making for a wonderful time.

I stayed at Jason (Iason) Studios just off Theotokopolou Street in the Old Town, which may be the best area for accommodations. Simple, basic but clean, safe and wonderful located studio. The price for a solo traveler was 30 euros which was in Oct. 2014. Even though it was off-season Chania Town was buzzing with life, not over run but enough to enjoy yourself. I lucked out when a Raki-Making Festival was held one evening and it was a blow-out with all the Raki you could drink, Greek cheeses, roasted potatoes and peanuts, live Greek music and traditional Cretan dancers. Everything was free & it was one of the most outstanding nights I've ever had in Greece!

You could spend weeks on the island and not see it all!

Posted by
3560 posts

We used Chania as a base for part of our time on Crete and Rethymnon for part. We did rent a car - - I think when we were ready to depart Chania. I suggest that you plot out what you want to see. Then, use viamichelin to get a sense of how long drives will be (always adding about 25%). Then you can decide on the base question.
We also did one bus tour, which took us up an incredibly long, steep gorge (think Amalfi Coast driving Squared) and down to Elafonissi Beach. I thought it very worthwhile, as the guide was very knowledgeable; and it was great to be able to enjoy the views without worrying about driving.
Driving on Crete was pretty easy; and renting, not expensive. The idp is required in Greece.

Posted by
10323 posts

I recommend Chania as your base. We spent two weeks there and we were able to explore much of western Crete. We drove to Chora Skafion and took a ferry to an overnight in Luotro on the south coast, beautiful.
Chania is called one of the most beautiful towns in Greece for a reason. We did a day trio to Rethymnon which has some similarities to Chania but I still would chose Chania.

Posted by
40 posts

Thanks so much for all the tips. It sounds like Chania and area, with a day trip to Knossos.

Posted by
3257 posts

YOu can fly IN to Chania, then fly OUT of Heraklion ... dropping your car at the airport there -- or staying your final night in Heraklion & dropping your car at the ferry port or having agency pick it up by your hotel (that's what we did). Rental agencies will deliver & pick-up at 2 different locations (Chania or Rethymnon or Heraklon) with little/no fee. That avoids day trip & tedious backtracking.