We will have 1 day at the port of Chania. I would like to visit Balos lagoon and understand one takes the public bus to Kissamos and then the ferry to Balos lagoon. We are in port from 8:00am until 5;00pm, docked. Is it possible to do this and return to the ship in time? It seems there is only one ferry company? Gramvousa? and they return to Kissamos at 5:45pm? Can one hire a private boat? are there other options to get to Balos Lagoon by water. We do not want to take the land route.
Don't chance it. It's not that possible. The excursion boats leave Kissamos at 9, and don't come back until after 3.... and what if wind or other mishaps cause them to be late??? The Cruise port is EAST of Chania, and takes at least 20-30 minutes from Old Town.
Just enjoy the beautiful Old Town of Chania .... it's the most beautiful town in Crete, and considered the 2nd loveliest Old town in all of Greece. If you are desperate for a swim, you can go about 1.5 km west of the harbor (take a taxi) and there's an OK beach called Nea Chora ... not a "destination" but a beach enjoyed by Chania residents. We found it by accident, and enjoyed beaching with the locals.
On your next trip to Greece, you may try independent travel, where you are not so tied to a ship schedule .. and you'll have more time to enjoy! A cruise is lovely for shipboard life, and works well for little Caribbean isles that don't have much of interest beyond the port -- but it surely is frustrating in the Greek Isles!
I couldn't agree more with Janet. Chania Old Town is a major Wow Factor with it's lovely Venetian/Ottoman architecture, narrow lanes, shops, markets, tavernas and the waterfront is a gem! Spend your time wandering around the Old Town and you'll see why Chania is a special place!
Thank you Janet and Tommy for your replies. I have now realized we will be docked in Souda. I see there are beaches about 7 miles from the dock...any insight as to how to access them? Or the quality of the beaches? We will be touring many of the other ports and I was hoping to fit in some more beaches other than Mykonos.
We could help you better if you would share more -- can you list the "many other ports"?? Many of us can give you some opinions based on experience of which ports are most "skippable" in favor of beaches ... Is this one of those 6-stops-in-4-days cruises, or is it more extensive??? Chania is truly a magnificent Old Town worth seeing. Also, more info about logistics would help. Does the ship offer bus transport in to Chania Old Town for all, or only for those taking a pricey (and unnecessary) group tour?? How many of you are t here?? if you hve 4 people, the cost of a taxi can be minimized. Also, it helps to know WHEN you are going... in the maxxi-heat of July/August, or in September or later?? More facts = better advice.
My advice would be to round up 4 people and strike a deal with a taxi-guy ... better if you e-mail in advance, google something like "Chania Taxi hire" and bargain for a day-rate. You'll do better than tumbling off the ship with hundreds of others and all striving at once. Have your advance-hire taxi pick you up at the ship & take you to Chania Old Harbor area.... give you 2 hours to explore around there. You can easily have in hand a few landmarks you'd like to check out, from your Greece guidebook (you DO have a guidebook?), or else run over to the library and just photocopy the 3-4 pages of Chania Old Town, WITH a map. By then, you'll be hot & thirsty, so have the driver take you to Khalives Beach, east of Souda Bay (there's anotehr Beach Almarida, but Khalives is closer, and maybe not so jammed). You can have a swim, lunch another swim, and have the driver pick you up at 4:15 or so to get back to the ship.
Thanks for your help Janet. Here are the details. 4 of us traveling with another family of 3. We are wife, husband, 20 year old son, and 13 year old daughter. Our friends are husband, wife and 15 year old daughter. 11 day cruise leaving from Venice July 4th to the 15th. We are aware we will be in peak crowds and heat. First port is Katakolo - will do Olympia or the beaches (by rental car or taxi) will depend on the group vote. 2nd port is Chania (Souda) I was really hoping to make this a beach stop, 3rd is Mykonos = def doing beaches, 4th is Santorini (we have been here before - my fav) we will DIY Oia and Fira. 5th port = Kusadasi - we will do a tour, 6th = Athens will also be doing a tour or taxi. and then we end with an overnight in Venice (we have been here before and I love to wander and stroll all day/night. We will have enough opportunities to tour/explore ruins/towns/history, etc. We all really love the beach and want to fit in as much beach opportunities as we can. Hence why I am kinda stuck on trying to make Chania a beach stop. I understand the town is beautiful and if time allows we will swing through there too. I have no idea if the ship offers shuttle bus at this point. We prefer to DIY and don't typically enjoy tours (esp cruise one's). Since I feel a few of these ports warrant a tour I want to DIY the rest of them. Any taxi tour company suggestions is greatly appreciated as well as any other input.
I was not suggesting a "taxi tour company" ... I was simply suggesting that you research taxis that can be hired for the day ... it will require 2 vehicles of course ... there are no vans that hire out as taxis. I wish you well... cruises are really about shipboard life, as you already know from apparently having cruised before; they do not allow much time ashore at all, so by taking a cruise you really opt out from sights like Gramvousa, Balos etc. But then you see several countries, that's the trade-off.
We were in Souda last October. There were local buses at the port and lots of taxis. It was a flat rate of 10 euros to Chania.
I simply must urge you to get into Chanai old town and wander around. It is amazing you feel like you are stepping into a 15th century town. Give it a couple of hours and then walk past the Naval museum at the far west of the harbour and follow the tree lined street to Neo Chora where there is a decent beach. It will be about a 15 minute walk. There are tavernas in the area if you need a refreshment.
Here is why we are all urging you to see Chania. Neo Chora beach is at the end of the album.
Falasarna and Elifonisi on the western shores of Crete are fabulous beaches but too far away in your limited time. East of Souda Bay is Georgiopolis, closer and with a more developed beach area. Or you can go to local Nea Chora in addition to seeing the beauriful town.
Chania is a beautiful town, one of the most most beautiful and historic in Greece along with Napflion on the Pelponesean Peninsula according to my Greek friends. You decided Chania would be a beach stop but that is not what Chania is all about. You have Venetian and Ottoman history added to the layers of ancient and modern Greek history.
Being on a cruise ship greatly limits your chances to explore. We spent two weeks in Chania and didn't get to do everything we wanted.
Perhaps a local travel agent in Chania can help you get to Balos Lagoon. www.diktynna-travel.gr