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Chania V. Heraklion

We'll be staying in Crete (at the end of May) for about a week. For lodging purposes, is it best to split the difference between the Eastern and Western parts of the island (Chania and Heraklion, respectively)? Or, is it easy enough to get around the island that we could plant ourselves in either location (or, Rethymnon, for that matter), and still have easy access to the rest of the island? I should note: we prefer public transport; we don't want to rent a car.

Posted by
11368 posts

Stay in beautiful, historic Chania. Western Crete has the most to offer. Go to Heraklion to visit Knossos and the archeological museum there and not to stay there.

Posted by
16894 posts

From Chania to Knossos is a 2-hour drive each way in the best of times and relying on public buses in shoulder season will probably take longer. So I would stay overnight somewhere closer to Knossos, but don't actually give the big city of Heraklion half your time. Just allow enough time to cover it, together with arriving or leaving via Heraklion, which I assume you will in at least one direction.

Posted by
91 posts

You can't see all of Crete in a week, so it is best either to stay in 2 locations which have a different feel to each other, if you can perhaps travel into Chania & out of Heraklion. Or better still to concentrate on 1 part of Crete

eg West, based round Chania, not forgetting the stunning south coast, eg a couple of days in/around Loutro or Hora Sfakia for the landscape & ferry, or a tiny holiday place like Sougia, for instance. Chania gives access to the famous West coast beaches of Falasarna, Elafonisi, Balos . If you stay in the old part of Chania city, you can get to the nearest beach in a 15-20 min walk, or there are many buses heading West with a good range of nearby beaches. & there are many small 'tourist offices', many on Halidon St, which arrange daytrips on coaches. The timetables for the public buses are online, bus co is called Ktel, & they are air-conditioned coaches. The timetables change through the summer, so look close to your travel dates for accurate info.

  • Or stay in Rethymno, some say it's like a small version of Chania, it does have a venetian harbour & a small old town area, as well as a great beach.

  • Perhaps spend the last 2 days in Iraklio, to visit the excellent museum & Knossos if you are interested in that history.

  • Another visit, schedule at least 2 weeks & explore inland, visit other Minoan sites, such as Phaistos & Gortys (superior to Knossos in my opinion). A car would give much more freedom to drive into the hills to see the old/real Crete, hidden tiny villages, hillsides & mountains. But on a bus you can get to the main tourist places fine. As an example, from Chania to Knossos would take around 3 - 3.5 hours by bus