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Crete 5 days itinerary review

I am planning to visit Crete for 6 days as part of my first trip to Greece. I am interested in expert opinion about my plan to see Crete.
I will be there at the beginning of May.
April 29 - Fly to Athens from US
April 30 Arrive in Athens - local flight to Chania.
May 1, 2 - Explore Chania. It will be a May 1st holiday long weekend.
May 3 - a trip to Elafonissi beach. Rent a car in Chania and drive to see Elafonissi beach and whatever interesting on the way. Return to Chania. I know the water would be cold for swimming, but we love to walk on the beach.
May 4 - Still deciding what to do. One option is to drive to Plakias, find a boat to visit Preveli beach. I know it is doable with a car, but I am not interested in climbing 400 stairs. I need an alternative here, in case the weather is not good for the boat to go out. Small hikes are fine with us, but we are not good at hiking long trails. I would prefer to drive through the gorges if possible but have a long walk on the beaches.
Stay at Plakias.

May 5 - Drive to Heraklion. Visit Kronos (if time allowed). Drop the car. Stay overnight in Heraklion.
May 6 - Boat to Santorini at 9 am.
Any other suggestions here? The goal is to see some highlights of western Crete, including the rugged south coast and Chania.
There is still plenty of time to make changes. Thanks

Posted by
1397 posts

You are looking to do a lot in a very short time. The drive to Elafonissi is likely about an hour and a half provided you don't see something that causes you to stop. There are good beaches just 3km west of Chania. You can walk, drive or take the bus to these beaches. Closest is at Nea Chora, then Golden beach (Hrisi Akti) and then on to Agii Apostoli. You can do your beach walk without needing a car.
However if you want to do Elafonissi it is beautiful.

Another option however is to drive to Kissamos which is on the way to Elafonissi and take the boat excursion to Gramvossa and Balos. This excursion gives you 2 great beaches plus a 14th century pirate fortress to hike up to.

We go to Plakias every trip to Crete. Its a good choice. While the only way to get Preveli beach used to be by boat or the parking lot at the top of a cliff recently a paved road has been completed which takes you to a parking lot 5 minutes from the beach.
Here is information, To avoid the difficult climb, you can alternatively drive in the paved road leading to nearby Drimiskiano Amoudi and walk the short path that leads to Preveli in just 5 minutes.

The beach at Plakias is blue flag and is a great walk on its own right. It is framed by mountains and a sheer rock face at the far end.
Warning by the rock face bathing suits are extremely skimpy.

Here are some images of your trip

Gramovossa,Balos and Elafonissi


Back in Plakias

Posted by
65 posts

@stanbr Thank you very much for the info. Your insights are very helpful for planning our trips there. Now I am contemplating changing my dates and flying 2 weeks later for better, warmer days. The price difference is not so big so I think it may be worth it. What is your opinion on this - early vs late May.

Posted by
245 posts

Is Kronos auto correction for Knossos? If you're interested in ancient history, it and the Archealogical Muesem are a must. The Minoan cultures were as ancient to the Ancient Greeks as the Ancient Greeks are to us today.

Posted by
1397 posts

When we first started to go to Greece we always planned it after May 15. The weather seemed to change and was all bright sunny days. Last few years we pushed back into June. I think later is better. Having said that we are arriving Crete May 3 so that will be a test of weather patterns.

You are going to need to rent a car that allows you to pick up in one city and drop of in another. We use AutoRentals-Crete. They may be willing to meet you say at Talos square and deliver the car to you there. You can also ask them where they want the car dropped off at Heraklion. They are locally owned so are prepared to provide superior service to get your business. There are a few other locally owned companies but I have no experience with them. See Best cars, Anna cars.

Posted by
65 posts

Thank you for the advice. I decided to keep my dates, too much hassle to rebook everything plus everything get a little more expensive.

Posted by
11367 posts

The day we drove to Elafonisi from Chania we stopped at at Falasarna Beach , totally different types of beaches.