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Traveling to Greece next May

Hello,

My name is Kyle and I will be traveling solo to Greece in May 2019. I was planning on flying into Athens and then heading straight to Crete and working my way back to Athens with a stop in Santorini. I plan to spend 3 nights in each place, Crete, Santorini, and then Athens.

I need some advice on Crete and whether to stay in Heraklion or Chania. Which do you prefer for a young solo traveler? Or do I need to try to fit both in the plans?

I've traveled to several places in Europe but this is my first time to Greece so any additional advice is welcome!

Thanks!

Posted by
18736 posts

Kyle, Crete is a very large island, so it would not be my choice for a 3-night visit. I'd look for somewhere smaller and closer to Santorini if Santorini (quite expensive) is a must for you--perhaps Naxos.

I thought Chania was prettier than Heraklion, but Knossos is closer to Heraklion. I believe the party HQ for the younger crowd is way to the east.

Posted by
2858 posts

Crete is huge and it takes a minimum of a week with a rental car just to barely scratch the surface. Since you're only planning on a 3-day stay it's going to be tough to enjoy your surroundings regardless of where you stay. That said, if Santorini is a must-see then stay in Heraklion so you can easily get to the ferry port for the morning departure. But honestly, if it were me I'd go with one island or the other, not both. I think you'll come away dissatisfied if you spread yourself too thin.

I'm also wondering if you realize that every time you change islands you lose at least half a day since you must check out of your hotel, make your way to the ferry port, wait for the ferry, take it to the next island, make your way to your new hotel, check in and unpack before you can go exploring. In the case of Heraklion to Santorini you'll be arriving around 11:30am. By the time you reach your hotel, check in and unpack it'll be close to 1pm. And the ferry back to Athens takes about 8 hours, leaving Santorini at 3:30pm.
Just something to keep in mind.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks acraven and Lee for your advice. I'll definitely keep all of that in mind when deciding which islands to go to. I may just pick either Crete or Santorini and then visit a smaller island instead of trying to do both Crete and Santorini. As far as transport times, I was going to just do the ferry from island to island and then fly back to Athens rather than do an 8 hour boat ride. I will be flying in on May 2 after leaving the US on May 1 and flying back to the US on May 11.

Posted by
2858 posts

The closest island to Crete is Santorni, so if you think you might want to visit a smaller island it will have to be Santorini and one other that's close by and has easy daily access by ferry, such as Ios, Naxos or Paros, but that means booking flights asap from either Naxos or Paros, Ios has no airport and you won't want to waste time backtracking to Santorini. Of course you can save more time by flying to your first island on the day you arrive, ferrying to the next one, then flying back to Athens for your last days in Greece. This will save you precious time and prevent even more backtracking.

Posted by
4 posts

Lee,

That is what I had planned on doing. My flight lands in Athens from the US at 0940 and I was going to get a flight for that afternoon to one of the islands. Then I will ferry to another island (probably Santorini) and then fly from there back to Athens.

Posted by
1374 posts

We went to Greece last May and it was a wonderful trip. It was our first time in Greece too. We flew to santorini the same day as we arrived and stayed 3 nights which gave us two full days plus late afternoon and evening of first day. (Our flight was late morning). Then we ferried to Naxos for four nights and then few back to Athens. (My advice is fly when you can.)

This was a great intoduction to Greece for us. Santorini and Naxos are very different from each other. Everyone spoke English in santorini which made it easy but it is very touristy. We traveled with our young adult children who were totally amazed by the sights in santorini. But then my two sons (21 and 25) met us down by the beach for dinner the first night after we had ferried to Naxos and announced that Naxos was even better than Santorini!

May is a great time to go to Greece. You will love it!

We want to go to Crete too but obviously it will be another trip.

Beth