Traveling in January (yep, winter) for a first trip to Greece. Planning a couple days in Athens, an overnight to Delphi, and the rest of the time on Crete. We love nature, rural, people, and the history and culture immersion. People's favorite places to stay and see on Crete in the winter? Mid budget is good, and either side okay as well. Planning to rent a car (suggestions?) to make the most of time on Crete. Would love to stay in village-type lodging, less need for upscale, but do want functional bathroom, comfortable bed, and dependable heat. Don't need TVs or other entertainment or pools and such. Good people would be lovely, and to support their good work in the world a pleasure. Ideas? Flying in from Athens to Heraklion OR Chania. Preferences? Thank you all and best wishes for good travels.
This is essentially a duplicate of a very similar question
Hi Nigel. Yes, I posted the question under two different subject headings. My first time using this forum, so maybe I didn't need to put it in two places? Forgive the redundancy. Did you have an answer and favorites? Thank you.
No, I can't help with your answer, I'm afraid.
When duplicate posts are put up they tend to both get answers from the same or different people and the threads don't link up so answers don't build on each other as they should. It becomes confusing for the people answering and can become quite confusing for the original poster.
This is the correct forum for asking questions. The other forum you posted the duplicate in was Greece Reviews, where you will go to post reviews and trip reports about places in Greece that you have already been to and want to tell people about.
We spent a few days on Crete at the beginning of November. Stayed in Heraklion, didn't get to Chania unfortunately. Heraklion was a pretty big city with lots of traffic, but well-located for our drive south past Knossos to Gortyn and Phaestos, all ancient sites, and briefly Matala on the south coast (cold in November, will be colder in January). Also for the next day's drive east up to the Lasithi Plateau, beautiful rural area where Zeus was born in a cave that you can visit (he's not home, though, and may be closed or icy in winter). Seems like you'll want a more rural setting than Heraklion so I can't help you there. I'd base the flight choices on schedule convenience or cost, and consider "open jaw" within Crete to maximize your sightseeing time.
Athens is worth at least a couple of days, we had four full days and some partials. Delphi should be an overnight, not a day trip, because it takes time to see and because the valley and shore below the town can be so beautiful at sunrise and sunset. We had two nights there and were glad.
Delphi is not known for the quality of its accommodations. TripAdvisor can give you some of the better places but most of the places in town tend to be very basic without much of any character (as is the entire town). Your problem will be to find any hotels open in January. Do book ahead because most of the hotels will likely be closed. The few that are not may be filled. Your other choice is to make it a daytrip with an early departure from Athens and driving back in the dark.
When we are in Delphi we always stay at the Acropole
It's a perfectly good C class hotel with spectacular views.
I don't imagine you'll have a problem finding places open. Delphi is a ski resort and generally fairly busy in winter. Having said that the weather has been really unusually warm in Greece this winter - we're in Nafplio at the moment and swimming in the sea! - so there isn't much snow.
I would fly into Chania in Crete. It's a nicer town than Heraklion. If you are getting a car at the airport it might be worth driving direct to Rethymnon, which is more central.
Thanks for the information, travelers! Great to have first hand experiences guiding our decisions. We're thinking Athens first since we will undoubtedly be charmed by the smaller villages and might not make it back to see the grand and famous ancient ones of Athens. Then an overnight in Delphi. Thanks Alan, for the up-to-date report on Delphi and warmer weather now. I'll throw in my swim suit, just in case. And then fly to Chania to start the exploration of Crete!
Don't get too excited about the weather and swimming! The temperature is due to drop 20 degrees on Wednesday! Having said that people do swim all the year round in Crete, but you have to be very keen :-)
We stayed at the Delphi Palace Hotel, with beautiful views, small rooms, and friendly hosts, but it may have closed for the winter. However, I agree there ought to be a number of options there, try booking.com or a more specific query here.
I wish we'd had time for Chania and Rethymnon, definitely smaller than Heraklion though nowhere near the "village" category. Flying into and/or out of Chania should be easier though, I expect, less frequent flights.
Have a wonderful trip!