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9 days on Crete in April

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My daughter and I are thinking of traveling to Crete for about nine days in April. It will be our first trip to Greece. We have heard that travel to Greece, in particular Athens, is not recommended right now. Do you fodorites agree? Is it safe to travel to Crete, especially for two women traveling alone? Would it be best to rent a car or travel by public transit?

We enjoy natural scenic areas on the coast and inland, cultural activities, historical sights, hiking and if it's warm enough, the water. We are not interested in the resort type vacation and usually try to stay in an apartment and take day trips from a base location. We are considering flying into Chania and out of Heraklion and splitting the time between the sides of the island. (We found few direct flights from London to Crete and the times are very limited.) The flight (Easy Jet) we are considering gets into Chania at 11 pm. Is that a problem? Is it advisable to take a ferry or boat ride to another island, maybe Santorini, for a day trip or will we be too rushed? What are the highlights that we shouldn't miss? It seems like many posts recommend more sights around Chania. Is it better to spend the whole time near Chania? Thank you in advance for all of your suggestions. We appreciate your help!

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