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itinerary help for 8 days on Crete

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Hello

My husband, daughter (age 28) and I will be visiting Crete in April. We have 9 nights there arriving in Iraklion late in the evening and departing from Iraklion 9 days later. We would love to have your input on the best way to see the highlights of Crete. We have already realized that we are not going to be able to see everything we want to see so your help will be invaluable to our plan. We enjoy cultural and historical sites and hope to be able to enjoy the beaches in April, as well. We are also excited that there may be flowers blooming! In general, we would rather see an area more thoroughly than have to rush through.

Here is our very rough plan:
Arrive Iraklion at approximately 10 pm and stay in hotel close to airport.

Day 1: Pick up rental car at the airport. Drive to Chania and stay there for 3 nights. Visit Rethymnon (Arkadi Monastary, fortress, Old Town) on the way to Chania.

Days 2, 3: Visit Chania one day. Spend the second day driving to Paleochora via Falasarna, if possible , and visit Elafonisi Beach.

Days 4, 5, 6: Drive to Khora Sfakion and stay there 3 nights. Go to Preveli Monastary either on the way to Khora Sfakion or after arrival. Spend one day taking the ferry to Loutro. Spend another day hiking Imbros Gorge if it is open. (I read that Samaria Gorge would probably be closed plus I think it might be a bit too long for us.) An alternate plan would be to hike in the White Mountains.

Days 7, 8: Drive to Iraklion (via Spili) and spend the last two nights there departing mid-day on day 9. Go to Knossos and the Archaelogical Museum on one day. Spend the other day either driving to Matala via Gortys and maybe Festos or drive to the Lassithi Plateau area.

As always, there is so much more that we want to see and do. Please let us know what you think of our plan. We feel like we save time by not moving every night but if that would be your suggestion, please let us know. We are very excited! Thanks in advance for your help.

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