6 days in Crete

Old May 26th, 2018, 11:44 PM
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6 days in Crete

I am usually quite good at planning our travels but find myself confused by the many options available in Crete. We are middle-aged, but very active travellers, interested in history, culture, scenery. Don't need to visit beaches unless for the scenery. Travelling mid-August. I know it will be hot and busy - but we had no choice. We're pretty OK with heat.
We fly in to Heraklion 11 am, so figure we could see the Archaeological Museum and sights of the city that day. Not keen on staying at Heraklion any longer.
We then have 5 more full days in Crete, having to return to Heraklion on the last night ready for a ferry to Santorini the next morning.
I want to stay in Chania, also visit Knossos and Spinalonga (don't mind a night in Plaka). I did want to visit the Lasithi Plateau, but I think I will leave that out now given the windmills are virtually all gone. We do not wish to drive, but would like to travel by bus or also happy to hire a private driver for a day or two. We are quite busy travellers and don't mind staying in different places each night, although I think I want 2 nights in Chania.

I would appreciate advice from those who know Crete well. I'm too spoilt for choice!

My two questions are:
How would I best arrange this itinerary?
Is there a small village or special place I have not included which fits with this?
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Old May 27th, 2018, 01:20 AM
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Knossos is more or less at Iraklio.
With only 5 days left, I would choose between Western or Eastern Crete, but not do both. As you like to go to Chania, you may add Rethymno, Kissamos/Balos/Falassarna/Elafonissi, Paleochora, Samaria Gorge.
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Old May 27th, 2018, 02:41 AM
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Following this thread, I'm in the very initial stages of planning 14-15 days in Greece in May 2019, with 6 nights in Crete. We'll probably fly to Santorini first, then take the ferry to Heraklion, later go back to Athens, either overnight ferry from Heraklion or flight from Chania.
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Old May 27th, 2018, 04:49 AM
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I've only been to western Crete but I did extensive research ahead of the trip and it sounded like western was far more interesting than eastern. And I agree you should stick to one. Since you are have to depart Heraklion I'd save that (including Knossos) for the last part. I'd go straight to Rethymno for the first night but then go to Chania for the remainder, returning to Heraklion for the last day and night (doing Knossos that day, it's very close).


From Chania there are numerous day trips you can take, either 'organized' tours or just by public bus - e.g. Kissamos/Balos/Falassarna/Elafonissi, Paleochora.


Here's my trip report - A Week in Western Crete (with photos)


Here's the photos - Zenfolio | Isabel's_View | Crete


For geetika - you can fly from Chania to Athens, no need to go back to Heraklion
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Old May 27th, 2018, 06:25 AM
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I you leave Crete Tuesday or Saturday and if you are happy with a catamaran (Sifnos Jet) instead of the much nicer FB Superferry, you may reach Santorini directly from Rethymnon (dp 8am - Santorini ar 10.20).
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Old May 27th, 2018, 07:24 AM
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IF you have read that novel about Spinalonga you might want to see it, otherwise it's a long trip plus backtracking, I do agree that Western Crete is far more worthwhile and I do not base this on one trip, but rather 5 trips of 5+ days each A "triangle trip" West, then to the South, then back up in NE direction if you MUST leave from Heraklion ... if not, you have far more options, less backtracking. For the best advice, why not give point of departure as well as arrival?? I could understand it if you have a bargain round-trip (return) ticket from UK, or if you must take a Heraklion ferry to next destination -- but if your next stop is Athens and you haven't booked yet, why not fly/ferry from Chania? Tip: more info, better advice.
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Old May 27th, 2018, 02:10 PM
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Thanks so much everyone. I am locked in to both arriving and leaving from Heraklion and I did want to visit Spinalonga because of the novel, The Island based there. I'm now understanding that I must choose either East or West so I'm going to base myself in Chania for the rest of the time and do those suggested day trips and leave Spinalonga for (hopefully) another trip. Thanks for all of your ideas and advice.
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Old May 27th, 2018, 05:20 PM
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If you want to try something different, head south over the mountains. We used Eleonas Traditional Cottages in tiny Zaros as a base & explored the south. Mountain trails, canyon walks, beaches, ruins . . . probably busy in August but not the hordes that the north would have. And the Eleonas is great.

Ian
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Old May 28th, 2018, 04:43 AM
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I also hear that western Crete is the more interesting part, this is where we'd like to go on our first visit.

Isabel, thanks for the Trip Report, have sent you a PM with a couple of questions, would be grateful if you could take the time to reply...
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Old May 28th, 2018, 02:15 PM
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We, too, found western Crete much more interesting. An example, which pretty much sums it up, IMO: in western Crete, the music on the radio, coming out of bars, etc., was Cretan: in the east, it was USA and Brit music.
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Old May 30th, 2018, 08:39 AM
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All over Greece, traditional Greek music is only played for tourists. Therefore you will not hear Greek music at untouristy places.
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Old May 31st, 2018, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by neckervd View Post
All over Greece, traditional Greek music is only played for tourists. Therefore you will not hear Greek music at untouristy places.
That's too funny neckervd
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Old May 31st, 2018, 06:05 AM
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Not funny, actually true. There are several kinds of "traditional Greek music"

(1) "rembetika" which might be called "Greek blues" ... it's very minor-key, wailing, sad, some of it quite beautiful, but not "hum-along" stuff ... sounds like music you hear all over the Near-East because that's where it comes from. It became widespread in Greece during the 1920s after the big Relocation -- Greeks lost an ill-advised invasion of Turkey, and as a result, 50,000+ Turks were forced to leave Greece, and more than a million & a half people of GReek descent were forced to leave various areas of Turkey & resettle in GReece. They were largely in impoverished areas of the biggest cities, and this "blues" music was theirs... there are nightclubs, restaurants etc taht play this exclusively. In the USA, Greek-themed TV shows in areas like NYC and Phila play a lot of it, perhaps since many Greek-Americans come from this condtion.

(2) Another type of older music sometimes heard might be called "village ballads." More melodic, sing-along, everybody seems to know the words, what we might call in the US "campfire songs". (On top of Old Smoky, This land is My Land). You never know where you're going to encounter this type, but for sure not in some fake "Greek night" display for package-tour groups. There are some restaurants in Athens where it happens late in the evening. Sometmes it's spontaneous. A few years ago I was sitting when Athens friends in a poky little restaurant called Lesvos eating Mezedes all evening with 3 guys sat down, one had a guitar. As the ouzo flowed, he started playing, they started singing. Everyone knew the songs ... they were not part of some hired band, altho the waiters kept bringing them free drinks. We spent a wonderful hour before leaving, and for all I know they kept it up for hours more. If you want to see Greece's world-famous songstress, Nana Mouskouri, leading 10,000 enraptured greeks in singing Greece's Signature Tune, the "La la Song," enjoy this video --
-- Fodors forum doesn't seem t o allow me to attach the youtube link, but you can find it by googling Nana Mouskouri La La La song....

Last edited by travelerjan; May 31st, 2018 at 06:08 AM. Reason: omissions - link problem
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Old May 31st, 2018, 01:23 PM
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I know what you mean travelerjan. We have attended the Orthodox Easter festivities with Greek friends when they sing the traditional old songs, everyone joins in and sings along. And if course the dancing...
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