Best vacation spot in Crete?

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Mar 5th, 2005, 10:56 AM
  #1
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Best vacation spot in Crete?

To Brotherleelove2004: Iíve been reading your (and others) comments on Greece and you have provided a wealth of information! Thank you for taking the time to put this info out there for us ďGreece newbiesĒ. Iím actually hoping that I can get some more info from you and others: There doesnít seem to be much info in the messages about Crete, just that itís fabulous. My husband and I will be spending a few days in Athens, a couple days in Santorini and we think weíd like to stay in Crete for three days but donít know which end of the island to stay on. Iíve seen Chania mentioned a little, and thatís about it. Can you tell me which part of the island you prefer?? Thank you in advance!
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Mar 5th, 2005, 11:27 AM
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It's been too many years since I spent time on Crete for my information to be very useful, but for what it's worth here goes: I really enjoyed Chania. It's reminiscent of Venice, Italy, so charming and pleasant. I drove down to the south coast and spent time in Agia Galini and Matala. Both of these interesting coastal villages were worth the effort to get there and they're seldom mentioned. Overall Crete is a good destination because of the choices it offers, from beachside activities to hiking, archaeological sites like Knossos, and museums. Renting a car is much more convenient than depending on public transportation, more flexible. With only 3 days I think you'd be wise to do so if you want to get further than Chania or Heraklion.

If you're planning to travel back to Athens by ferry to catch a flight home or onward out of Greece, I suggest you leave your exploration of Athens until the end of your trip to give yourself a couple of extra days to get back to the mainland in case of ferry breakdowns or high winds. You don't want to miss your flight out because of something unplanned.
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Mar 5th, 2005, 11:37 AM
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Thank you for your reply - and for the comment on doing Athens at the end of the trip - I'll work on that now. And since Venice is my favorite city in the world (so far), I appreciate that comment and am even looking more forward to Crete now! Thanks again!
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Mar 5th, 2005, 01:27 PM
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If you haven't already checked it out, Lonelyplanet.com periodically has good information about Crete in the 'Western Europe' and 'Europe on a Shoestring' Branches of the Thorn Tree.
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Mar 5th, 2005, 08:00 PM
  #5
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The difficulty with Crete is that it is a very large island with scores of good resorts to stay in, just as an example I go for 3 weeks and go either to the west or east end of Crete. Thus to see Crete you will need some 6 weeks and even then it's a bit rushed. So in 3 days you will blink and miss the island. ;-)

Chania is nothing like Venice, nevertheless it is perhaps one of the more attractive of the large N. coast towns. My preference is to stay generally on the south coast which has a number of laid back places, some people may not like the simple hotel/rooms places, there are almost no expensive posh places.

Avoid the Heraklion to Malia section of the coast it's the package tourist area, and also a few of the worst resorts, you will find 'british kareoke pubs' here.

The top sights are the Samaria Gorge (this opens sometime in May closes some time in early October), this is well worth the 12 mile or so walk, and a number of other gorges that are far less crowded such as Ag Irini, Imbros, Zakros.

There are countless beaches near Elafonissi, west of Paleochora, FrangoKastello, Komos, Red, Preveli, Kouremenos. These are on the south west, south and east coasts.

Countless numbers of archealogical sites all over the island.

Which part of the island to go to depends very much on what you are interested in.

 
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Mar 5th, 2005, 08:10 PM
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I wish I had my Crete map handy, but I hope this will do. The side of the island with Heraclion and Chania is the best side. The other side is full of package tours and Germans (it was so wierd negotiating for a room in Greece with a Greek and doing so in German, but I guess no wierder than in English which isn't their language either). I an slanted against German tourists, as I think they are loud and obnoxious as some American package tourists. I still think Chania is best, but add the other town near Chania on the way back towards Heraclion. Loved the Minaret. Most people don't like Heraclion, go there only as a way to get to Knossos (don't miss that) and the archeological museum (don't miss that either), but I also enjoyed the alley in the food wholesale district (between the port and the museum, walking distance from anywhere you'll stay) where many small restaurants for locals are located. Don't worry about language, because most Greek restaurants say they don't have what is on the menu anyway, and ask you to come to the kitchen and point out what you want; wonderful people. And if you can possibly go to Santorini too, be sure to visit the ruins of Thera (?), a real people's town to balance the Minoan capital of Knossos. (The town "square" is triangular!, and there are the beds left in the street when the volcano that destroyed the Minoan civilization warned of its eruption), Then go down the hill to a little restaurant on the jetty on the water. Magical.
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Mar 9th, 2005, 06:54 AM
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Hi jamn!
Three days is a very short period for Crete. Even so, i would suggest you to stay at Chania at the old harbour area. It's lovely!
You can rent a car and drive the coastline up to Rethymno, or if you're up to it visit the Palace of Knossos. I've heard that the beaches in the west (Falasarna) and southwest Elafonisi are great! Also i liked Preveli (in the south).
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Mar 9th, 2005, 07:10 AM
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We spent a week on Crete, starting with three nights in Chania, then driving and spending nights at other parts of the island. Chania remained our favorite throughout the trip. The western end of the island is far more lush, green, and pretty than the rest. Chania is close enough to visit the south coast -- we enjoyed driving down to Paleochora for the day.
The sort of hill town of Spili is interesting and a close drive as well, stop by the intriquing city fountain and have juice or hot chocolate if it isn't lunch time.
While we enjoyed seeing the far east coast, and spent a couple days in the Eloundra area, none of that did so much for us as Chania. And we could have easily forgotten about Knossos, which we found to be a huge "artificial" attempt at reconstruction compared to all the "real" ruins elsewhere.
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