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Crete at Christmas-which 3 towns to base ourselves?

Crete at Christmas-which 3 towns to base ourselves?

Old Jul 8th, 2014, 06:09 PM
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Crete at Christmas-which 3 towns to base ourselves?

Our family is planning a trip to Crete over the 2014 Christmas holidays. We are wondering what 3 cities to base ourselves in over a 10-12day holiday there? We are going to have to fly into Heraklion so that will probably be one of our stayover towns?
We would like to stay in oneof the Southern coastal cities so would anyone recommend one that would be "open" during the latter part of December?
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 07:12 PM
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Choose Chania or Rethymon and a southern coast town.
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 08:57 PM
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Any southern coast town that you would like for winter?
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Old Jul 9th, 2014, 04:04 PM
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Look at Paleochora.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2014, 07:37 AM
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If you want to be more in the traditionl Crete town without the resort feel and would be open with restaurants open,etc.-Chania or Rethymon? Thanks so much!
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Old Jul 23rd, 2014, 07:55 AM
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Either but Chania offers more.
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Old Jul 24th, 2014, 02:34 AM
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Chania is an amazing town but a small-one. My personal opinion is to choose Heraklion. Now the most beautiful city on Crete but the biggest one. More stores, more restaurants and even more choices for activities.
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Old Jul 24th, 2014, 05:03 AM
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Another vote for Chania.
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Old Jul 24th, 2014, 09:05 AM
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Yet another vote for Chania!
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Old Jul 24th, 2014, 11:35 AM
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It’s good to hear that there are people wishing to travel to Crete “off – season” simply because this is the right time to discover the real character of the island. I have travelled to the island many times and in every season. In December the South gets very quiet and the only place that is lively on the south coast is an actual town being Ierapetra on the south east of the island (county of Agios Nikolaos). Paleochora is a great place of the south coast (magical I could say) to visit during the summer with so many beautiful beaches but I am afraid it will be extremely quiet during December. So if I was visiting the island myself in December, this is what I would do:
1. Stay in central Heraklion for a few nights and visit Knossos where the first western civilization thrived. I would also visit the archaeological museum of Heraklion which is one of the largest and most important museums in Greece, and among the most important museums in Europe. It houses a history of 5,500. Even if you are not a museum person (I am not or at least I am not a fanatic) this museum is worth a visit as you will meet the very beginning of the western civilization (http://odysseus.culture.gr/h/1/eh151.jsp?obj_id=3327). The city of Heraklion is not beautiful but it’s extremely vibrant 12 months a year and it has some very charming corners. I think it’s the only place on Crete where you get the actual city feeling. A great place to shop whether you choose local businesses or international brands. Heraklion has everything. I have stayed in this amazing hotel just above the port of Heraklion: http://www.gdmmegaron.gr/
2. If I had to see the south, I would stay in Ierapetra for one or a couple of nights. The town of Ierapetra feels like a travel back in time. It gives the sense of the 80’s, laid back with a sweet retro feeling (I am afraid I don’t have any accommodation recommendations for Ierapetra as we stayed there a few hours). I would then get on the car and take the south road all the way to Chania. This is an extremely scenic route but at the same time VERY long drive with the roads of Crete not being the best in the world (but definitely far from being the worst). If you decide to do this, please start early in the morning. You are going to need the whole day to get to Chania and mind you in December it gets dark around 17:00. So I would recommend by that time to be relatively close to Chania. If I remember well, it took us 5 hours to get from Ierapetra to Chania and we had to skip the last bit of the south road as it was getting dark and thus harder to drive in an unknown road. We cut through Rethynmon County from Moires, Spili and got on the north road to get to Chania. The initial plan was to drive to Sfakia from Rodakino in south Rethimno and get in the county of Chania and then cut through to the north. Unfortunately it got dark and we decided not to as the road is very windy in Sfakia. However we came back to Sfakia in one of the following days and it was worth it all the way. Amazing rugged beauty. I forgot to mention that on the way to Chania we stopped in Myrtos (south Agios Nikolaos), Vianos, Keratokambos, Phaistos, Matala.
3. Stay in the heart of the old town of Chania for the rest of your holiday. The old town is so extremely beautiful in December! It’s like a town to you as it only gets busy towards the weekends. I would choose a waterfront place to stay like any of these ones:
http://www.alargo.no/villa.aspx?lang=en&id=115

http://www.mamanenahotel-chania.gr/

or in the alleys of the old town in a place like any these ones:

http://www.simplychania.gr/item.php?itid=5

http://www.alargo.no/villa.aspx?lang=en&id=35

http://www.alargo.no/villa.aspx?lang=en&id=73
(I am not sure which of the above will be open in December)

There is so much more to say about Crete. I visit the island for almost 20 years now. I would be happy to help you with any further information as my heart belongs to Crete! All the best for your trip to the island!
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Old Jul 30th, 2014, 06:32 PM
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Thank you for your helpful information, North traveler! If you had a choice where to actually spend Christmas Eve,Christmas day and Boxing day(especially with everything closed)would it still be Chania? I have to start making reservations so appreciate the help!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2014, 04:04 AM
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You are welcome! I am happy that you found my comment helpful. I would like to clarify something since I probably scared you off when it comes to whether shops / facilities are open or closed. What I had in mind is the difference between summer Crete with over 3 million tourists and winter Crete with the locals mostly. Crete is very large island with a permanent population of over 600,000 residents. So Crete, unlike other smaller Greek islands, does not actually "close down" in the winter. Chania City's greater area has a permanent population of over 100,000 so the area is 'fully operational' throughout the year. There are touristic facilities that shut down in the winter, mainly in the old harbor area, but the city remains fully functional and vibrant by all means. My opinion on where to stay during Christmas Eve, Christmas day and Boxing Day will be I am afraid biased since Chania is my favourite city in Crete. So I would vote for Chania. A few very important tips on what to expect during Christmas in Greece:
• Christmas is not the biggest celebration for the Greeks. Their number one celebration is Easter. Having experienced Christmas in my home country, in the UK and the US I realized that Christmas in Greece is not so commercialized and the Christmas frenzy is nowhere close to the places I mentioned above.
• Do not expect white Christmas in Crete. I have experienced once sitting outside drinking cold coffee in my sunglasses and t – shirt with almost 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) in Chania at Christmas. If you wish to get the 'universal white Christmas feeling' you should head for the mountains which are covered in snow.
• The Old Town of Chania is a lot less busy than the summer months. Some people find it annoying but I just love it. It is so picturesque and peaceful that I can't describe it with words. Anyway, the old town from the city centre of the city with the shops is not even a 10 minute walk. Depending on the size of your group I would suggest one of the following places to stay: http://www.alargo.no/Results.aspx?lang=en&locId=34
• For eating out in the city I would suggest the following: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/greece/c...apostolis-i-ii (fish and sea food – mainly – tavern), http://www.lonelyplanet.com/greece/c.../kouzina-e-p-e (Greek and international dishes), http://www.lonelyplanet.com/greece/c...ion-peina-leon (Greek and Cretan cuisine), http://www.lonelyplanet.com/greece/c...ast-food/oasis (the famous Greek Souvlaki often confused with the kebab), http://www.lonelyplanet.com/greece/c...ts/greek/tamam (Greek, Cretan and Eastern cuisine)

There are so many tips and information that I can pass on to you but I wouldn't like to overload you However I would be more than happy to answer any specific questions you may have! Please don't hesitate to ask!
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