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Crete in 6 days/5 nights. Good Itinerary to see entire island?

Crete in 6 days/5 nights. Good Itinerary to see entire island?

Feb 7th, 2013, 01:07 PM
  #1  
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Crete in 6 days/5 nights. Good Itinerary to see entire island?

I'll be traveling to Crete at the end of May. We are doing a few days in Athens and then 6 days and 5 nights in Crete. We are flying into Heraklion in the AM. We are leaving from the other side of the island in the evening from the Chania airport. We will have a car so we can get around the island. We'd like to see as much as we can during our stay there. Here are a few things we'd like to see.

-Knossos
-Samaria Gorge (we'd like to do the 12 hour hike)
-Heraklion Archeological Museum
-Chania Old Towne & Harbor
-Agios Nikolaos
-Spinalonga Island
-Loutro

I cannot find a suggested Itinerary for this amount of time. I was thinking 2 nights on the east side of the island (near Heraklion), 1 night in Rethymnon, and 2 nights in Chania. Or possibly 1 night near Heraklion and 1 night in Rethymnon, and 3 in Chania.

Is this a good plan? I'd love some suggestions. Thank you!
Kirstin525 is offline  
Feb 7th, 2013, 01:19 PM
  #2  
 
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I would concentrate on more scenic Western Crete and drop Ag.Nik and Spiralonga Island. You will hardly be able to see most of the western side in 5-6 days. Include Falasarna Beach and Elafonisi Beach on the western shore. Stay all three nights in Chania or Rethymnon and visit the other; I prefer Chania.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Feb 7th, 2013, 02:02 PM
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Hi Kirstin,

in 5 days you won't be able to see everything on your list, and i agree with HT that i would prioritise the west, especially as you want to do the samarian gorge.

you could possibly do Knossos [a must IMO] on the day you arrive, and then drive to Reythemnon for one or two nights. otherwise spend the first day in Herakleon, then see Knossos in the next morning, then head for Reythemnon for the next night.

then go to Chania. [this is day 3] Day 4 is for the samarian Gorge, and day 5 is to recover on those beaches! Day 6 you could explore before flying out in the evening.

have a great trip!
annhig is offline  
Feb 7th, 2013, 02:05 PM
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Kirstin

6 days are not enough to see Crete.... but you can see some of the highlights.....
You can fly to Heraklion and out of Chania, assuming you will be coming/leaving from/to Athens.

Heraklion is not a very interesting city, you can visit Knossos, and the Archeological Museum ( only 3 rooms there are accessible, since the Museum is closed for a major renovation.) You can have a stroll to the centre of the city which is not far away from from the Museum, see the Venetian Loggia and the Venetian Lion fountain, and visit perhaps the local market, which is always a great experience.

East of Heraklion you can see Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga in a day... Agios Nikolaos is a modern city, what is worthseeing is the small lake with restaurants and cafes....

Much more interesting is the eastern end of the island, but that would be too far away for the time that you have at disposal.
It would be better to overnight somewhere near Agios Nikolaos than in or near Heraklion....

That would take 2 days of your six in total... ( and 1 overnight)

From Agios Nikolaos you can then drive straight to Rethymno which i find to be nicer than Chania....
The area has a lot to offer,, Rethymno has a wonderful old town, one of the longest sandy beaches of Crete, and nearby you can visit the Arkadi Monastery, the old Adele village or some old venetian villages like Roustika.

Samaria will take up one full day of your time....which would leave enough time to enjoy Chania and surroundings....

Near Chania Elafonisi or Falasarna are great beaches, but the best experience would be to visit Balos with it's great Caribbean like lagoon..... http://tinyurl.com/ajtg7bf

To do the Samaria Gorge i would recommend to book a tour, this you can do either from Rethymno ( all travel agencies are selling that ) or Chania...

In Chania you could use also the public KTEL bus, but personally i find the organized tour to be much more convenient.

A rental car would be advisable, but everything is doable with the public busses as well
clausar is offline  
Feb 8th, 2013, 02:23 PM
  #5  
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Everyone, thank you for your advice. This is very helpful. I think I'll stay in Heraklion the first evening (see what I can of the east side of the island). 2nd night we'll stay in Rethymno and the last 3 nights in Chania.
I will have a rental car so I can get around.

Do you suggest taking a tour to the Samaria Gorge or can we hike it ourselves? I'd rather hike it myself if possible!

@clausar - Thank you for all of your information and the Balos link. I will definitely go there. Beautiful.

I'm very excited. Thank you for the direction!
Kirstin525 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2013, 02:31 PM
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Clausar...."To do the Samaria Gorge i would recommend to book a tour, this you can do either from Rethymno ( all travel agencies are selling that ) or Chania..."
Tommmo is offline  
Feb 8th, 2013, 03:55 PM
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Tommmo

The organized tours have the advantage that you will be picked in front or very near to your hotel, and you will be brought back to the same point.

You will arrive to Xyloscalos to enter the Gorge from the north, and while you walk through the gorge, the bus will go all the way to Sfakia, to pick you up from there.

The organized tours are being offered from both Rethymno amd Chania. There will be an escort giving you some information on Crete etc during the drive to Samaria, and you can stay with him/her during the hike or do it at your own pace.

This can also be done from Chania with a public KTEL bus, which is of course much cheaper.
clausar is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 10:57 AM
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You will arrive to Xyloscalos to enter the Gorge from the north, and while you walk through the gorge, the bus will go all the way to Sfakia, to pick you up from there.>>

this sounds like a good idea - when we did it [so many many years ago] you had to catch a boat at the southern end of the gorge and we almost missed it.
annhig is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 11:08 AM
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annhig...

Of course you will have to take the boat from Agia Roumeli to Sfakia...but if it is the organized tour the escort will take care of that....

The boat from Agia Roumeli leaves at 17:00 or 17:30 hrs to Sfakia,
here is the timetable for 2013 :
http://www.sfakia-crete.com/sfakia-crete/ferries.html#2
clausar is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 12:35 PM
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Of course you will have to take the boat from Agia Roumeli to Sfakia...but if it is the organized tour the escort will take care of that....>>

exactly clauser - IF it is the organised tour.

it wasn't, and we only just made it.

I would definitely recommend the tour.
annhig is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 05:55 PM
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Hi Kirsten 525,
You have some good suggestions already. My favorite area is the southern coast, but beware - you are still trying to do a lot in the short time you have. Choose to concentrate on one area of Crete for this trip and you will enjoy it more. If you fly into Heraklion for one night, go early in the morning to Knossos then head west. Have lunch in Rethymnon and continue on to Chania for the remaining days. You'll have plenty to see from there.
parosblue is offline  
Feb 11th, 2013, 11:13 AM
  #12  
 
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Have discovered a fabulous video with Highlights of Crete, that i'd like to share with you all.

http://vimeo.com/44873548

enjoy
clausar is offline  
Feb 11th, 2013, 12:24 PM
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As everyone has indicated you need at least 2 weeks. I think for the first trip it is great to see Knossos and maybe Chania and Rhymenon and some of the beaches or villages nearby. You can do Sitia, Ag Nik, etc. on your next visit.
mes2525 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2013, 12:38 PM
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Sometimes there is no second visit...
In that case Agios Nikolaos and Elounda are absolutely doable with a bit of planning....

Agios Nikolaos is only 65 km away from Heraklion
clausar is offline  
Feb 11th, 2013, 03:54 PM
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Clausar - thank you for sending the link to that wonderful video!
parosblue is offline  
Feb 11th, 2013, 05:51 PM
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It seems one does best getting quickly from East to West along the northern fast road and takes side trips down to the South where desired, rather than attempting to travel the South coast using the roads along there.
Is this fair to say?
Tommmo is offline  
Feb 11th, 2013, 10:43 PM
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Tommmo

it is a matter of time, generally you are right...
But a nice trip is to go Sounth of Heraklion to the Libyan Sea, see Gortys, Matala, Agia Galini and then up to Spili and the Plakias area, Frangokastelo and up to the North.

This would require an overnight in either Matala or Agia Galini.
clausar is offline  
Feb 12th, 2013, 01:12 PM
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Thanks Clausar. My maps don't show clearly a road from Spili to Plakias. Do you know of one , maybe that goes through the Kotsifou Gorge to Plakias?
Tommmo is offline  
Feb 12th, 2013, 01:58 PM
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tommo - google maps shows a road and thinks that it takes about 90 mins.

however, when we visited, admittedly 30 years ago, our map purchased at the time showed a road across the southern coast of Crete. [current maps show the same thing]. when we got there, it was at best half made and had it not been for the fact that we were driving a 2CV which had very high clearance, we might have turned round and gone back.

just because a map shows a road, doesn't mean it's there. OTOH, even if it's not shown...
annhig is offline  
Feb 12th, 2013, 03:26 PM
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Ahh annhig, I can see you out there with your 2CV, pith helmet and binoculars....
I think roadworks have gone on a bit these days hopefully?
Tommmo is offline  

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