Day Trips from Chania

Feb 14th, 2009, 11:52 AM
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Day Trips from Chania

My husband and I will have 4 days in Chania in late June.

We will want to spend one of those days exploring the city of Chania.

We plan to rent a car and would like to do some daytrips around the area.
I would like some help organizing our days.

How does this sound?
Day 1
Drive to Sounda Bay, and through the Vamos area. (Can you suggest a town or area here to explore?) Then, continue driving to Rethymno.See the Venetian fortress and drive back to Chania.

Day 2
Drive through the Gorge to Theriso and on to Meskla to see the church there.

Day 3
Drive to Kissamos and take a fery to Gramsousa Island and on to see Balos Bay.

Are there other towns and/or sights in the area that we should see?

We love natural beauty and would like to visit a winery. We are willing to do some walking but we do not want to take on the Samaria Gorge.

Thank you for your help!
Laurie is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 12:48 PM
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Day 1 (BTW it's Souda not Sounda)... Vamos itself is worth exploring. And did u look at its website?? they have daily walks different each day, with either a picnic enroute or drinks and Meze at a cafe at the end... ALSO the shore villages of Kalives & Almirida: from the latter there's a walk (or drive) 4km up to village called Gavalohori, v. traditional, supposed to have shops & museum of crafts & textiles; want to go there next yr.

Day 2 - "the" gorge? There are at least 7 gorges in West Crete. I like driving down Topolian Gorge (road down is just before Kissamos); road is on the rim...goes thru a MT. tunnel(!) & just on other side of it, on the RT,200 steps up is a cave "church" Ag Sofia (actually much older than christianity -- a site of worship since STone Age!). At Strovies u can turn East & go back to coast along another gorge. OR -- you could do as we did, turn West to coast & go spend a night on a bluff above Falassarna beach (GORGEOUS) at tiny Hotel Petalida! Then go from THERE to the Gramvousa/Balos cruise.

Day 3 - I do hope u plan to swim, not just "see" those lovely beaches.

Day 3-
travelerjan is online now  
Feb 14th, 2009, 12:53 PM
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One of my favorite walks in West Crete is from Xyloskalo (top of the Samaria Gorge in the Omalos Plain) up toward the summit of Gingilos. The ascent to the peak is 850 meters and takes about 3 1/2 hours but it's also worthwhile (and much easier) to go only up to the col (about 2 hours). From there you can see both the north and south coasts of Crete. The trip down is much quicker although can be tough on the knees.

There's a nice taverna in Xyloskalo (that's pretty much all there is) with a nice view of the top of the Samaria Gorge. The drive from Xania would be just an hour.
Roger1x is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 01:17 PM
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Thank you TravelJan. This is the information that I need!

Is Souda Bay worth a stop? Ir is good to know about the walks from Vamos.

The village of Gavalohori sounds like a good place to shop for local crafts and souvenirs.

The gorge's sound like they will be a beautiful drive. Ag Sofia sounds cool!
I would love to see it!

We would like to swim. Do you think it will be too cold towards the end of June?

Thanks again for the tips!
Laurie is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 01:22 PM
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Thank you for your reply, Roger. I am sure that the views from the summit are amazing!

I think this walk may be a little to strenuous for our tastes.

Maybe we can just hang out at the nice taverna in Xyloskalo.
Laurie is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 01:46 PM
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First, do not discount the Samaria Gorge. Drive south to Chora Skafion, take ferry to southern end of Samaria Gorge and walk in as far as you want. This is very doable.
Vamos- ride around the Apokoronas Peninsula/area. Villages Vamos, Douliana, Gavalochari. Many Europeans are restoring old homes and or building new ones for as second homes in the area.Eat a the taverna in Vamos..Bloumosifis(?)There are also some shops selling local products.
Beautiful beaches on the western side of Crete- drive to Falassarna and Elafonisis. They are totally different from each other, one more rugged and wild and the other more tropical. The drive between the two is beautiful although a little challenging at times.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 01:49 PM
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You'll see Souda Bay driving from Chania up to Vamos. There is a Greek military base on one shore and US Navy ships were also moored there when we visted a couple of years ago.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 07:29 PM
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I swim on the north coast of Crete starting in mid-May so June should be just dandy, unless you are from a state like florida. I swim in Long Island Sound a lot, so....

For the full story on Vamos go to its website... click on all the links, including "walks". If on the day you wlll be there, there is not a walk that appeals, at the Vamos shop or information center, you can ask for a free guide or map of a D-I-Y walk in the area.,english/
The same outfit that runs the walks for Vamos also has its own walks which sometimes coincide & some times are totally different, you will want to compare:

travelerjan is online now  
Feb 14th, 2009, 07:40 PM
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PS: regarding crafts, Chania is the center for all the best crafts of Crete -- so you can see some no matter if you get to a village or not... there is a govt sponsored shop "Local artistic Handicrafts Assn" located just where the old harbor turns the corner to the new harbor.. Near the Mosque. Also... for sophisticated selection, trY MITOs on Halidon st opp the cathedral. As for jewelry, my sister-in-law, a jewelry designer, shopped all over Santorini for gold items -- and found the best, at half the price, in Chania.
travelerjan is online now  
Feb 15th, 2009, 01:15 AM
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On your day trip to Vamos, you should go up to Aptera en route to or from. It's one of the most important cities of ancient (7th c. B.C.) western Crete. It was built on a site 15 km. from Chania, south of Souda bay, near the village of Megala Horafia, which had a view of the whole plain of Chania.
The city walls still standing today are reminiscent of the Cyclopean walls of Tiryns and Mycenae. One can also see the remains of a small 1st c. B.C. temple of Demeter, a Roman theatre and the enormous vaulted cisterns of the Roman period according to one source they were used for grain storage preserved in excellent condition. YOU also get great views.

Souda itself is nothing to write home about, but just to the north of the town, right down on the shore, is the cemetery for the Commonwealth dead of the battle of Crete. It's absolutely beautiful, and very peaceful. I always end up contrasting it with the German cemetery at Maleme.

Also, Marathi, on the north side of the bay, is a lovely place to escape to for peace and quiet- and good fish tavernas mostly occupied by Greeks.

I'm not sure what one gets from Samaria without walking it. I DO know how pissed off I was having walked the length of the gorge when we met the people of the boats who, amongst other things, were simply blocking the path!!! grrr.

I think you meant Therisso gorge, and can assure you it's very pretty and worth the run, although it's close in to Chania so probably less than a day, even with a visit to the church in Meskla and lunch there (last time we did it was May Day and it was full of families home for the holidays, picking flowers and making wreaths).

Options I think you are missing- and you may have discounted thembr />
1. The Akrotiri. It has Stavros, which is a pretty little village with a beach, and above it Zorba's mountain- it's where they filmed the beach scenes in Zorba the Greek. It also has two monasteries, both worth a visit; Agia Triada, and Gouverneto. There's a really nice walk down to the rocky shore at Katholiko- a small abandoned monastery at the foot of the hill.

2. Happy Traveller has mentioned Elafonissos and Falassarna, both well worth the trip.

I have to say that anywhere off piste in the mountains is worth going to too. Get the Harms West Crete map, and the Sunflower guide to Western Crete.

sheila is offline  
Feb 15th, 2009, 05:38 AM
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that topolian gorge drive and agia sofia sounds beautiful! unfortunately, we're basing ourselves on the eastern side of the island. anything similar to see on that side?
(sorry to hijack the post!)
dina4 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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Thank you so much to HappyTrvlr, TravelerJan and Sheila for all the great information!

It sounds like we will have plenty to do in Western Crete.

HappyTrvlr, I am going to look into the villages and beaches that you suggested. We are looking forward to swimming and relaxing.

TravelerJan, I have been exploring the Vamos website that you linked. It is a very good website with loads of information about the area.

Sheila, thank you for telling me about Aptera, the cemetery and Marathi. They sound like lovely places to visit.

I have been reading 2 guidebooks about Crete but I think the information that I am getting here on Fodors is giving us a better idea of what to see on Crete.

Thanks again!

Laurie is offline  
Feb 15th, 2009, 10:58 AM
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dina, dina, dina. DON'T hijack the post! ... start another thread ... really, it's not hard!! Give it a title like: Eastern Crete-- your favorite things?

Dina, one reason is that people who are really fond of Eastern Crete will not even bother to open up threads with the word "chania" or West Crete in the title. And I wouldn't open up something that dealt with anything east of Malia, because it's out of my knowledge zone.

If you are worth answering, you are worth your own thread, Go, Girl!
travelerjan is online now  
Feb 15th, 2009, 11:58 AM
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ok, jan, thanks for the encouragement!
dina4 is offline  

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