Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Greece 2.0 revised September itinerary Crete/Nafplio/Athens

Greece 2.0 revised September itinerary Crete/Nafplio/Athens

Old Apr 11th, 2023, 07:24 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,696
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Greece 2.0 revised September itinerary Crete/Nafplio/Athens

We were able to use ff miles to book flight to Chania, arriving at 1:35pm on a Sunday, mid September. We leave from Athens 10 days later, on a Wednesday. Based on some input from earlier thread, this is the basic itinerary:
Crete - 5 nts
Napflio - 3 nts
Athens - 2 nts

I'm thinking in Crete, we spend 1st 3 nights in Chania, then change to another location(s). Definitely want to visit Knossos, and if we fly out of Heraklion (to Athens), we would probably stay in that area for the last night. I noticed there seems to be a decent bus system in Crete. Will we need a car or can we manage with the bus for some or all of the time? We are fine with driving and will definitely have a car when we fly to Athens to drive to Nafplio. Will return car back at airport before going to Athens hotel.

As far as hotels, I'm looking at Aetoma Hotel in Nafplio, any thoughts on this? Last time in Athens we stayed at InnAthens, which we really liked so will probably stay there again. While there last time, we never did get inside the church across the street (The Sotira Lykodimou Church, the largest surviving Byzantine church in Athens and supposedly quite beautiful). The one time it was open, we had just arrived and rushed off to lunch. Little did we know, that it would be locked every other time we checked. I still regret not peeking inside when we had the opportunity.

I'm thinking we'd like to stay near the old city when in Chania, but near parking if we're to have a car there (I see that it's pedestrian only in parts) . Any hotel recommendations? Apartments are fine, trying to keep night cost between $100-200. I'm a bang for the buck traveler but location, quiet and cleanliness are very important. Don't need beachfront, pool or breakfast (assuming cafes nearby). I am now researching exactly what day trips we'll do while in Crete. We don't plan on any long beach days, but would like to see some of the more picturesque ones. I love ruins and old towns with windy little streets and interesting architecture. We don't mind walking, as we are city people and walk all the time.

MFNYC is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2023, 08:03 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 8,254
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
From Chania, you can do the following day trips by public transport (touristic lines):
Kissamos - Balos/Gramvousa boat
Kissamos - Falassarna
Kissamos - Elafonissi Beach
Samaria Gorge hike.
Buses from Chania to Rethymno - iraklio are very frequent.

If you are interested in History, Knossos and the archeological museum of Iraklio are musts. For more, go to Malia or Phaistos. The Minoan architecture in Crete is older than and very different from the classical Greek one. You will not see the same around Nafplio: Mycene, Epidavros, Tyrins, etc.
My preferred hotel at Chania is the Porto Veneziano.

BTW: Buses between Nafplio and Athens are very frequent. Bus X93 runs directly from the airport to the Peloponissos bus station from where Nafplio bound buses start. There are buses from Piraeus to the Peloponissos bus station too (bus 420), but as they start far away from the Crete ferry pier, it's easier to go from the latter by taxi directly to the Peloponissos bus station.
neckervd is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2023, 08:27 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,696
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Neckervd. I'll check out the bus info in more detail. I was just looking at that hotel!

Last edited by MFNYC; Apr 11th, 2023 at 08:39 AM.
MFNYC is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2023, 09:50 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 4,200
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Your itinerary is looking good.... and for CRETE, I think you might do well on public transit, or with just a one-day car rental.. For the short NAFPLIO visit, I think car rental will simplify things & enable seeing some key things without local-transit delays. But first things first:

CHANIA HOTELS -- Porto Veneziano is a well-reviewed modern hotel at the Eastern end of Old Town HArbour .. also think it has an elevator, important for some. I've really lilked staying on the no-cars flagstone lane just West ofthe Harbour, THeotokopoulu Street (see this map -- https://www.explorecrete.com/crete-m...chania-old.jpg) ... it's just a few yards up from the harbour view, but very serene at night. A place I really liked, right at the seaward end, is Hotel Palazzo https://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/palazzo-old-town-chania -- Sounds like a big hotel (and it is now owned by a group) but its really an updated beautiful Venetian mansion with 12 rooms; ask for a front-balcony room (it also has a roof terrace). A cute little place next door, https://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/her...ios.en-gb.html -- has just 3 units, also balconies w sea view.

CHANIA/AREA ACTIVITIES -- Exploring Old Town will take at least your first full day - here, thanks to Fodorite & ace photog "Stanbr" are pix of Chania & Western Crete delights -
and
for your 2nd & 3rd day, many excursions to beaches, or walks between villages are available (if you want a 'gorge walk" - I recommend going w a group to IMBROS gorge, not SAMARIA ... shorter, just as scenic). A one-day car rental could have 2 highlights (1) Rethymnon's HUGE Fortezza (go straight there, skip Rethymnon Old Town, Chania's better) and (2) Melidoni Cave -- just inland from Beach town of Panormos -- stunning cave, poignant history http://www.crete-guide.info/melidoni_cave.htm If u want to explore inland on your own, a drive to Spili, or to Phaistos, or to Matala beach & back would be very feasible. For a local Chania swim, the cute "town beach", is just a 15-20 minute walk west of Old Town along the seafront - https://www.west-crete.com/chania-nea-chora.htm ... you'll be mainly w. Greek locals there -- and it has some swell seafood cafes right off the sands.

REMAINING 2 DAYS -- Doing this by public transit would avoid the horrendous experience of traffic and confusing 1 way streets of Concrete Canyons of Heraklion/Iraklion. I'd suggest a noon bus (2 hrs)it runs all along North Coast, terminal right at Heraklion Port. Visible from there (a €6 taxi?) are some seafront Hotels, I recommend moderate HOTEL KRONOS; try to get seafront balcony. From there u can walk to ARc. Museum, w Stunning Treasures from Knossos -- really enables greater appreciation of the ruins. From Hotel, evening stroll out on Causeway to another FAB Fortezza, enjoy dinner at seafront; Ippocampus a great choice. For Knossos, key thing is to avoid cruise-ship crowds! Online links will show how many ships that day. Your best bet is to get there at opening time -- 8 or 8:30, or else after 2 pm, when cruise mobs are marched away. The local bus too Knossos is down by port, takes about 30 minutes. With prep, you can D-I-Y the site but licensed guides are by entry for hire. There are other overloooked highlights in Heraklion - these walks will lead you to some. https://www.heraklion.gr/en/visitor/walking-town I'm sure other Fodorites will have better ideas!

DEPARTURE DAY -- try for an early flight (& save money too!) to ATH - for a car rental & your NAFPLIO Adventure ... (to be continued)

Attached Thumbnails Greece 2.0 revised September itinerary Crete/Nafplio/Athens-chania-old.jpg  
travelerjan is online now  
Old Apr 11th, 2023, 04:49 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,696
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Any thoughts on Kastro Hotel in Heraklion?

Hotel Palazzo in Chania looks perfect!
MFNYC is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2023, 05:44 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 4,200
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't know Kastro hotel.... I see it on the map, it's several blocks in from the seafront boulevard. I usually pick more for location than an "experience" in Heraklion, because it's a big bustling concrete city -- the 2 I' ve stayed in & liked, Hotel Kronos, and Marin Hotel are both overlookign the port, are ranked "very good" in booking.com reviews, and are under 100 per night for balcony room in September. Kastro is closer to that central "restaurant square" which is a little noisier in late evening, and no view of anything but concrete buildings.

BTW, after posting above, i mentally went over the end-of-Crete scenario, and believe that you could, without rushing, see the 2 main Heraklion "musts' in one day. It would go like this -- catch 8 AM KTEL bus from Chania, arrive 10, reach hotel, check in by 10:45- 11. Then go DIRECT to Museum 11:30 - 1; lunch, Catch 2 or 2:30 bus to KNOSSOS -- return 5:30 - 6. Evening stroll l& dinner 7 - 10. Next AM check out, taxi to airport for 10 am flight to ATH. Talk it over. This would give u a bit more time in Western Crete.... of course there's a lot t see in Central, Eastern & Southern Crete (after all, it's essentially a major country!)... but you'll have to return. After my first visit in '99, I returned at least 4 - 5 more times.
travelerjan is online now  
Old Apr 13th, 2023, 09:04 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,696
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Are the Balos/Gramvousa tours worth it, or should be just take a bus to Kissamos port and then ferry? If we do it on our own, do we need ferry tickets in advance, or can we just get them there?

MFNYC is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2023, 09:12 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 8,254
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
IIf there is a price difference, take the KTEL bus to Kissamos port. It shouldn't be difficult at all to get boat tickets there.
neckervd is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2023, 09:24 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,696
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tour costs about $25-60. Not sure why such a range in price, they look the same. It's possible the more expensive one includes ferry ticket. The cheaper ones don't. I know that these tours that do hotel pickup/dropoff (which these do) could be an extra long day with all the stops. Just wasn't sure if a guide is necessary, or we can figure it out on our own. I'm leaning towards doing it on our own.
MFNYC is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2023, 10:46 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,696
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm thinking maybe we should do 4 nights Chania and 1 Heraklion. I see too many things to do from Chania as a base:
- Balos/Gramvousa day trip, probably do on our own using bus
- Imbros Gorge, probably with tour
- other beach(es). I see private tour of
Falassarna-Elafonisi-Palaiochora, or small group tour of Falassarna-Elafonisi
I'd have to eliminate 1 of these if we only spend 3 nights here. Also, no need for car.

These take up 3 full days, which means 4 nights. Then we'd do as TravelerJan suggests, take early bus to Heraklion, and visit Knossos and museum that day.

Does this make sense?
MFNYC is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2023, 03:11 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 252
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I stayed at Aetoma back in 2015. I don't remember much about the room itself, but the location was very good, and the owners (mother and son) were extremely helpful and friendly. They moved their car to allow us to park right in front of the hotel to load and unload our luggage, and the son assisted us in getting the car out of the narrow streets when we departed.
traveler318 is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2023, 08:13 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,696
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Any thoughts on tours like this https://www.chaniaadventures.gr/en/j...eep-tour-balos where we can see a couple of different beach areas in 1 day? I'm trying to figure out the most efficient way we can see a mix of sights of nature, history, architecture, etc, with only 4 full days in Crete. I also see other jeep type tours that visit a variety of scenic spots. I don't need to spend significant time lounging on a beach. I would like to devote a decent part of a day in Chania, maybe do a walking tour there (guided or audio). Just trying to figure out what makes the most sense given the time I have.


MFNYC is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2023, 09:19 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,696
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This is what I'm thinking for Crete:
Day 1 - arrive Chania airport Sunday 1:35pm. Check into Chania hotel. We'll take it easy as I'm sure we'll be tired (I never sleep well on planes). Wander around town a bit, Have dinner, then call it a day.
*Day 2 - jeep tour of Balos and Falassarna beaches
*Day 3 - walking tour of Chania (guided or audio), maybe sunset boat ride (looking at this one https://www.getyourguide.com/crete-l...guide-t258302/)
*Day 4 - Imbros Gorge tour
*Day 2-4 tours days maybe rearranged based on daily tour availability.
Day 5 early bus to Heraklion (do we need tickets in advance?). Check into Heraklion hotel then Knossos and Archaeological museum. Will look into some kind of tour, guided or audio.
Day 6 fly to Athens in morning from Heraklion airport and continue from there



MFNYC is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2023, 09:26 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 4,200
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
LOoks good! NO you don't have to buy tix in advance; but if u are walking by the bus station on a tour or jst a stroll, you can pick up tix... tix are for a specific departure time, but if plans change u can exchange. As far as Day 5, looks good, but I repeat previous advice... Go FIRST to the Museum late morning (that's when crowds are biggest at Knossos) then take bus to Knossos 2 pm oro later, after cruise crowds leave.
travelerjan is online now  
Old Apr 14th, 2023, 09:37 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,696
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks! I was agonizing on how to make the best use of our time. Not sure if we'll ever return, but then again, after 1st trip to Greece last September, we're going back a year later, so who knows??

Our last trip you had encouraged me to book a flight to Santorini right after arriving in Athens (I had originally figured we'd spend that night in Athens). I was hesitant, but took your advice. So glad we did. It worked like a charm, and we even had time for a sit down breakfast at the airport before Santorini flight. I would never had done it this way without your suggestion.
MFNYC is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2023, 12:49 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 4,200
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Glad to hear that Santorini-First thing worked for you. Fact is, we "old hands" don't just suggest things randomly, on a whim. We've learned in the process of many trips, and we're just trying to help others use the strategies that have proved best... and it's always rewarding to have someone say, yep, that was a good idea.
travelerjan is online now  
Old Apr 15th, 2023, 02:54 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 8,254
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Balos - Gramvousa:
If you want to go to the beaches of Balos etc. take the boat. You can get food on board of most boats.
If you prefer to have only a look of this area from the cliffs above Balos, book the jeep tour.

Falassarna:
The KTEL bus leaving Chania in the morning and coming back in late afternoon is dirty cheap.
In September, most beach chairs are empty before the arrival of the bus.

Elafonissi:
Most famous beach in the area. Crowded in high season. KTEL bus from Chania as above.
neckervd is offline  
Old Apr 15th, 2023, 06:28 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,696
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I only have 4 full days in Crete. My 4th days is dedicated to sights near Heraklion, so that leaves 3 for Chania area. One of those days is definitely the town of Chania, so just 2 for day trips. I really am not that interested in spending hours lounging on the beach, and from what I can tell, with the distances and bus schedules, these trips take up much of the day.

I dabble with photography so I'm always looking for pretty or interesting things to photograph, whether it be people or nature (I've been doing at least a photo-a-day on Instagram for over 10 years, @marjfz). I also love small towns, ruins and things like that, so want to mix up my 4 days with different kinds of things. If I had more time, yes, I would definitely try to go to all those beaches, but unfortunately my time is limited, so I have to make the best of it.

Last edited by MFNYC; Apr 15th, 2023 at 07:00 AM.
MFNYC is offline  
Old Apr 15th, 2023, 07:06 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,696
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Quick question, when we arrive at the Chania airport, can we just grab a taxi at the airport to go to hotel, or should we book a transfer? I also see on Booking that the Palazzo Hotel has an airport shuttle, I will inquire about that.

Last edited by MFNYC; Apr 15th, 2023 at 07:11 AM.
MFNYC is offline  
Old Apr 15th, 2023, 08:44 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 4,200
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
IF you just want a quick swim, handy to your hotel, and surrounded by locals not tourists, don't forget the walk west on the seafront 15-20 mins to "nea chora" (town)I beach.
travelerjan is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -