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Aug 27th, 2013, 09:53 AM
  #1
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Greek Islands - 30th Wedding Anniversary

We will be celebrating our 30th wedding Anniversary in 2014. We are trying to finalize where we want to go for 14 days. We are thinking of Italy or Greece. On this thread, I would like to ask your opinion on Greece.

First, I want to let you know that we have been to Greece once before for 2 weeks. We toured Athens, then rented a car and did the Pelopponeese area, Nafplion, then up toward Delphi and Meteora. Then we flew to Santorini and spent 4 nights in Oia. We just loved our vacation. My husband is Cypriot so that really helped as well.

We enjoy seeing the country, enjoying the culture, and good food. We like the beach a bit as well but that is not the main reason we go. We are not night life type of people in our late 50s. We prefer very nice dinners out experiencing the culinary eats and strolling.

Our budget per night accommodation would be up to $300 Canadian. We have also stayed in places for less that have been a charm.

So our question to this Board is - what 2 islands would you recommend we consider? At this point, we have already landed on Crete being one places we need to go.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated. You people are always very helpful.

The time of year we would go is mid September and are flying transatlantic.

Have a good day!
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Aug 27th, 2013, 10:32 AM
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Congratulations on a major milestone.30 years is something special.
We too fly transatlantic from Vancouver and that is a long haul. Regardless I would suggest you find a flight and fly out to an island as soon as you arrive in Athens. There is an Aegean flight that departs Athens around 8 pm and gets you into Chania Crete by 9. I can't think of a nicer place to wake up in the next morning and putting jet lag behind you. Chania old harbour area is simply amazing. It is very hard for Canadians to imagine a town that has been in existence for over 500 years. You can spend 4 days easily in Chania or use it as a base to explore some interesting sights including Ancient Aptera the boat excursion to Balos and Gramavossa ( including a hike up to a pirate fortress) the beach and
ancient site at Falsarna and if you are fit the 16km excursion down the Samaria Gorge. You can visit Rethymnon a delightful city about an hour and a half from Chania and visit the fortezza. If you want to stay longer you can head down south to the Libyan sea for a beach get away. Towns you might look at would be Paleochora or perhaps Plakias.
You can easily spend the whole two weeks in western Crete. However if you are looking for a second island I would recommend Naxos or perhaps Milos. Both are quite different. Naxos has a vibrant main town area with a good beach directly adjacent so you can have a town/beach experience all within a 10 minute walk of each other.
Here are images of Chania http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632117917828/
Western Crete http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632115757899/
and a Trip around Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7634605629689/
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Aug 27th, 2013, 10:57 AM
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We also went to Greece for our 30th anniversary, visiting Mykonos, Santorini and Athens. I loved Santorini, and I was surprised how much I loved Mykonos. The island is known for its wild party scene, but my husband and I loved the main town of Chora, the restaurants were wonderful, and we expecially loved visiting the island of Delos by boat. We stayed at a beautiful small hotel, the Tharroe of Mykonos, which is situated on the hill overlooking Chora.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 10:57 AM
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My advice would be to visit two places on Crete rather than 2 separate islands. Crete has so much to offer that it can easily take up two weeks. It is also large enough that doing a split between two places on the island works well.

I used to live on Rhodes (which can also easily eat up two weeks) and would not suggest one week on Crete and then one week on Rhodes would be enough to do justice to either island.

To do a 2 island trip I would pick 2 smaller islands with less to see/do on them which means you would have enough time on them if you see what I mean.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 11:21 AM
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Thanks everyone. Tell me more about spending 2 weeks in Crete. We were thinking about that.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 11:53 AM
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Hi Byron. As you can see my original note did give you suggestions for two full weeks in Crete. In fact we have spend 25 days in Western Crete over three trips and still have not completed our original plan, Next year we intend to go back for three weeks just to do stuff we missed on the first trips and again I say I am only talking about west Crete there is a whole lot to see on the east side of the island as well.
Look at the western Crete images above all the stuff for two week I recommended is in there.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 12:03 PM
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Can you help me out a bit more? My wife cannot do the Gorge as she has vertigo issues so real mountainous rides bother her. Knowing that, what would you recommend regarding areas to concentrate on? Thanks so much. Your information in the attachments are very helpful. Thanks so much. At this point, Chania, Iraklion,and Rethymnon for sure. ,
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Aug 27th, 2013, 01:32 PM
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Ok then you need to stay pretty much on the North coast and not head south because there is some mountain driving to get tot eh south coast.
So Aptera might not be a good suggestion either but the Balos day boat excursion should work just make sure that its a calm day. She won't do the hike up to the fortress but my wife just stayed on the beach and soaked up some sun and balos is a beach so that should be OK. Falasarna should be Ok although thee is a drive down the side of a hill to the beach.
You should probably plan on spending two or three nights in Rethymnon. it takes almost that much time to just figure out the back alleys in both Chania and Rethymnon.
Just east of Rethymnon is the village of Panormos which is " breathtakingly, unspoilt village that offers the perfect place for visitors, who are looking for that traditional and ultimate Greek experience. Nestled in a pretty agricultural valley and rocky mountains, Panormos – which has been described as a "hidden gem" of Crete - overlooks a harbour and three sandy-beached coves that all offer excellent shelter from the wind and are well known for the calm and shallow waters which make it a safe and peaceful place to swim." I put that in quotes because we haven't been there but is in the plan for next year.
If possible you could head south from Rethymnon to Plakias. That is a pretty good road more curvy than steep and that would get you to the great beach there.
Hereaklion is really not a pretty city but has a good center area that may take an hour or two to visit and of course which will take a good half day.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 02:35 PM
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There are simply to many choices on Crete to list Byron.
Read here for an example that covers area by area of the island. The owners of this website clearly love Crete.
http://www.completely-crete.com/crete-villages.html

You might consider somewhere around Agios Nikolaos for part of your time.
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Aug 28th, 2013, 03:28 AM
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Thank you, everyone. I really appreciate the time you take to respond.

We are thinking to stay in no more than 3 hotels/B+B. Chania for sure. What are your thoughts on that front given day trips from those locations? Any suggestions regarding places to stay? We would like a relaxing and quiet atmosphere. We were thinking of maybe one place being a nice beachfront type of location for 2 or 3 days.

Then of course, any suggestions re restaurants. Tamam is one we have read about. We like to experience the Cretan culture so really want to avoid tourist traps and try those little gems some of you already know about.

Have a good day.
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Aug 28th, 2013, 07:04 AM
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One choice that could combine Chania WITH a great beach experience PLUS authentic Cretan Cuisine, is the hotel just outside (west) of Chania -- Hotel AMMOS. Unusually for this area it has a pool, AND is on a sandy beach... surrounded by gardens, and a notable Cretan chef. NOt fancy, but very clean & white, very Greek. Only about 4 Km outside Chania Old town -- and on the inland side of the hotel, the local bus stops every 30 mins or so, thus you can enjoy Old Town without need to rent a car, until you want to explore further. It is ranked #1 in the area, but it is very moderately priced; it has just 30 rooms and thus the only downside is, it's hard to book ... but you have plenty of time. http://www.ammoshotel.com/ Trip advisor reviews are "over the moon" including a greek friend of mine who's very particular ... http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...ure_Crete.html I've never stayed there alas, but for years have recommended it to honeymooners and "anniversaryers" and all have reported back to me happily.
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Aug 28th, 2013, 09:04 AM
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Another thought on Western Crete ... someone mentioned going to Falassarna. In 2007 2 friends and I did that from Chania one May, had 2 memorable nights there. Easy drive west on main road then smaller ones to the beach area, I'd been attracted by website for Hotel Petalida & booked there, SUCH a good choice! http://www.petalida-crete.com/MainE.html It's at the top of a bluff, looking down on the beach & sunset .. a bit of waves there, just because the wind blows all the way from the nearest land to the west -- Spain! Petalida's a family place (only the younger generation, in 20s speaks English), dad has a fishing boat & they serve the days catch in their taverna facing the view ... noted as the best seafood place around. One should ask for a room in the separate 1-story building with patios on the view... we enjoyed the most spectacular & romantic sunsets ever, wish I could append fotos here. And just down a dirt road about 500 yards is a Hellenistic ruin, fun to clamber about, populated only by goats and a few chickens has some fun elements (Roman-era bath-tubs), great view... September would be even better time to go, because water would be sublime.
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Aug 28th, 2013, 12:10 PM
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Since Cretan Cuisine was mentioned.
There aren't many restaurants offering local Cretan cuisine in Crete.
In most places you will either find touristy food, or the homogenized "Greek" food, that you will find all over Greece from North to South.

The Cretan cuisine however is excellent, and real Cretan tavernas do exist, just not where tourists go.
Ask locals for recommendations of these tavernas.

Cretan cuisine was totally unknown to the rest of Greece, but has become very very popular in the last 5-6 years.
There are many excellent restaurants in Athens offering only Cretan dishes. But the best ones can be found in Crete of course
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