Rethinking our itinerary in Crete

Old Mar 24th, 2023, 11:38 AM
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Rethinking our itinerary in Crete

I thought I had completed our itinerary but now I'm having second thoughts. I booked 3 days at Avra Imperial in Chania after 2 days at Chania Town. We are skipping Rethymnon. Is this a mistake? We want to do day trips to Elafonissi beach, take a ferry to Balos Beach (with a group) and one day hike the Samaria Gorge from Avra Imperial. The 2 days in Chania Town are more like 1 full day and a half day (that's our travel day coming from Heraklio) so we want to use that time to explore the old town.

One option is for us to rent a car from when we arrive in Heraklio (instead of taking the bus from Heraklio to Chania Town). That way we could stop on our drive from Heraklio to Chania in Rethymnon. However, we'd have the car longer that means. Is this even worth it?

Background on us: we like the beaches and nature but we don't swim (except for my daughter). We love history and walking around old towns. My husband doesn't like moving too much. Help

layanluvstotravel is offline  
Old Mar 24th, 2023, 01:51 PM
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I would skip Rethymnon also ... it can be visited going to/from Heraklion, or as a stop before you turn South (the Main road south from Chania area (through Spilil ), starts below Rethymnon. Unless you ae staying in Rethymnon to use its beach, there are really just 2 things to stop for, IMHO. They have an "old town" district -- but it is smaller, more crowdy, and of less interest than Chania ... I was there 2x not thrilled. The other thing is the Gigantic Fortezza (which also has an archeological museum inside). The fortezza is huge, but actually not very interesting once you oet inside... just wander around, look over the walls ... the Fortezza at the waterfront of Heraklion is more my thing to be honest. But if you want to see the Rethymnon one, you can turn off the big highway, follow signs, & park quite near the entrance.

As for doing Samaria Gorge -- for many people, this requires a full day of recovery. The full walk, for older people and/or those without trekking sticks, can take up to 8 hour, and leave one with major leg-aches & fatigue. Also, if going near or in High Season, large crowds - so essentially u walk the whole length looking at someone's back. Some people go on & on about this -- often only know it from web promotion, call it "THe Gorge" as if there's only one... when Crete actually has probably 8 gorges. It's hyper-promoted. But if it's on your bucket list, fine.

My own experience: walking Imbros Gorge, was a total delight!! in Mid-May, only a few doozen people vs hundreds ... I do recommend taking a trekking stick (Not because of age or weakness) because on the stony path it helps w balance. We took about 4 hours and THAT was with stopping miidway for our picnic lunch, in a lovely grove. You park your car at the entrance, walk down, as you emerge there's a kiosk with cold lemonade (thrill!)< then you continue to a local taverna whre there are taxis (OR pick-up trucks) to take u back up the rimside road to your car. The Gorge is beautiful, has the same flowers, same mountain goats as Samaria. It also gets dramatically narrow near end -- there's a natural arch where a really tall NBA center with loong arms, could touch sides. Another thing I loved... in May, many of the gorge walls are covered with flowering thyme... so fragrant I had the feeling I was a leg of lamb! After emerging, we were mesmerized watching a flock of goats scale a totally vertical walk by the road.

IF u wanted, you could rent a car from Chania area for just 1 day, walk Imbros, and on way back, stop at Rethymon for 1 hour or so.
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Old Mar 24th, 2023, 06:28 PM
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Yes, skip Rethymnon. We hiked into Samaria Forge from the bottom part way which was enough.
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