Torn: Crete or Peloponnesian peninsula

Old Jul 11th, 2008, 04:26 PM
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Torn: Crete or Peloponnesian peninsula

Dear fellow Fodorites,

I'm in the early stages of planning my Next Big Trip. I had hoped to travel this past year, but alas,given recent job/career changes, we never did. But I'm hoping to travel sometime next Spring/early summer.

I have my heart on Santorini, but I'm torn between making the trip Peloponnese + Santorini, or Crete + Santorini (and a few days in Athens).

Which one? I think I lean toward the Peloponnese, as the idea of off-the-beaten track really appeals, but Crete also seems to be have much to offer.

I love experiencing the flavor of a region (culture - ie, interacting with locals in small towns, via small cafes, B&Bs, markets; intimate museums and sites); beauty (lovely vistas & dramatic topography); ruins (old, older, oldest).

Anyone have any recommendations one way or another?

Many, many thanks,
Paule
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Old Jul 11th, 2008, 06:05 PM
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I thing it depends on how much time you have altogether. Crete is huge. You really can't do justice to an island with so much size and diversity without a rental car and at least a week, or even two, so if you don't have the time and budget then go to the Peloponnese instead.
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Old Jul 11th, 2008, 06:23 PM
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I'm planning about 7-9 days for either destination. If I were to go to the Peloponnese, I'd go beyond the Nafplion area and to Momevasia, Mani, Mystras (the Mmms!).

My husband and I plan on having a car, so what might be a comparable trip in Crete, and what do you recommend?

Thanks,
Paule
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Old Jul 11th, 2008, 07:23 PM
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It's been a long time since I went to Crete, but I started out in Western Crete, Chania, rented a car and drove south and east, ended up in Matala on the south coast, then drove north to Heraklion and from Heraklion explored the northeast area before returning to Heraklion for the ferry to Santorini. There are lots of interesting places to go that having a car allows.
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Old Jul 12th, 2008, 06:50 AM
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Hi, thanks for your responses, brotherleelove. I'm still a little unclear, though, about what the differences are between the regions and why I might choose one over the other.

Is there anyone here who has been to both who prefers one over the other? Can you tell me why you do like it more? Hopefully that might be able to help me make a decision!

thanks again
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Old Jul 12th, 2008, 08:38 AM
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Both destinations are wonderful; Nafplion is a friendly, interesting town with easy access to Mycennae, Corith, etc. ... a quite touristed area until you go further south (Mani ... ).
Crete is very commercail along the coast, but the interior (like the Lassithi Valley) is much more rural and laid-back. If you choose Crete, the archaeological museum and Knossos are must-sees.
It's a tough choice, but IMHO, since you are going to Santorini, I think I would save a day traveling and choose the Peloponnese which is so near Athens.
How long will you be in Santorini? It's worth at least four days ... great island!
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Old Jul 12th, 2008, 09:29 AM
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Paule,
I've never been to the Peloponnese area but want to put my two cents in anyway.
My husband and I spent 9 nights in Greece in April. We stayed in Chania on Crete for 4 nights and loved it. We took just one day trip to Poleochora (not sure if I got that spelling right) and spent the rest of our days just strolling through Chania. We loved it there and would go back again. We stayed at a very inexpensive place called Pension Nora. It was simple but had everything we needed.
We then spent two nights in Oia on Santorini, staying at Casa Delphini.
Santorini was stunning and we could have used another day there.
We spent the last 3 nights in the Plaka section of Athens and would have been happy with 1 night less there. Although there is obviously a lot to see and do, we enjoyed the islands so much more. We did take a beautiful 1 day cruise out of Athens that visited 3 islands and that was a perfect day!
Hope this helps some!
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Old Jul 12th, 2008, 11:50 AM
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Both are beautiful places to visit. I have recently returned from Crete (near Chania) - my 4th visit to the island and have also had a number of trips to various parts of the Peloponnese. I'd be hard pushed to choose between them but if I had to make a decision, I'd probably go to the Peloponnese. There is a wide variety of things to see and do, ruins a plenty, mountains, pretty villages and beaches and not too much commercialisation. Some pictures from some of these trips-

Crete:
http://www.worldisround.com/articles/346735/index.html

Peloponnese:
http://www.worldisround.com/articles/296138/index.html
http://www.worldisround.com/articles/166201/index.html
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Old Jul 13th, 2008, 01:54 PM
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Many thanks, everyone. I'm still in the early stages of planning, and am looking to go next Spring. It depends upon my vacation schedule (ah, work) and how much time I can take, but I should have about 2 weeks. I figured I would stay about 3 nights in Santorini (as that seems to be the minimum), and have a total of 2-3 nights in Athens, leaving about 7-9 nights in the other destination. I do lean toward the Peloponnese, and I look forward to looking at your links, Maria!
Thanks again,
Paule
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 03:03 AM
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I was under the impression that Nafplion was a day traveling as well, even though it is close to Athens.

If you don't rent a car (which we wouldn't), don't you have to take bus, train, bus or something like that to reach it, and then backtrack back to Athens to get to Santorini? Or is there a way to Santorini from Nafplion?
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 07:35 AM
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I don't know about public transport but Athens airport to Nafplion took us 2 hours 20 minutes by car.
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 08:01 AM
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progol: I haven't been to Crete, so I cannot guide you one way or the other on that decision. But if you decide in favor of the Peloponnese, we just took that trip recently, hitting all the spots you mention.

You can find our full report (with pix) here:
http://www.onelittleworld.com/greece_1.html

Hope it helps. Either way, enjoy Greece!
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 10:22 AM
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I am thinking about spending at least a week in Crete (will rent a car) and also perhaps a week in Cyprus. Am not sure yet as to the details. Is there a lot to see in these places? I have already been to Santorini, Athens and other islands so I want to concentrate on Crete and Cyprus. What are the most worthwhile sights to see and would you recommend staying in Chania?
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 04:53 PM
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Mr. Go -
Your trip report and photos are one of inspirations for my planning!

I keep going back to look at the photos - they are wonderful!

Paule
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Old Jul 16th, 2008, 03:16 PM
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Maria,
I just finished viewing your photos, and the ones of the Peloponnese are especially beautiful! You have a wonderful eye. I'm struck by the very lush scenery - and loved your shots of the goats! How close were you to the single goat?

Paule
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Old Jul 16th, 2008, 03:50 PM
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We spent a week in Crete a few years ago. For us it was all about R&R, so we plopped ourselves down at the Kalimera Kriti resort, which was absolutely wonderful. We had a one bedroom cabana overlooking the sea, just perfect and very romantic. We had a car and spent 4 of our days visiting Ag. Nicholos, Knosos ruins and Chania among other things.

I agree with Oisa that the interior of Crete is much more rural and laid back. We met many locals in the small villages at the cafes and gelato stands though English wasn't spoken by too many and it's all we speak. That said, I love coastal geography and cities so touring the perimeter route was also a pleasure. We made a special point of hitting the southern coastline just so I could say I swam in the Libyan Sea.
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Old Jul 16th, 2008, 04:28 PM
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Hi Paule,

This is a difficult decision. I have been to both and explored these areas. You need to rent a car which ever destination you decide upon. It really is a toss up, but I would go to the Peloponnes. There are some charming towns on the water on the way to Naphlion. We stayed over night at Nea Epidavros. There are water taxis there that will take you to Hydra. Plus the antiquties around that area are wonderful. Driving from there to the mani takes you through orachard areas, cherry, orange etc. Parts of the interior of the Peloponnes is mountainous. Forget Sparta; it is depressing. Also off the coast of the mani are some nice islands that have very few tourist. On the way back to Athens go north to Olympia and cross over to the other side of the Corinth gulf and check out some cute towns there. Nafpaktos comes to mind. You could then go to Delphi and back to Athens.

Crete is wonderful also. We were there last summer for 10 days. Also I like the Pelion Penninsula, which is not for you on this trip, but is a more lush area with charming sea towns and fabulous food. The spices and herbs they use are different and delcious. There are running brooks coming from Mt. Olympus. Every towns has lovely fountains and there are places all around to fill up your water bottels.

Either place will fill you with great memories.

Have a fabulous trip. Yipper
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Old Jul 16th, 2008, 04:45 PM
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I haven't been to the Peloponnese but I have great memories of Crete. I stayed at the very eastern tip of the island in a remote village whose name I can't remember. It was another world altogether. Ag. Nikolaus is gorgeous as well in a much more developed posh way. Has anyone else been to the eastern tip of Crete and know the place I'm talking about?
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Old Jul 16th, 2008, 11:53 PM
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Hi Paule

Thanks. The picture of the goat was taken with a zoom lens. Though they may stare menacingly from a distance, if you get close, they generaly run off. The biggest danger was when a large flock of them were on the hillside above us, sending loose rocks hurtling down the hillside!

If you want it green and lush, go in spring. The 2 Peloponnese trips were done in early May when the spring flowers were spectacular.
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Old Jul 17th, 2008, 04:07 AM
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I am looking at the possibility of spending 10 days or so in Crete next September and have looked at the map. I see a town Hania. I presume this is the same as Chania which is mentioned on this thread several times. I couldn't find a town Chania so I leaped to that conclusion.
What do you folks think about spending half the time there, touring the western part of the island and the other half in Heraklion and touring the eastern part.
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