(This represents a revision to a previous thread requesting suggestions for a two-week itinerary!)
We've decided to join our friends for a trip to Crete in September. After reading through multiple threads and various websites, we have decided to spend all of our time to the west of Heraklion (except, of course, for a visit to Knossos and related museum).
We are fit, middle-aged people, who enjoy moderate (4-7 mile) hikes, culture, and local cuisine. We hope to combine some nice sightseeing and drives to small villages with a couple of days of relaxation on the beach. We do not need to stay in the top hotels; rather, small hotels with character are what we seek.
Flying into Chania, and out of Heraklion... If you could design the nicest itinerary with a relaxed pace, what would it include? Number of nights in each place? I'm getting the feeling that most people will recommend Chania for the largest chunk. Preferences for transportation? I realize we will need a car at some point, but would rather not use one the whole time.
I'll ask about restaurants, buses, sights, and car rental (need an automatic guaranteed) later.....