We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Western Crete: Need itinerary advice - 11 nights in Sept.

Greenwich...
Level Contributor
421 posts
60 reviews
Save Topic
Western Crete: Need itinerary advice - 11 nights in Sept.

(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.....

Thank you!

Devizes, United...
Level Contributor
40,216 posts
340 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Western Crete: Need itinerary advice - 11 nights in Sept.

Hi there

With all due respect, providing an elaborate 11 -day itinerary would be based on what we like to do, rather than what you might enjoy doing. Plus, to put a full 11-day itinerary down on the forums here would take pages and a considerable amount of time. The best plan is for you to buy a good guide book to the island such as the Rough Guide to Crete. Have a good read through, make a list of all the various sights/towns, etc that you want to see within your preferred area and that are appealing to you, then at least, we can put them into some sort of logical order, advise on transport and so on.

Greenwich...
Level Contributor
421 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Western Crete: Need itinerary advice - 11 nights in Sept.

GB -Thanks; I'm simply looking for suggested number of nights in 1 - 4 places in Western Crete for an 11-day itinerary (clockwise? counter-clockwise? stay put in one place and take day trips only?), which I will flesh out later on my own. I appreciate all of your input, and all of the useful information you provide in other threads!

Edited: 15 February 2010, 15:58
Devizes, United...
Level Contributor
40,216 posts
340 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Western Crete: Need itinerary advice - 11 nights in Sept.

Hi again

OK, if I had 11 days to explore western Crete I'd look at staying in Chania, Paleohora and then Sfakia. This gives you good bases for a wide variety of ancient sites, great beaches, history, hiking, scenery and so on. Then, if you are flying out from Iraklion, I would depart Sfakia the day prior to the flight, and take the road east to Spili, then make the large loop via Agia Galini back to Iraklion which passes close to Matala, Gortys and Faistos.

Obviously, this depends upon what time your outbound flight departs Iraklion, if it's prior to say 5pm, I'd do as suggested, but if it's a much later evening departure, you could make the drive to Iraklion on the same day.

Nanaimo, Canada
Destination Expert
for Chania Town, Naxos
Level Contributor
4,836 posts
107 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Western Crete: Need itinerary advice - 11 nights in Sept.

I think Chania is an excellent place to start your vacation. We spent 4 nights there on a two week trip and it is lovely particularly the old town and the harbour.

Chania is an excellent base for an excursion by bus to the Samaria gorge, or the excursion boat to Balos. A car would be a good idea for exploring the area including Souda and the beach at Falassarna. If you go to teh west of the old town just outside the city walls right on the waterfront you will find a free parking area for the car.

You can go east about 15-20 KM on main highway, and find VAMOS a traditional village. From there to the 2 lovely sandy beaches, Almerida and Khalives, where there are fishermen and taverns. Complete the trip by visiting the small village of Gavalchora.

If you want to go further afield try a day trip to Rethymnon. While not nearly as charming as Chania the fortezza and the maze of back streets behind it are well worth a few hours to explore.

travel.webshots.com/album/571201262gkttqw

Eventually however you will want to head down to the Libyan Sea and explore its wonderful coastline,

Paleochora is quite nice with the streets of its central business district magically transforming into tavernas in the evening.

Frangokestelli is worth a stop and there are even a couple of hotels there.

Finally Plakias has a great beach about 3km long. We actually never got any further than Plakias. There was lots to do in the are including the day excursion to Prevelli beach and a car trip to Prevelli Monastery. See the small town of Spilli as well.

One thing about Plakias it totally lacks the charm of so many villages in Crete. It exists to provide service to the tourists that come for the beach. It does that quite well.

The south coast is not well connected by road so the trip from Paleochora to Frangokastelli means you pretty much have to head all the way north back to the national highway , then head east and back down south again. Interesting logistics.

As GB said ,this is just what we did.

More pictures of that trip to western Crete.

travel.webshots.com/album/559511069PIlVxI

Greenwich...
Level Contributor
421 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Western Crete: Need itinerary advice - 11 nights in Sept.

Thank you! Both of your posts are a huge help! I'm off to get the guidebooks, now...

Birmingham, United...
Level Contributor
12,462 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Western Crete: Need itinerary advice - 11 nights in Sept.

Well no, I would not stay in Chania for a big chunk, 1 day is more than enough.

A loop along the lines of Chania(3 ni) > Paleochora(4 ni) > Loutro(3 ni) > Chora Sfakia(? ni) > Plakias(4 ni) > Matala(4 ni) > Heraklion(2 ni) is an idea. How long you stay in each place depends on a lot of things.

There are a lot of hikes available from Paleochora/Loutro/Chora Sfakia probably enough to fill your 11 days. I went for 3 weeks on that itinerary, still not enough time ..., all by Crete's KTEL buses.

Devizes, United...
Level Contributor
40,216 posts
340 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Western Crete: Need itinerary advice - 11 nights in Sept.

But surely, using Chania as a base for a few days allows you to see for example Kissamou, maybe a walking trip along one of the northwestern peninsulas, a boat ride out to Balos and so on. You firstly say "one day in Chania is more than enough" then say "Chania (3 nights)"....

Devon, UK
Level Contributor
872 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Western Crete: Need itinerary advice - 11 nights in Sept.

We spent 2 weeks in western Crete in September 2008, and I'd say our requirements and priorities were pretty similar to yours. To save repeating myself, I wrote it up for this Forum and it appears as "Western Crete - report and recommendations" on 02 Oct 08. (There must be some way of making a link to this but I can't do it - a search should bring it up).

I'd be glad to advise if you have any further queries, but may be some time in replying as we are off on holiday again on Friday.

nc usa
Level Contributor
1,948 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Western Crete: Need itinerary advice - 11 nights in Sept.

We spent 4 days in Chania and loved it. I don't think it's too many days. Would agree that the Samaria Gorge is a must do and Loutro for a night after the gorge is a wonderful option.

Greenwich...
Level Contributor
421 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Western Crete: Need itinerary advice - 11 nights in Sept.

I am very grateful for all of the assistance I have received. What follows is a rough outline of what I am now planning for my trip this September, my first visit to Crete (and my second trip to Greece). I would appreciate any and all comments on itinerary flow, number of nights in each place, and activities I’ve mentioned.

If you have any specific lodging recommendations for the southwest coast, please advise, along with hotel contact information.

Day 1: SAT - Depart USA.

Day 2: SUN - arrive Chania from USA via Athens. CHANIA (Pandora Suites).

Day 3: MON - day in Chania; city sightseeing. CHANIA.

Day 4: TUE - morning bus to Kastelli, boat to Balos and return. CHANIA.

Day 5: WED - morning bus to Stavros or Vamos for sightseeing; return. CHANIA.

Day 6: THU - pick up rental car at Chania Airport. Drive, via Elos, to beach at Elafonisi; then, drive to Sougia. SOUGIA.

Day 7: FRI - morning hike from Sougia to Lissos and return; free afternoon. SOUGIA.

Day 8: SAT - drive to Chora Sfakion. CHORA SFAKION.

Day 9: SUN - hike Imbros Gorge (instead of Samaria). CHORA SFAKION.

Day 10: MON - hike from Chora Sfakion to Lutro; ferry return at 18:15. CHORA SFAKION.

Day 11: TUE - drive, via Frangokastello and Preveli Beach, to Spili. SPILI.

Day 12: WED - hiking in Spili region; explore Amari Valley villages. SPILI.

Day 13: THU - drive, via Phaestos and Gortys, to Heraklion Airport for car rental return and evening departure to Athens. ATHENS (Grande Bretagne).

Day 14: FRI - in Athens. ATHENS.

Day 15: SAT - depart Athens for USA.

Questions:

1. Day 5 - Any preference/suggestions for partial day trip and/or hike close to Chania?

2. Day 6 - Not sure about driving times; is this feasible?

3. Days 6 & 7 overnights - Would it be better to base myself in Paleochora for Thursday & Friday nights instead of Sougia? I would then hike to Sougia, via Lissos, on Friday morning, spend the afternoon in Sougia, and take the 17:30 ferry back to Paleochora. I prefer smaller and quieter places, and it looked like Sougia was less “busy,” and more “authentic” (whatever that means...).

4. Day 8 - Suggestions for places to stop between Paleochora/Sougia and Chora Sfakion?

5. Day 13 - Would it be better to fly to Athens out of Chania? If so, what would you suggest for stops along the way for a 17:35 flight?

Thank you!