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Crete: staying in Chania or Kissamos?

Sydney
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Crete: staying in Chania or Kissamos?

I am heading to Greece in mid-July. Everything is booked apart from a few nights in Crete.

We arrive into Heraklion from Santorini on the hi-speed at 7:30pm, and intend to get a bus to Chania to spend that night.

After that, we have 4 more nights. The 4th night will be in Chania again to easily get the airport the following morning. Then there are 3 nights in the middle.

We want to visit Elafonisi and Balos Bay. As I see it, we can either:

1. stay in Chania the whole time and either rent a car or take public transport to those beaches as day trips, or

2. stay somewhere like Kissamos and either rent a car or take public transport to those beaches.

What do you think is better? We're young travellers and although nightlife is always alluring, perhaps staying on a beach in Greece might be better than several nights in a city?

Also, do you think car rental for those areas is much more preferable to public transport?

You can assume I've checked for available accomodation already :)

Thank you!

London, United...
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1. Re: Crete: staying in Chania or Kissamos?

It depends what sort of place you like to be in and what you want to do.

Chania has much more to see and enjoy and explore than its night life: a beautiful old town, with many Venetian buildings, a wonderful harbour, an excellent archaeological museum, a terrific covered market; and a large choice of good tavernas and nice shops.

Kissamos is much smaller: it's a nice Cretan town, but it's still a town, and if I wanted to stay on a beach it wouldn't be my first choice. There are beaches all along the far northwest coast - you could investigate staying at Falassarna, one of Crete's best beaches, or at Maleme or Kolymbari.

If your plans include visits to other Greek islands, you'll be seeing lots of beaches, so if it was my trip I'd stay in Chania, one of the most beautiful cities anywhere. But it's up to you and where you'll be most comfortable.

Wherever you stay, I think you'll need to rent a car for your trips. There are tours to Elafonisi and Balos, but reading between your lines, I don't think that's for you.

Sydney
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2. Re: Crete: staying in Chania or Kissamos?

Thank you Alabastron!

We will have been in Naxos and Santorini previously, but also generally around the Peloponnese, so we're trying to balance beaches with history! But you might be right about seeing too many beaches.

My only concern was that 5 nights in Chania might be a bit much? I'm sure it is an absolutely divine city, but a city nonetheless. However if it is practical to hire a car for day trips to the places you suggested and returning each night to Chania, leaving of course enough time to explore the city itself, maybe that's a good idea. Will certainly make my bookings easier!

My great grandfather is actually from Skafia, but whether I make it down there is another story!

CRETE
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3. Re: Crete: staying in Chania or Kissamos?

A vote for chania for me. You will rent a car for sure but if you want to go out for nightlife most of he times you will end up in chania and if you end up there you will drink and half an hour drive to kissamos might cost you an alchohol test and a penalty furthermore to the danger you put yourself in. Chania has more things to do and see and if you want you take your car and you go wherever you like. Enjoy your holidays

London, United...
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4. Re: Crete: staying in Chania or Kissamos?

DO go down to Sfakia! It will be thrilling for you to see where he came from. Apart from that, it's - in my biased view - the most beautiful, interesting, and exciting part of the island in every way. I've travelled to most parts of Crete, but Sfakia has been where I've spent most of my time over the past 30 years, so my opinion really is biased.

The village of Sfakia itself is only a two-hour - very scenic - drive from Chania, and although I know you want to see Balos and Elafonisi, I can (almost: these are of course matters of taste and opinion) promise you that you will find Sfakia more interesting.

If the idea appeals to you, please say so, and I'll be glad to make some travel suggestions. You should certainly do some research about your family. If you do go, you may find some of your relations - an opportunity not to be missed.

Edited: 06 July 2011, 07:59
Sydney
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5. Re: Crete: staying in Chania or Kissamos?

TERA2, you are right about the fact that we might end up in Chania each night anyway, so good suggestion there. I think the posts so far have made up my mind - we'll stay in Chania.

Alabastron, my family has long since left sadly - they actually went to an island which is now part of Turkey, but got gently pushed out when that handover occurred - very interesting history actually! Now we're spread to the four winds, or at least to Australia and the USA!

But please do give me Sfakia suggestions - putting aside the family link, I'm always open to finding more interesting/cultural/unique places slightly off the beaten track. I'm very grateful for the recommendations!

CRETE
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6. Re: Crete: staying in Chania or Kissamos?

Sfakia is one of the most exciting scenaries for me also but you have to go to Anopolis walk to aradaina and if you are walkers pass the gorge 3-4 hours walk.

7. Re: Crete: staying in Chania or Kissamos?

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8. Re: Crete: staying in Chania or Kissamos?

Yes, that is an interesting, tragic history, cksydney.

A nice way of spending one day in the region would be to drive early to Sfakia, leave the car there, and take the 10.30 ferry to Loutro, a beautiful journey along the coast. You could walk up to the Turkish fort on the hill above the village, and down to the little settlement of Phoenix, and have lunch there or return to Loutro the "long way" around the headland, and lunch at one of the several good tavernas in Loutro village.

Or you could stay on the ferry to Agia Roumeli, an even more spectacular stretch of coastline, walk a good way up the Samaria Gorge, and return to Sfakia on the 17.30 ferry. Here's the ferry timetable:

www.anendyk.gr/pages/en/timetable.php?lang=EN

Or you could walk from Sfakia (or Loutro) to Sweetwater Beach and spend several hours there. It's a huge, spectacular beach, with wonderful swimming:

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Or you could drive from Sfakia up to Anopolis as TERA2 suggests. Anopolis is the "real Crete", a mountain village hidden away in marvellous mountain scenery: you won't find a more traditional village anywhere on the island. A beautiful place to walk around - have lunch at the O Platanos, on the main square - an impressive bust of Daskalogiannis in the middle of it.

I wouldn't suggest walking the Aradena Gorge: for one thing, it's not really a "walk", it's mostly scrambling over boulders: I Iove it, but it's not what I'd suggest for a first hike in Crete. Also, you'd have to retrieve your car, which would mean a taxi from Sfakia up to Anopolis. (If you wanted to do this I would give you more precise details, but I don't think it's a good idea.)

With four full days you could divide them equally: two in Chania, two in Sfakia, If you wanted to do that, I could make more suggestions: let me know.

Sfakia is the wildest, most "unspoiled" part of Crete, and you have an interest there to start with, so I hope you'll get there, even if only for a day.

Edited: 06 July 2011, 10:44
Sydney
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9. Re: Crete: staying in Chania or Kissamos?

This has all been incredibly helpful! I am very grateful.

Since my last post, I've found out my travel buddy wants to stay at a beach for a couple of days of "doing very little" - taking that into consideration, would you recommend staying 2 nights in Sfakia, or would you say that staying near Nea Chora in Chania is enough? Her point also is that she is weighing up the cost of staying in town and hiring a car, with the cost of just staying by a beach...thoughts?

Also, a lot of the cute accomodation I've found in Chania are sans pools - do you think having a pool in Chania in July is a must or not?

Sydney
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10. Re: Crete: staying in Chania or Kissamos?

...and I just re-read your last post and I think you're suggesting 2 days in Sfakia, which probably answers my questions, however any further comments/recommendations are welcome!