Hi Everyone, although we’ve been to Greece several times, this will be our first trip to Crete. My husband and I and our two college-age daughters will arrive Iraklio airport from the States on the 14th of June and will have 8 nights/7 full days to visit Crete before taking the ferry from Iraklio to Thira. We will spend the first night in Iraklio and plan to visit Knossos and the Archeological Museum the next day before driving toward Chania by car (will rent car at the airport). Yep, would have been better to fly into Chania but this wasn’t an option using free airline miles (we are able to fly from U.S. to Iraklio, but not Chania, on an international ticket).
Have done some research (although have to admit that Crete is a bit overwhelming…) and our ‘must-sees’ on this trip include: Knossos/Arch. Museum, visit Chania, hike the Samaria Gorge and visit some of the beaches on the West Coast. Most days, we like to go at a moderate pace, do some sightseeing in the morning, hang out at a beach in the afternoon, find a good taverna in the evening and live music if we can find it. We like exploring interesting villages and towns, hiking, beautiful scenery, beautiful beaches (both isolated and organized) and interesting ancient/historical sites; the girls also like shopping (of course).
So here’s my question. Would you recommend trying to fit in Gortys/Phaestos/Agia Triada on this trip or are there other equally interesting things to see and do in Western Crete? It will be more relaxing for us to spend the remaining 7 nights based in the Chania area (I found a reasonably-priced maisonette for the four of us in Chrissi Akti). However, we are not opposed to spending a night in Matala if these sites are not to be missed and thus worth carving out a night and day from Western Crete (we like ancient sites and but are not archeologists and don’t need to tick off every site in the guidebook). If we skip the Gortys area, what are some other must-see or cool, out-of-the-ordinary places in the West to visit?
Thanks for your help!