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Which way to drive around Crete...?

Sunshine Coast
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Which way to drive around Crete...?

We have been planning our visit in early May for a while now and have 18 days and a rented car organised. I had assumed for some reason it was good to drive around clockwise - Heraklion ,Matala, Hora Sfakion, Chania ,Rethymnon and back (with lots of stops in interesting places) but reading how spectacular it is approaching Chora Sfakion from the North has me thinking maybe a anti clockwise direction may have some advantages perhaps?

We're interested in opinions on this as we haven't committed too much yet to hotels etc.

London, United...
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1. Re: Which way to drive around Crete...?

I don't think it matters. The Chania-Chora Sfakion road is spectacular whichever way you drive it. The most spectacular section, from Askifou to Chora Sfakion, takes about 45 minutes. If you want to do the trip clockwise, but long to approach Chora Sfakion from the north, all you've got to do when you arrive at Chora Sfakion from the east is drive up to Askifou and back down again. So there's no need to decide your entire 18-day trip on that basis.

On the other hand, it also doesn't really matter whether you drive clockwise or anti-clockwise. If you drive anti-clockwise, you'll have your city time in Rethymnon and Chania at the beginning or your trip; if you drive clockwise you'll have it at the end. Which would you like better? That would be a more sensible decider, I think.

Edited: 11 April 2013, 00:56
Sunshine Coast
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2. Re: Which way to drive around Crete...?

Thanks,we did consider that but there didn't seem a conclusive reason to decide that way - i.e. cities first ,south coast later. I saw a Self-drive 14 day tour advertised and that went around anti clockwise, further causing me to question which is better?

London, United...
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3. Re: Which way to drive around Crete...?

Let's see now, if I can think of a reason why clockwise would be better than anti-clockwise, or vice verse.

Pause, while thinker puts thinking cap on........

Got it.

If you started driving west from Heraklion, you'd have the morning sun behind you for the first few days of your journey as you drove to Rethymnon and Chania. That might be quite useful while you were getting used to driving on strange roads in a different country. From Chora Sfakion to Matala you'd be driving into the morning sun, but by that time you'd be an old hand at driving in Crete and it might not be such a distraction.

Apart from that, and the when-to-hit-the-cities decision, I can't think of a single reason why either way would be better than the other.

However, this could be the start of an interesting thread, if others have views.

Suffolk, United...
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4. Re: Which way to drive around Crete...?

Hi folks,

With digital watches and clocks now taking over, how long will it take before younger people no longer know what "clockwise" and "anti-clockwise" mean?

Yours with regret

Bob

Edited: 11 April 2013, 08:27
Sunshine Coast
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5. Re: Which way to drive around Crete...?

Good point about the clock direction - but it's maybe easier than saying left-to-right or something,Bob?

Thing is , even though there may be little difference, we still have to make the decision. And that gets harder with age....

Lindesnes...
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6. Re: Which way to drive around Crete...?

Let me suggest another option. Who dont you drive, Rethymnion > Chania > Paleiochora > ferry to Chora Sfakion > take the bus up to Imbros and walk the Imbros Gorge down to Chora Sfakion again. Then drive on to Mattala.

BTW. When clocks are used on the wrist they still use be with analog display, even if they are digital inside. I dont think the clocks with digital displays from the 70-ties ever became a big success.

Washingon DC area
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7. Re: Which way to drive around Crete...?

I was faced with the same question and drove counter-clockwise. But I was traveling in September, and thought that the southern towns like Paleochora would be best visited first as they might take on that "closing time" feel towards the end of the month, while the larger northern cities would still be lively at that time. It probably wouldn't matter in May.

London, United...
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8. Re: Which way to drive around Crete...?

>Who dont you drive, Rethymnion > Chania > Paleiochora > ferry to Chora Sfakion ><

Great idea, Periscope, but this won't be possible in May. The Paleochora-Sougia-Agia Roumeli ferry is a small passenger-only boat. Later in the season, the Samaria, which is a car ferry, will probably take over the route (it will be needed when large numbers of people who walk the Samaria gorge want to return to Sougia and Paleochora) but that is unlikely to happen before 1 June. This has been the case for the last 3-4 years.,

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

Edited: 11 April 2013, 14:23
Lindesnes...
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9. Re: Which way to drive around Crete...?

What a pity Albastron ! When I check with www.gtp.gr I can see the same as you say. But if I am reading the link you sent correct, the passenger-only-ferry is only in april, not in may. Anyway, It was just an idea because I found the drive to Paleochora very nice, as well as the town very nice and friendly.

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10. Re: Which way to drive around Crete...?

You're absolutely right, Periscope. Ir looks as though there will be a full service from 1 May. I hadn't looked at the timetable for a week or two, but in that time it has been announced that the gorge will start opening on 1 May, so perhaps the schedule has been revised while I wasn't looking!

Anyway, it looks as though Tom/Kathy could do what you suggest if they like the idea. They would see the whole of the south west coast from the ferry, which would only add a day to their itinerary and would be wonderful.

Tom/Kathy - it's a good idea. The ferry journey is one of the great experiences to be had in Crete, and really not to be missed.

If you like the idea, and want to expand on it, you could also stop in Sougia for a night or two, and/or in Agia Roumeli: two of the nicest, quietest places in the whole of Crete - especially Agia Roumeli, where you could walk up part of the Samaria Gorge. Easy walking: you can go as far as you like, and turn back when you want to. With an early morning start you can have it to yourself for a few hours.