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Need advice for Itinerary (by bus)

São Paulo, São...
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Need advice for Itinerary (by bus)

After reading so many nice things about Crete in this forum, I've decided to stay one day more in the island (and one less in Santorini) in my trip in the beginning of October. Anyway I will only have 5 nights in Crete and I want to make the most of these days. I'm a solo traveller and I won't hire a car, so I have to consider the buses schedule.

Day 1 - Arrive in Heraklion in the afternoon; Knossos; overnight in the city.

Day 3/4 - 2-night stay in Chania (maybe a half-day stop in Rethymnon).

Day 5 - ???? Haven't decided yet.

Day 6 - Back to Heraklion; explore the city/museums.

Day 7 - ferry to Santorini in the morning.

I would like some advice on what to see around Chania or Heraklion. I would love to go to a small, less touristic village with good tavernas, but most of the itineraries I've seen in this forum is for people travelling by car. Can anyone recommend me a nice place easily reachable by bus?

And although I'd love to visit Elafonisi beach, I'm more interested in culture and history (not sure how the weather will be and I'm from Brazil, so plenty of beautiful beaches here too).

Thank you!

Athens, Greece
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1. Re: Need advice for Itinerary (by bus)

hi..iraklion is the most built up place in crete..iraklio town doesn't even remind an island..it's a shame to have 2 beautiful charming cities like chania and rethymnon that can keep you entertained for more than 5 days and spend your time at iraklion..i think you may be dissapointed..especially chania itself is gorgeous and it could keep you happy for days ..

take a look at the photos and i think you will know what i mean..

chania

http://tinyurl.com/ohf8cj9

rethymno

http://tinyurl.com/mkn2hpb

iraklio

http://tinyurl.com/oldrkxf

since you arrive in iraklion i would spent there the first day including knosos and would spent the rest of the days at rethymno which is closer and if i had time would definitely add chania which is gorgeous..of course days is not much time,,cramming too many places may be iring,but that depends on your travelling style

Edited: 25 September 2013, 10:12
London, United...
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2. Re: Need advice for Itinerary (by bus)

I think your itinerary is perfectly all right. Although I like Chania, and although it is unquestionably the most beautiful of Crete's cities, Heraklion is a lively, vibrant city that also has much to offer, and you won't be able to see it all on your arrival day. Does it matter if it doesn't seem like an island? (Does London, also a city on an island, seem like an island?) Apart from parts of the coastal areas, not much of Crete seems like an island. In fact, Crete is so big that it is isn't really an "island" like the rest of the Greek islands: it is really a whole country, a continent, even.

I think you are quite right to return to Heraklion for your last day. The Archaeological Museum alone needs half a day (and there is also a very interesting Historical Museum) and there are lots of Venetian remains: the harbour, the walls, the fountains, the churches. And a wonderful street market. You won't have time to see it all and do it all, but I think you will enjoy it. For my money, Heraklion is a more interesting city than Rethymnon, and I've spent a fair amount of time in both. It's probably even more interesting than Chania - though certainly not more beautiful, it's a real working Greek town, not nearly as developed touristically.

Your instincts are right about Elafonisi. You have better beaches in Brazil, I think! Elafonisi was once a beautiful, remote beach, little visited; it has become the victim of its own popularity. If you want to see a lot of orange sunbeds, with a bit of pink sand poking through, Elafonisi is your place. Mind you, in October it may be perfectly all rightL: it really depends on when the organised busloads stop coming.

In Chania you have the lovely venetian harbour, the walls, the little streets of the old town behind the harbour, and several good museums, including the excellent, small, Archaeological Museum, and the Naval Museum.

Edited: 25 September 2013, 12:13
LJS
UK
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3. Re: Need advice for Itinerary (by bus)

I travelled between Santorini, Heraklion, Knossos, Rethmynon and Chania last month using public transport and found that it was straightforward. The number 2 bus from Heraklion will take you to Knossos for 3e each way. You can buy a joint ticket for Knossos and the Archaelogical museum if you intend to visit both and save a little money.

I would recommend a stop over in Rethmynon too, as its on the way to Chania anyway. It has a wonderful old town and Ventian Fort to explore. (Heraklion to Rethymnon takes about an hour (price @ 7.60e) and Rethmynon to Chania about 1hr 15m (@ 6.80e) . If you book to stay in Rethmynon look at the location of your accomodation first as you will want to be near the old town/fort/bus station area and not several km away.

Some of the buses from Rethymnon to Chania travel through and stop at the village of Vrisses which I think fits the sort of place you describe - take a look at http://www.purecrete.com/vrisses/

The bus timetables indicate the ones that go through Vrisses with a * so you could plan a stop off there whilst travelling from Rethmynon to Chania.

And it might seem a bit "touristy" but there is a tourist train from outside the marina in Rethmynon that runs a 5 villages day trip. (I can't comment on that personally as I didn't do it , but it has had good reviews on here).

London, United...
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4. Re: Need advice for Itinerary (by bus)

Vrysses is a good suggestion - and claims to have the best yoghurt and honey in Crete.

Small correction. The bus from Heraklion to Rethymnon takes at least 1.5 hours. The whole journey from Heraklion to Chania is officially 2 hours 45 minutes, but it can easily take 3 hours - and I've known it to take even longer if it is delayed by traffic getting out of Heraklion and/or into Chania, which it frequently is. Sit back and enjoy the journey: it's a nice one. The buses run hourly.

Here is the timetable:

bus-service-crete-ktel.com/timetabledet.php…

Devizes, United...
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5. Re: Need advice for Itinerary (by bus)

Hi there

Just my opinion but going to Crete and missing out on what Iraklion can offer would be like coming to England and not bothering with London. Despite having been to Crete more times than I can recall, we always spend a day or even two in Iraklion, there's just so much history there. We were there two weeks ago and enjoyed it every bit as much as we always do.

With 6-7 days, I would skip Rethymno - Iraklion and Chania can offer all and more that Rethymno can, not that there's anything wrong with Rethymno, it's just that your trip would involve a lot of time in the cities and possibly not enough time to see rural Crete.

Here's Iraklion from two weeks ago..

flickr.com/photos/…

Sale, United Kingdom
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6. Re: Need advice for Itinerary (by bus)

Great photos there GB!

Am I the only one thinking that the bus fare to Knossos at €3 each way is extortionate - I see a taxi is only €9!

Devizes, United...
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7. Re: Need advice for Itinerary (by bus)

Hi Steve

Last time we bussed it to Knossos it was €3 return, just about the only bus servce you can get a return ticket on.

London, United...
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8. Re: Need advice for Itinerary (by bus)

I'm sure it must be 3 euros return. The last time I did the trip 3-4 years ago it was just over 1 euro each way.

São Paulo, São...
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9. Re: Need advice for Itinerary (by bus)

Hi, thank you for all the suggestions and pictures, it was really useful and made me even more excited to be in Crete next week! And I'd never skip Heraklion, I'm sure it is a vibrant city.

Before reading the replies, I was considering maybe skipping Rethymnon and going to Heraklion/Phaistos on day 5, but I guess by this time I'll be too tired of travelling by bus to go there. Instead I'll definitely try to visit Vrysses, it seems wonderful (oh, and the Greek yoghurt....)

Thanks again!

LJS
UK
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10. Re: Need advice for Itinerary (by bus)

Sorry everyone.

3e return to Knossos. It's because I paid 3e each way but that was for 2 of us! Appreciate the correction.