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A prod in the right direction

Nottingham, United...
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A prod in the right direction

I'm booked to go to Crete next year, just starting to look at places to go now I've finalised the accommodation and wondered if anyone had any suggestions before I begin trawling through the minefield of Google?...

Not interested in laying on beaches or shopping, but love old castles (I seem to recall seeing there's a castle at Frangokastello?), clambering over ruins, old villages, snorkelling, walks, etc (but no 10 mile treks through gorges unfortunately - the missus won't make it! :) Will have a car so travel is no problem. I'll be staying mainly on the South coast, one week at centre-west near Plakias (below Rethimnon), and another week centre-east at Ierapetra. Will be looking to visit Spinalonga, Matala & Lato off the top of my head, will also more than likely try and get over towards the far east coast as well (I know - it's a lot of travelling, not a problem).

All suggestions gratefully received!

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Devizes, United...
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1. Re: A prod in the right direction

Hi there

Rather than spending hours on Google, why not sit down with a good guide book such as the Rough Guide and seeiing what's available in each area? The Rough Guide divides Crete up into its four prefectures and has a simple map of each one with its main towns and sights so you can easily see what's within range from either of your bases.

On the day you up and move east from Plakias, you could use it as a good sightseeing day - follow the road east and you pass close to Matala as well as the three ancient sites at Agia Triada, Faistos and Gortys before the road snakes across the south coast ( not always on the coast though) to Ierapetra. Ierapetra is within easy reach of Lato, as well as Gournia and Spinalonga. It's also close to lovely inland towns and villages like Neapoli and Kritsa, from where you can access the extremely rustic Katharo plateau.

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Crete, Greece
Nanaimo, Canada
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for Chania Town, Naxos
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2. Re: A prod in the right direction

Frangokastello is an easy drive from Plakias over some spectacular scenery, It is not a castle it is a fortress. Even better on your way down to Plakias stop in Rethymnon where there is a much more impressive fortezza. By the way Rethymnon has a lovely old town area that is fun to walk through. You don't need to shop just take in the atmosphere.

If you have time you could head even further west to visit the ruins at Ancient Aptera but that will take you a bit out of your way. Here are some images of southwest Crete. You can see both Frangokastello and the fortezza. as well as aptera. Fortezza images 8-11, Aptera 38-47 and Frangokastelo 80 to 84.

Western Crete flickr.com/photos/…

Edited: 22 October 2013, 16:33
Calgary AB
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3. Re: A prod in the right direction

Try this map. We found it very useful on our trips.


If your route is from Heraklion to Rethymnon on the National road there is the Melidona cave about at the halfway point. I have never been in a cave and found it just amazing.

Washingon DC area
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4. Re: A prod in the right direction

Hi Phil - you'll find plenty of sites to interest you on Crete. One walk I'd recommend is from Sweetwater Beach to Loutro. You can catch a water taxi from Chora Sfakia to Sweetwater and then a return ferry from Loutro. Some with vertigo find it challenging, but I didn't find it too difficult, and I'm not that adventurous a hiker.

I'm curious about your choice of Ierapetra for a base. It pains me to say it (I spent a month in a tent for most of a month there 40 years ago when it was a charming little fishing village), but IMO, it's the least interesting of all of the good-sized Cretan towns, at least if you're looking for a "Greek feel" to it.

Nottingham, United...
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5. Re: A prod in the right direction

Thanks for the info, folks. We'll definitely be doing the old towns, just not the shopping malls - although there will probably be a bit of souvenir hunting :)

It's not actually Ierapetra itself we're stopping in incidentally, I just meant that as the basic area we'll be in at one point.

Chania Town, Greece
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6. Re: A prod in the right direction

When you're on your near Plakias bit, I recommend a few hours relaxation & a meal at Agia Fotia taverna, at Agia Fotini, just East of Preveli - You'll need to go inland towards Spili & back out (if you have a 4x4 you can go towards Preveli & a shorter route along the valley I believe). It's a beautiful part of the coastline, very quiet, fabulous scenery & lovely clear water. For me, the taverna is like Crete should be (or like we imagine it was in the '70s)! Just a simple, blue & white painted building on the beach, serving very fresh food & fish straight from the sea. & very welcoming hosts.

A visit to Moni Preveli & the beach there is also a 'must do', of course.

7. Re: A prod in the right direction

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