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7 Nights on Crete- advice!

Duncan, Canada
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7 Nights on Crete- advice!

Hi there,

My sisters and I are traveling Greece for the first time in June. We will be seeing Athens, Naxos and Santorini before traveling on to Crete. We arrive in Crete Monday night and fly out a week later. (** we are open to suggestions for switching out another island for Naxos- we are looking for something close that is a little less touristy)

Because we are hopping around quite a bit we would prefer to stay in one place as a home base and go on excursions from there (but are open to options). It sounds like Chania is the place to stay as our base? We would ideally like a hotel with a pool close to the beach- any suggestions?

It sounds like renting a car/scooters are the preferred method of getting around but we are concerned about driving on Crete- we hear it is pretty crazy! Has anyone paid to hire a car and if so how much should we expect?

I know it is only 6/7 days on an island that can take a month to explore so does anyone have any suggestions on must see places? We are interested in a mix of things to do (beaches, wandering towns, etc).

Thanks in advance for the help :)

Duncan, Canada
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3 posts
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1. Re: 7 Nights on Crete- advice!

One more thing- we want to visit Agia Galini for at least one day. Our parents met there and we want to try to hunt down the restaurant they met at! Best way to get there?

Devizes, United...
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2. Re: 7 Nights on Crete- advice!

Hi there

You would need 20 years to see all that Crete has to offer...;0) Chania is as good a base as anywhere but only if you want to concentrate your exploration to the far west/far south of the island. There's no one point on the island that acts as a central base from which to explore it, the island is simply way too large.

Agia Galini is on the south coast, a very long drive from Chania, "how to get there" depends upon where you are coming from of course, if it IS from Chania, then you would take the E75 New National Road east to Rethymno, then drop down south via Armeni, Spili and Akoumia to Agia Galini.

So, Chania's good for its end of the island but no good if you want to see the island's major ancient sites, most of which are either further east from Agia Galini along or close to that section of the south coast, ( the sites at Agia Triada, Faistos and Gortys) or along or close to the north coast at Knossos, Malia, Gournia and Lato.

The ferries from Santorini arrive in the capital Iraklion and I'm assuming that's where you will depart the island from, from Iraklion's airport? If so, then I can't see any point in making the three hour ride to Chania if all you would then do is a load of backtracking to Agia Galini and all the ancient sites I've detailed. Gas is ten American $ per gallon, whatever that is in Canadian currency, so minimising the miles you rack up is of absolute importance. Easy enough to hire a car, expect a mid sized saloon to start at €30 per day although that daily reate will decrease if you hire for the full week.

Tales of "crazed" Greek driving are highly exaggerated - the roads generally are pretty good and well maintained, we have rented cars in Crete and other islands for 20 years and have never felt threatened by the locals driving habits. They will tailgate you until you let then pass and you will be overtaken on bends and hen there are double lines in the centre of the road, they pay scant regard to road markings or speed limits but they don't drive dangerously, they just know where they need to be and want to get there as quickly as possible.

All major roads often have a smaller inside lane in each direction into which it's perfectly acceptable to pull across to to let the locals pass ( don't stop though) so just let them pass when it's safe to do so. Take extra care at junctions and remember that as far as roundabouts are concerned, ( there aren't many on the island), priority rather peculiarly is always given to those cars JOINING it rather than those already in circulation around it.

At the end of it, you guys are used to driving on the right, whereas us Brits have to take that into consideration so just take your time, abide by the speed limits and you'll be fine.

Duncan, Canada
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3. Re: 7 Nights on Crete- advice!

Thanks! It sounds like renting a car is really the best way to go.

Devizes, United...
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4. Re: 7 Nights on Crete- advice!

It certainly is, the island does have good bus services but a car gives you complete freedom to go where you like, at your pace, stop when you like and of course it's faster and more comfortble, and there are always some places where the buses don't go to.

London, United...
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5. Re: 7 Nights on Crete- advice!

I would like to put in a word for the buses here. Everything GB says is true (except for "more comfortable": I would rather sit in a seat on one of Crete's smashing new coaches, which are much more comfortable than a cramped car) but if you take the bus you will see more of the landscape you are travelling through, because you aren't driving, the bus driver is, leaving you free to enjoy the scenery; and you will see it better, because you are sitting up so much higher. If you are lucky enough to get the front seats, the view is better still.

Of course it depends on where you want to go: there are places the buses don't get to. But to Agia Galini, for instance, there are loads of buses. This is a link to the current (winter) timetable: in summer there will be even more buses.

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

As you can gather, I like the buses. But if you decide to rent a car, you don't need to worry about the other drivers or the general standard of driving. Just be aware of the little idiosyncrasies of the Greek drivers, and the hesitancies of the tourist drivers, and drive with a much care and attention as you would at home, and you'll be all right.

Edited: 09 February 2014, 12:37
Washingon DC area
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6. Re: 7 Nights on Crete- advice!

For a 6-7 day trip, Rethymnon might be a good base. It's closer to Heraklion, closer to Agia Galini, and close enough for visits to Chania and Knossos (if seeing Knossos is on your list of things to do).

The coast from Rethymnon to Heraklion has some very nice beach towns like Bali and Panormos. You're also not far from some interesting mountain villages like Anogia, and the nearby Axos, home to the excellent Woodcarver's Museum:

flickr.com/photos/…

The disadvantage of buses is that it would be hard, if not impossible, to get, eg, from Rethymnon to Knossos to Anogia to Axos back to Rethymnon in one day.

GB has described the driving on Crete very well. I find it easier to adjust to Greek driving than I do to readjust to American driving.

Devizes, United...
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7. Re: 7 Nights on Crete- advice!

I should say that I have absolutely nothing against the buses at all, I love using them on Crete or any other island, and will use them wherever I can. But there are occasions, such as trying to visit the three ancient sites down around Agii Deka and Matala, when it would be impossible to see them all in one day by using the buses. I fully agree that the view especially from the front seats on the coaches is superb and second to none but as someone who drives for a living, I do prefer a rental car, purely for the convenience. You can't shout out to the coach driver, "pull over please, I want to take a few photos" whereas in a car, you can stop when you like.

8. Re: 7 Nights on Crete- advice!

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