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Chania 4 nights - suggestions welcome

Westerville, Ohio
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Chania 4 nights - suggestions welcome

My husband and I will be arriving at 5:30am on June 13th via ferry from Pireus. We are staying at Casa Leone for 4 nights.

Day 1 - we thought we would just explore old town and nearby areas and would welcome specific suggestions if anyone has favorites of shops - nearby places or tavernas/restaurants.

Day 2- we are hoping to do the Samaria Gorge. We are currently working on getting in shape for that by hiking at home and working out. Reccomendations for a second choice of hikes would be great. Also is there a specific company or tour to use for this as we will not have a car at this point?

Day 3 - Today knowing that we will most likely be a bit sore from the hike would be up for renting a car and visiting a beach (Elafonissi?), going to Rethymnon or to Manousakis Winery???

Suggestions on car rentals here that could be dropped off in Iraklion would be most appreciated.

Day 4 - open for suggestions

Day 5 we will leave early for Iraklion with the hopes of having time to visit friends and go to Knossos. We are in Iraklion for 1 night before heading by ferry to Santorini.

Thanks for any suggestions you might be able to offer.

Rethymnon, Greece
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1. Re: Chania 4 nights - suggestions welcome

Hi

I think day 3 should be in Elafonisi rather than Rethymnon.

As you'll be tired from Samaria gorge, is the best idea to relax and rest first.

Falasarna also is a fantastic beach much closer to Chania than Elafonisi. But if I had to choose I'd still choose Elafonisi.

Balos lagoon is another good beach but you'll need to walk for 20' and you'll be already tired, unless you take the boat from Kisamos.

Day 4 you can try Rethymnon where you will need more walking around the old town maze.

Edited: 17 March 2013, 00:00
Westerville, Ohio
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2. Re: Chania 4 nights - suggestions welcome

Thank you. I think that makes good sense.

Sunshine Coast
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3. Re: Chania 4 nights - suggestions welcome

A couple of points I've picked up.....the direct road to Elefonisi is reported closed for repairs for 6 months (!) so it's a slower trip. Also , the boat trip to Balos looks very nice - 5 hours and Eu25 from Kissamos.

London, United...
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4. Re: Chania 4 nights - suggestions welcome

Regarding the closure of the main road to Elafonisi, see Kostas' post 14 on this thread:

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g635605-i11571-k…

Edited: 17 March 2013, 08:04
Chania Town, Greece
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5. Re: Chania 4 nights - suggestions welcome

Hi qtpi1!

Regarding the Samaria gorge this is an old thread which could be helpful:

tripadvisor.com/…13824661

The Manousakis Winery sounds good but as you're only staying for 4 nights, I would try to visit either Elafonissi, Balos or Falassarna.

After swimming in the wonderful waters of the Libyan Sea on the south coast in Agia Roumeli- exit of the Samaria gorge-, I think it would be nice to see at least one of the three as they are quite different.

Unfortunately, Elafonissi and Balos could be overcrowded during a weekend in mid June, Falassarna is a long beach and more easily accessible from Chania town.

I suggest that you check out pictures of all three, in case you make up your mind and want additional info on how to reach either of them, feel free to ask.

About restaurants in the Old Town in Chania, I am pointing at a few alternatives which don't have enough reviews on TA yet, still I think they are among the best ones:

Lithos restaurant

TA reviews: tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g189415-d2…

Skoufos & Oinos

TA reviews: tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g189415-d1…

I have heard grat reviews from locals concering this one:

Stis Annas

TA reviews: tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g189415-d3…

The street it is situated is a new trend in town with many restaurants around.

I was pleasantly surprised by this one 2 years ago, will go again later this month and let you know:

Portes: tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g189415-d1…

And to have a taste of local wines- including the Manousakis Nostos Roussanne and Nostos Alexandra's you could visit Vineria 36:

tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g189415-d2…

I will let you know of other options soon plus I think I owe you the best route to your hotel when you get to the Old town.

Edited: 17 March 2013, 13:39
6. Re: Chania 4 nights - suggestions welcome

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London, United...
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7. Re: Chania 4 nights - suggestions welcome

Any of the tour companies offering Samaria Gorge excursions will be all right: they are all much the same. It's almost as easy, and a little cheaper, to do it independently, and you'd likely get to the gorge earlier and have a little more time; but the excursion takes all the planning and ticket-buying out of your hands, and is probably the better way for first-time visitors. You don't need to book it or even think about it in advance: any travel agent in Chania will be able to sell you a tour.

Here is a link to a website that will tell you all about the gorge and the walk. Make sure to click on the link to Part 2, which describes the walk in detail, with photos.

http://www.west-crete.com/samaria-gorge.htm

I peeked at your age range on your profile, so here is a word about your knees. Downhill gradients are always hard on the knees, and the first three km of the walk are steep steps. They are real knee punishers, and it takes a good hour to get down them at a reasonable pace. Your knees will feel it while they are doing it, and during the rest of the walk, and the next couple of days, and - I'm taking a liberty, but I'm allowed to say this as I am older than you and your husband! - they won't recover as quickly as younger knees. You might want to consider wearing a couple of elastic surgical knee supports to support the joints and take some of the strain off them.

Wear good walking shoes: ordinary trainers or running shoes won't do, although lots of people wear them. Boots with ankle support are preferable, especially if you know your ankles are weak, but for me the real essential is thick soles for cushioning your feet against the stones you'll be walking on all day; and deep tread to help you avoid slipping on your way down the smooth steps, and on the stepping stones when you cross the river (there will still be water in it in June).

Bring some food: you won't be able to buy any in the gorge, and a small bottle of water. You don't need to carry a lot of water: you can refill at the springs when you get to the rest areas.

The Samaria gorge is a unique and special place. When you go, ignore anyone who tells you you can "do it" in four hours. You can, but it would be a great pity. Take your time, stop and look around you. The variety of trees, Cretan endemic chasmophytes (plants growing in the gorge walls), strange rock formations, and wildlife, is incredible, and you'll miss it all if you hurry. You'll have 8, maybe even 9 hours, depending on when your bus arrives, between starting down and the departure of the ferry to Chora Sfakion: if you take 6 or 7 hours you'll be able to stop and look around you, savour every minute of the walk through nature, and still have time for a refreshing beer or orange juice or swim in Agia Roumeli. My husband and I took 8 hours on our first visit and it was none too long. And we still had time for a swim (me) and a beer (him).

For your next day when, as you rightly speculate, you'll be tired and a bit sore, I would suggest Falassarna over the other two beaches and the winery. You can't drive to Balos in an ordinary car; you'd need to take one of the organised

boat excursions, and as Anna says, Balos will probably be very busy, as will Elafonissi. Falassarna is very big, wild, and beautiful, so that would be my recommendation.

I was going to suggest a couple of restaurants, but Anna has already done that splendidly!

San Diego...
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8. Re: Chania 4 nights - suggestions welcome

Alabastron

Nice reply - especially the advice on elastic supports for the aging knees and the recovery time! (I am the same age bracket as the OP). I am also planning to hike the gorge and have been considering spending a night at Agia Roumeli - to rest up, swim in the sea, etc.

I found this link that has a LOT of pictures and some descriptive text.

explorecrete.com/crete-pictures/EN_Samaria-G…

Seattle, Washington
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9. Re: Chania 4 nights - suggestions welcome

We rented our car from Kalives Travel in Chania. http://www.kalivestravel.gr. We were staying in a villa high above Stalos and they delivered the car to us. They were originally going to meet us at the ferry in Souda, but we missed the ferry, so they will also deliver it to the port for you.

We were able to leave the car at the port in Heraklion. If you do end up renting from them, check to see where they want you to leave the car. The port is quite large, and there is no designated rental car return area. We didn't know this, so didn't think to ask them beforehand, and weren't really sure where to park the car! Not to mention the guard working the port that day didn't seem to know either, so we paid for overnight parking just in case. The next day the car was still there.

If you need a hotel in Heraklion, I highly recommend the Hotel Life. That ferry to Santorini is pretty early, and it's only a 5-7 minute walk to the port from the hotel. Not to mention they had the best bed of any hotel we stayed at in Greece :-)

London, United...
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10. Re: Chania 4 nights - suggestions welcome

Software Geek

Agia Roumeli is a great place to spend the night. Once the gorge walkers have left on the ferry, it reverts to being the quiet, peaceful, ordinary Cretan village that it really is at heart. But it has huge advantages over most other ordinary villages: its magnificent mountain backdrop, its selection of good accommodation, and its good tavernas. There is no light pollution, and the stars are incredible. The beach is huge and completely empty in the morning before the gorge walkers arrive from lunchtime onwards - but even after they've come, you can just walk a few hundred yards west and you'll be on your own.

If you decide to stay there, I'm sure you will enjoy it. I love Agia Roumeli, and have several times spent several days there.

Here's a link to inspire you. I've stayed at the Artemis Studios and eaten at the restaurant and liked both, but I really prefer staying in an ordinary hotel room (ask me for suggestions if you decide to go) and eating overlooking the sea. Artemis is probably the best restaurant, but it's in the "main street" with no view. The link is really for general information about the village.

http://www.agiaroumeli.com/

And if you are seriously thinking of it, here is another idea. Stay in Agia Roumeli for two nights, and walk halfway up the gorge and back down. I've done this many times. I greatly prefer it to walking down, and not only because my knees prefer it. If I make an early start, at say about 7 am, I have the gorge to myself for at least three hours, and it's a great experience every time. I usually go as far as the deserted village of Samaria, which is just past the halfway point, before turning back. It means you don't see the whole of the gorge, but you do see the most spectacular parts of it.

Edited: 19 March 2013, 22:57