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Kissamos, Paleochora or village near Kournas lake?

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Kissamos, Paleochora or village near Kournas lake?


I will be travelling with my partner to Crete beginning of September for 7 days. We are flying to Heraklion and flying out from Chania airport, we will be renting a car.

We would like to change max. 3 times accommodation. 1st night will be near Heraklion as we would like to visit Knossos palace.

The rest of the stay I would prefer to stay in Chania prefecture as I would like to visit beaches of Balos and Elafonissi plus stay close to nice beaches for the rest of the trip. I have pre-selected the above resorts, but would need to cut one of them, which one? Any suggestions? Many Thanks.

Devizes, United...
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1. Re: Kissamos, Paleochora or village near Kournas lake?

Hi there

Elafonissi is a lovely beach, but it is just a beach. It's a long way to go, even from Chania, and seeing as you have just 7 days, then I would reconsider how you spend your time. Elafonissi is beseiged every day with dozens of coach trips and what was an iconic symbol of the island, is now just another tourist attraction. Balos is doable via a boat trip from Kissamos, or if you hire a 4 x 4, you can drive across the peninsula from Kaliviani on what is a rough track.

To be honest, in seven days ( is that seven FULL days?), I would move twice but that's your call naturally. Paleohora is way down on the southwestern coast, a laid back resort with a superb beach, relatively handy for Elafonissi but not for Balos.

If you are dead set on both beaches, then you will have to compromise as whether you stay in Kissamos or Paleohora, you will face a long ride to one of those beaches.

London, United...
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2. Re: Kissamos, Paleochora or village near Kournas lake?

You asked which one you should eliminate. I'd eliminate two: the village near Kournas, and Kissamos, and add one: Chania.

There are several villages near the lake, and it's a lovely area, but if your priorities are Balos and Elafonisi, and other nice beaches, the question answers itself: your choice is really between Kissamos and Paleochora, and of the two I think you'd like Paleochora better. Kissamos is a fairly ordinary town, not really a resort, and Paleochora would give you a much wider choice of eating places plus the beautiful drive there; and from it you can reach Elafonisi by boat or by car.

I'll just underscore what GB says: Elafonisi really is just a beach, and it's a beach covered in sunbeds and crowded with day visitors on coaches. That's because everyone wants to see it - and its popularity and fame have wrecked what once was a lovely, isolated beach.

If this were my week in Crete, I'd eliminate Kissamos too, and stay in Chania for a couple of days. It is Greece's most beautiful city, and full of interest for travellers. It would be a great shame not to spend some time there. You can drive to Kissamos in under an hour for the boat to Balos (you can't drive out on the peninsula without a 4x4 - don't even think about it) so there's no real need to stay in Kissamos just to be near Balos.

You might find that enough - and if you decide to skip Elafonisi, you could then skip Paleochora too, and spend the rest of your time in Chania or in one of the very nearby resorts, Agia Apostoli or Chryssi Akti, whose beaches are arguably the best along that coast best beaches as well as the closest to Chania. That would give you a chance to visit Falassarna - a much better choice than Elafonisl. You could also drive down to the coast to Chora Sfakion and take the coastal ferry to Loutro. That would give you the spectacular drive down through the mountains, a good glimpse of the spectacular south west coast from the ferry, and a day in one of Crete's most beautiful villages.

Now it sounds as though I've re-planned your whole week for you, unasked. Sorry! Anyway, that's how I'd spend a week in Crete, and I think something of that sort would give you a more interesting time. I hope what we've told you gives you something to go on.

Edited: 3:43 pm, July 31, 2013
Sunshine Coast
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3. Re: Kissamos, Paleochora or village near Kournas lake?

Stay in Chania - it's the nicest and best located town in Crete, we think. You can commute down to the south coast on good roads, there are great beaches,sites and villages nearby, and you can drive in under an hour to Kissamaos and take the great day boat trip out to Gramvoussa and Balos.

You can take a ferry to the coastal towns out of Chora Sfakion on the south coast too,and walk Samaria Gorge though I agree Elafonissi is not really worth the effort .

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4. Re: Kissamos, Paleochora or village near Kournas lake?

On Tuesday we took the trip via Kournas lake and Chanis to Elafonissi. We had an hour at the lake, which is pretty but small. It has a few pedallos to see the turtles, we saw 3. Then to Chania town, the old town and port is nice but crowded. Then to Elafonissi where we were to have 3 hours. We had 2 hrs and 5 mins. It's a lovely beach, shallow waters, very very salty and wind whips the water into your face when swimming. Expect a crust in your hair, towels, costume etc. like previous reviewer, it is crowded with said bus tours, no beds available, most people smoking. We were a bit miffed at first with having an hour less than promised but it was long enough. The coach was not properly air conditioned. It might just be me not used to trips but I would never go on another , I would take the local bus which is why we have been doing. We went to Georgiopolous yesterday and had a very pleasant day.

Chania Town, Greece
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5. Re: Kissamos, Paleochora or village near Kournas lake?


I'd suggest, after your night in Heraklion, you go to Paleochora (or Sougia or Loutro or Sfakia, all of which I prefer) for 4 days or so, for beach & chill-out time, then a couple of nights in Hania before you go home, to explore this beautiful little city.

I think that'll give you sufficient variety, some rest, some exploring, some history, which is what it sounds like you're after. For a 7 day trip I don't think Kournas would add anything.

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6. Re: Kissamos, Paleochora or village near Kournas lake?

Thanks very much to everybody, I think I am going to drop Kissamos and Kournas village.

7. Re: Kissamos, Paleochora or village near Kournas lake?

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