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driving around crete

ny
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driving around crete

I plan to be flying into Chania in early May, and need advice on how many nights to book in Chania before renting a car and driving to Rethymnon and onto Heraklion. I was thinking that I'd want one day to site see Old Chania, one day to take a trek tour through Samaria Gorge, and wonder if I should rent a car to tour down to the southern coast on the third day to Paleohora and continue east toward Rethymnon from there. It appears that to go east from the southern coast, you have to drive back to Chania. Is it worth it or should I just leave Chania on the third day to travel toward Rethymnon?

Sale, United Kingdom
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for Crete
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1. Re: driving around crete

Hi cbcsw, and welcome to the forum

Chania town is definitely worth at least a full day of your tour. It is thought by many to be one of the best towns in Greece.

You are coming in early May, so you need to be aware that Samaria may not be open - it depends on the rainfall. If you do go to Samaria, you will need to get a bus to the top at Omalos, walk down, get a boat from Agia Roumeli to Chora Sfakion, then get a bus back to Chania. This may sound complicated, but there are plenty of inclusive tours available.

If you do this, you will already have seen some of the south coast - Agia Roumeli to Chora Sfakion - I wonder if you have a special reason for visiting Paleohora? Another option which is possible but it may be difficult in May, is to get a boat west from Agia Roumeli to Paleohora. But you would have to consider what you do with your luggage.

You are corect in thinking that the only driving route from Paleohora to Rethymnon passes near Chania.

There are some other alternative south coast towns and villages you may wish to consider - for instance, Plakias and Agia Galini are both within an hour's drive from Rethymnon.

To help you, it would also be useful to know how long in total you have on Crete, and do you plan to take any more excursions either from Rethymnon or Heraklion?

Hope this helps, please don't hesitate to ask any other questions you have.

Steve.

ny
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2. Re: driving around crete

Thank you Steve,

We will be in Crete for 8 nights. Arriving late to Chania on the 4th of May. If we cannot do Samaria, I wonder if Chania offers enough for 2 days. I think it might, given your description. I think now we may take a bus from Chania to Rymthymon and stay there for 2 nights, then renting a car for 3 days on the 9th to tour the area, seeing Roustika, Azogires, and maybe Preveli and stay in Preveli or Agia Galini. Any suggestions? The next day we thought we might see Adele, Margarites, and Anogia, staying in Anogia. Then driving to Knossos the next day before dropping our car in Heraklion to stay for an overnight before moving on to Santorini. What do you think? Many thanks for your thoughful ideas.

London, United...
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3. Re: driving around crete

The Samaria gorge is usually open by 1 May - only if there has been an inordinate amount of rain during the winter and spring does it take any longer to repair the damages to the path and bridges. I've never known it not to be open in early May, and it has often opened during the last week or two or April. The real question mark is the ferries: there were problems last year which I'm not certain have been resolved, so if you expect to walk the gorge you'll need to check when you get to Chania.

If you can't walk through Samaria, you might enjoy the Imbros gorge - it's not as long as Samaria, but it's beautiful, and much quieter. And there is plenty to do in Chania to keep you happy for as long as you want to stay there. Two days in not very long, although I can see that it might seem long in the context of an eight-day stay in Crete (which isn't very long either).

Kirkwall
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4. Re: driving around crete

Hi,

If you're going to Anogia be sure to go into Axos and visit the wood carver's museum - it's amazing!

Sale, United Kingdom
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5. Re: driving around crete

Hi again,

A good alternative suggestion from Alabastron - Imbros gorge. If you did that, you would be best to take your car to Imbros (on the road to Ch. Sfakion), do the walk down towards the sea, rthen get a taxi back to your car - at the bottom of the gorge there are signs everywhere for this. You could then drive down to the sea, and include visits to Chora Sfakion and Frangokastello.

Other suggestions:

Arkadi monastery

Amari valley is worth a detour

On the way to Heraklion, you may like to visit Bali, a picturesque resort built round several bays and headlands) and Fodele (the village about 3 miles inland from the resort of the same name).

If you want a guide book to help you with all this, I would suggest in addition to any mainstream guides (Rough Guide or Lonely Planet for example) you should also bring a copy of 'Landscapes of Western Crete' (Sunflower books, latest edition 2011) which includes car tours and walks. Although you may only use it for one or two of each, it will still be useful.

Devon, UK
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6. Re: driving around crete

Chania is certainly worth a two-night stay, or longer. You could spend a day exploring the Akrotiri peninsula - there's an active monastery, the dramatic ruins of an older one down my the sea, a very pretty beach at Stavros, and the scenically situated Venezilos Graves to visit. And Chania itself is full of charm and interest.

Don't make the mistake of spending too long travelling around the island - Crete is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace.

Nanaimo, Canada
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for Chania Town, Naxos
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7. Re: driving around crete

I think Magpie has it right. Chania certainly will take you two days and much of that will be spent just wandering the back alleys and harbour of the old town. You are arriving on May 4th. There was a Saturday street market along the waterfront to the east of the old town. You can spend a couple of hours there just taking it all in.

Find the central market building, lots to do there. Find the street of knives and the leather area, sit at a harbourside taverna and watch the sun set and reflect on all the lives lived. Take it slowly and absorb the culture. Then you can use Chania as a base to do Samaria, perhaps a day trip to Falasarna beach or Elifonissi beach, perhaps the excursion boat to Balos or discover Ancient Aptera just 18 Km east of Chania. Crete is way too big to try and see a lot of it. Better to concentrate on one smaller area and take your time.

We did somenting close to your proposed trip in 19 days and still have not had time to get to everywhere we had planned.

Here are images of Chania

travel.webshots.com/album/571195659jPcKjK

Heraklion, Greece
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8. Re: driving around crete

Be aware that Samaria officially opens on the 1st of May each year. However, this year we've got a lot of snow and rains and might open a little bit later.

Agii Apostoli...
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9. Re: driving around crete

My top 11 places to visit in Crete:

Knossos archaeological ruins, south of Heraklio and the archaeology museum in the city center (archaeology).

Samaria gorge, south of Chania (nature).

Chania town (sightseeing).

Elafonisi beach, south-west Crete (beach).

Balos beach, north-west Crete via ship from Kissamos port at 10:00 (beach).

The beaches south of Rethymno, especially Triopetra and Agios Pavlos (nature).

Dikteon Antron cave (birthplace of Zeus), Lasithi plateau, south of Heraklio (nature).

Hiking along E4 European hiking path and in gorges, all over south Crete (hiking-beach-nature)

Vai palm tree forest, nort-east Crete (beach).

Gavdos island south of Chania (beach-nature).

Hrisi island south of Ierapetra (beach-nature).

10. Re: driving around crete

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