Will you have the use of a rental car or will you be relying on public transport? Where will your second overnight base be, you don't want to be backtracking all across the island.
Planning on arriving in Heraklion and renting a car. We will be staying for 3 days and seeing the sites. Then driving to Chania, spending the night and hiking the Samaia Gorge the next day and going back to Chania for the night. We then have 3 more nights before spending our last night back in Heraklion for our departure. We are looking for a place very authentic not catering to tourists. I was thinking about Rethimnon because my traveling companion is a professor? When I read about the beaches they are beginning to all sound the same to me. I have a cousin who lives in Afrata ( who is obviously not Greek, because she has not invited me to her home) and she suggested Souyia?
We like things that give you an authentic cultural experience.
I think you might consider heading for the south coast from Chania, maybe conside Loutro? Nowhere will be that busy in May anyway and Loutro is very laid back at the best of times.
You could soend a couple ot three days in Loutro then head along the coast road east and take in Frankokastello, Preveli Monastery, then pick up the Agia Galini road, and follow the Amari valley all the way back to the north coastal highway.
GB has an excellent idea, listen to him .... I love my memories of walking the Imbros Gorge... Frangokastello... taking the boat from Hora Sfakion to Loutro (no roads!) and walking back on a GOAT-path which wound from hiiiigh headlands down to waters edge and back... sort of a grand corniche. And halfway along the walk is Sweetwater beach... chilly waves, lots of "naturists"!
It is still not clear how many days you have "open" ... if it's 3, you have time for that swing to the South.
I sense a contradiction in your wishes... you ask for a place not catering to tourists -- yet in your original post you talk about a spa!?!? And who besides tourists uses a spa?? About Rethymnon, since your friend is a prof (is this because there is a college there?), Rethymnon is a large-ish town with the Old Town part small and crowded with tourists even in may... the beach is attractive but lined with large hotels and apartments.
If you want an attractive small (30 rooms) "luxe" (but not hugely expensive) hotel, with a spa and distinguished cretan cuisine, which is directly on a beach, yet also has pool overlooking the water (rare) -- try Hotel Ammos -- THE best, hard to book: http://www.hotelsofgreece.com/crete/ammos/
In this hotel you find many services, Its on the south coast and near Plakias
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