I've received a few messages from T A members asking various questions and I thought that if I replied here it may be of use to others and also it will give other Crete/Paleochora experts an opportunity to join in with their valued advice and tips as well. So here goes; these are a few tips that come to mind and which I feel may be worth sharing. Please remember though... these are only MY opinions and every traveller has their own likes/dislikes etc, so please bear with me :)
Firstly there's an excellent review/ report about paleochora written and posted by Delboy from Aylesbury ... I hope he doesn't mind me including this link here:
Delboy's made a wonderful job of this and he leaves few stones unturned! In an attempt to add a bit more information I wrote the following as a reply to a message from another TA member; hopefully it will contain some useful tips for you...
• If you’re planning on using the bus to get down to Paleochora here’s some links and information:
o Bus timetable from airport – Chania bus station ( when you leave the terminal building, turn right and walk to the corner of the terminal building; just to your left you’ll see a bus stop – this is where you will catch the bus into Chania bus station – it takes 30 mins and runs regularly in summer. Cost €2.30 as opposed to €25 for a taxi into town !
o Buses from Chania to Paleochora
• Here’s a great map of Paleo town for reference when you arrive:
o The Kritiguide website has lots of useful information have a look:
• Money – usually we use the ATMs – there are 3 in town and they all accept major credit & debit cards. You can also exchange in one of the local travel agencies, but they charge 2%. When we were there recently (early June for a month) as we didn’t know what would happen as a result of the 2nd election, we took all our money in euros and had a great exchange rate here. We compared the rate while over there and we had a better rate. You can buy a great little travel safe made by Yale from places like Argos and Wilkinsons for about £10. This holds your cash, passports and a mobile phone. So no worries about keeping lots of cash safe (not that it’s a problem in Paleo anyway – it must be one of the safest places anywhere!).
• Another means of taking money is by using a pre-loaded card called Escape. We used this twice last year and it was brilliant. We loaded it before we went and when we needed to top it up we did the transfer on line from our mobile phone using the Wi-Fi so no worries. http://www.ezpayltd.co.uk/escape-travel/ be sure to get the Euro card though! I got ours free by Liking them on Facebook; not sure if that offer’s still on.
• Wi-Fi. Most rooms, restaurants and bars have their own Wi-fi now and you just ask for the code to access it.
• Restaurants- everybody has their favourites; ours are:
o Maria’s Restaurant (no 1 on Trip Advisor currently) at the end of the promenade on the port side of town. Fantastic authentic Cretan cuisine, cooked fresh every day by Maria herself. She also is front of house in the evenings and is a delight. She’s helped by her husband Manolis and their 2 lovely daughters. The prices are very reasonable compared with other restaurants and their level of service is second to none. The meatballs served with either spaghetti or lemon potatoes, the beef stifado, stuffed tomatoes, imam, gigantes (big white beans), the local sausages (nowhere else serves these), mixed grill and chicken souvlaki are IMHO her very best dishes; but having said that we’ve never had a disappointing meal there in 18 years!! Fab location looking over the sea and mountains. If there’s a full moon while you’re there you absolutely MUST eat at Maria’s to watch the moon appear, as if by magic, from the sea as a huge deep red ball. Marked at no 37 on the town map link above
o Taverna Aposperides (opposite the Libyan Princess Hotel) is our next favourite. Again very authentic Cretan tavern. Run by a local family. Extremely good food in a wonderful setting in a lovely garden with lots of beautiful olive trees and plants. Again very low prices and superb quality food.
o The Grill House called Corner of Flavours - up towards the church – marked as no 36 on the town map in the link above
o For something different try The Small Garden (Kiparaki), mentioned by Delboy. More expensive than most, but good for a change. Book the day before or earlier on the day as they only have 7 tables and they get very full. Can be a bit annoying if there’s a group eating there as the space is quite “intimate”. Excellent Asian fusion cuisine though. The drinks are more expensive than other tavernas.
o Beware of very expensive fish at Caravella. We’ve heard all sorts of horrendous tales of bills well into the hundreds – which for Paleochora is very high. There are plenty of other restaurants where you can get good fish.
• Bars. Again everyone has their favourites. Ours are:
o Cosmogonia – as you walk up the main street cross over the main cross road and walk up towards the church. Cosmogonia is on the next corner on the left. Opposite the grill house mentioned above. Great guys running this bar, good service, very popular so you’ll meet lots of nice people, very reasonable prices and well served. After you buy a few rounds, you often get a free round
o Freedom Street – walk down away from the church from Cosmogonia, across the cross road and Freedom Street is the 1st bar on your left. Irini is Russian and a great character. Her husband is Greek and Christina the waitress is from Rumania.
o The bar on the corner opposite the ATE bank in the main street is also very good and very popular.
o The beautiful long sandy beach is our favourite. Plenty of beds/umbrellas to chose from as Delboy says. This year we paid €5 for 2 beds and an umbrella. Plenty of spaces to get shade from trees along the back of the beach in many places and nice to lie on a beach mat or sarong too. The far end of the sandy beach (away from town) is indeed the nudist beach and it’s very popular with regular visitors to Paleo. Just past the nudist beach is an excellent beach cantina. Worth a visit. (No nudism in or near it!! )
o Pebble beach on the other side of town as in DB’s report.
o If you walk/cycle/drive west from Paleo for a couple of km you reach Kondouras where you’ll find Grammeno beach. Nice for a change and if the sand’s blowing in Paleo.
o If you walk/cycle/drive eastwards from Paleo and keep close to the coast along the pathway you’ll reach Anidri beach – a must. It’s beautiful but sadly more crowded now they’ve made the road passable by car.
o Several times a week there’s a small ferry to Elafonisi – again well worth a visit, but sadly very crowded in high season due to the road improvements and lots of visitors from Chania. When you get off the boat, keep walking as far as you can towards the west. Wade through the shallow lagoon and walk right through the dunes to the very end. The water’s like the Caribbean and the sand’s pink. Give yourself plenty of time to walk back to the boat at the end of the day and don’t miss it – it’s a long walk back to Paleo!!!
o Daily ferry eastwards to Sougia, Agia Roumelli, Loutro and Sfakia. Sougia is smaller than Paleo and worth a visit. Loutro is totally amazing – no roads in or out. A true picture postcard little place.
• Supermarkets. There’s now only 2 main ones since 2 recently closed. The best & cheapest is Petrakis near the school on the sandy beach side. The other is also on the sandy beach side near the Palm Tree Cafe. There a 2 much smaller “supermarkets” in the main street; the Co-op near Freedom Street bar and the other is very tiny and barely ranks as a supermarket – at the other end of the main street.
• The Paleochora Site is a great source of information. It’s the work of an English guy called Barry Rogers who has lived in Paleo with his English wife for many years. http://thepaleochorasite.com/
• Open air Cinema – fantastic experience. Another absolute must. They serve cheap drinks and you sit in the open air in an ok seat with a little table watching the film projected onto a massive white wall surrounded by swaying bamboos with the stars overhead. Please go and experience this for yourself. It’s amazing. A board in the main street tells you what’s on. The films change nightly. And it’s cheap!
Think that’s about it from me. If you have any other questions let me know :)
Have a fantastic holiday and enjoy every minute of it. You couldn’t be going to a better destination :)
Best wishes from Cretaphile :)