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12 days Crete Itinerary Recommendations

Berlin, Germany
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12 days Crete Itinerary Recommendations

Hey everyone,

We are a couple in our mid 30's, planning a vacation in Crete in August. Arriving and departing from Heraklion (Aug 15-27).

It is our first time in Crete, having previously visited Milos (loved it!), Santorini, Naxos and Rhodes. We are aware Crete is a very large island, and with this limited time, we would like to utilize it as much as possible but also not squueze too much in short time that we dont have time to relax. We are planning on renting a car for most (maybe all) of the stay.

We want to focus on central and western crete during this trip (with maybe some daytrips to south). We have done some research and read some reviews, but still have not made up our minds on exact itinerary of when, where.

I would like to share what we would like to visit below, and open to any suggestions.

We are looking mainly for good beaches, nature, relaxing, enjoy the cultural sites wondering in towns.

1st day: arrive in Heraklion at 11.40, rent car, settle at hotel. Check out Archeological museum & The Palace of Knossos, wander Heraklion at night

2nd day: Wander Heraklion in the morning, afternoon, then take off west towards Rethymnon. (passing through Anogia, would you recommend, or any other places?) Stay the night in Rethymnon and use it as a base.

3rd Day: Wander around Rethymnon and also in the city itself, stay the night in Rethymnon. (Any recommendations for places to see around this city, beaches to check out?)

4th Day: Either stay another night in Rethymnon to visit beaches and near areas(Margarites?), or take off to west towards Chania?

5th Day: Chania, visit Elafonissi via boat in morning (since not sure of the road with car) and wander around and explore Chania towards evening

6th Day: Stay in Chania, Falassarna trip

7th Day: Stay in Chania, Marathi beach, Kathaliko, Agia Triada monastery

8th Day:Stay in Chania, Chryssi Akti beach, Agii Apostoli

9th Day: Stay in Chania daytrip towards Paleochora? Wonder around the southern coast (any recommendations?)

10th Day: stay in Chania or Kissamos - trip to Elafonisi

11th day: Head towards Matala and stay in Matala? (since we heard quite a lot about the hippy vibes and would like to check it out, but not sure if its logical fit, since the road is long)

12th day: head towards Heraklion, drop of car, flight in night

Some questions:

1) Any feedback, recommendations on the above itinerary? Does it seem too packed? Since we dont want this also.

2) How should we fit Elafonisi and Balos to the trip? Is it better while taking it as a base from Chania with boat (since I heard the road is a little rough), or is it better to visit from Palaiochora via car or boat? Or maybe staying a night in Kissamos?

3) Since it will be very hot, hiking in the gorges is not a very likely option but would you recommend going through with car and stopping at some places?

4) Should we just skip matala since its already quite a lot of places, and add the day to chania or Paleochora (prob at least 2 nights here to be worth the trip)

5) since returning back to Heraklion from Paleochora is quite a way, should we just skip this area, or would you recommend incorporating it in the plan somehow, like daytrips from Chania?

6) Any part of the roads that you would caution, since we will rent a basic car, and dont want to be too adventurous.

I know thats quite a lot of questions and text, but appreciate anyone who reads through. Open to any suggestions. The trip is not set yet so open to any feedback and changes. Thank you so much!

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32 replies to this topic
Berlin, Germany
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1. Re: 12 days Crete Itinerary Recommendations

.

Edited: 07 June 2018, 04:50
Berlin, Germany
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2. Re: 12 days Crete Itinerary Recommendations

Apologies for the confusion, we will stay 12 nights, and return on the 13th day in the night. So we have 1 more day to add to this plan

Nanaimo, Canada
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3. Re: 12 days Crete Itinerary Recommendations

Just a nit pick but your plan calls for you to go to Elafonissi on day 5 and again on day 10. I am assuming one of those days was for Balos Gramovossa. probably day 5 as there is no boat to Elafonissi from Chania.

You did not mention Ancient Aptera. It has 5,000 years of civilization strewn over a mountaintop. IT's still an active Archeological site as well. Its only 18 KM from Chania. Dont miss walking through the Roman cisterns.

If you are tempted to go south to Paleochora that opens up all kinds of possibilities. First there is a day boat to Elafonissi so you can visit from there. Secondly there is a daily ferry that goes along the coast with stops in Sougia, then finishes in Agia Roumeli which is the end point of r the Samaria gorge. You can do an amazing day trip along the coast. It is spectacular. You can also hike up the gorge from the bottom so even on a hot day you can get a glimpse of the gorge and can turn around if you start to get tired.

Some images of your trip

Heraklion https:/…72157655935354556

Rethymnon https:/…72157654700502270

Chania flickr.com/photos/…

Western Crete flickr.com/photos/…

Aptera images 38-62 Balos Gramovossa images 79-106

Samaria Gorge hike the easy way. https:/…72157670610409530

Ferry trip Libyan Sea https:/…72157653434073393

Lots to do.

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Berlin, Germany
6 posts
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4. Re: 12 days Crete Itinerary Recommendations

Stanbr Thank you! I was writing from my phone so made a couple of mistakes. Thanks for your recommendations, have tried to incorporate it in the plan. Updated below:

1st day: arrive in Heraklion at 11.40, rent car, settle at hotel. Check out Archeological museum & The Palace of Knossos, wander Heraklion at night

2nd day: Wander Heraklion in the morning, afternoon, then take off west towards Rethymnon. (passing through Anogia, would you recommend, or any other places?) Stay the night in Rethymnon and use it as a base.

3rd Day: Wander around Rethymnon and also in the city itself, stay the night in Rethymnon. (Any recommendations for places to see around this city, beaches to check out?)

4th Day: Stay another night in Rethymnon to visit beaches and near areas(Margarites?)

5th Day: take of to Chania, wander around and explore Chania towards evening

6th Day: visit Balos via boat in morning (since not sure of the road with car)

7th Day: Stay in Chania, Falassarna trip

8th Day: Stay in Chania, Marathi beach, Kathaliko, Agia Triada monastery

9th Day:Stay in Chania, Chryssi Akti beach, Agii Apostoli, Ancient Aptera.

10th Day: stay in Paleochora, Wonder around the southern coast (daily ferry that goes along the coast with stops in Sougia, Agia Roumeli, Samaria gorge short glimpse)

11th day: trip to Elafonisi, stay in Paleochora

12th day: start going back towards east, stay one day in Matala (open to any other suggestions midway between Paleochora and Heraklion)

13th day: wonder around Matala in the morning, head to Heraklion to drop off car and flight

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5. Re: 12 days Crete Itinerary Recommendations

Your arrival day - 15th August is a major bank Holiday. Public transport, banks, shops etc will be closed - except of course some tourist shops will remain open! I checked for you & was surprised to see that the Archaeological museum is open, but only until 15:00, & Knossos is open until 20:00.

As you liked the smaller places of Naxos & Milos I do wonder whether you would prefer a few days in a smaller holiday village, as you have chosen mostly larger resorts & cities (not Matala, that's not big). Perhaps a few days somewhere smaller on the coast might be enticing. However you are travelling on the biggest, busiest week of the summer, so you will need to pre-book & might find some places not too interested in stays of only a day or 2.

As you say, it is a long way from Paleochora to Matala. Perhaps Hora Sfakia could be a better base for your few days on the South Coast, for instance? That would also give you a nice drive & you will see above Imbros gorge. You could walk that, if you are fairly early, as it is only around 2 1/2 hours, in shade a lot at the top but it does get hot at the bottom.

Or from Chania you might like to drive up to Omalos, to the start of the Samaria gorge walk, where you can see the mountains, then visit the wonderful Botanic Park.

Or take a couple of days somewhere like Plakias, again that is heading towards Matala if you prefer.

Edited: 07 June 2018, 16:58
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6. Re: 12 days Crete Itinerary Recommendations

Just a quick reply for now :-)

4th Day: Stay another night in Rethymnon to visit beaches and near areas(Margarites?)

Along with Margarites you could visit Moni Arkadi which has played a significant role in the history of Crete. From there head to Eleftherna where there is a relatively new museum and then to Margarites. You could then head to Melidoni and visit the Melidoni Cave with it's tragic history before heading back down to the highway perhaps stopping at the lovely village of Panormos for some refreshment with a view :-)

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7. Re: 12 days Crete Itinerary Recommendations

10th Day: stay in Paleochora, Wonder around the southern coast (daily ferry that goes along the coast with stops in Sougia, Agia Roumeli, Samaria gorge short glimpse)

The ferry journey along the south coast from Paleochora to Agia Roumeli (and then to Loutro if you wish) is an absolutely amazing day trip (in fact I got a lovely e mail recently from someone who was having a fantastic time in Crete and Paleochora but described the ferry journey (they went as far as Loutro and back) as the very highlight of their trip).

For an idea of the ferry journey including a few taken at the bottom section of the Samaria Gorge https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjBHgxpfp50&t and Loutro https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahZFfcr8LxA&t

Any questions on timings just ask :-)

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8. Re: 12 days Crete Itinerary Recommendations

Day 12 a couple of ideas for an overnight between Paloechora and Heraklion on the north coast would be Georgioupolis which is 15 minutes west of Rethymnon or Panormos (which I mentioned earlier) which is 15 minutes east of Rethymnon and about 45 minutes from Heraklion. There is also a fantastic drive you can take from Paleochora back up to the north coast via Omalos.

Georgioupolis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78pFlkT7Npw

Panormos angelfire.com/super2/…panormoscrete.html

Drive from Paleochora via Omalos https://flic.kr/s/aHskEU6aTa

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9. Re: 12 days Crete Itinerary Recommendations

On day 7 and on the way to or from Falassarna you could take a short detour off the highway to Maleme and visit the German War Cemetery which we found very poignant https://flic.kr/s/aHskEKXLtC

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10. Re: 12 days Crete Itinerary Recommendations

We didn't think Anogia itself was a particularly attractive village (it has some history though) but the drive up and back down to near Rethymnon is a fantastic drive and you might want to add in a visit to the Sfentoni Cave https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Rev…

Here's a few snaps of the journey but in reverse (there are a few pics of Georgioupolis in the album) https://flic.kr/s/aHskDYNUhr

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