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For days on Crete not enough, but they were wonderful

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
2,271 posts
185 reviews
For days on Crete not enough, but they were wonderful

We had 16 days in Greece and chose to spend 5 nights and 4 full days in western Crete. That was not nearly enough, but they were a highlight of our trip thanks to advice from TA, especially Alabastron.

We arrived in Heraklion on the highspeed ferry from Santorini Monday evening. Stayed at the Lato Boutique Hotel, which was great and very convenient.

Got up the next morning, walked the couple blocks to the bus station, and took the bus to Knossos. I have wanted to see Knossos since I first read about it years ago. We had planned our trip carefully for days on Santorini with few or no cruise ships. I never thought to check Heraklion and so, of course, a large cruise ship was in port. Knossos was very crowded, but they all left late morning.

We hired a private guide (only 80 Euros + tip) which was the best thing we did. She was able to guide us around the crowds and with just the 3 of us, we could get in close to hear her. We had been to the Minoan ruins of Akrotiri on Santorini, and our guide helped us understand all we had seen and were seeing. After the guided tour was over, we explored a bit more since the crowds had left.

We returned to town on the bus and had lunch on the waterfront. Our only lunch in Greece where things were brought we hadn't ordered - like a large dessert. But we were hungry and only drinking water so we just enjoyed it and paid.

Off to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum after lunch. This was amazing. The absolutely intricate art - some so tiny - that was everywhere. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in this museum.

The next morning we had a car delivered to our hotel for our trip to Chania. We followed Alabastron's advice and went to Gortyn and Phaestos. We did enjoy Gortyn, especially the laws written on the walls, but it was very hot and we didn't go exploring on the south side of the highway.

We continued on to Phaestos. I absolutely loved Phaestos - probably my favorite thing in Greece. It's almost as large as Knossos, but with only about 60 people there and fewer areas roped off. It was so fulfilling to just wander around and imagine being there,

The drive from Heraklion to the outskirts of Chania was relaxing and easy. We then found the labyrinth of Crete - not in Knossos, but in the one-way streets to the harbor in Chania. We did eventually find our way to our hotel, but were quite exhausted by then.

We stayed at the Porto Veneziano right on the beautiful Venetian harbor. Wonderful breakfasts there. The next day we relaxed, walked along the harbor front, and my husband visited the nautical museum. No driving that day.

We had one full day left. I had wanted to see Imbros Gorge and had spent a lot of time figuring that out, but it was just too hot for me and we chose not to do that. Instead we knew we wanted to find the Chania airport so we wouldn't get lost prior to our morning flight.

We made a very nice day of driving past the airport, to the monastery which we managed to visit for a while before the tour groups came, and then a walk to the Cave of the Bear. That 45 minute round-trip walk was just right for me. My husband went down to the Katolico Monastery for some more exercise. To think that cave had been used by the Minoans all the way to WWII resistance fighters.

Reluctantly we left Crete and flew to Athens to continue our trip. Even though it was too short, we are so glad we spent time on Crete.

4 replies to this topic
The Stunning...
Destination Expert
for Scottish Highlands, Crete
Level Contributor
27,240 posts
400 reviews
1. Re: For days on Crete not enough, but they were wonderful

Thanks for taking the time to give the feedback with a great trip report and lovely to hear you had such a great time. Alabastron certainly has a wealth of knowledge :-)

Chania Prefecture...
Destination Expert
for Almyrida, Crete
Level Contributor
2,306 posts
53 reviews
2. Re: For days on Crete not enough, but they were wonderful

Thanks for the great trip report. It sounds like you found, like so many who come for just a dew days, that it was better not to pack your itinerary too tight. The heat can really slow us down. So glad you got the advice of Albastron, a real expert. They will be pleased to read this as so many don't report back.

We'll see you in Crete for longer next time!

London, United...
Level Contributor
20,962 posts
10 reviews
3. Re: For days on Crete not enough, but they were wonderful

Hello Kathy. I’m very glad you’ve enjoyed your time in Crete so much, and am delighted to know that my suggestions were useful. I hope you’ll be able to return one day and spend longer!

Thank you very much for coming back and telling us about it all.

Edited: 12 June 2018, 14:00
Surrey, United...
Level Contributor
12,418 posts
230 reviews
4. Re: For days on Crete not enough, but they were wonderful

Thanks for posting your trip report and so pleased that Crete lived up to your expectations.....yes we are very lucky here on the forum to have Alabastron posting with her wealth of knowledge and her passion for the island.

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