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Best area to stay in Crete/Greek Islands for sightseeing

Cheltenham
Level Contributor
7 posts
28 reviews
Best area to stay in Crete/Greek Islands for sightseeing

Can anybody help with some advice? I am looking to go to a greek island with my mother next year and have got a bit stuck on which detsination to go for. We have previously been to Kos, Rhodes, and Paphos (all of which she loved) staying by the town on each occasion as she likes to go for sightseeing mainly. Her other requirements are normally to be not hours away from the airport, a seaview hotel (preferably on the beach), and walking distance to sightseeing attractions if possible. Would Crete be suitable and if so, which area should I be looking at?

London, United...
Level Contributor
20,961 posts
10 reviews
1. Re: Best area to stay in Crete/Greek Islands for sightseeing

Given what you say about your mother's preferences, it sounds as though Chania would be ideal for you. It's half an hour from the airport, it's a beautiful city with a great deal to see and do, and there are excellent hotels at all price levels.

If you don't want to stay in the centre of town there are good beach hotels not very far away: you would need transport, but there are frequent public buses.

If you want to pursue the idea, come back with specific questions, and with precise information about your budget, the length of your stay, and the time

of year.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
Level Contributor
31,277 posts
2,066 reviews
2. Re: Best area to stay in Crete/Greek Islands for sightseeing

Another vote for Chania, its an charming town with excellent restaurants & shops. The beaches are a little out of town so if you have a car it would be perfect.

For hotel on the beach - Ammos Hotel is terrific.

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Cairo
Level Contributor
2 posts
115 reviews
3. Re: Best area to stay in Crete/Greek Islands for sightseeing

i love Chania, very charming city. Another option is Rethymnon. it is a lovely town with lovely beaches.

Sale, United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for Crete
Level Contributor
12,423 posts
88 reviews
4. Re: Best area to stay in Crete/Greek Islands for sightseeing

Another vote for Chania from me as well. Rethymnon as well if transfer time is not as important as flight availability; there are many more flights into Heraklion than Chania, and transfer by car/taxi from Heraklion airport to Rethymnon should be about 1 hr 15min or so, longer by coach. The beach at Rethymnon is miles long, starting just East of the city centre.

London, United...
Level Contributor
20,961 posts
10 reviews
5. Re: Best area to stay in Crete/Greek Islands for sightseeing

BamBam, I would suggest you avoid Heraklion airport if possible, particularly if you decide to stay in Chania or Rethymnon. There may be more flights, as Steve says, but it's a chaotic, inefficient airport at the best of times and can be pretty unpleasant when flights are delayed and the crowds build up. Chania is greatly preferable if you have the choice: Easyjet do direct flights from Gatwick.

I've know both airports well over many years, and would never fly to and from Heraklion if I could help it. Of course if you make the choice of a town or resort in the East of Crete, Heraklion will be more convenient and involve a shorter journey.

Edited: 24 September 2011, 17:42
Surrey, United...
Level Contributor
12,358 posts
230 reviews
6. Re: Best area to stay in Crete/Greek Islands for sightseeing

Another vote from me for Chania as well, beautiful city, and would tick all your boxes.

Of course it would be more convenient to fly into Chania airport if you can, but if you cant get a decent price flight to Chania and dont mind the transfer time then do look at flying in to Herkalion... we have flown to Crete five times this season and each time used Herkalion and I can honestly say we havent had a problem ..... the airport has definately improved over the past few years :-) And having just come back from Kos last week, Herkalion airport is a dream......

Have a great Holiday :-)

London, United...
Level Contributor
20,961 posts
10 reviews
7. Re: Best area to stay in Crete/Greek Islands for sightseeing

MG100, you are lucky never to have had a problem at Heraklion airport. You're right that it has improved - but when I last suffered it a year and a half ago, it hadn't improved enough. Check-in, passport control, and security were one hectic scrum after another. It had been the same the year before.

Chania airport has less traffic, is less crowded, and has a beautiful little park you where you can sit on a comfortable bench and absorb a last bit of Cretan sun until your plane touches down.

Of course if there were no convenient flight to Chania the OP should fly to Heraklion, but in my experience it's a poor second choice: not so bad on arrival, but departure can be hell. (To be fair, on a bad day - an ATC strike day, for instance - there will be problems at Chania too.)

Edited: 25 September 2011, 12:28
Sale, United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for Crete
Level Contributor
12,423 posts
88 reviews
8. Re: Best area to stay in Crete/Greek Islands for sightseeing

I too have had bad experiences at Heraklion airport, but this summer it seemed much better. Incoming has been OK for the last few years, luggage has often appeared more quickly than at Manchester. The biggest problem for me has been departure check-in when there have often been people queueing all over the building, but it has recently increased in size and now seems much better. I think they have also re-organised the baggage Xray so now you don't seem to be crossing other queues all the time. When we went through to departure, that is also now bigger.

I suppose it really depends on how many flights are checking in at the same time - more than 2 or 3 and it looks like organised chaos!

The element of choice of flights can be important - in season there are charter flights almost every day of the week between UK and Heraklion, but only on Tuesdays to Chania. Scheduled flights seem to change year by year, but again are more frequent to Heraklion. I have just done a random search for 5th June next year, and flights are at least £80 more expensive to Chania, presumably because there are less seats available.

Surrey, United...
Level Contributor
12,358 posts
230 reviews
9. Re: Best area to stay in Crete/Greek Islands for sightseeing

Just hope that I havent jinked myself Alabastron, saying that we havent experienced problems this year ...as we fly out to Herkalion in the morning ;-)

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
Level Contributor
31,277 posts
2,066 reviews
10. Re: Best area to stay in Crete/Greek Islands for sightseeing

We also found Heraklion Airport to be second rate...its workable but thats about it.

Good Luck MG100surrey & enjoy Crete !!