Single Traveler/ Crete... worth it???
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Dec 12, 2012 8:44 AM Last Post By: BettyandSteve
Nov 16, 2012 10:00 PM
Single Traveler/ Crete... worth it???Hi
I plan on staying in Crete for 10days from June 2. I will be traveling alone ... 1. Is it worthwhile as a single traveler? 2. Which is the best area? I'm not a big party animal, but I like a good nightlife ... interspersed with a bit of relaxation. Need a place that offers both. I don't want to be bored witless in the evenings.
I will be hiring a car to do some exploring. What other islands are a good experience on day trips?
I will go on to Santorini for a few days. Are the ferries running on a more regular schedule to other islands from there...i.e. Mykonos, ect? Which is better Oia or Fira?
I'm breaking my trip up with some time in Turkey. Will be flying back to Athens to spend 5days there. I have already seen the major tourist sites, what else is there in Athens? Which areas are fun, but retain some historic value to appreciate? And most importantly, safe! I stayed in the Omonia Square area last time, and it was a bit "dicey".
Any and all advice is much apprecaited.
Nov 16, 2012 11:26 PM
1Chania has both! http://www.greecetravel.com/crete/chania/index.htm
Yes, in June the ferries will be running to other islands. http://www.gtp.gr/RoutesForm.asp
I woulden't stay around Omonia, but around Akropolis, Plakka and Psiri is good. Good hotel is http://www.hotelmetropolis.gr/ or http://www.attaloshotel.com/
If you search here in LP Thorntree, you will find a lot of more good info about all your questions!
Nov 16, 2012 11:46 PM
2I am not so familiar with Crete, but your question number 1 is not destination-dependent, it has to do with what your interests are and if you feel comfortable traveling solo in general. 2)Other people might advice on that one, but larger cities will be more lively on June., Specific advice depends on travel logistics too, for example quite likely you will depart and/or arrive on Hiraklion? Chania is an other possibility? I will leave Crete for other people to advice, but this website is a good one for "anything Crete" : http://www.explorecrete.com/
Santorini to Mykonos is a summer route, daily on June, you can connect very easily to Ios,Paros,Naxos and on other islands too. What your interests are? Oia or Fira, better on what aspect??? Oia is very scenic and laid back, a bit isolated if you plan to use public bus or you want nightlife. Fira is more hectic, more nightlife options and bus hub of the island.
You mention you'll break your journey to Turkey before flying to Athens, but where you'll enter Turkey from? You do not provide specifics, so it is really hard to advice! Are you planning to connect to Turkish coast through Greek islands, or get a flight Santorini - Istanbul or go via Athens or what? How many days you have available for each part of the trip? Other than your 10 days on Crete and 5 days in Athens, everything else is a guesswork for us.
About Athens, I do not know what you have seen, but if you are really interested on history and ancient ruins, note that Acropolis is not only the Parthenon, the 12 euro ticket for Acropolis site, covers entrance to Acropolis site and to those:
Temple of Zeus
Kerameikos site and Kerameikos Museum
Ancient Agora and Agora Museum
South slope and Dionussus Theater
There are separate tickets for those sites of you have been to some of them. I find them all interesting.
Many people seem to visit the Acropolis museum which is great, but tend to ignore the Archeological one which is an absolute must if you are in Athens or Greece and you are even slightly interested in Greek culture. If you have not visit this one, I think it is about time to do so! If you are interested on museums, Cycladic one, Byzantine one, Numismatic one are very worthing a visit. I love visiting the Numismatic one for its collections and pleasant garden and more importantly for building itsself, it is known as Iliou Melathron (Palace of Troy), actually Ernst Ziller built it for Eheinrich Schliemann and reflects a lot Schliemann's love for Greek antiquity and his idiotic personality...
Other nice activities in Athens center is a walk around Anafiotika area, or a climb up to Lykavitos or Philopappos hill for aerial views of the city etc
In case you wish to visit other areas of wider Athens, I love Piraeus and I have often recommend a visit there, just stay away from the port and focus on nicer areas such as combining a visit to Piraeus Archeological Museum with a nice walk and a snack/meal on Marina Zeas (fishing and yacht harbor) or some shopping therapy around the Town Hall area. Mikrolimano is an other nice area of Piraeus for some fish food followed by a stroll in Kastella for a coffee. Or even Kallipoli or Piraiki for cheap and unpretentious meals.
Glyfada might be an other side trip from Athens, posh suburb ideal for walks by the yaught marinas and brand names' shopping.
Near city center, Kolonaki area is a residential but posh one for having a coffee and people watch! If you feel like you'd like a coffee and a snack in a more laid back residential area, on a sunny day I suggest to go on Papagou and ask where Piu Verde is... A very nice cafe/restaurant in the middle of a local pine tree park, a bit more pricey than your average cafe place, but great location, attracting mostly ordinary people from surrounding areas.
Omonoia is simply a very wrong place for a visitor to stay in Athens. I suggest to head for Plaka,Monastiraki or Syndagma area, or parts of Koukaki.
If you research past threads on this forum I am sure you will find many Athens suggestions under my username and other people's contributions.
Nov 17, 2012 12:19 AM
3Thanks for the responses ... I will be leaving from Santorini for Turkey. I will be meeting friends there, so I really need a bit more help on Greece.
I've read some reviews on Fira and Oia and wanted to know which one is more pleasant, easier to get around in and has more to do. I will be renting a car as well, to make getting around easier.
But if I can get alternatives to Santorini, I will take it into consideration, since my plans for that part is not definite yet. I want to see a bit more of the surrounding islands, but don't want to schlep my luggage with me. so having a base is my ideal.
Thank you for all the info on Athens. This will greatly help my stay there, since I was not sure if I could fill in 5days without running out of things to do.
Nov 17, 2012 12:57 AM
4You may want to check sites such as greeka. com for basic info on islands etc, and have a look on a map to realize where is what on each island. If you look on a map of Santorini such as http://www.greeka.com/cyclades/santorini/santorini-map.htm you will see straiht away that Oia is in a more isolated location than Fira. That said, Santorini is a small island, and roads are not so bad for Greek standards. Oia to Fira is maybe 20-30 minutes drive . Ingela is the Santorini experts here, so she'll be able to provide more accurate views on that one, but on my opinion, Oia is mostly about relaxing and walking around soaking in the ambiance and scenery, maybe visit a few artistic shops and classy restaurants, while Fira has more to see and do, such as the small but very interesting museums, the wall paintings' copies on Nomikos conference center etc, but is fat more busy and touristy in a tacky-shops-touristy-restaurants kind of thing.... I guess both places are fine.
I think you have somehow wrong idea on island traveling though. There is a reason for
island hopping been so famous in Greece, and that is, that it is very hard to be based on one island and visit surrounding islands as a day trip. From Santorini you may visit small islet of Thirassia on a regular ferry from Oia or on an organized excursion, but seen other islands on regular ferries without an overnight is not possible! I strongly suggest to buy T.Cook Island Hopping guidebook if you wish to get an idea of how ferry system works in Greece. Between Crete and Santorini, there is one slow ferry stopping on Anafi island, I am not sure if this is a daily service or ferry runs a few times per week only. This is a tiny and rather undiscovered island that seems to gain lots of fans among my friends recently, but I haven't been there. On summer there is a Crete-Rhodes ferry too, then a Rhodes to Santorini ferry , but this requires very long ferry rides and careful planning. Personally I would rather go from Crete to Paros,(possibly through Santorini), enjoy Paros/Antiparos for a few days, then Naxos (or Ios?) for a few days, then Santorini. Of course a lot depend on how many days you have available.Explore gtp and openseas sites for ferry schedules. June ferries will appear sometime on spring of course, but on openseas you may check past dates and see how ferries run last year to get an idea.
Nov 17, 2012 1:12 AM
5This is how I am looking at my trip ... please let me know if this is feasible or rather stupid.
I will be flying into Crete, and booking in Malia or Hersonissos for the entire 10days. I will be renting a car, so seeing more of the island won't be a problem, and in the event I need to stay somewhere, getting a room for the night. I just don't want to have to drag my luggage from one place to the next.
I've been to Santorini, but I didn't see too much of it last time, there are ferries to Ios (2hours), Mykonos(over 2hours) that I know of. The same principle will apply in Santorini. Just a base, and if I'm in another area, then renting a room won't be an issue. I just want to make sure the ferry transfers won't take half or most of the day to get somewhere.
If I book 10days in Santorini, are there enough close islands to visit by ferry besides the 2 listed above?
Thanks in advance
I will be flying from Crete to Santorini to cut down on travel time.
Nov 17, 2012 1:46 AM
6Been based on Hersonissos or Malia, I guess you will be aimed to explore mostly Hiraklion area and Lasithi on the west rather than east side of Crete, which is fine. Do remember that Crete covers a good 8,336 km2 (3,219 sq mi) territory and you can not see everything in 10 days. Hersonissos or Malia had often been mentioned as an example to avoid of how mass tourist has a massive negative impact on an area! but I do not have a first hand experience so I can not comment. Other people may provide specifics on your Crete part. As a general rule though, if you have a car on Crete, I do not see what's the problem of keeping luggage in car with most of your stuff and have a much smaller light pack with you while checking in/out of hotels on different areas. I think it is somehow waste of money to book a room in a hotel for 10 days and then go and pay again for another room on an other area . It might be waste of time too if you go from your base to place A, then return on base, then an other day go on place B if place B is the same direction/area and further to A...
Ditto for your other islands... If your only problem is your luggage, I would simply go to Santorini, stay in a hotel a few days, arrange an overnight before flying to Istanbul and ask them to store luggage while been away to visit other islands. It is not so much of a problem, most hotels do this. How much can you see of Mykonos spending only one night there?If you go, it is a pitty not to spend 2-3 nights, to explore Mykonos town and visit Delos at least! For Santorini it is less than 2 hours to Ios and about 2 hours ferry ride to Naxos and 1 further hour to Paros on the slow blue star ferry that runs all year around. There would be some quicker fast ferries too on season. Note that usually those ferries depart morning on Athens, stopping on some islands before coming to Santorini, then follow the return route to Athens, so quite likely most of them depart on noon. One overnight leaves you with not even 24 hours on the island.
Nov 17, 2012 4:40 AM
7I've read some info on Crete and it is pretty vast. So it doesn't seem as if I'll be leaving to discover surrounding islands. Having a base seems easier, and less cumbersome.
I will take your advise for Santorini. Since I'm flying out of there to go to Turkey, I will book a couple of nights, then leave my luggage to explore some of the surrounding islands you have mentioned. With your insight, I think I can do 2-3nights per, except Ios, which seems can be done in a day and night?
Thank you for all the info and time
Nov 17, 2012 11:53 AM
8You are making it vastly complex when it is a straightforward ferry route. Though the Crete to Rhodes bit would be easier to fly.
Piraeus > Mykonos > Paros > Naxos > Ios > Crete > Rhodes > Marmaris(Turkey).
You can't use 1 island as a 'base' ferry timings generally won't allow that in early June. You would also waste more time/money on ferries.
Bypass Santorini, if you want to stay don't stay in dull Oia. Fira Town would be best such as it is, but I suggest you go right on by.
Ios cannot be done in a day/ni. I have stayed there maybe 6 times in 25 years.
Argh no, Malia/Hersonisou is a dump, full of 18-13s.
Nov 18, 2012 3:56 AM
9If you have 10 days in Crete and a car i wouldn't base myself in Malia or Hersonissos which are ugly resort towns in the tacky part of the island. That would be a real pity imho.
As it is such an extended and lovely island i would split my bases and forget about visiting other islands. You won't be able to explore all of Crete in 10 days.
Nov 19, 2012 10:48 PM
10Thanks Artemis.... I figured after doing more research. I will just explore Crete for now. Since it looks like I'll be flying into Heraklion, I'll do a few days there, then head off to Chania ... Hopefully my driving will get me to the more interesting places. Of course there's a few other towns I want to see. Staying on one island frees me up and I can see more on another visit.
Dec 12, 2012 8:44 AM
Yes I agree Malia and Hersonissios are both party capital type resorts which are very popular with the British, Irish and Dutch 18 - 30 type tourists, but please dont label the whole of the North East Coast as ugly because of the these two resort., there are some beautiful places along the north east coast of Crete, and believe me the North west of Crete has it ugly areas too, you only have to look at the urban sprawl from Souda bay to Chania to see that.
My suggestions if you want somewhere to stay on the North East coast of Crete would be...Agios Nikolaos a working greek town with a good choice of apartments and hotels, restaurants, tavernas and also lovely beaches too...just under an hour from the airport, and for somewhere slight smaller look at the neighbouring village of Elounda again just under an hour from the airport too.
If you would like a resort that is nearer the airport then have a look at Sissi a small resort, based around a harbour, very pretty too.
Good luck with your research
(4 star Hotel)
From US$207.04 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$119.25 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$98.25 per night