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Advice on getting around and sites (Santorini, Crete, Meteora)

by jonathangera Online Now Mar 15, 2013 at 2:17 AM

Hi Everyone:

I would really appreciate some opinions on the following questions. I will be in Greece at the end of March, early April for 10 days. I like history, nature .. I like to see unique beaches, but don't make them a priority as I have seen many. Here are my questions:

1) I will be in Crete for 1.5 days (flying in from athens). How difficult is it to drive in Crete? I've only driven in the US and in Germany. Is it safe to leave luggage in the car? I will be flying into Chania and flying out of HER. Is this a hard drive? I would like to see Knossos and drive around Chania. Any other activities that you could recommend? Is the drive to Elofonisi difficult?

2) How difficult would it be for someone who does not have experience with an ATV, to drive one in Santorini for the first time. I will be in Santorini for two days.

3) Last, but not least, if you had two days to cover Delphi and Meteora (from Athens) would you drive this on your own? I'm not a big fan of big tours, but from my reading it seems I may have to opt for a tour to do this safely. By the way, I'm female coming in with another female friend.

Sorry for all the questions and thanks much in advance!!

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7 Answers
  • konstas's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on getting around and sites (Santorini, Crete, Meteora)

    by konstas Online Now Mar 15, 2013 at 3:59 AM

    Hallo jonathangera. The problem is not that you have to many questions, but that you want to visit too many places in a short time.
    1) The part of the road between Chania - Rethimno is not the best road in Greece. In general you will have to drive carefully at all time during your stay in Greece. If you try to see Chania and then Elafonisi maybe you'll make it. It's 105km from the airport and it takes about 2:30h. Don't drive there if you are tired.And i dont't known the time you are landing and where you are planning to sleep.(Chania or Heraklio). Depending your timetable you can't visit all three locations. Chania-Knossos is 143km and about 2:45h. About in the middle you can visit Rethymno which i think is one the most beautiful cities in Greece.Irakleio-knossos is just 15min.
    2)The most people visiting E.R. in greek islands are tourists driving bikes. If you are a good driver rent it. If not think twice. Santorini is a small island take a car and you wiill see everything in one day.Then just choose the best view and watch the volcano and the sunset drinking cold frape.
    3)No problem you can go on your own to both places. If you choose to sleep near Delphi you can visit Arahova. If you sleep at Meteora you can visit lake Plastira and or village Elati.
    4)Allowed me a suggestion as i am greek. Visit Nauplio the first capital of Greece. It is close to Athens (150km most motorway 2:00h) and you will see Mykines too. The city of beautiful Helen with a unique archaeological site.I Hope that i was helpful. Sorry for any mistakes.

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  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on getting around and sites (Santorini, Crete, Meteora)

    by lynnehamman Online Now Mar 15, 2013 at 5:41 AM

    Hi

    We had no problems at all driving in Santorini........a good idea to hire a car. They have kind of 'bubble' cars, which are nifty and don't cost much. Roads are quite good. Drive inland on the island as well- some beautiful historical villages and scenery

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  • oriettaIT's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on getting around and sites (Santorini, Crete, Meteora)

    by oriettaIT Online Now Mar 15, 2013 at 6:07 AM

    1) I have been in Crete several time and drove all over the places, the road between Chania and Heraklion is the best kept of the whole island, this said it still need all your attention. Greek are aggressive drivers and they have a non written rule that the slower driver have to drive over the emergency lane, so just drive slow, pay attention to the road and do not hesitate to move on the right and let them pass.
    if you need a hotel in HER close to the airport and closer to Knossos than one in the center, check out hotel Sofia, we stayed there last summer and really enjoyed it (more about it here Tlaclula Market
    Elafonissi is at least 1,5 hours driving from Chania, it is not very difficult but my opinion is that you have a too tight schedule to go there

    2) Santorini is small and has a good bus system, I think you can comfortably skip the drive and use the buses instead, this apply of course if your hotel is in one of the main villages...

    I totally agree with konstas about Nafplion and the surroundings! totally worth it!

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on getting around and sites (Santorini, Crete, Meteora)

    by mccalpin Online Now Mar 15, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    If you like history (as you say) and if you think to go to and stay in Nauplion, then you are in luck...Nauplion is a pretty little port town (advantage - it has hotels), but not far away are the ancient sites of Epidauros, Mycenae, Tirins, and other places. Do you remember Homer's Iliad and his description of the "Lion Gate" at Mycenae - it's actually there (!!!) just as Homer described 2800 or so years ago...

    Nauplion is the best place to spend the night and explore this whole area.

    Bill

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  • Re: Advice on getting around and sites (Santorini, Crete, Meteora)

    by jonathangera Online Now Mar 15, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Thank you so much everyone for all the great advice! Konstas, thanks for all the details. Lynnehamman, will check out the car rental for sure. oriettaIT, thanks for the hotel recommendation. Mccalpin, thanks! Yes, wouldn't miss those sites (mycenae, nafplion and epidaurus). I didn't mention them because they seem pretty straight forward to get to. We also have a couple of days in Athens itself.

    We are actually coming in from Athens to Crete very early in the morning. We land at 9am. So it seems we could plan to drive straight to elafonisi. Spend a little bit of time there and then start the drive to Her. Maybe stop in Rethmyno (either stay there for the night or continue on to Her?). Go to knossos the next morning. Our flight does not leave from HER until around 6pm.

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  • konstas's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on getting around and sites (Santorini, Crete, Meteora)

    by konstas Online Now Mar 15, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    So as you come back from elafonisi be sure that you stop to see Chania old town and walk all around the port to the tourkish bath and the building of shipyard.Then go to Rethymno and sleep there (not Irakleio) you can visit venetian castle and the old city of Rethymno. You can find great restaurants and a marvellous crepery but i don't remember the name.Use your time to see as many things as you can at Chania and Rethymno. Knossos is the best Irakleio can give you.

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  • Re: Advice on getting around and sites (Santorini, Crete, Meteora)

    by jonathangera Online Now Mar 16, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    Thanks again konstas. I took your recommendation and booked a hotel in Rethymnon!

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