One day in Chania
Explore the Akrotiri peninsula: Monastery of Agia Triada - Gouverneto Monastery – Eleftherios Venizelos Graves (historical site) From Souda (port of Chania) drive towards the airport. Visit the Monastery of Agia Triada and then the Gouverneto Monastery (please check their opening hours with us before you set off). On your way back towards Chania stop at the Eleftherios Venizelos Tombs – a historical site with wonderful views to the old Venetian harbor of Chania. Also there you will find a choice 3 coffee shops for you to enjoy.
Falassarna beach – Elafonisos beach – Monastery of Chrisoskalitissa The two top beaches to visit while in Chania are Falassarna and Elafonisos. On route to Elafonisos you can also visit the Monastery of Chrisoskalitissa. This is a full day trip with approximately a 1 hour and 45 minute drive each way. Balos lagoon and Gramvousa islet Take a ferry from Kissamos port (daily) and spend a day sunbathing and swimming at Balos lagoon and the islet of Gramvousa. Total time on the ferry is 55 minutes.
Aptera archaeological site: This small archaeological site (ancient town of the Minoan era) is well worth a visit. From here there are wonderful sea views to the port of Chania (Souda) and the Akrotiri peninsula. Itzedin Castle: A Turkish castle, built in the 19th Century. Also known as the Kalami fort. Lake Kournas: The only freshwater lake in Crete! A good small trip to take with the family to enjoy the wonderful views to the mountains, lake and the sea. Walk around the lake, paddle-boat, feed the ducks and have a snack/lunch at one of several cafes/taverns. Samaria gorge: Thousands of visitors hike this gorge annually. This is a 15km (mainly downhill) hike – a whole day event. You can do it on your own by use of the local bus service from Chania central bus station or by organized tour (ask us while you are staying with us). Therisso gorge: This is a unique gorge as it is one that you drive through to reach the village of Therisso where there are several tavernas. The Eleftherios Venizelos tombs: (historical site) are located high above Chania centre and old town (great views) in the direction of Chania airport.
Kithira - Antikithira: Two islands which you can visit by boat. The boat leaves from the port of Kissamos early in the morning and comes back before the midnight.
One day in Rethymno
The Fortezza (fortress) was built by the Venetians (1573) to protect the city. Not only are walls, church and the remains of its buildings of interest, the views from it to the town are a great way to start planning your tour of the town. There are also sweeping sea views. Open daily. Archaeological museum at the entrance to the fortress. Open daily 08.30 to 15.00. Closed Mondays. Very small but with some interesting (and big!) exhibits from Neolithic to Roman times. Includes Archaic and early Christian finds from Eleftherna and Minoan finds from Armeni and Monastiraki sites. A wonderful clay larnax is visible as you enter. Also don't miss the Minoan goddess figurine. The Venetian Loggia, dating back to the 16th century. Used as the archaeological museum's shop. (Books, models, jigsaw puzzles and cards). Folklore and history museum Housed in a restored Venetian building with an interior courtyard. Eight halls with collections that include textile and basket weaving, embroidery & lace, costumes, ceramics, historic photographs and maps, weapons and coins. Over 5.000 items dating from the 17th to the 20th century are displayed. The main minaret (Neratze mosque) is on Venardou street, though it is surrounded by a very hefty scaffolding structure for a while. Used currently as a music school (odeon). At the bottom of Arkadiou street (corner of Ougo str.), the Kara Musa Pasa mosque. See also the uptown minaret, Veli Pasa mosque, under some refurbishment. Up from the post office, near corner of Markellou and Andoulidaki streets.
Continue on to Agia Irini monastery and a quiet, tranquil visit is there for you. Ring bell only during those hours if you would like to visit. The Monastery (nunnery) is very recently restored. Restoration started in 1989. Its origin is 927 AD. The shop offers - with loom in view - their own hand made linens and woven pieces, jams, cards and hand-painted icons. The monastery is small and a place for a quiet visit. Two of the major monasteries of Crete and amongst its most sought and visited, Arkadi and Preveli monastery are medium distance outings. Arkadi Monastery. Originally built in the 14th century and re-built in the 16th century, it is located in an attractive hill, 23 km south-east of Rethymno. In the center of the complex stands the Byzantine church. It is well known as one of the most important centers of the Cretan resistance against the Turkish occupation and a symbol of fight for freedom. In November 1866 the Turks sent 15000 men to besiege the monastery. Margarites village. Continuing from Eleftherna, a characteristic Cretan village with long tradition in hand-made pottery. Buses: 06.30, 12.45 -not on weekends. Return: 07.15, 14.00. Melidoni village. Typical Cretan village, interesting for its cave, inhabited since the Neolithic years and a place of worship during the ancient times. During the Turkish occupation, 370 people were killed by Turks, inside the cave, after refusing to surrender peacefully. Interesting cave, with many stalactites and stalagmites. 140 m long, 6 chambers. Zoniana Cave (Sfedoni). Beautiful cave, on the slopes of Psiloritis mountain, at an altitude of 630 m. It is 10 km west of Anogia, 52 km south of Rethymno. The cave has 14 chambers and covers an area of 3000 sq. m, but the walking route is only 270 m.
One day in Heraklio
You have a day to spend in Heraklion, the main city and key business centre of Crete. The city is also a major cruise destination. The enormous Archaeological Museum and History Museum (converted from an old power station well before the idea of using the old Battersea power station in London as an art gallery) on one corner of the central Eleftherias Square collects together many of the finds from Knossos, Archanes, Phaestos, Zakros and many other archeological sites in Crete. The Battle of Crete Museum. Walk down the side of the Archaeological museum on Hatzidaki and at the end, where it meets Bofor is this small but informative gem. The Venetian Loggia on 25th August Street ("Avgoostoo Eekosi Penday"), 50 metres down the street from "Lion Square" (Morosini or Venizelos Square on maps) on the right, is now the city hall of Heraklion. You can walk in a take a quick look. The Municipal Gallery and Basilica of St. Mark has an ever-changing variety of exhibitions from early photographs of Crete, to specific works of art - have a look to see if there is a current exhibition. Opposite "Lion Square". The Koules Venetian Fortress on the harbour walls, built in the early 1500's. Both for the impressive stone mass of its fortification and unfathomably solid walls, the pleasure of views from its turret and roof, restored interior and exterior reliefs of the Lion of St. Mark. The Natural History Museum of Crete. 10 minutes walk along the sea front from the bottom of 25th of August street - turn left as you face the sea (same direction as for the History Museum). The museum is in the well-converted old electricity power plant for Heraklion.
Another great place to visit with your children: the new Aquarium ("CretAquarium" or "Thalassocosmos"). A 5000 square metre structure, it is both a research centre (housing the Institute of Marine Biology & Genetics and the Institute of Oceanography) and a fun, impressive aquarium with 32 tanks (representing interesting underwater Cretan sea landscapes) and 50 viewing points. 2500 organisms of 200 Mediterranean marine species, from hunter sharks to lobsters, to colourful jellyfish. The Palace of Knossos. 20-25 minutes from the centre of Heraklion. For many this is a must see, and for some a major reason to visit Crete. While you are in or near Heraklion it makes sense to visit this well-restored and sprawling work of Arthur Evans who spent much of his life, and his inherited fortune to make Knossos what is is today. A Minoan palace - this is is the closest you can get to piecing together the threads of the story of the Minoan civilization through the structures the Minoans lived in.