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Good Resort For Historic Sights?


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#1 Bruce

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 11:00 PM

Hello,
Can someone recommend a good resort to use as a base for visiting Crete? My wife and I don't drive, so we need somewhere within easy reach of amenties such as restaurants, tavernas, beach and accomodation. We would like to be able to walk around and see some of the traditional Cretan way of life. Historic monuments, museums, walks and similar places of cultural interest are essential. We would like somewhere reasonably quiet, at least free from noise and bad behaviour! But somewhere with a bit of nightlife – bars and tavernas open 'til late. We don't have a big budget and would prefer to self-cater.
My questions are:
1] Which area of Crete offers the best concentration of historic and cultural interest within easy reach?
2] Can anybody recommend any reasonably priced self-catering accomodation in this area?

If anybody is able to help I would be very grateful,

Bruce.bantam
;)

#2 Mike &Jane

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 10:12 AM

Hi - if you don't drive and you want nightlife (but not noisy) sites, a good choice of Tavernas et, etc you would be best based in Chania. We spent a week at the Lucia Hotel, right on the waterfront at very reasonable rates. Although it was on the harbour it was not noisy (in September) and has the best view in Chania. If you tire of what Chania has to offer you can get a bus from the bus station to almost anywhere on the island, for example Elifonisi, Paleochora, Rethymnon. There are also many boat trips from Chania. The travel to crete website, as well as this one, has many hotels and apartments to choose from.

We hope you have a wonderful time in Crete, do report back with your impressions, won't you.

Mike & Jane

#3 SteveB

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 02:19 PM

Hi Bruce,and welcome to the best web-site about Crete.
Having travelled the length of the island,I would suggest Rethymnon as a better alternative for you.It is vertualy in the center of the island on the north coast,and a very interesting town,especialy the old town.
Public transport is very good,and from Rethymnon area,you can easily get to most places,bear in mind that from Chania,Knossos is about 2and a half to 3 hours travel,but much less from Rethymo!
I see from your profile ,you are in Nottingham.
We are in Ilkeston,so if you would like any more help,or even like to meet up for a meal(Greek-naturaly!)please feel free to send me a personal message or e-mail us on [email protected]
As we have been visiting Crete for many years,Im sure we can help with any questions you may have.
When do you travel?I hope you will get to love this wonderful island and its people as much as the rest of us on here do! Steve Baker

#4 Wim

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 05:09 PM

Hi Bruce, welcome to(o) this best known site of Crete.

To help you out with hotels and pensions in the above advised areas this website gives you (almost) all the addresses etc. known on Crete. Only thing you have to do is selecting your preferred area.

LINK REMOVED BY ADMIN - PLEASE READ THE FORUM RULES

When you book a room in one of them, without using a travel agent, you can always ask for a bed and breakfast arrangement or without the breakfast, so bed only.

You're interests, however, seem a bit hard to bundle into one area to dwell since the main culture of Crete is the Minoan one with lots of interesting excavations spread over the island. If you follow this link: All the Minoan Excavations you'll find them all and the town or village where they are situated. Looking up these villages on our site (use search button between members and help) could give you a good idea about the area and even more if you use the perfect map of this site to look them up and Google Earth to see them in a birds eye view.

The main museum about The Minoans is in Heraklion, which has a beautiful Venetian harbour and interesting inner city, but you can't actually call it a quite place. The most famous Minoan excavation of Knossos is close (only an half hour's drive) to Heraklion. The second one is Phaistos and that one is the south near Kalimari and Matala. This area, as is mainly the whole south, is not known for its dazzling night life but for it's quite surroundings, unspoiled nature (e.g. Messara Plain) and cafeneon's with (live) Cretan music and an old fashioned hospitality. You'll find the food here more authentic than in the north where too much tourists influence the menu.

The Venetian (houses, harbour plans and fortresses) and Turkish occupation (minarets, sachnisi and hammams) that influenced the Architecure on Crete are also found scattered around the island and are mainly concentrated along the north coast from east to west. This " east-west line sort of border" formed by its four main mountains; Orno, Dikti, Idi and Lefka Ori (east to west) divides Crete roughly into the rural south and the more hectic north.

You have to make up your mind about what area you fancy the most after researching all the advises given by this board. If after having done this you have some more specific questions we will be glad to help you out.

Don't forget that what area you may choose, Crete has a good functioning bus system that can transport you to almost any place.

;)


P.S. If anybody is interested in the removed link just send me a p.m. (personal mail) and I'll gladly provide you the link.


:blush:
True is that adage: "He who yields to rule by wooden heads, becomes himself a fool."

#5 Bruce

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 01:39 AM

Dear Mike and Jane, Steve, and Wim,

Thank you all very much for such a detailed reply from each of you. Sorry for the delay in replying – I've only just got back from working a late Saturday shift.

You have all given me lots to think about and I will investigate your suggestions and see which offers the best alternative for me and Pam. I couldn't have hoped for more help, and it's much appreciated.

Once I've settled on somewhere, if I have any more questions I'll get back in touch. I will also report back later in the year (we plan to travel in or around September) when we have returned with our observations.

Once again, many thanks to you all.

Regards,

Bruce ;)

#6 Sheila

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 10:22 PM

Bruce

I guess saying "I agree with the last speaker" is a bit "Any Answers" but I do.

Chania sprang to mind, followed by Rythymnon if you want it a little quieter. Chania is bigger, IMHO prettier, and has more about it. There are lots of pretty bits of Rythymnon, but the egg and chips bits are a wee touch more noticeable, and the interesting bits fewer becuase it's smaller.

It does have a nicer beach closer to the town tho'.

You really have to be in one of the bigger towns to get access to the bus tours. The local bus service is good, but getting direct to where you're going is a boon, no?
Sheila

#7 Wim

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 10:49 PM

Hi Sheila,

I think the KTEL busservice is, certainly for a complicated island like Crete, a sort of little gem.
Have yourself a treat, hub on the bus and get bewildered when it curls itself around remote mountain villages on hard to drive roads going up and down and swinging around gorges while you enjoy the spectacular views without the strain of driving. And mind you if you really want to get in touch with the local population it's ón the bus, and a heart warming affair too. They love it when you try to explain a word using your hands and feet. Cretan's are always nosy about "ξένοι" (the older ones that is, the young ones tend to become as "απαθής" as back home) it is, in my opinion, almost the only charming and adventurous way of exploring the island. And if you took your night gear with you you can even stay for the night in the village of your choice and enjoy being free. Bet you get drunk that night..

I love it, it's an adventure.

The KTEL bus-service schedule is wrapped in the link and don't forget to read its history on the Homepage.

;)
True is that adage: "He who yields to rule by wooden heads, becomes himself a fool."

#8 Sheila

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 11:19 PM

I wholly agree. Only way to go.
Sheila

#9 Tim

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 11:30 PM

I don't wish to be unhelpful, quite the contrary, but I wonder how much reading you might have done so far Bruce. Having been a regular in Crete for something like 18 years, one of the things I am certain of is that you need time to explorecrete and get the best out of her. It is, in my opinion, a big mistake to try and do too much in a too short a time. It can easily leave you tired and frustrated - but determined to come back. I think it might be helpful for you to try and prioritise what you want to see and then largely focus on one geographical area.
This website has page upon page of information in the subject areas that interest you. Have a look at them and also some of the common guide books in the library. (Rough Guide, Visitors Guide etc etc)
Chania, Heraklion have museums, I am not personally aware of the situation in Rethimno but I expect they have one or more
In earlier times I also used the bus to get about, Rethimno was a good bus base as was Chania - and as Iraklio must also be. But do not disregard taxis as a good and often reasonably inexpensive (by UK standards) way of getting around. They, buses, do mean that you spend more time on the road and less doing what you might want where you want.
These days I would always use a hire car, they are very reasonable and give you independence.
You may not be aware that it is both common and pretty easy to travel around Crete staying a few days here, a few there (relaxing if you wish as Wim suggests) But do allow yourself time to explore what is more like the real Crete before you head back to the north coast for the nightlife!
If you can get hold of a copy from your library, Christopher Thorne's 'Between The Seas' A Quiet Walk Through Crete, is a good read that mentions a number of archeological sites. A more recent publication, Christopher Somerville's The Golden Step is a very good read and gives much more flavour than many guide books (although the author also wrote one such guide book on Crete, the AA guide perhaps??)
I believe that any research and reading you can get under your belt before you go will serve you well. You are of course more than welcome to post again when you might have more specific queries that we can be more helpful with.
As suggested elsewhere in another thread, the area around Kamilari/Kalamaki/Matala around the south coast, whilst not providing wild nightlife, is in easy reach of Phaistos, Gortys, Agia Triada and Kommos for archeology- some good beaches and a good chance of more traditional experiences in the surrounding villages. Heraklion (Museum/Knossos etc etc) isn't that far away by car/taxi/bus either!

#10 Wim

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 07:17 PM

The excavations at Kommos lie of the land.
True is that adage: "He who yields to rule by wooden heads, becomes himself a fool."