Romantic Road Trip in Central Crete

by Couple
(San Francisco, CA)

What a great website! Thank you for your help!


My husband and I are flying into Heraklion on Sat, Oct 3 around 2:30 pm and we are taking the ferry to Santorini on Tuesday morning at 9:30 am. We're thinking of renting a car from the airport and heading straight out on our road trip since we'll need to be back in Heraklion to spend Monday night near the ferry. Would you be able to suggest a 2.5 day road trip for us?

Our priorities:
-- wine tasting (is Monday better than Sunday for that?)
-- beautiful views/landscapes
-- restaurants with ambiance/character (note: we're vegetarian but happy to find good food anywhere!)
-- maybe some short walks -- on beaches/gorges or wherever (just to get some exercise and activity but nothing too intense!)

-- at least one great city (Rethymnon? Chania?)
-- maybe a small town for lunch/brief stop that has more of a local feel?

Note-- we aren't going to do any museums or The Palace of Knossos on this part of our trip. We'll have been sailing for a week prior so while we love beaches and would be happy to visit one for a walk or drink/meal-- we probably won't swim or lay out. :)

We so look forward to our time there and thank you advance for your ideas!

Back Roads Crete



Hi there, it sounds like you have a wonderful trip planned, we are happy to give you some ideas of a road trip ‘off the beaten track’ in Crete for the days you mentioned. Please see suggestions below for your consideration.

Day One - Sat 3 Oct
Arrive Heraklion 2.30pm
Pick up hire car
Drive to Agia Pelagia 23 km stop for a swim
Drive to Bali Beaches stop for a swim
Drive to Panormos by the beach
Dinner at taverna
Stay Captains House - Panormos

Day Two – Sun 4 Oct
Early morning start – total drive is 60 km with many stops along the way
Drive from Panormos to Rethymnon town for breakfast 21 km
Explore the narrow lane ways
Drive to Agreco Farm near Adele Village 9.4 km
Possible lunch stop
Visit Arkadi Monastery 14 km
Drive through Amari Valley to the village of Meronas
Stay Meronas Eco House


Day Three – Mon 5 Oct
Breakfast in Meronas
Drive to Zaros 47 km of scenic drive
Visit Lake Votomos or Rouvas Gorge for a short nature walk
Drive Zaros to Dafnes 28 km
Visit Douloufakis Winery
Country drive from Dafnes to Heraklion via back roads and Archanes 40 km
Other wineries can be included if time allows
Drop off hire car
Stay Hotel Lato – close to port

Day Four – Tues 6 Oct
Taxi from hotel to port
Depart from Heraklion port 09.30 to Santorini (Hellenic Seaways Flying Cat 4) arrive 11.35

Where ever you go, you will not be far from a good local taverna, we suggest the best way is to just ask in any village and you will find somewhere to try Cretan local food. You have short enough itinerary to allow for some exploration. Also, the Meronas Eco House can pack you a picnic for your second day of touring. We are vegetarians too, for this reason we love the Cretan traditional tavernas because there are so many true vegetarian options and tastes.

Kalo Taxidi! Bon Voyage!

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Thalori Retreat, Crete
Thalori Retreat
Heraklion, Crete






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