Athens Crete Santorini
Amorgos Mykonos

Gramvousa Islet and Balos Lagoon in CreteAthens Crete Santorini Amorgos Mykonos - Trip Ideas - this is Gramvousa Islet and Balos Lagoon in Crete


Athens Crete Santorini Amorgos Mykonos


Yiasas to your family!

Your trip to Greece sounds exciting and it is my pleasure to offer a few suggestions below.

You said that you are arriving into Athens around 31 August and fly out of Athens on 20 September, giving time to visit Crete for around 12 days, and some other islands. In Crete you would most likely hire a car and want to stay in 2 or maybe 3 locations and use these as a base for exploring, but not moving around too much. With a love of natural places and natural health as an overlay to your fun and interesting family holiday, this will be a unique trip.

Some suggestions below, of course all up to you and only provided for your interest. Information pages are included below.

Accommodation
We have made suggestions for 3 locations in Crete and on each island. Let me know if you have any further questions or want a slightly different type of accommodation etc., as there are myriad options. The links provided go through to programs where we do make a small affiliate income, at no extra cost to you, so if you can book via those links, do so, otherwise just get your travel agent to fix it all up.

September
This is a perfect month to visit Greece, as the weather is still warm but not crazily hot and the water temperatures are great for swimming, yet most of the hordes of tourists have departed. More space for you and easier to explore. We would recommend booking in early, however, for your accommodation in early September, especially in Athens and Santorini.

Athens
In Athens we suggest staying in the old quarter of Plaka right at the base of the Acropolis. Use this as a base to explore the city and beyond, and be surrounded by history and architecture at every turn. There are pedestrianised streets and relative calm. Athens is a big, bustly city, so it is best to take taxis and get really organised or it will be chaos. Good for a short stay; 3 days max.

Crete
As you know Crete is where Toli’s family is from, it is a large island 260 by 60 km with 3 mountain ranges, 4 major towns and hundreds of beaches. So there is a lot to see and choose from. I have narrowed it down with Toli to give you our best suggestions. The highlights of Crete are the ancient Minoan culture and layered history as well as unique geography and folk music. We will introduce you to some locals so you can make connections and experience some of the organic vegetable farming, wild herb gathering and herb distillation.

We have included many nights in the west of the island in the region named Chania. This is where Toli's grandmother yiayia is from.

In the east we have suggested two distinct choices. Upbeat and happening or remote and quiet.

East - Elounda is on a beautiful bay and is quite developed with luxury hotels, offering some of the best spa treatments in Crete. From there you can explore Spinalonga Island and other day tours which are family-oriented and also easily visit the town of Agios Nikolaos for more buzz.

East - Kato Zakros is in the far east of the island in a remote, lesser known area. It is quite sparse and has its own beauty. There is a lovely beach, a ruin of a Minoan Palace and the beach of Vai with Palm Forest. There is also Zakros Gorge to walk - which is known as the ‘Gorge of the Dead’ and we think you will love the Terra Minoika Villas created with love by some mad hikers Ilias and Stella, who will be good hosts.

Santorini, Mykonos & Amorgos
It actually makes better sense to visit Santorini and Mykonos and other Cycladic islands after Crete on the way back to Athens. This is just purely because of the ferry timetables. We think it would be crazy to miss these islands, which are famous for a good reason - they are beautiful. Quintessential Greek islands. Then you could choose a lesser known Cycladic island such as Amorgos and make your way back to Athens by a short plane or ferry ride. Easy.

 

Acropolis of Athens by nightAcropolis of Athens by night



Athens Crete Santorini
Amorgos Mykonos

Your Personalised Itinerary

Day One - 31 August
Arrive Athens
Take a pre-booked taxi to your hotel in Plaka
Explore Plaka and Anafiotika on foot
Dinner in a Plaka taverna
Stay in Plaka
Stay at the Zillers Boutique Hotel or A for Athens


Day Two - 1 Sep
Walk up to the Acropolis on foot from Plaka - see the Parthenon, including the beautiful statues of Caryatids of the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike
Walk back down to the Athens Agora - see the green heart of the city -  Stoa of Attalos, the Temple of Hephaestus, and the picturesque Holy Church of the Apostles from 11th century
Lunch in Plaka
Afternoon visit to the Acropolis Museum
Pre-book ‘Skip the Line’ tickets to the museum and take a 1.5 hour guided tour
Or take a short tour with a guide - 3.5 hour walking tour Acropolis
Choose other tours here
Stay in Plaka
Stay at the Zillers Boutique Hotel or A for Athens


Day Three - 2 Sep
Spend this day in Athens or a full day tour to Delphi or Hydra

Both these tours will mean a very long day but with pick up and drop off from your hotel, everything will be organised and you won’t need to worry about battling the Athens traffic.

Delphi Day Tour - Delphi is about 3 hours drive from Athens but the day tour makes it easy. It is one of the most famous places in Greece and really worth the extra effort to see, although we haven’t personally been and we regret it now. It is home to the famous ‘Oracle of Delphi’, where people have made pilgrimages since ancient times. Apparently gas exuding from fissures in the rocks might explain the trance-like state. Either way, it is a stunning ancient site and landscape in the mountains that the whole family will benefit from visiting and never forget, with a museum to visit.

Hydra Day Tour - Hydra is a stylish island across the Saronic Gulf from Athens. The day tour there will involve a lovely ferry ride and get you into the Greek Islands feeling. We visited here from the Peloponnese and we all adored it. This lovely seaside village has no cars - only donkeys are allowed! The terracotta rooftops and narrow white laneways are so typically Greek. This is a stylish destination, having been discovered by the jet set and artists in the 60s, it retains a bohemian charm.

Stay in Plaka
Stay at the Zillers Boutique Hotel or A for Athens


Day Four - 3 Sep
Athens Crete
Take a pre-booked taxi from your hotel in Plaka to Athens Airport
Flight to Chania in Crete 1 hour
Fly Olympic Airlines or Aegean Airlines Chania code is CHQ
Pick up your hire car
Drive to Elia Traditional Guesthouse 27 km
Stay at this rural retreat near Ano Vouves village
Visit the nearby Olive Museum with oldest olive trees in Crete (perhaps in Greece)
Relax for the afternoon
Stay at Elia Traditional Guesthouse

Day Five - 4 Sep
Visit Chania Old Town
Lunch by the harbour
Museums, boutiques and historic old town in the afternoon
Or take a small group walking tour
Stock up on snacks and food for lunches for day trips
Drive back to through countryside
Relaxing afternoon (poolside and spa treatments)
Stay at Elia Traditional Guesthouse

Day Six - 5 Sep
Self drive day trip
Elafonisi Beach via Topolia Gorge
60 km each way
Stay at Elia Traditional Guesthouse

Day Seven - 6 Sep
Day trip self drive and boat
Balos Lagoon
30 km each way to Kissamos town
Boat trips leave from the harbour
Dinner at a seaside taverna on Kissamos Bay
Stay at Elia Traditional Guesthouse

Day Eight - 7 Sep
Rest day or visit Milia Mountain Retreat – an eco village project
30 km each way on back roads
Stay at Elia Traditional Guesthouse

Day Nine - 8 Sep
Drive to Maza Village near Georgioupolis 58 km
Visit beaches or Chania town on the way
Kolymbari, Maleme, Agia Marina, Stavros Beach or Kalyves Beaches
Or visit small villages in the Apokoronas area near your new village
Stay just outside Maza Village
Stay at Villa Petra

Day Ten - 9 Sep
Visit ‘Wild Herbs of Crete’ on Kallikratis Plateau in Sfakia
Must make an appointment with Babis & Janina (see below)
Inland drive through gorges and Askifou Plateau
35 km each way
Stay just outside Maza Village
Stay at Villa Petra


Day Eleven - 10 Sep

Visit Kastello Taverna Organic Gardens and Foraging Tour
Must make an appointment with Vassilis (see below)
35 km each way
Long lunch or visit Rethymnon Old Town
Stay just outside Maza Village
Stay at Villa Petra

Day Twelve - 11 Sep
Relaxing beach day on Georgioupolis Beach 8 km each way
See the cutest chapel in Crete by the bay
Lunch by the beach
Visit inland Lake Kournas 5 km each way
Stay just outside Maza Village
Stay at Villa Petra


Day Thirteen - 12 Sep

Optional Day Trip to Samaria Gorge
This is best done with an organised tour – small group walking tour of Samaria Gorge
Stay just outside Maza Village
Stay at Villa Petra

Samaria Gorge in Chania CreteSamaria Gorge in Chania Crete

Day Fourteen - 13 Sep
Early start - drive 110 km to Knossos Palace in central Crete
Arrive early to avoid crowds
Get a ‘Skip the Line’ entry ticket with a 1.5 hour guided tour
Drive to eastern Crete 75 km to Elounda or 170 km to Kato Zakros
See notes above to choose your destination
In Elounda stay at the Blue Palace Resort & Spa
In Kato Zakros stay at Terra Minoika Villas


Day Fifteen - 14 Sep

In Elounda take spa treatments, a day tour to Spinalonga or a day tour for a Cretan long lunch, or visit Kroustas Forest
In Kato Zakros see the ruins of Zakros Palace, walk Zakros Gorge and visit Vai Palm Beach
In Elounda stay at the Blue Palace Resort & Spa
In Kato Zakros stay at Terra Minoika Villas


Day Sixteen - 15 Sep

Drive back to Heraklion
Stay near the port for your morning ferry
Dinner at Peskesi Taverna
Stay at the Lato Hotel

Day Seventeen - 16 Sep
Drop off hire car at Heraklion port
Take the ferry 9.00am - 10.45am to Santorini (Thira)
Ferry Heraklion to Santorini
Stay in Oia
Stay at Mystique Resort (luxury) or Caves 1880 (more affordable)

Day Eighteen - 17 Sep
You could simply take the ferry from Santorini to Mykonos
Or visit the lesser known island of Amorgos
The fast ferry is only 1 hour from Santorini to Amorgos
The fast ferry is 2 hours from Amorgos to Mykonos
In Mykonos stay within the old town at Matina Hotel
On Amorgos stay at Kaerati Apartments


Day Nineteen - 18 Sep

In Mykonos
Stay at Matina Hotel
Or in Amorgos
Stay at Kaerati Apartments

Day Twenty - 19 Sep
Explore the island/s, stay there or depart for Athens
Perhaps stay overnight at the airport hotel to catch an early flight the next day
The fast ferry is 2 hours from Amorgos to Mykonos
The flight Mykonos to Athens is 40 minutes
Option to stay at Sofitel Athens Airport which is very convenient

Day Twenty-One - 20 Sep
Fly to Athens or walk from airport hotel to airport
Depart from Athens



Map of your Holiday...

The big picture map of your Greek holiday will look like this...





Information Pages for This Trip...



Your Holiday in Pictures...

Athens is a captivating cityAthens is a captivating city

Ancient Agora and Acropolis, Athens, GreeceThe Ancient Agora is just next to Plaka and just at the base of the Acropolis in Central Athens - this is the unexpected green heart of the city

On the Acropolis are the statues of the Caryatides (image by JT Stewart)On the Acropolis are the statues of the Caryatides in The Erectheion, a temple to the north of the Parthenon

Choose a hotel in Plaka with a view to the AcropolisChoose a hotel in Plaka with a view to the Acropolis - this was my view for breakfast on my first morning in Athens


See the Acropolis from the cafe on top of the Acropolis MuseumSee the Acropolis from the cafe on top of the Acropolis Museum

Visit the ruins of ancient Delphi the slopes of Mount Parnassus from Athens on a day tourVisit the ruins of ancient Delphi the slopes of Mount Parnassus from Athens on a day tour

Visit the delightful small cove of Hydra with its white-washed walls and narrow laneways on a day cruise from AthensVisit the delightful small cove of Hydra with its white-washed walls and narrow laneways on a day cruise from Athens

Crete

Chania or Xania is the capital town of the west of Crete, the old town is full of character and lanes to explore...Chania or Xania is the capital town of the west of Crete, the old town is full of character and lanes to explore...

Relax in the country at this rural retreatElia Traditional Guesthouse
Elia Traditional GuesthouseIn the country, surrounded by olive groves

Explore the Old Town of Chania - Fort Finca and the Maritime MuseumExplore the Old Town of Chania - Fort Firca and the Maritime Museum

See the Venetian Lighthouse from the old harbour of ChaniaSee the Venetian Lighthouse from the old harbour of Chania

Enjoy the old town and its atmospheric Venetian harbour, especially at duskEnjoy the old town and its atmospheric Venetian harbour, especially at dusk

Dine by the harbour in the old town, this is Palazzo al Mare in ChaniaDine by the harbour in the old town, this is Palazzo al Mare in Chania

Elafonisi Beach is a protected natural zoneYour first day trip; Elafonisi Beach is a protected natural area

Balos Lagoon is exquisite with turquoise waters - get there from KissamosYour next day trip! Balos Lagoon is exquisite with turquoise waters - get there from Kissamos in the north west of Crete

Deep in the mountains of Chania is an eco retreat with a unique historyDeep in the mountains of Chania is an eco retreat with a unique history - a visit to Milia Mountain Retreat is one which will nurture and an experience which will not be forgotten - we think you will love this truly Cretan experience

Let 'Villa Petra' be your home for a whileLet 'Villa Petra' be your home for a while - a traditional Cretan home
Just outside the village of Maza is a cozy family home for youJust outside the village of Maza in Chania is a cozy family home for you

Drive into the region of Sfakia and visit Askifou Plateau in the White Mountains of CreteDrive into the region of Sfakia and visit Askifou Plateau in the White Mountains of Crete

Keep driving up to Kallikratis Plateau to visit 'Wild Herbs of Crete'Drive up to Askifou Plateau then up to Kallikratis Plateau to visit 'Wild Herbs of Crete' in the mountains of Sfakia

Visit Vasillis at the village taverna of Castello - take a foraging tour and eat traditional Cretan food hereVisit Vasillis at the village taverna of Castello - take a foraging tour and eat fresh, traditional Cretan food here

Georgioupolis Beach is 5 km from your new homeGeorgioupolis Beach is 5 km from your new home

Take a rock-hopping hike through Samaria Gorge for 16 kmTake a rock-hopping hike through Samaria Gorge for 16 km

The ruined Knossos Palace is the finest example of Minoan architecture on the island, and is partially reconstructedThe ruined Knossos Palace is the finest example of Minoan architecture on the island, and is partially reconstructed

Elounda is a protected bayElounda is a protected bay

Visit Spinalonga Island on a boat ride from Elounda, the island has an intriguing historyVisit Spinalonga Island on a boat ride from Elounda, the island has an intriguing history


Kato Zakros in eastern Crete is remote and quietKato Zakros in eastern Crete is remote and quiet

Zakros GorgeZakros Gorge or 'The Gorge of the Dead'

The ruins of the Minoan Palace of Zakros are right by the bayThe ruins of the Minoan Palace of Zakros are right by the bay


Iraklion old and new ports show the contrast (image by Damianos Chronakis)In Heraklion - the nearby old and new ports show the contrasts of history

Stay near the old port in downtown HeraklionStay near the old port in downtown Heraklion

Take a ferry from Heraklion to Thira (Santorini) in less than 2 hoursTake a ferry from Heraklion to Thira (Santorini) in less than 2 hours

Mystique Resort in Oia, Santorini; art in architectureMystique Resort in Oia, Santorini; art in architecture

Visit Katapola in Amorgos - little known and spaciousVisit Katapola in Amorgos - little known and spacious

Enjoy the cafes near the windmills in MykonosEnjoy the cafes near the windmills in Mykonos

Exploring the laneways of Mykonos...Enjoy exploring the laneways of Mykonos...


Athens Crete Santorini Amorgos Mykonos

Ferries in Greece

Mykonos ferry red against the blue of the Med




Check or book your ferries here...




Athens Crete Santorini Amorgos Mykonos

Contacts

Harry at Rental Centre Crete for Car Hire; a local business with online booking, transparent charges and good service, Harry and his team will look after you.
Ph:+30 2810 240120
E: info [@] rental-center-crete[.]com


Babis Psaroudakis & Janina Sorensen
Wild Herbs of Crete
Wild Herbs of Crete Blogspot
Ph: +30 694 909 2073
E: wildherbsofcrete [@] gmail
[.]com
Location of Kallikratis Village


Vasillis at Castello Taverna & Foraging Tours
Ph: +30 697 280 1688
E: castellotaverna [@] gmail[.]com


Giannis Taxi Driver Guide if you ever want someone else to do the driving or if you ever get stuck call Giannis Bertakis.
Ph: +30 694 985 0006

E: bertos990 [@] hotmail[.]com




Kalo Taxidi!  Καλό ταξίδι!  Bon Voyage!

Katia, Taso & Toli

The We Love Crete Team



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