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Crete Santorini Mykonos

Phaistos Archaelogical Site

Question & Answer - Crete Travel Q&A

Crete Santorini Mykonos - A Trip in Crete - many visitors ask us their travel questions and we are more than happy to help. See below a personalised itinerary designed for an independent traveller. These tips will help you plan your own trip.

The letter Q for question

Hi, your website is great and I just wanted some opinions on my upcoming trip.

I am 28 and am going with my Dad (62, but very active and fit) to Crete, Santorini and Mykonos June 28th - July 5th.

Crete is our first stop and I just have no idea how to start planning this trip. Everything looks so gorgeous it’s hard to pick. We will be flying from Rome (I currently live there) into Heraklion airport. We would like to hire a car and see the ancient sites like Knossos and Phaistos.

I’ve read that the northern part of the island is a bit more touristy than the south. Is this true? For Crete we’d like to stay somewhere a little more private and not as busy.

Any help or direction would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Laura, UK

Trip Summary

The letter A for answer

Yes Laura, to see Crete it is better to hire a car. It is a large island 260 by 60 km and there is so much to see, especially in the ancient sites you have mentioned, which are some distance apart, and the hillside villages, back roads, olives groves and mountains.

As you have only a few days in Crete, you and your Dad will benefit from hiring a vehicle and exploring the region of Heraklion.

Heraklion Car Rental in Crete or search below.

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At Car Rental Centre Crete we are confident that you will be looked after by Harry and his team. You can have a vehicle ready for you at Heraklion Airport. Their upfront fees are clear and there are no hidden costs, it is an easy online booking system and a very good service by a local business.

Crete Santorini Mykonos
A Personalised Itinerary for History Lovers

Knossos Labyrinth TourThe partially reconstructed site of Knossos is controversial for its modern touches - just 5 km from Heraklion town

Crete Santorini Mykonos - we have prepared a three day itinerary in Crete for you, with an option for four days, and some suggestions for your trip to Santorini and Mykonos.

Day One - June 28
Arrive Heraklion Airport
Pick up your hire car
Drive to Phaistos archaeological site via national road 64 km
or via back roads 75 km (via Archanes, Houdetsi, Inia and Moires)
Allow two hours to explore the site (there is a cafe there for morning tea or lunch)
Visit Gortyna archaeological site site 23 km
Stay just outside Kerasia village 34 km
We suggest Casa Benavista (pictured below) for you and your Dad
This lovely village home is very centrally located for visiting all the historic sites of Heraklion, Crete

Casa Benavista KerasiaCasa Benavista is located within the narrow lane ways of Kerasia Village in central Crete

Day Two - June 29
Take a drive to Knossos Palace archaeological site early to avoid the crowds
Villa Kerasia to Knossos via national road 25 km
Villa Kerasia to Knossos via back roads 34 km (Via Kerasia, Venerato, Tsagkaraki, Agios Sillas & Vasilies)
Allow two hours for the visit - tips for Knossos here
Visit Heraklion town for lunch 5 km
See the Archaeological Museum
Stay in town or in Archanes village
In Archanes we suggest Villa Archontiko
In town we suggest Lato Hotel for you and your Dad (nice and central to everything and wonderful service)

Snake Goddess Figurine - part of the extraordinary display at Heraklion Archaeological MuseumSnake Goddess Figurine - part of the extraordinary display at Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Day Three - June 30
Drive to Malia Palace archaeological site
Heraklion to Malia Palace 43 km
Stay near Avdou Village 20 km
We suggest Velani Country Hotel for you and your Dad

Santorini & Mykonos

Day Four - July 1
Stay in Crete or take your ferry to Santorini
In Crete we suggest the mountain villages of Anogeia or Zaros
Or the beaches at Agia Pelagia just 23 km from Heraklion

Day Five - July 2
Take the ferry from Heraklion to Santorini (under 2 hours)
Depart 8.40am arrive 10.25am
Stay at Perissa Beach (black beach)
This is a little away from the capital which is more to your liking, but be warned that Santorini is a heavily touristed island and July is high peak season
We suggest Villa Dima

Perissa Beach in Santorini - a little less knownPerissa Beach in Santorini - is also called Black Beach

Day Six - July 3
Stay in Santorini
See ancient Akrotiri
Stay at Villa Dima

Day Seven - July 4
Early morning – explore Santorini
Depart 10.45am on ferry Santorini to Mykonos - arrive 1.05pm
Explore Mykonos Chora
Stay centrally at Matina Hotel - small and traditional for you and your Dad

Exploring the laneways of Mykonos Chora is a visual feastExploring the laneways of Mykonos Chora is a visual feast

Day Eight - July 5
Stay another day and explore Mykonos Island
Or Depart to Mykonos to Athens by ferry 2 hours 15 minutes
Depart 14.40 arrive 16.55
Or Depart from Mykonos Airport to Athens by air 40 minutes
There are five departures per day

Information for Your Trip

Crete Santorini Mykonos in Pictures

Phaistos looks towards the Psiloritis Mountain rangePhaistos looks towards the Psiloritis Mountain range

Crete Santorini Mykonos - above you can see the view from the road approaching Phaistos Minoan Palace Archaeological Site looking west towards the Psiloritis Mountains. Phaistos itself is located in the Messara Valley, on a rise which would have been a fertile and strategic location for the settlement in Minoan times.

Gortyna Archaeological Site (pictured above) dates from much later than Phaistos or the Minoan history of Crete, as it is mainly ruins of a Roman settlement. This was the richest city on the island from the 1st to the 5th Century AD, under the Romans.

Highlights include the Odeon from 1st Century AD, the display of the Gortyn Law Code from 5th Century BC, and the Church of St Titus, dating from the 6th Century AD.

Knossos has been partially reconstructed and a few frescoes can be seen on the site, however most of the frescoes, such as the 'Ladies in Blue' pictured above, can be seen at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, which houses the majority of the historic collection on the island.

Get to Knossos early!

The Bee Pendant was discovered at Malia Palace ancient Minoan site and is displayed at the Heraklion Archaeological MuseumThe Bee Pendant was discovered at Malia Palace ancient Minoan site and is displayed at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum

It is in the small villages of Crete that you will find the true hospitality and culture of the island, above is the village of Kerasia near Venerato just 23 km south of Heraklion town. There are a couple of places to stay near here, and one or two little shops. This is a small, quiet village where life is full of the healthy, relaxed Greek way of life. History buffs will enjoy this location from which to explore many ancient sites.

Archontiko Villa Courtyard - Archanes Village Crete

Archontiko Villa Courtyard - Archanes Village Crete - this village also makes a great base for exploring the historical sites of Crete.

Get to Santorini from Crete in less than 2 hoursGet to Santorini from Crete in less than 2 hours

Getting to Crete

Take a 1 hour flight from Athens to Heraklion with Aegean Airlines or Olympic Air, with many flights available per day.

Or take a 9.5 hour overnight ferry from Pireaus port of Athens to Heraklion port.

More on flights and ferries below.

Car hire in Crete is a really good idea as it is a large island 60 km by 260 km. There is so much to explore.

When you book with our car rental partners - Rental Centre Crete - you are supporting a local company with excellent service and easy online booking. We are sure you will be well looked after by the team. Choose from hybrid, electric or regular vehicles.

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We trust you have enjoyed these tips from the We Love Crete team. Evíva!

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