This page may contain affiliate links, see our disclaimer here.

Help! Wide open 1st trip to Crete and Overwhelmed

by JJ
(Austin, Texas, USA )

Hi, we are so overwhelmed and would appreciate advice. Flying into Athens from the US on May 24 and out of Athens on June 3. Other than that, we have nothing planned.

We know we want to spend the majority of our time in Crete and some time in Santorini. We were leaning toward the Elounda area originally, but now are thinking Chania may be better for us. We are interested in beaches/sun/water, experiencing local culture and fun nightlife/atmosphere.

We have inquired about Casa Delfino, but are willing to move a bit on the island (no more than two hotels if possible). Can we stay in one or two spots and still experience a lot? We'd like to visit Knossos but are open to other historical sites if more practical.

Should we stop in Santorini before or after our time in Crete? Help! We want to make the most of this opportunity to visit Crete!!

Athens Crete Santorini Suggestions

Yiasas JJ,

Thank you for writing to us at We Love Crete.

Yes, you have a good length of time to enjoy Crete. There is so much to see it does get overwhelming! We have suggested an itinerary below.

We have suggested 3 nights in Chania, 3 nights in Rethymnon and 3 nights in Santorini. This depends on your arrival time into Athens and whether you want to travel directly onwards to Crete or rest a little.

This also depends on the time of your departure flight, you may want to fly into Athens airport the evening before departure and stay at the airport hotel so as to be nice and close. Or you could fly from Santorini in the morning and just transit through the airport. For both these options we suggest the Sofitel Athens Aiport is a good option to ensure ease of travel.

Ferries vs air travel. We suggest you fly within Greece as ferry travel will simply eat into your precious travel time. Except for the crossing from Crete to Santorini as it only takes 2 hours on the superfast cats. This is also an exceptional journey as you experience the majesty of the cliffs arriving into Santorini by sea.

For this reason only it might be best to travel to Crete then Santorini, but it doesn’t really matter and you could do this whole itinerary backwards, it is your decision.

It could be slightly busier in Santorini in June than in May so if you do not like crowds, visit Santorini first, as one of the most popular Greek islands it does get a bit overcrowded in summer. But June is still shoulder season so you should be ok.

In Crete

We generally suggest visitors to choose either the west or the east of the island to explore in this time-frame. So this itinerary focuses on the west and also includes the one most important historic site – Knossos.

We have suggested two different beach day trips; of course these are your decision, there are closer beaches to Chania which do not require a day trip, just a local bus. However both Balos and Elafonisi are extraordinarily beautiful and the journey to each will give you a nice experience of the landscape of western Crete.

Your Crete Holiday Plans - Itinerary Crete Santorini Athens

24 May
Arrive Athens
Depending on arrival time – fly to Crete (Chania) or stay Sofitel Athens Airport
Stay Chania
Stay Casa Delfino
Explore Chania Old Town, shopping, museums, restaurants etc.

25 May
Day trip to Balos Lagoon
Enjoy Chania old town
Stay Chania
Stay Casa Delfino

26 May
Day trip to Elafonisi Beach
Stay Chania
Stay Casa Delfino

27 May
Travel Chania to Rethymnon 60 kms
Stay Rethymnon
Explore Rethymnon Old Town
Stay Avli Apartments

28 May
Knossos Day Tour
Stay Rethymnon
Stay Avli Apartments

29 May
Relax or visit local beaches or inland Arkadi Monastery and Margarites Village
Stay Rethymnon
Stay Avli Apartments

30 May
Depart Crete for Santorini
Stay Santorini
Stay Mystique Hotel

31 May
Stay Santorini
Stay Mystique Hotel

1 June
Stay Santorini
Stay Mystique Hotel

2 June
Afternoon flight Santorini to Athens
Arrive Athens – stay Sofitel Athens Airport

3 June
Depart Athens to US

Info pages you might need for this itinerary are:


Athens Tours


Chania Restaurants

Balos Lagoon

Gramvousa Island

Elafonisi Beach



Crete to Santorini

Santorini Accommodation

Kalo Taxidi! Bon Voyage!

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Crete Travel Advice.


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

The We Love Crete team - Anastasi, Katia & Apostoli

Anastasi, Apostoli & Katia are the We Love Crete team
We just love sharing our passion for Crete, Greece and travel
About us  Contact Us  Kaló taxídi!

About the Team

WLC Team Circular

Anastasi, Apostoli & Katia are the
We Love Crete team
We just love sharing our passion for Crete, Greece and travel
About us

Crete Travel Guide
Travel to the Greek Islands
Travel to Athens
Crete to Santorini
Crete to Mykonos

We Love Crete Agapame tin Kriti Logo

Sea Turtles are our major charity in Crete