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Knossos Chania and West

Knossos Chania and West - an itinerary below for a family travelling in Crete on a self-drive journey with a hire car.

Knossos Archaeological Site - Crete

Question & Answer - Crete Travel Q&A

Letter Q for Question - Crete Q&A

Hello, my family of 6 will be visiting Crete in April - arrival on the 13th and departure on the 20th from Heraklion.

We will look to explore the western side of the island. Please suggest an itinerary.

General thoughts so far were to arrive and stay near Knossos palace 1 night. Then 3-4 nights in Chania and 2 nights in a village near Elafonisi Beach. Then one night out last somewhere else maybe south coast on way back to Heraklion...what are your thoughts?

We want authentic experience and love Greek culture and food....our kids are aged 9, 11, 13, 15 and well-travelled.

Also a separate question - while in Chania I have seen the option to stay on a mountain overlooking town or right in old town area - the one on the mountain is 15 min away - just not sure what is best?



Your Personal Trip Plan

Letter A for Answer - Crete Q&A

Knossos Chania and West

Yiasas Scott,

We are glad to suggest some trip notes below. This sounds like a wonderful holiday for your whole family. We have suggested accommodation with links so you can find similar properties if you would prefer.

To answer your question about Chania - we really do suggest staying within the walls of the old town. Three places there to suggest:

Day One - April 13

Arrive Heraklion
Pick up your hire car
Visit Knossos – allow 2 hours for the visit
Pre-book a 'Skip the Line' Knossos Ticket with Guided Tour
Lunch and shopping in Heraklion town
Visit Archaeological Museum – allow 2 hours for the visit
Stay in Heraklion or Archanes Village
In Heraklion stay at the Lato Hotel
In Archanes stay at the Villa Archanes or Villa Orestis (these are small pension houses with character)
Archanes is a charming village just 7 km from Knossos and 14 km from Heraklion

Day Two - April 14
Drive to Chania 142 km
Possible detour to the old town of Rethymnon - take a stroll through the old town of Rethymnon and perhaps lunch by the harbour
In Chania stay within the walls of the old town (see accommodation suggestions above)
Explore museums, boutiques, cafes and tavernas of the old town
Stay at Madonna Studios or Helena Hotel

Day Three -  April 15

In Chania
Stay at Madonna Studios or Helena Hotel

Day Four - April 16

In Chania
Stay at Madonna Studios or Helena Hotel

Day Five - April 17
Drive to Elafonisi Beach for the day
This is a 121 km total trip returning to Kaliviani Village
Stay in Kaliviani Village
Stay at Kaliviani Traditional Guesthouse or Villa Arhontariki

Day Six - April 18

Visit Balos Lagoon and Gramvousa Islet by boat trip from Kastelli Kissamos
4 km drive from Kaliviani to the departure port
Or Visit Falasarna beach 10 km from Kaliviani
Stay in Kaliviani Village
Stay at Kaliviani Traditional Guesthouse or Villa Arhontariki

Day Seven - April 19

Drive from Kaliviani to Agia Pelagia 160 km across the north coast of Crete
(Possible detours via Kournas Lake and / or Georgioupolis Beach for swimming and lunch)
Beautiful azure bays and sparkling sea next to a seaside village
This is only 20 km from Heraklion, ready for your departure tomorrow
Stay in Agia Pelagia
Stay at Joanna Apartments or Andy’s Plaza

Day Eight - April 20
Drop off your hire car
Departure from Heraklion

Knossos Chania and West

There are a few options to pre-book for Knossos - or discover it yourselves.

Knossos experience griffin

Half-Day Knossos Palace Tour - 5.5 hour tour includes Koules Fortress and Agios Titos church in Heraklion as well as a guided tour of the archaeological site. See the controversial reconstructions completed by the archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, and hear the stories of the labyrinth from your experienced history guide.

Knossos experience entrance columns

Take a Knossos Palace Tour - there are a variety of guided experiences available, from a Skip The Line entry ticket with a guide for 90 minutes, to a 12 hour day tour which includes Knossos, Zeus Cave and Lasithi Plateau with traditional lunch in a small village. 

Book the following day tour experiences from Chania, if you don't feel like driving yourselves. Get the benefits of a fully guided tour with knowledgeable local.

Balos Experience

A Day Tour to Balos Lagoon - this helps with logistics of coach ride - boat ride and return coach ride. Make a full day of visiting paradise, this is a 14 hour tour, depending on your pickup and drop off point. This tour includes a visit to the castle at Gramvousa islet and swimming at Balos Lagoon.

Elafonisi Experience

Take a day tour to Elafonisi Beach - because sometimes you just want to relax. Visit this pristine, undeveloped beach. This experience includes a visit to Topolia Gorge, and the village of Elos, known for its chestnut trees. 9-12 hours.

Chania Cuisine Experience

Walking tour of the Old Town of Chania with Street Food - visit the local food markets and walk for 4 hours through the gastronomic highlights of this fascinating historic town, visit the old Jewish and Ottoman quarters and taste the local white spirit or raki. Enjoy mesedes which are little appetisers, part of the Cretan diet which is one of the healthiest in the world. Find out why.

Chania Sunset Experience

Chania: Wine, Food and Sunset with 3 Course Dinner - indulge your love of food and wine on this walking tour of Chania at sunset. Enjoy mouthwatering sweets, strong spirits, and amazing sunsets as you stroll through the old town. 4 hours.

Knossos Chania and West
Information for your Trip

Your Holiday in Pictures


Visit old and new coffee houses in Heraklion Town.

Minoan Women Fresco

Knossos Palace was decorated with beautiful frescoes.

Archanes view with flowers

Archanes Village is surrounded by farmland.

Villa Archanes

Villa Archanes is a comfortable and stylish B&B in Archanes Village near Heraklion.

Rethymnon Habour and Lighthouse

Visit the The Venetian Harbour of Rethymnon with its old walls and lighthouse, then stroll through the narrow streets with history at every turn.

Chania Archeological Museum

Chania Old Town is full of things to see and do - this is the Archaeological Museum.

Madonna Studios Courtyard

Madonna Studios are centrally located in the Old Town of Chania.

Hotel Helena Chania

Hotel Helena is small with views over the Old Venetian Harbour of Chania.

Elafonisi Beach Crete

Elafonisi Beach is stunningly beautiful and natural.

Kaliviani Village Street

Relax at the cafes and tavernas of Kaliviani Village at night.

Accommodation in Kaliviani

Kaliviani Hotel - View

Kaliviani Traditional Guesthouse has its own taverna with views across the Bay of Kissamos. Close to Kissamos, Balos Lagoon and Falasarna Beach. Ideal as a base to visit Elafonisi.

Villa Archontariki - Pool

Villa Archontiraki is a beautifully restored village home with plenty of room for your family. Enjoy self-catering and the pool, in this relaxed family style Cretan home. Walk to the cafes and tavernas of Kaliviani village.

Getting Here

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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