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Wondering Where to Stay for Two Nights Before Istron, Crete

by Kay
(Tel Aviv)

Hello there! Your site is wonderful!

I will be staying in Istron for 8 nights but before that I have two nights and I would like a recommendation for a lovely place to stay in Crete.

I will be travelling by bus, so a bit limited.

Eastern Crete Itinerary

Hi Kay

Well, Istron will be lovely and you will get time to relax by the beach, so the first two nights could be city-based, giving you time to absorb the culture of Kriti. As we are not sure how you are arriving we are going to guess that you are either coming by air or ferry into Heraklion.

So, our first suggestion would be to stay your first night in Heraklion and second night in Agios Nikolaos. These towns are both really easy to access by bus and full of sights, sounds and feasts within walking distance.

Our second suggestion is another beachside option – Elounda – which will give you the opportunity to visit Agios Nikolaos if you so choose, yet stay in a stylish beachside village that is very up-market and well serviced with cafes, tavernas, restaurants and boutiques rather more than Istron will be.

Option One – City Stays

Day One – Heraklion - Getting into town from the port or airport at Heraklion is easy – just take a local taxi or bus and it should be less than 10 minutes. We love the Lato Hotel because of its centrality, modern style, views over the old harbour and great service. The budget option in Heraklion would be the Mirabello Hotel.

Once you have your accommodation sorted, step out into the vibrant city that is Heraklion, and enjoy its very individual pulse. Most visitors cannot miss the Palace of Knossos and the Heraklion Museum. After all, this shows you one of the oldest civilizations in Europe. We love the palace archaeological site as long as we go early in the morning to avoid the crowds, or in off-season as we have the silence to enjoy it at our own pace. Again, take the local bus, it leaves from 25 August St near the Liondaria fountain and is very cheap. The ride takes about 20 minutes.

In the evening, enjoy the narrow laneways of Koraii district with its many bars and cafes, soak up the atmosphere, stay out late like the locals, perhaps try Dish Bar near Agios Titos Square which is just skipping distance from Hotel Lato.

Day Two – Agios Nikolaos - buses leave from Bus Station A in Heraklion, just walking distance from Hotel Lato, heading east to Agios Nikolaos, along the north coast. The clean, punctual and cost effective local buses are one of the highlights of budget travel in Crete. Services run every hour, the trip takes 90 minutes and costs approx. EUR 7.70. Upon arrival, take a quick taxi ride into town from the bus station as it a little out of town, our choice in town is Hotel Du Lac, or budget choice is Hotel Pergola (they can pick you up at the station too). Once you have checked in, wander around this pretty hillside town with its lake and enormous harbour, with great shopping and even its own city beaches.

In the evening, choose an outdoor cafe down by the lake, stroll beside the water and enjoy the views over Mirabello Bay. There is even a rock bar if that is your taste, and plenty of late night cafe-bars and clubs, try Ble Katsarolakia for the in-crowd style for aperitif hour.

Option Two – Elounda Beach

Elounda is a pretty harbour village next to the bay just north of Agios Nikolaos. It is 11 km north of town and only 21 km from Istron, therefore it makes a good relaxed choice before your Istron stay. We love Elounda as it is one of the prettiest beaches in Crete, and since the luxury market discovered it in the 70's it has become a stylish beachside holiday destination, yet lost none of its charm. The beaches are very nice and good for swimming, and just out of interest it is very near to Plaka and the mysterious island of Spinalonga. This can make a fabulous day trip from Elounda, choose one with snorkelling included or wander down to Olous – the sunken city – for some more history. But don't forget to leave time for a stylish dinner, try Palio Kantouni, Olondi or Ferryman Tavernas. Our pick would be down by the water. We never can resist the twinkling lights over the bay whilst eating fresh seafood.

The next day, from Elounda, you would take the local KTEL bus to Agios Nikolaos, then change buses to get to Istron. The first part takes 30 minutes and costs EUR1.90. Buses leave roughly hourly. From Ag. Nik. To Istron takes about 1 hour and costs approx EUR8.30. Buses leave roughly every 90 minutes.

Kalo Taxidi

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