8 days road trip in Crete
Crete, 8 days in road trip, more than 600 miles covered, 2 women, a rented car, and blown away by hundreds of memories.
We spent the first night at an AIRBNB (at Stella’s in the center of Heraklion, I recommend this address) and the rest of our time there was spent in hotels that we chose with the website Booking.com. The price was approximately of 30-40 euros (the night for two people.
We rented a car for 7 days, a Ford Fiesta for 104 euros.
It’s important to know that when you’re in a foreign country, if you’re below 23 years-old, some companies will ask you to pay a supplementary fee. You also have the choice between paying either an insurance for 100 euros or a franchise bond for 1250 euros, keeping in mind that since Cretan roads are not maintained in a good state, it is easy to damage the car’s paint.
The Cretan Highways are very different from the ones in the rest of Europe. When other cars pass before you, you have to pull over on the “emergency line”. Other than on the national road, the roads are curving (pothole, gravels) and narrow, especially in villages.
The signs in the big cities are written in both languages (English and Greek) but in the small villages, they are only in Greek.
Local life :
In Crete, the shops do not open before 8am (even Starbucks). It is very easy to find local restaurants with food that are both cheap and really good. The Cretans are really nice and helpful.
Day 1 :
A day spent in Santorini… Article soon to come !
Day 2 :
Itinerary : Héraklion – Chersonissos – Elounda – Sitia – Malia (for the night)
Unfortunately, we did not have the time to reach Vai. It was a rainy day but that did not stop us. We made many stops along the way to enjoy the scenery.
On the way to Elounda, we stopped at St. George Salinari’s Monastery. A recess in the mountains, it is a pleasant visit with such a nice view.
Elounda is a seaside town that must be a lot more attractive during a beautiful sunny day. Right across that town, you will find the island of Spinalonga, which is the old leper’s fortress. You can access it by boat and visit it if you wish so.
Luckily, when we arrived in Sitia, the sun peeked out. We were able to take a walk around in this charming city.
On the way back, nature gave us a wonderful view. Nobody can remain indifferent to a sunset in such a setting.
Day 3 :
Itinerary : Monastére Arkadi – Rethymnon – Balos
On the schedule, discovery of the Cretan history at the Arkadi Monastery, 15 miles away from Rethymnon. We learn that Crete was invaded by Turkish troops and an awful massacre took place at the monastery. We understand better why some oriental influence can be found in Cretan ornamentation.
In Rethymnon, we visited the fortress that is in ruins now. Doing some research beforehand can be useful.
You can also walk along the seaside and enjoy the sea panorama.
Balos is a place you should not miss if you go to Crete. It’s an entire journey by itself, to get there, you have to follow a 5 miles road, pebbly and vertiginous but rather easy to access and offering a pretty panorama. Then you have to walk down to the beach and go down several flights of stairs (obviously, you have to climb them on your way back). Make sure you have good walking shoes ready and a filled water bottle for the trip back. It’s worth it, it’s a splendid, heavenly spot.
That night, we slept near Kissamos, at a hotel called « Olive Tree ». The name is appropriate, as it’s surrounded by olive trees. The host was very nice, he helped up plan our hiking trip to the Samaria gorge scheduled for the next day.