In the past years, we had tried to spend some time in Crete, but something always happened and it was cancelled. But not this year!
This year we spent 8 days all over the Chania in Crete and it was one of the best holidays that we have ever made!!
So, let’s start with the basics which are:
Crete is one of the most unique places in Greece!
Not only because of its landscape, beaches, villages, mountains, but because of its people! We spent 8 days there and we met people with authentic smiles and beautiful soul! For example, we visited a travel agency to book some ferry tickets and we ended up drinking raki (a local alcohol drink, quite strong!) and discussing life!
So, in this post, we will describe our itinerary in the Chania region.
We spent 8 days, visiting some of the beaches in Europe and eating excellent food!
As we have mentioned before, planning your road trip is quite vital and very very personal. We knew that we wanted to visit Chania old city and spent some days there, but we also wanted to visit some specific beaches which are quite far away from the town. The roads in the Chania region are not the best in the world (let’s put this kindly!) and we find it quite tiring to drive there. So, instead of having Chania town as a starting point and visit every day different beaches, we chose to stay at three different places in Chania municipality just to see more places and live the energy of the whole area!
If you have time you can also explore the rest of the Crete Islands, like Heraklion, Rethymnon and Agio Nikolao area. You can find the best hotels in the Heraklion area on our dedicated post here!
Therefore, our plan for our road trip was two days in Chania, two in Kissamos and three in Palaiochora.
Day 1 – Loutraki beach – Chania town
So, as soon as we arrived at Chania airport, we rent a car and went to the beach!
No hotel check-in, no wandering around, nothing! We went directly to the beach Loutraki.
We arrived early in the morning. It was quite and peaceful and felt almost like a dream. At least our dream! After a while, the place became quite crowded but we didn’t care!
There are two beach bars where you can rent an umbrella and seabeds and have coffee, drinks or food. The beach is quite small but just beautiful and suitable when it is windy everywhere else!
So we spent some hours there and then we decided that it was time to go to our Hotel in Kalyves village.
And for an afternoon and night walk, what is better than Chania old city and harbour? There are many places that you can visit there for sure. You can find on our detailed travel guide about Chania here, but I think the best thing is to turn off your GPS and just walk around to the town. It is just magical!
The alleys, the old fortress, the lighthouse, everything! It can get quite touristy if you visit it in high season but it has kept its charm and beauty.
If you are looking for accommodation we have gathered the list of the best hotels in Chania here.
Day 2 – Stavros beach
This day was our rest day! It was carefully planned not to do anything!
Just find a beach relax, eat and return to the room!
Our first choice was Seiman beach, which looks quite astonishing and I bet you might have seen photos from there! But my leg had a different opinion than my mind and it was hurt, so we decided that we wouldn’t go there as the path has a quite steep slope. So, the next close beach would be Stavros beach! It is were Zorbas movie was shot, obviously many years ago.
Now, for those that have seen the movie, the beach has changed but still, it keeps its beauty! There are many restaurants and cafes. Don’t forget to take into account the winds when you decide about the beaches and the planning of your trip to Crete. It can change your whole planning!
Day 3 – Kissamos – Falassarna Beach
Today was the day that we were going to move from Chania to Kissamos! We would be away from Chania town but closer to exotic beaches that we wanted so much to visit!
So, the first visit would be Falassarna beach! A great, long and sandy beach with a beautiful sunset. Should I say more? It has quite a few bars and restaurants, so you can stay the whole day there just relaxing and swimming! It can be quite busy but that date wasn’t so crowded and most important, there wasn’t any strong wind!
The highlight of the day was, of course, the sunset. Just beautiful and romantic!
But romance needs energy, right? So, afterwards what is better than Cretan food in one of the best restaurants in the area?
Spelios tavern has some amazing views and the food is even better! The perfect ending of the day!
Day 4 – Balos Beach
We woke up early that date and we ate a full breakfast because the day would be quite loooooong!
This day was dedicated to Balos beach! One of the best beaches in the world! And believe me. I don’t exaggerate.
Remember there are two ways to go there. One is by ferry from Kissamos port and the other is by car. But the road is in quite bad condition, so please take that into account. What did we do?
We chose the hard way and went by car!
The secret is that you should be patient and go at a very slow pace. It took us around 45′ from Kissamos. There is parking but during high season there are hundreds of cars parked on the street! So, we wore sports shoes (almost essential) and left the car, ready to see what is this fuss about Balos beach.
There is a very clear path that leads from the parking to the beach. It is around 20-30′.
When you go down is the easy part and the most amazing one as you have stunning views.
The path itself has some openings where you can take photos, videos etc. So, don’t rush to go to the beach.
Just enjoy the view and absorb the whole beauty!
If you go there during the high season there are umbrellas and one cantina for water, coffees and some snacks.
The lagoon of Balos has white sand and exotic turquoise waters. Just have in mind that the sea is very shallow and warm, so this makes it also ideal for young children. In many places, the sand has a lovely pinkish colour, because of millions of crushed shells. The whole area there hosts some rare species of flora and fauna, which are protected under the Natura 2000 program.
We stayed there as long as we could and once the sun was close to going away for the day we decided that it was time to treat ourselves to something special and we directed to the excellent restaurant Gramvousa Tavern!
It was quite busy so we joined the waiting list, but in the meantime, there was fresh lemonade and some snacks!! Not a bad idea at all!
The food was delicious and there was live Cretan music which made the experience unique. We simply didn’t want the day to end!
But, we couldn’t wait for the next day to come, because more fantastic beaches were on our list!
Day 5 Kedrodasos – Elafonisi
This day we would drive the longest, as we would change accommodation from Kissamos to Palaiochora town.
But before arriving Palaiochora, we would visit two fantastic beaches, Kedrodasos and Elafonissi!
So, the first stop was Kedrodasos beach.
If you a fan of camping, then this is your place! The beach has many cedars where you can find a quiet and shady place to camp or just lie down with your towel and a book!
There is no cantina there so you have to be well prepared! The whole landscape is quite wild and beautiful. Again if you go in May or the end of September you will enjoy it even more!
So, we just dived and enjoyed our book under the shadow of the cedars!
But not for long, as the next destination for the day was Elafonisi. Unfortunately, we weren’t so lucky as it was very windy there but still, the beach is unique!
Elafonisi is a peninsula, which often breaks into two parts by water giving the impression of being a separate island. The “island” is full of dunes which a wonderful landscape!
You will find several exotic beaches with white and pink (!) sand and turquoise water. You can easily cross the lagoon to reach the opposite side of the peninsula.
On the eastern side of the beach, you will find umbrellas, showers, bars etc but the other side of the island is less crowded and more secluded!
But, we couldn’t stay much longer as we had to start driving to our hotel which was in Palaiochora. But, on our way, we stopped in Elos village at Filoxenia tavern. You might not find it in the best places to eat but we totally recommend it.
It is simple and super tasty with huge portions! Every plate that you will taste isn’t fancy, but it is authentic and very traditional. I had a superb and huge steak and of course the must-order stake (a thick butter made from goat’s milk)! I wouldn’t argue that it is a light dish but it can be delicious! After all, you on holidays! Don’t miss it!
Day 6 – Gialiskari – Palaiochora
Cretan villages in Chania aren’t the most picturesque ones, but they have their beauty. Palaiochora has alleys and many tavernas that you can walk around. We had brunch at To Kyma, which has tasty breakfasts and a nice view of the sea!
With full batteries, we directed to Gailiskari beach. It is a nice pebbled beach with an excellent beach bar and very tasty food!
We stayed the whole day and we didn’t want to leave. We had everything there!
Crystal water, coffee to keep us energized, tasty food to keep us full and relaxed atmosphere!
But the day came to the end and we went back to Palaichora.
The night began with a nice wine and then we ended up at the famous cocktail bar “Agios”.
I cannot recommend enough this place. It is pretty simple in terms of decoration, but it has a great vibe and amazing cocktails that I didn’t expect to find in this small town!
Day 7 – Grammeno beach – Palaiochora
Another day on Palaiochora, another relaxed and nice beach!
This day we were going to visit Grammeno beach as it was quite windy and we wanted a protected beach.
A lovely beach quite relaxed with camping next to it and taverna, which is always very useful for food and refreshments! We spent the whole there just swimming and lying down on the seabeds until the sunset. Because life can be simple and beautiful!
And when the sun was gone, we knew that it was time for food and it was time to go to Scolio (=School)!
It is a lovely restaurant with local Cretan food in a traditional building that was a school.
We sat in the beautiful yard and we enjoy the food. Everything was awesome! We were thinking to go for another cocktail in Agios bar in Palaiochora but we drunk too much raki, so we had to abandon any other plans for the night! Straight to the bed!
Day 8 – Krios Beach
Our last day in Palaiochora and in Crete generally had arrived. We drunk a quick coffee at Palaiochora, we bought the necessary souvenirs and we went for a quick swim to Krios beach. This is a pebbled beach with clear and deep waters in a more wild landscape that we have used in the past days. There is a small cantina there for snacks and drinks. Even if it wasn’t as picturesque as the other beaches it provided tranquillity and a relaxing atmosphere that was very difficult for us to say goodbye. But we should. With regret, we head back to Chania and our ferry to Athens.
These were 8 full days. Full of different images and different emotions.
We discovered amazing places, we got to know new interesting people, we laughed, we ate and we enjoyed every moment in the Chania Region.
There were so many things left to see, that even if we spend 8 days there, we didn’t visit many other places, like Loutro, Sfakia, Gavdos island and of course Samaria Gorge!! But, we will back!
And imagine that we are talking only about the Chania region!!
There are other 3 more municipalities on this amazing island!
Feel free to leave your comments here or your own experience from our holidays in the Chania region!