Though we’d planned for five days we only got 24 hours in Crete due to the ferry strike. Crete was stunning and I’d HIGHLY recommend planning for much more than one day there, but we ended up having such a good 24 hours, if you go you should spend a day retracing our steps.
Getting to Chania
The bus to Chania from Heraklion is within walking distance, but it’s confusing if you don’t know the route. The buses to Chania run from Bus Station A (to the right of the port) and you have to buy your ticket inside the station (about 14€). Buses depart hourly up until 18:30 when they become a bit more spaced out and the trip to Chania takes between 2.5 and 3 hours.
Where to Stay
We stayed at Kydonia Rooms which was cheap and in the Old Town. I loved this place but I love big, old, creaky buildings which is what you can expect here. We paid for a double room but got put in a quad (all to ourselves) with a kitchenette and balcony. I was into it.
What to do
If you’ve only got a day, there’s no time to waste so don’t bother sleeping in. Get yourself to a car rental place as soon as possible and head right out to Elafonisi Beach. The drive takes about an hour and a half and is really beautiful — if you’re less crunched for time it also takes you right by Kissamos, which would be a nice place to stop for food and do a bit of exploring.
Once you’re past the highway there are loads of adorable little taverns to stop at, and we popped into one for a late breakfast. When we come back we’ll probably rent a place out here for a night, and do this hike, which we’d planned on but was one of the (many) things cut due to time constraints.
Just before you get to the beach there’s a convenience store — you can stock up on snacks here, though there is a bar at the beach.
Pull into Elafonisi and be prepared to be stunned. It was SO pretty. The sand was much more pink than it looks in photos, and the water just as blue. Rent a lounger or two and alternate between reading and swimming and spend a few hours just feeling completely relaxed.
It sounds far to go when you only have a day, but despite the crowds I really loved it here. Alternately you could visit Balos, which we considered but I’m so glad we went with this instead.
Once back in Chania, go to the harbour and have a few drinks whilst watching the sunset — it feels crazy to say after all the Santorini hype, but I preferred this one for sure.
After the sunset, you’re about ready for the highlight of your time in Chania. To Koutourouki. This place was incredible. It was filled with locals, had amazing live music, and the best food. We had to wait a while for a table so we sat at the bar, made friends and had way too many shots of Raki. This place was incredible and even if you don’t drink, the food and atmosphere alone are worth it. Don’t go anywhere else for dinner!
We had actually had two nights (but only one day) in Chania, so we slept off our food and Raki hangovers before heading out to the airport the next morning. We still had our rental, which provided us with a free parking spot just outside of Old Town. The drive to the airport takes about 30 minutes. Alternately you can take a bus for 2.50€. It takes about 90 minutes and only runs about three times a day. The last option is a cab for about 30€.
With that our Grecian holiday was over. Our time in Chania was the perfect end to our trip, though we definitely want to go back to Crete as soon as we can and spend far more time there.
Have you been to Crete? What were your favourite things to do? Let us know so next time we can make up for our unexpectedly brief trip this time around!