Greece Travel Guide

Athensguide

Greek Island Guide

Lesvos

Hotels of Greece

Turkey

Paris

Greek Island Guide
Other Greek Islands

Agios nikolaos, Crete

The islands of Crete and Evia are the largest and are almost countries themselves and in the case of Cyprus it is another country entirely. Arriving on these larger islands is not like coming into idyllic little ports where little old ladies offer you rooms. You are arriving in big cities with taxis and buses and tall buildings and traffic lights, so wandering around looking for a guesthouse can be a frustrating experience. If you are going to Crete I recommend using a Greek Travel Agency, especially if you want to combine it with other islands like Santorini. Evia you can rent a car in Athens and just go there. Click on these links or scroll down. You can use the top button to return. When you finish you can use this link or the link at the bottom of the page to return to Greek Island Synopsis Main Menu or visit another island chain. If you want help with your Greek Island combination try my Create-an-Itinerary page. If you have any questions or can't decide what you want to do you can always e-mail me . If you find this page useful please share it with your friends on Facebook and Google+ by using the buttons at the bottom of the page.

Crete

Evia

Cyprus

Elafonissos

Matala Caves

Crete

Many of the major coast towns like Iraklion, Malia, have been taken over by British package tours and high impact tourism, meaning big fancy resort hotels with swimming pools, Zorba the Greek restaurants, tennis courts and so on. If you go for that sort of thing, which many people do, then you have some of the best in Greece with a backdrop of one of the most fascinating and beautiful islands in the country. But if you are the adventurous type who shies away from such places just take the boat to Chania, the bus to Omalos and walk down the Samaria Gorge which for hikers is about as good as it gets. Most people stay in tiny Agia Roumeli long enough for a beer and to catch the next boat to Chora Sfakia, but there are rooms to rent and the few days I spent there at the end of my trip down the Gorge were some of my best days in Greece. I have a couple internet pals who rave about Chora Sfakia and Plakias. With the southern coast it is a matter of finding the town you like best.

Falasarna Beach, CreteIn the north the cities of Rethymnon and Chania have nice old harbors lined with restaurants and cafes and some of the best beaches, like Falasarna (left) one of the nicest in Greece. Heraklion is a city, noisy and crowded but if you stay in the old town, or in a nice hotel in the new town, within walking distance to the old town you may not even notice. If you are coming to Crete by boat from Santorini or going to Santorini from Crete then Heraklion is probably in your plans since that is where the ferry is. But also since Knossos is one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world and it is just outside of Heraklion, you should stay at least a night unless you can stop there on the way to wherever you are going. The South coast is somewhat touristy though not like the north and the beaches are nice and if you don't mind doing a little walking you can get away. The hippie villages of Matala, Paliohora, Agia Galina,and Loutra are busy in the summer though fine in May-June and Sept-October. Try the east or western tips of Crete. Palekastro has several nice beaches that are fairly uninhabited and the most amazing wind I have ever experienced. The beach at Vai claims to be the only palm-tree forest in all of Europe (it isn't) and as you might imagine full of tour buses during the day. Kato Zakrois a small village on the coast at the bottom of a deep ravine cut into the rocks. The western part of Crete in the area known as Kastelli, there are small villages and beautiful beaches. The whole island is full of Minoan ruins, medieval fortresses and active monasteries and a guidebook is essential (unless you don't care about that kind of stuff). Save this island for the off-season if you can. It is big and really a country in itself. Follow small roads to tiny villages and unknown beaches. Boats leave Pireaus for Iraklion and Chania in Crete every evening at around 8 or 9. In the summer there is a daily high-speed to the Cyclades, sometimes more. A couple days a week a ferry connects Santorini and some of the Cyclades to Crete and continues to Kassos and Karpathos and goes to Rhodes, and then returns. There is also one boat a week to and from Thessaloniki which stops in the Cyclades and Skiathos in the summer.

See my Guide to Crete and in particular my Guide to Chania which is much more comprehensive and has a lot more photos.

For travel agents specializing in Crete see Dolphin Hellas or Fantasy Travel and be sure to see Fantasy Travel's Island Hopping Programs, many of which include Crete. You can also use Matt's Create-an-itinerary form to put together your own program that includes Crete.

The Hotel Elounda Mare is listed as one of the top resorts in the world. The family friendly Hotel Ammos, on the beach at Chania is one of the most popular hotels on my website and was runner-up for best value hotel in Europe by the Sunday Times Travel Magazine. For reviews of hotels by category with photos and booking info see Matt's Crete Hotels page or search Booking.com's Crete page. For holiday homes, villas and self-catering as well as Air BnB style accommodations see Matt's Crete Villas page

Lefteris Nikiforakis Taxi Tours of Crete offer a one day tour and a 4 hour tour for people arriving on cruise ships who want to make the most of their time on the island. He also does custom trips and transfers to and from the port to hotels, the airport and anywhere on the island. See his website

You can find ferry schedules and book tickets at www.ferryhopper.com

top

Limni, Evia

Evia

Greece's second largest island after Crete, you could easily spend a week or more exploring. Because it is so close to Athens it is usually busy during weekends and in the summer. It's an hour boat ride from Rafina to Marmari and another 40 minutes to Karystos. A car is recommended for Evia and you can actually drive there across the bridge at Halkida. One of the most amazing places I have been to are the Natural Hot Spring Resorts at Edipsos. This is where every Greek senior citizen goes to rejuvenate themselves in the healing waters of over 75 different hot springs and dozens of health spas. You don't have to be old to enjoy the benefits of the healing waters combined with ancient and the most modern healing therapies. There are also great beaches, restaurants, nightlife and beautiful countryside. You can also get to Evia by ferry from Oropos and Rafina. There are numerous departures. In fact the boats go back and forth every 15 minutes or so. If you are going to the island of Skyros you have to go to Kimi(photo) to catch the ferry and if you get there early you can swim at one of the nicest beaches in Greece. There are some good fish tavernas in town too.

See My Guide to Evia

For more information on Edipsos see Matt's Edipsos page
For hotels on Evia
search Booking.com's Evia Page
You can find ferry schedules and book tickets at www.ferryhopper.com

top

Elafonissos, Peloponnesos, Greece

Elafonissos

The small island of Elafonissos in the Laconikos Gulf near the town of Neapolis has some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. It is a favorite stop for yachters and is famous for its fish taverns in the port. To get there you drive south to the eastern tip of the Peloponessos and when you get close to Neapolis look for the signs for the small ferry that runs every 15 minutes or so. The beaches on the far side of the island are one of the few places you can camp for free these days. But if you get there and it is now forbidden don't blame me.

For more information and photos see Matt's Elafonissos Page

For hotels and holiday homes search Booking.com's Elafonissos Page

top

Cyprus

Cyprus

Cyprus is not a Greek Island. It is a Cypriot island. At least two thirds is. The other third is occupied by Turkey. Before 1974 the whole island was one nation. Maybe you read about it somewhere. It is still a very popular place to go and English is spoken widely since for people from Great Britain it is one of the most popular holiday destinations. Warmer than Greece, the tourist season here is year-round so if you want a Greek holiday in the winter and swimming is important to you then come here. Plenty of great beaches and lots of archaeology and history. On a whole it is a higher standard of tourism than the Greek islands. That means there are lots of really beautiful fancy hotels, deluxe restaurants and you are treated well. In the summer it is difficult to find a room here so if you are interested start booking early. Most Travel Agencies in Greece can help you book a holiday in Cyprus. Try Dolphin Hellas or Fantasy Travel

For hotels on Cyprus search Booking.com's Cyprus Page

top

Return to Greek Island Index

Join Matt Barrett's Greece Travel Guides Group on Facebook for comments, photos and other fun stuff. If you enjoy this website please share it with your friends on Facebook and Google+. If you are appreciative of all the free information you get on my websites you can send a donation through Paypal