It has been one of my biggest dreams to visit Crete and especially the Balos and Elafonissi lagoons on its Western coast. I have already documented my love of Greece in a lot of posts. And Crete has only helped make me love it even more. However, coming from Romania, transportation can be a bit expensive and limited. So I felt like Crete was not that tangible for a lot of time. But with a bit of planning and research, you can make your Cretan dream come true.
We had two vacations planned for the end of the summer that did not include beach time. But we couldn’t miss the sea this year! Thassos was as always an option, though we also hoped to explore something new. And as both my boyfriend and I had been dreaming of Crete for some time, we decided to make it come true.
This was the trickiest part to solve so that we could afford Crete. Coming from Romania there aren’t many options in terms of planes. For Heraklion, you can find some direct, budget friendly-ER option. But for Chania, where we wanted to go, there were no direct flights. And nothing cheap, with most 2-stops, 8-hour flights at around 350 Euros/person.
Then I remembered I knew a travel agency that would sell tickets on their charters, without having to buy the whole package including hotel and meals. So I called Christian Tour and got our direct charter tickets to Chania for 230 Euro/person – checked-in luggage and meal included. Win!
This was a bit of a challenge too. Not because of lack of options per se, but because we started planning pretty late. However, I did find a pretty Bed and Breakfast in Kissamos, a little village between Chania and Balos. The price on Air BnB was 450 Euro for a week. But I decided to give them a call just to check if I could get a better price – which you often can, at least in Greece. Luckily, on Air BnB, they had the name of the B&B: Revekka Rooms and after Googling it I could find the website and the phone number.
And it worked: we got the room for 400 Euro – breakfast included. I must say that I don’t usually get breakfast, but after this vacation, I have changed my policy 🙂 It’s so much easier and better to be greeted in the morning with a nice breakfast and not have to think about it!
So my advice when it comes to accomodation, whether you find it on Booking or AirBnB, if it’s a hotel or a bed and breakfast: try to give a call and check for a better price. It worked both in Greece and the Netherlands for us.
As we couldn’t travel by car to Crete and we wanted to explore quite a bit, we knew we had to rent a car. After researching a bit and asking around we found a website for a decent price: 320 Euro for a Fiat Panda for a week. But luckily we arrived half an hour early and so we had some time to look around before we were supposed to be picked up by the car rental company. And as the airport was filled with car rental bureaus, that’s where we looked at. And we found the same car for just 270 Euro – fully insured.
After telling the story to friends we actually found out that many times it’s cheaper to rent a car at the airport or the city where you’re located. However, if you need to have everything planned in advance since the difference is not huge, you can do that on one of the many websites available.
But I cannot emphasize enough how much I recommend getting a full insurance. After witnessing a rented car accident on a very narrow and abrupt road, I know I would never skip the extra insurance – whatever the cost.
As I was saying above, I loved that our accommodation had breakfast included. Especially since it was served right at the edge of the sea and it was as traditional as it could get. With dakos, pies, olives, and orange juice just to name a few, we would always start our day with a bang. So I definitely recommend having your breakfast at the hotel if possible.
But when it comes to the other meals of the day, I always avoid the hotels and go for the tavernas. And Crete was such a lovely surprise. They have fewer fast food options such as the popular gyros or souvlaki. But instead, they offer a variety of unique, traditional dishes. And it would be such a pity to miss such an opportunity of knowing Crete through its dishes. I will write an article solely on that, but here are some photos to get you curious.
Now that you’ve booked your vacation to Crete, you just need to decide what you want to explore. It’s good to start thinking about this before even booking your flight, though. Crete is a big island and depending on what you want to see, you will decide if you want to land on Chania or Heraklion.
We had our hearts set on Balos and Elafonissi (more on that soon). So, we went for Chania. But next time it will be Heraklion for sure, as there are so many places we couldn’t get to because of the long distances. So try to start from here and then make sure to choose a couple of places you will definitely go to. And then add stops depending on the routes you are choosing. For example, on our way to Elafonissi, we also stopped to Falasarna beach. Time flies on vacation, so make the most of each day!
You’re all set now! All you have to do is enjoy the Cretan sun, sea, and food. And keep an eye on our blog to check out our favorite beaches and foods on the island.