Crete Budget Travel Guide
Have you ever wanted to spend a relaxing holiday enjoying the turquoise sea and infinite beaches but without running out of money? At the same time maybe you are wondering if this wonderful place could really exist next to you or if the travel is affordable. Don’t worry about that! In this article you will find some details and information about one of the most spectacular and cheap Mediterranean Greek island: Crete.
In particular, this travel guide focuses on the Western part of the island, even if the Eastern territory offers fantastic beaches, pristine waters, city tours and nightlife as well.
How to Get to Crete
First of whole, one of the fastest and convenient way to reach the island is by air. There are many flight companies all around Europe who sell flights for Crete during the year. The cost of a/r flight from Treviso (Italy, near Venice with Ryanair) will not cost more than 150 € per person, if booked at least 3 months in advance for the last days of July. This is one of the best period to fly over there, the weather is not too much sultry and to avoid the surge of tourist arrivals in August.
Once you will reach the airport of Chania, one of the main cities of Crete, you can choose to find a bus (links are guaranteed in all the territory and connect the main points and beaches) or rent a car. Thanks to the car, you can obviously delve in the hidden places and plan your day without looking at a bus timetables every five minutes. It would be better to find the car rental company before the arrival to benefit of some discounts and pay not more than 200 € for one week (high season) (HYUNDAI GETZ 1.2 CC, Kissamos Rent a Car). The prices depend on how many people will use the vehicle and other characteristics or services you require.
Do not forget to understand if people under 21 can drive company’s cars, because it is not always permitted in Greece. When you drive, remember to stay right next to the yellow line of the highway side.
Kissamos (from Chania airport take E65 30 min.) is a little but well-connected town of the Western part of Crete. This could be the start point of your excursions and day trips. The town will allow you to reach many of the most beautiful places in this area, and at the same time enjoy its promenade during the night and taste typical greek and Mediterranean dishes in one of its restaurants. One of this is the The Cellar Tavern and its main dishes are pasta with seafood and Greek stuffed peppers (medium prices: 2 – 15 €).
From Kissamos you can arrive in less than 30 min. in one of the most famous beaches of Crete: Falassarna Beach. Here you will see a long beach with many locals and bars and other services. Take your time to have a walk on the riverside and regenerate yourself relaxing in front of the sea. As this beach is really popular among youth people, you will find group of friends playing football or volleyball at all the hours of the day. If you can wait until the last lights of the day, you will remain amazed by the sunset while you are enjoying a fresh and fruity cocktail at Falassarna Playa Paraiso (cocktails from 5 €).
The most spectacular beach of the entire island and one of the two elected most beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean Sea is Elafonissi Beach and Natural Reserve Park. If you have always desired visit and have a bath in the crystalline water of the Caribbean Sea, here you will find the same colours and breathtaking view. Even this beach is serviced with a car parking area and bars, you can hire a beach umbrella and two deckchairs for less than 10 € per day. The sand is white and pink in some points and the colours of the sea goes from green to blue. After spending the day here, have your dinner in one of the restaurants immersed in the nature and olive trees plantations and end the day with another typical Greek dish.
The other most beautiful beach is Balos Lagoon and Gramvousa Island. These are hidden and paradisiac places, protected by mountains as treasures. To reach the lagoon and the little uninhabited island, buy the one day by boat excursion ticket at the information centre of Kissamos, near the port. The excursion ticket costs about 25€ and without doubts it is worth the visit! Try to ask to your apartment/studio/hotel room owner or receptionist and they will buy for you the tickets if you don’t want or have no possibility to arrive to the info point.
After sailing for 20 min the northern coast of the island, your eyes will remain enraptured at the sight of this paradise: uncontaminated light-blue waters and a sandbar connecting two part of the mainland. First the boat will stop in Gramvousa Island, a Greek old fortress and uninhabited fascinating place. There is a little beach where you can have a bath and then reach the highest point of the islet where you can enjoy one of the wildest, enchanting panorama you have ever seen! Later, the boat will bring you to the lagoon, where you can continue to spend the rest of your day.
If you are not only interested in beaches and nature, organize a daily or afternoon trip to Chania (30 km from Kissamos). Chania is an old village with narrow streets where you can breathe the typical Mediterranean atmosphere with its colours, people and smells. There is even a new main road with shopping centres, but it would be better to immerse yourself in the little family shops down the streets and buy there some souvenirs. You should not leave the old town and its little harbour without having dinner in one of the seaside restaurants, like the Lithos Restaurant, which serves delicious grill mix dishes (for two people 25€).
If you are not tired and interested in the nightlife, try to go to Platanias (20 min from Chania), a little Las Vegas with thousand of shops, rooftop locals, discos and ethnic restaurants to keep on with your night.
Even in the most touristic period of the year, you can find accommodation at affordable prices, for instance near Kissamos at good value for money there are the Mediterranean Apartment & Studios. You can book a little apartment or studio for 50€ per night double room with cooker and en-suite bathroom.
Budget & Costs
For one week in Crete you will not spend more than 600 € (a/r flights, accommodation, meals, shopping, car and gasoline, excursion and other).
If you need any other information, do not hesitate to contact me and I hope this travel guide gave information you were looking for and/or make you want to book a flight for Crete!
By Maddalena Visentin