Frequently Asked Questions  
   
   
  Plakias telephone numbers  
  What's the best time to visit?  
  What temperatures can I expect?  
  What sort of accommodation can I expect?  
  Easter in Crete  
  How/where do I change money?  
  Which Travel Companies offer holidays in Plakias?  
  Can I hire a car/motorbike/cycle?  
  Where can I visit by car?  
  Bus information  
  Taxis  
  Tell me about the Train  
  Can I connect to the Internet in Plakias?  
     
 

If you can't find the answers you need here, then please visit our Plakias Forums, where there is s lot more information, mainly added by regular visitors to the town.

You are also welcome to mail me - I'll try my best, but I can't always respond quickly.

 

 

     
 

Plakias telephone numbers

From outside Plakias, the area code is 28320 From outside Greece, the country code is 0030

so, to call Anso Travel from the UK, you would need to dial 0030 28320 31712

Tavernas/Cafes
  Lysseos 31 479 Gio-Ma 32 003 Kri-Kri 31 101 Kastro 32 246 Medusa 31 313  
  Manoussos 31 521 Kyma 31 58        
Accommodation
  Costas Chrysoula 32 242 Morpheas 31 642 Kiriakos 31 307 Camelia 31 316 Horizon Beach 31 476  
  Hotel Sofia 31 251 Livicon 31 216 Myrtis 31 123 Flisvos 31 988 Plakias Bay 31 215  
  Alianthos Garden 31 208 New Alianthos 31 280 Lamon 31 279 Lofos 31 422 Souda Mare 31 931  
  Paligremnos 31 288 Oasis 31 317 Calypso 31 296 Libyan 31 216 Youth Hostel 32 118  
Services
  Doctor 31 770 Pharmacy 31 666 Town Hall 32 111 Local Police 31 232 Area Police 22 029  
  TAXI Zacharias Zourbakis 31 910 Alianthos Car Rental & Exchange 31 851 31 196 Anso Rent a Car & Exchange 31 712 Auto Preveli Car Rental 31 646    
             
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  Please click here to let me know of any errors or to add to this list.  

 

 

 
 

What's the best time to visit?

The short answer is any time! The holiday season runs from April to October, when it is easier to get to the island. But there are flights into the island all year round.

Postings on the forums have been made by people who have been at all times of year - including Easter and Christmas. Click here for more details - and with any questions. I'm sure the regular visitors will help!

Spring is warm, and the island is green. An ideal time for walking and exploring, you will see an interesting range of plant and animal life. By the end of May, things are warming up, and the beach starts to be the main attraction. July and August can be very hot - temperatures of 40+degrees Celcius were recorded during August 2000 - although 30 degrees is nearer the norm. September is my favourite time, when it is nicely hot, the sea is still warm, and everyone is really relaxed. I have yet to visit Plakias in winter - but I will one day. Chris at the youth hostel told me he was swimming on Christmas Day 1999. But the weather is not predictable; severe rain in the winter of 2000 caused very bad flooding in many south coast areas (although Plakias escaped, thankfully)

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What temperatures can I expect?

Month Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov
Day temperature 17 20 24 28 29 29 27 24 21
Night temperature 10 12 15 19 21 22 19 16 14
Hours of sunshine 6 8 10 12 13 12 10 6 6
Overcast days 8 4 2 1 0 0 2 6 6
Water temperature 16 16 19 22 24 25 24 23 20

These are average figures, for guidance only.

More details here

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What sort of accommodation can I expect?

These few notes are biased towards the UK traveller, after all, that's what I know best. I've been there a few times, and learnt a few things on the way. Mail me to add your hints, tips and comments - or correct any errors I have made. I am particularly interested to hear from people outside the UK, to see how things differ.

With the launch of our new forums, you can now find out a lot more about places - and often contact someone who has stayed there.

The standard of accommodation does vary, according to the age of the property, holiday company, costs etc. I usually opt for self catering. This ensures that you have somewhere to make coffee (no kettle though - boil up the water in a saucepan) and a fridge, which I feel is essential - for keeping fruit juice, water (and maybe a couple of bottles of beer) fresh and ready to drink.

I don't cook when I'm in Plakias - the restaurants around the town are too good - and relatively cheap! But if you plan to, you will be starting from scratch - no salt, pepper, oil, herbs, or other basics, and you'll need to get washing up liquid, tea towel etc. I always take coffee from home, so that I can choose my brand, and as it is a lot cheaper. If you want to get really organised, take along a few of these things from home, in disposable containers, and leave them behind. The cleaners, or the next guests in your room, will thank you for it.

Room only accommodation sometimes offers coffee making facilities and a fridge. I always take a travel kettle if I'm booked room only, just in case.

I have never tried any half or full board accommodation in the town - I like the freedom to eat out when and where I want to. Sometimes you will see B&B offered. The breakfast bit of this offer is usually of the coffee, toast and jam variety. If you want a cooked breakfast, lots of the tavernas offer them, at 3 to 5 euros.

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Easter in Crete

The Greek Orthodox Church does not always celebrate Easter on the same date as the Catholic and Protestant countries. The reason is that the Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar when calculating Easter. This is the case even in the churches that otherwise use the Gregorian calendar. When the Greek Orthodox Church in 1923 decided to change to the Gregorian calendar (or rather: a Revised Julian Calendar), they chose to use the astronomical full moon as seen along the meridian of Jerusalem as the basis for calculating Easter, rather than to use the "official" full moon.

2012: April 15 2013: May 5 2014: April 20 * 2015: April 12
2016: May 1 2017: April 16 * 2018: April 8 2019: April 28
2020: April 19 2021: May 2 2022: April 24 2023: April 16

* indicates Greek Orthodox and Catholic/Protestant dates are the same

If you get a chance to visit at Easter, take it. This is a time of great celebration, as important as Christmas and a time to see Greece at it's very best. They do know how to celebrate!

Information for this answer was copied - with grateful thanks - from Greek & Cretan Easter customs. Click on this link for a full - and fascinating - background to this most important festival.

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How/where do I change money?

You can change money - most popular currencies or travelers cheques - in any of the travel agents or car hire places etc. in town - just look for the 'exchange' sign displayed in the window. Most of the Hotels offer exchange facilities too. Commission rates vary a little but are not excessive.

If you are cashing travelers cheques, remember to take your passport with you as proof of identification. If you use the same place regularly, this is not usually necessary on subsequent visits. It is not usually possible to draw cash from a credit card in the village - visit a bank, in Rethimno or one of the other larger towns.

Everyone asks about Cash dispensers. There are cash machines in Rethimno - easy to get to by bus or taxi, and a nice trip. I believe there is also one in Selia, one of the nearby villages in the hills, but I've never used that one.

At last, there are now three in the village, all along the main street. About half way along, there's one at the Auto Prevelli Office next to the Platia Bar. Walk a little further and you'll find one at Allianthos Car Hire. The last is at the Alianthos Beach Hotel, right on the corner to the left of reception. Generally, they are fairly reliable - but have been known to run out of cash, so always keeps a few Euros spare!

You can also use credit cards in many of the restaurants and shops. Check things out with your card company in advance: some give a poor rate of exchange! Reps usually accept them too for any excursions you book - but in this case it's also worth looking around the travel agents. The same excursions are often available, and can be much better value.

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Which Travel Companies offer holidays in Plakias?

I am sorry that this answer currently features only UK companies. I would appreciate hearing from readers in other countries with information about how they get to Plakias.

The travel industry seems to be constantly changing. As it is so difficult to keep details up to date here, please check into the forums to get up to date information, and comments from other visitors. Comments upon the quality and service provided by holiday companies is welcome, and is provided to help in making choices. The forums are the best place - but mail me if you wish.

When I first went to Plakias there were 5 UK companies offering holidays in the resort. But the travel industry seems to be very volatile. As a result of big business - mergers and rationalisations - there was only one major company with a presence in Plakias in 1999- First Choice. I feel they took advantage of this in their pricing structure. Thankfully, Olympic Holidays moved into the resort in 2000, providing, in my opinion, a more efficient and personal service, and better prices. Jumping to 2011, Olympic were the only company left. The service is not always brilliant, the website is unpredictable and resort transfers erratic. But they are ABTA protected, so in times of volcanic ash clouds and industrial unrest, we've used them for the last few years rather than go the independant route.

Having costed booking seperate flights, accommodation etc. several times, there is little difference in cost. We usually get a car at the airport, so we don't have to suffer long coach transfers. (Taxi transfer is roughly 100 euros each way - book through the local Plakias taxi firms). If you do decide on a cab at the airport, agree a fixed price first.

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Can I hire a car/motorbike/cycle?

You can hire a car in several places – and again, it’s worth checking these before asking your rep – you can often get a better price - but be sure to check on the insurance cover provided. Three of the local ofices are listed in the Phone numbers section.

Of course, you can also hire motor bikes, and scooters. My advice – don’t. The drivers in Greece are not good, and the roads are terrible in places. Potholes and motorcycles do not mix well! I have seen so many accidents. The local doctor is great – but it can take a while to get an ambulance. Also, you will probably find that your travel insurance is not valid if you hire – or even ride on – a motorbike.

Cycles and mountain bikes are also available if you want to try something different.

It is easy to book a car in advance if you are travelling on a flight only basis. You can contact any of the local offices, and they will make sure there is a car waiting for you on arrival at either airport. And if you come in by boat, you can arrange to pick up a car at the port.

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Where can I visit by car?

Plakias is not the ideal place to tour from, but Crete is an island of many parts and it would be a shame not to fit some of it in on all but the briefest holidays. It is best to plan on some overnights if you are going further than Rethymno, but thankfully there are plenty of places one can find a nice clean comfortable room (with a view) for around 30 euros per night.

There is a very good east-west highway which attracts a lot of traffic, but it is best to avoid the minor roads - what looks like a short cut will probably take much longer and may turn into a rough track (see my attempts to get to Amari). Public toilets are in the main pretty appalling, so it is worth budgeting for the odd cup of coffee so that you can use the toilets attached to the shop!

A word of warning for drivers, especially 'first timers'. The Greeks are crazy drivers, and the taxis are probably the worst, so give them a wide berth. Most major roads have a white line down the side, but this is not a hard shoulder - this is the lane you move over into when anyone wants to overtake. And overtake they will, regardless of speed limits, overtaking bans, blind bends or oncoming traffic - so keep an eye constantly in your rear view mirror and spot that vehicle which is closing in fast. Anyone who has driven in Eire will have met this overtaking system and know what I mean. Be extra careful after even a light shower of rain - this is a really dangerous time - when the road surface of oil and tyre rubber turns into an instant skid pan and everyone (even buses and taxis) crawls along at 15 mph and no one, but no one, overtakes.

New suggestions appear regularly on the forums site - so I will not be updating this window very often.

Sitia well worth the trip. My recommendation would be to go to Sitia at the east end of the island - a pretty place with a large harbour full of fishing boats. But it is worth it for the journey along the north coast road alone - utterly fantastic and with breathtaking views. And you don't have to drive - you can do it all by bus.

Plakias to Rethymno Going via the Kourtaliotiko gorge is a really easy drive with good views back over the bay. The Kotsifos gorge (via Mirthios) has more spectacular views (and interesting bends) and makes a pleasant diversion; you may even see eagles circling on the thermals. Rethymno is well worth exploring (allow at least a day), and there is plenty of parking on the east side, round the harbour. The centre has a charming Venetian air, with a maze of narrow streets, and cafes overlooking the main harbour where you just cross the road and swim off a lovely sandy beach in crystal clear water. There is an open air market beside the public park and this is an amazing spectacle, with every imaginable kind of vegetable, fruit, meat and fish - even day old chicks - together with limbless beggars. A real taste of Crete.

Rethymno to Iraklio The main road from Rethymno to Iraklio is excellent and has an amazing variety of scenery and superb coast views - but you will have to wait for the return trip to be able to stop. Panormo is a nice little village built round an enticingly swimmable harbour with sandy beach. Iraklio is a driver's nightmare and probably best avoided first time through. However, despite being a bustling commercial centre it is well worth exploring, with its massive city walls, large squares and museums of icons and Minoan art (a real must). And if you must go to Marks and Spencer, remember it closes for lunch!

Iraklio to Agios Nikolaos (Ag Nik) If you love Plakias, you will probably hate this stretch - the first half (as far as Malia) is a ribbon of concrete. Hersonissos is the Blackpool of Crete and Malia comes a close second, but between them is Stalida - a rather quieter place with a nice sandy beach. On the east side of Malia there is a Minoan palace. From Stalida there is a spectacular hill climb up to the Lasithi plateau (about which, more later). Well worth the trip, and coffee in the square at Mochos is a must, but the return route to Ag Nik is twisty, slow, tiresome and best avoided. Ag Nik is definitely a tourist place, and you can see why when the evening sun turns the mountains across the Gulf of Mirabello a heavenly rose pink. However it is possible to park at the edge, just off the roads to Sitia and pop down the hill to the sandy municipal beach by the bus station. If you have never swum in shoals of fish, this is the place to do it!

Ag Nik to Sitia This is a truly breathtaking journey, and one not to be hurried as the road clings to the edge of the mountains and runs past scores of tantalisingly inaccessible coves. The Minoan settlement at Gournia is well worth the stop - even if you only look at it from the lay-by on the main road - the layout is so clear. There are several pretty villages on the way, but you must stop at Platanos where there is a panoramic view over the Gulf of Mirabello. The maps don't seem to show it, but you will see the signs. Further east you may drive round a blind bend to find an old peasant woman struggling with a mule shedding its load in the middle of the road and goats making a break for freedom. I felt it was this sort of incident which helped explain why the Greeks seem to have such bad road sense - cars have only recently taken over from mules! Approaching Sitia the road deteriorates and there are massive wind farms on the hillside - I counted more than 50 windmills on one.

Sitia is very much a provincial town, hardly touched by tourism - it is a place where the locals come to buy their daily needs from food to clothes and ironmongery. Most of Crete's wine is from this area and there are some good tastings and bargains to be had. The old town is a maze of narrow streets on the side of a steep hill, crossed by wide steep staircases of pavements. But there is plenty of parking to the south of the harbour. Sitia is also famed for its tame pelican, but we were more attracted by the team of kingfishers working hard skimming low back and forth across the harbour in the late afternoon. We had only ever seen one before and imagined it was a shy freshwater bird, but we were utterly captivated by these.

Sitia to Ierapetra We would have loved to explore further east, where there are some marvellous beaches, but time was short. We did however cross over to the south coast and stopped at Makrigialos, an odd little place but with a beautiful south facing beach. Rather stony, but very shallow and sandy at the harbour end where there is a marvellous fish taverna. There are more fine beaches approaching the busy town Ierapetra, but we ran out of time and had to strike back to the east-west highway via Kato Chorio - an easy drive up a broad valley.

Where next? There is so much to see, and Liz and I must admit to being beachaholics! Travelling west from Rethymno, just before you reach Georgioupoli there is an excellent wide sandy beach (the best sand on Crete?) which slopes gently into the sea. After that you pass through such verdant countryside that it is hard to imagine you are still in Crete! Hania does not look appealing from a distance, and the navy ships in the bay bring you suddenly down to earth, but we are determined to explore it one day. But where we really want to go is the extreme west - to the beaches at Falasarna and Elafonisi. Has anyone been there? 10 December 1999

My thanks to David Cannon who contributed the above article.

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Bus information

Busses connect both airports to Reythimnon, where you can change for the trip to Plakias. They run more frequently in summer, and are not totally reliable, so have a backup plan if you want to catch a flight.

General advice from CreteTravel.com: ALWAYS check before making your arrangements to travel by bus - schedules in Crete can (and many times do) change unexpectedly. Double check until the last minute on public holidays (1 Jan, 25 Mar, 1 May, 15 Aug, 28 Oct, 25 Dec + Easter Sunday). In the summer, buy tickets the day before you will travel, be very early at the bus station/stop for best chance of a (good) seat. Buy tickets at kiosks for local buses and at bus stations or local agent (often a Kafeneio) for longer trips.

Click here for latest timetable information

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Taxis

Taxis are plentiful in Plakias, you can usually pick one up at the rank opposite the Livicon Hotel in the main street. I have always found the local guys honest and reliable, although they do tend to drive 'Greek style'. I wonder if they have special training to drive with a frappe in one hand and a mobile phone in the other.

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Tell me about the Train

The Train

This is the Plakias 'Train', that was often seen around the towns and villages in the Plakias area. I get many mails to the site, often from people who have spent a very happy holiday there - and I am surprised at how often the train gets a mention as part of their memories.

I will admit that I never traveled on it - but have taken advantage of a similar vehicle when I was on holiday in Tunisia - and had a fun ride. Wherever it went, it attracted attention. It was fun to see it pass by - but not so enjoyable to be stuck behind it in one of the long queues of traffic it caused.

Sadly, the train no longer runs - it was not really powerful enough to cope with the rugged terrain around Plakias. It was relocated to the Plaka / Thissio area of Athens where it takes tourists around central Athens!

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Can I connect to the Internet in Plakias?

A lot of the visitors to the site are regular Internet users, so I am often asked if it is possible to connect to the net in Plakias. Hopefully, people aren't going to go there to carry on surfing as normal - but it's useful to be able to pick up mail messages - or send one to let Mum know that you arrived safely.

Things have changed a lot since I first started working on this site last century (1998). I think the first Internet Cafe was downstairs at the Ostraco Bar., and it's still going strong. Just tell the barman you want to log on, and away you go! You'll be charged a very reasonable amount (but I can't remember exactly what). Downstairs at Ostraco is open from about 8am to well past midnight during the season, and stays open all year. Other places are available now - Frame is a newish bar above the Forum store. Loads of PCs here - and a great place to view the sunset.

Many places now have WiFi - so if you take your laptop or tablet you'll have no problems. I was able to grab an unsecure connection in 2010 when I stayed in Hotel Sofia, and I know the famous Ploppy stays at Livicon, where the WiFi is good. WiFi is also available in Stella Studios, Ostraco Bar and Paligremnos Taverna. Please let me know if you find other places to connect, and I'll add it here.

Don't forget to make any special arrangements necessary before you leave - like finding out from your ISP how to connect to your mailbox from abroad. I take the much easier solution: If there will be any mail I need to collect while I'm away, I ask people to send it to my Gmail account, which is easy to log on to from anywhere in the world. If you have problems in Plakias, there are at least 4 Internet Cafes in Rethimno, which is an easy taxi or bus ride away.

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