Before you go to the ruins at Knossos - I will share a suggestion that we
from a Greek friend - Go to the archeological museum in Iraklion first - It
will help with the visit to the ruins. Also, May is a perfect month! All
the wild flowers are in bloom and the people are eager for tourism to begin.
Nothing is really crowded except the north shore strip from Chania to
Iraklion and then, again, from Iraklion to just before Mirabello Bay (Ag.
Nikolas -- this area is truly lovely - like a mini- Monaco!)
Anway, to get back to Crete -- we were there awhile back and also had a car. We loved going inland to Kamari and Spili (great for piercing work -) and the best yogurt we've ever eaten... of course - with fabulous honey and sometimes walnuts!
Also, the western coast down from Kissimou (also called Kistelli - spelling is probably always wrong on my part - but the Greeks have 2 names -- often for one place - and spelling is sometimes different, too!) -- There is a wonderful beach on the southwest near the southern coast called Elofanisi -- It has a sandbar that streches for miles and is wonderful. Locals can help you with directions as it's impossible to find unless you are in the region - seeing the wonderful monestary that is in the southwest (sorry - I tried to find my notes, but I can't put my finger on them at the moment) Also, we loved the town of Sitia in the northeast corner. It's a charming seaport - small and from there, the Vai beach (w/ palm trees) and another wonderful monestary with fabulous icons awaits you! (Also, you can fly from Crete to Karpathos from there by small plane if you want!!! -- Karpathos is quite possibly my favorite island!!! --) We try to go to Greece in May and have been doing so for the past 5 yrs.
I can't help w/ hotels as we stay in rented rooms w/ small kitchens and bathrooms near water or near the village. We prefer this. It's a great way to meet people and it's very, very reasonable (about $23 - 28/night in May) Regards, Susie Newton, MA