I actually wouldn't mind returning to Gouves again however I'd like to experience the west side and visit places like chania and rethymno. Can anyone recommend an area to stay in west crete that would have good access to these places via the public bus network for day trips. Ideally I'd like a laid-back place on the coast like gouves that was great to unwind in the evening with plenty of restaurants and so on. Would be great if it had good beaches and access to some hiking trails. I wouldn't be interested in visting the capital again so would rather be stationed on the west within sight of the main cities and airport.
As I won't have my own transport I will value highly the ease of public transport (I was impressed by the bus network during my first visit when I visited ag nik and heraklion).