Travel to, from and around Crete





Airports

There are two big airports in Iraklio and Chania. Almost all tourists arrive here. The third airport in Sitia is small and only has five flights a day to Athens. However, this is changing with much construction and development work to revitalise the airport as Crete’s third ‘big’ airport.

Ferries to and from Crete

Athens: There are at least 2 ferries a day between Athens and Iraklio, 1-2 daily to Chania, 3-4 times a week to Rethymnon and Agios Nikolaos. Most ferries leave in the evening between 7-9pm, arriving early the next day between 5-6pm in Piraeus or Crete.

The last few years has seen an influx of fast, modern ferries which take only 5-6 hours to do the route. Some of these sail in the day. They are, of course, more expensive. A normal night ferry costs €25-30 for a deck seat, whilst the faster ferries can go up to €55. If you take a cabin on the slower ferries, it’s about the same price as a fast day ferry – but you can save one night of accommodation. Rethymno is served only by fast ferries at the moment.

Cyclades: Crete also has connections to other Greek islands by ferry. There’s a daily catamaran in the summer (April – October) every morning at 9am sailing from Iraklio to Santorini, Ios, Paros and Mykonos. After arriving in Mykonos, the ferry sails back to Iraklio, arriving at about 7pm. It’s a very fast, expensive ferry – one way to Santorini costs about €30, and €50 to Mykonos. The 100km/h ferry has no room for cars or motorbikes.

There is a slower ferry which goes from Sitia to Santorini then on to Milos, which is three times cheaper – but three times slower. This ferry also transports cars, and sometimes stops over in Iraklio.

Dodecanese: Leaving from Sitia (and less frequently from Iraklio) there is an old ferry to Rhodes which also stops off in Kasos and Karpathos. The boat is dirt cheap at €20 for the 10-12 hour journey all the way to Rhodes.

Gavdos: Gavdos, the southernmost point of Europe with a permanent population of only 30, is served by 4-5 ferries a week in summer. Three of them leave from Chora Sfakia, the others from Paleochora. You can buy tickets from the port and many travel agencies without hidden charges (c. €10 one way). Only in the high season do these ferries get booked out, so you should try to buy the tickets a few days in advance to guarantee your seat.

From Europe by Ferry to Crete: From Britain the best option is to drive or take a bus or train to Italy. You can then take a ferry from Italy to Greece via Venice, Trieste, Ancona, Bari or Brindisi to Patras in the Peloponnese. If you have an Interail or Eurorail ticket, you can use this on some routes, paying only the port tax. Alternatively, you could drive overland via Eastern Europe – a long, but potentially interesting adventure.

Roads on Crete

The National Road: The National Road is the main road of Crete, winding along the north coast. In some parts it’s four lanes wide. This arterial road links all the main towns along the north coast, and there’s no equivalent on the south coast. Often it is better to use the National Highway to get somewhere on the south, since it’ll be quicker – especially in the extremely mountainous areas of Chora Sfakia and Paleochora. There are ferries which substitute for the lack of roads there.

Buses on Crete

There is no railway on Crete. Almost all public transport is from the state-run KTEL bus company. The buses are fast, inexpensive and reliable. On the main routes there are up to two buses an hour, and on others, only one or two buses a day. There are more buses a day in summer than in winter. It’s a cheap way to get around; you can travel 100km for only €8. In towns with bus stations, you can buy tickets at the station. Otherwise, you purchase them from the bus conductor – NOT the driver. Big luggage is stored in compartments at the bottom of the bus. If you’re out of town, you can flag down buses by waving, but it’s generally safer to find a bus stop. The buses do not have toilets and some journeys can last two hours. Smoking is forbidden, but the drivers frequently ignore this rule. This does not, however, mean you too can flaunt the no smoking signs! Always do as the driver and conductor tell you, as they are the bosses and demand your respect accordingly.

Bicycle riding on Crete

Crete is a very mountainous island, making for challenging cycling terrain. There are many smaller roads with little traffic. Any cyclists in Crete will be foreigners – Greeks are not big cyclists. There are no bike-lanes anywhere in the cities or out of town. Cycling in the cities is a nightmare, but exhilarating in more remote areas. There are thousands of miles of road ranging from flat to high mountain roads. The best months to cycle are April, May and October. Winter is not too bad for cycling, but it rains a lot. In the summer, the temperatures and fierce sun making cycling very hard work.

Taxis on Crete

Taxis are cheaper than in Britain. 100km in a taxi costs approximately €60. Hitchhiking in rural areas is easy and far less dangerous than Northern Europe. The big problem is drink driving and speeding, which is more prevalent on Crete than the mainland. You can rend vehicles from almost anywhere, though you’ll get a better deal over the internet. Normal prices for a small car are €35 for a day, €60 for two days or €150 for one week, though prices vary according to season and demand.

 

In tourist areas you can find ‘road trains’. They can act as public transport in smaller places, but on the whole they’re used to drive tourists around to see the local sights or beaches. They are not particularly cheap.

 

Crete Guide
PLACES
Eastern Crete
Ierapetra
Sitia
Vai
Agios Nikolaos
Kritsa
Elounda
Zakros
Central Crete
Iraklio
Knossos
Hersonissos
Malia
Rethymno
Panormo
Bali
Moni Arkadi
Georgioupolis
Plakias
Preveli
Agia Galini
Matala
Kalamaki
Pitsidia
Lendas
Western Crete
Chania
Platanes
Agia Marina
Kolymbari
Kissamos
Paleochora
Sougia
Samaria Gorge
White Mountains
Imbros Gorge
Chora Sfakia
INFORMATION
Where to go on Crete?
Transportation
Accommodation
Climate Crete
Figures Crete
Money and Prices
Food on Crete
Menu Crete
Drinks on Crete
Fauna of Crete
Flora of Crete
Snakes in Crete
Dangerous Animals
Troubles on Crete
Sport on Crete
Cretan Diet
General Advice Crete
Caves on Crete
Islands around Crete
Other Greek Island