Travel to, from and around Crete
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.
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.