Crete is the largest and one of the most popular islands in Greece, attracting millions of visitors every year. The island offers a stunning combination of natural beauty, rich culture, ancient history, and vibrant nightlife. Whether you are looking for relaxing beaches, scenic mountains, charming villages, or impressive monuments, Crete has something for everyone.
But how do you get to this amazing island? And once you are there, how do you explore its diverse regions and attractions? In this blog post, we will answer these questions and provide you with a complete guide on how to get to Crete by plane, ferry, or cruise ship and how to get around the island.
How to get to Crete by plane
The easiest and fastest way to get to Crete is by plane. The island has three international airports: Heraklion (HER), Chania (CHQ), and Sitia (JSH). These airports are connected to many major cities in Europe and the world, especially during the summer season. You can also find domestic flights from Athens and other Greek islands to Crete all year round.
The flight time from Athens to Crete is about 50 minutes, while the flight time from London to Crete is about 4 hours. The average cost of a round-trip flight from Athens to Crete is around 100 euros, while the average cost of a round-trip flight from London to Crete is around 200 euros. However, these prices may vary depending on the season, the airline, and the availability.
Here are some tips on how to find cheap flights to Crete:
- Book your flights well in advance, especially if you are traveling during peak season (July-August).
- Compare prices from different airlines and websites using tools like Skyscanner or Kayak.
- Be flexible with your dates and airports. Sometimes flying on weekdays or choosing a different airport can save you money.
- Look for low-cost airlines that offer direct flights to Crete, such as Ryanair or EasyJet.
- Sign up for newsletters and alerts from airlines and travel agencies that offer deals and discounts on flights to Crete.
How to get to Crete by ferry
If you want to enjoy the scenic views of the Mediterranean Sea and experience the traditional way of traveling in Greece, you can also get to Crete by ferry. There are five ports in Crete: Heraklion, Chania, Sitia, Rethymno, and Kissamos. These ports are connected by ferry to several destinations in mainland Greece and other Greek islands.
The most frequent ferry route is from Piraeus (the port of Athens) to Heraklion or Chania. There are up to four daily ferries that operate this route all year round. The ferry companies that serve this route are Minoan Lines, Anek Lines, Blue Star Ferries, and Aegeon Pelagos. The ferry trip takes about 8-10 hours and costs between 36 and 82 euros for a standard ticket.
You can also find ferries from Piraeus to Sitia (17-20 hours), Rethymno (9-15 hours), and Kissamos (10-11 hours), but these are less frequent and mainly operate during the summer season. Additionally, you can take a ferry from Thira (Santorini) to Heraklion (1.5-6 hours), Antikythira (Ionian Islands) to Kissamos (1.5 hours), or Gythion (Peloponnese) to Kissamos (7 hours).
Here are some tips on how to book your ferry tickets to Crete:
- Book your tickets online in advance using websites like Ferryhopper or Direct Ferries.
- Choose the type of accommodation that suits your budget and comfort level. You can opt for a deck seat, an airplane seat, a cabin, or a suite.
- If you are traveling with a vehicle, make sure you select the appropriate vehicle type and size when booking your tickets.
- If you are traveling with pets, check the pet policy of the ferry company and book a pet-friendly cabin or kennel if available.
- If you have any special needs or requests, contact the ferry company or the port authority before your departure.
How to get to Crete by cruise ship
Another option to get to Crete is by cruise ship. Crete is a popular stop for many cruise lines that sail in the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. The main ports that welcome cruise ships in Crete are Heraklion and Chania, but some smaller ports like Agios Nikolaos, Rethymno, and Elounda may also host cruise ships occasionally.
The duration and cost of a cruise to Crete depend on the itinerary, the cruise line, and the season. Typically, a cruise to Crete lasts from 7 to 14 days and costs from 500 to 2000 euros per person. Some of the cruise lines that offer cruises to Crete are Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, and Costa Cruises.
Here are some tips on how to plan your cruise to Crete:
- Research the different itineraries and ports of call that include Crete and choose the one that matches your interests and preferences.
- Compare prices and amenities from different cruise lines and websites using tools like Cruise Critic or Cruise Direct.
- Book your cruise well in advance, especially if you are traveling during peak season (July-August).
- Check the visa requirements and travel restrictions for the countries and islands that you will visit during your cruise.
- Pack light and smart, as you will have limited space in your cabin and luggage restrictions on board.
How to get around Crete
Once you arrive in Crete, you will need to find a way to get around the island and explore its diverse regions and attractions. Crete is a large island with a length of 260 km and a width of 60 km, so you will need some form of transportation to move from one place to another. Here are the main options for getting around Crete:
The best way to get around Crete is by car. Driving a car gives you the freedom and flexibility to discover the island at your own pace and visit places that are not easily accessible by public transport. You can rent a car from one of the many car rental agencies that operate in Crete, either at the airports, the ports, or the main towns. The average cost of renting a car in Crete is around 30 euros per day, but this may vary depending on the season, the type of car, and the rental company.
Here are some tips on driving a car in Crete:
- Make sure you have a valid driver’s license and an international driving permit if required.
- Check the condition of the car before renting it and report any damages or issues to the rental company.
- Drive on the right side of the road and follow the traffic rules and speed limits.
- Be careful when driving on mountain roads, as they can be narrow, winding, and steep.
- Park your car in designated areas and avoid parking on yellow lines or in front of gates.
The cheapest way to get around Crete is by bus. There are two main bus companies that operate in Crete: KTEL Heraklion-Lasithi and KTEL Chania-Rethymno. These companies provide regular bus services between the major towns and cities of Crete, as well as some tourist destinations and beaches. The buses are modern, comfortable, and air-conditioned, and they usually depart from central bus stations or stops. The average cost of a bus ticket in Crete is around 5 euros, but this may vary depending on the distance and the route.
Here are some tips on taking a bus in Crete:
- Check the bus timetables and routes online or at the bus stations or stops.
- Buy your bus tickets online in advance or at the ticket offices or kiosks at the bus stations or stops.
- Validate your ticket when boarding the bus or show it to the driver or conductor if asked.
- Carefully store your luggage in the designated compartments or racks on board.
- Avoid taking buses during peak hours (8-9 am and 5-6 pm) or peak season (July-August), as they can be crowded and delayed.
The most convenient way to get around Crete is by taxi. Taking a taxi allows you to travel quickly and comfortably from one point to another without having to worry about driving or parking. You can find taxis in all major towns and cities of Crete, as well as at