Travel to Crete and around
Travel information, how to get to Crete and getting around when you are here
Most visitors come to Crete directly by plane, especially by charter. There are however a number of other options. Below you can find information about getting to Crete and getting around when here. But please note that we can not be made responsible for the information on this information. You will have to check the info with the relevant companies
Charter flights from Europe are quite numerous from some time in April until the end of October. There are a lot more flights to Heraklion than to Chania, making them often cheaper (and not as heavily booked) as flights to Chania.
Bear in mind that charter flights are not always cheaper than scheduled flights (especially with children who rarely get a price reduction) and that they give you far less flexibility in choosing your travel dates. They give you of course the convenience of a direct flight with no stopover in Athens.
Book flights, ferries and travel insurance
Almost all scheduled international flights transit through Athens where you must take a scheduled domestic flights to either Chania or Heraklion. These are quite frequent (around 10 a day to Chania and more to Heraklion) and run by several companies Below are links to international and local flights.
Transiting through Athens
Athens is a very large congested city with a high level of air pollution in summer. It also offers some superb museums and renowned archaeological sites and is worth a stopover, at least once. You can continue your journey from Athens to Crete by plane or ferryboat from Piraeus.
Ferryboat from Piraeus
There is a regular ferryboat service from the port of Piraeus to Heraklion, Rethymnon and Chania. Ships depart every evening around 8.00 or 8.30 (times vary a little depending on the season) and arrive very early morning (5.00 or 6.00 am). The ships are quite modern, cheaper than flying and can be quite romantic (if they are not too crowded). Avoid weekends and especially the beginning and end of holidays! If you want a cabin it is often safer to book in advance.
The main company is Anek lines (www.anek.gr/) (you can book on-line from there web-site) a company created in the 60s by Cretans who wanted better and safer service to and from the mainland of Greece. Another company, Minoan Lines (www.festivetravel.com/minoan.htm) sails every day to Heraklion and some days to Chania. Rethymnon Lines runs ferries to Rethymnon.
A word of caution: In winter (but at other times too) the sea is often stormy and it is not unusual for the ferries to be delayed, sometimes for days, until the storm passes. If you must return by a specific date go by air – planes will fly in worse weather and are only grounded when winds reach gale forces
Ferryboat from Italy
Several shipping companies connect Italy (Venice, Trieste, Ancona, Bari, Brindisi) with the mainland of Greece (Patras and Igoumenitsa). The fastest service to Patras is provided by SuperFast Ferries (www.superfast.com). It is slightly more expensive than other companies. It is preferable to book your passage in advance in the summer season.
Ferryboat from the Peloponnese and the Cyclades
Miras Ferries runs a service connecting the South Peloponnese (Gythion, Neapolis or Kalamata) to Kastelli (45 km west of Chania). Timetables are rather erratic but it is an option if you want to spend time on the Peloponnese.
From April to October you can also get boats from Santorini (and other Cyclades islands) to Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos.
Ferryboat along the South West coast
There is a ferry sealing between Hora Sfakia and Paleochora and a ferry to the small Island of Gavdos from Hora Sfakia. You can check the ferry time table on this link.
Overland to Greece
The best option if you want to come by car or motorbike is overland through Germany and Italy and by ferry from Ancona in Italy.
Arrival in Crete
The airport of Chania is situated on the peninsula of Akrotiri, 13 km from the town centre. Taxis to Chania cost around Euro 10 (inc. a small airport surcharge). Check-in time is about 45 min. for domestic flights and 90 min. for charters.
The airport of Heraklion is situated about 4 km from the city centre. There is now a regular bus service to the city centre as well as taxis (insist on the drivers turning the meter on).
If you arrive in Heraklion and wish to proceed immediately to Chania or Rethymnon you must go to the KTEL bus stop in the city. Heraklion has several terminals so make sure that you tell the taxi driver where you are planning to take the bus to. Busses leave every hour during the day and the trip to Chania takes about 2½ hours. There are no busses after 8.30 pm and your only alternative is a taxi, costing about Euro 140. It seems expensive but it is a 140 km journey.
Arriving by ferry
Souda harbour is situated 7 km east of Chania. There is a regular city bus service. If you arrive very early by ferry from Piraeus you will need to take a taxi or go have a coffee in one of the cafes situated just outside the harbour enclosure to wait for the day to start.
If you arrive by ferry in Heraklion or Rethymnon you will arrive in the centre of town.
Getting around in Crete
You can find rental cars and motorbikes almost anywhere. When renting a viecle be sure to ask about the insurance coverage and service. But if you have the time you can also take busses to most places though out the island. The Cretan bus company KTEL has stations in al the larger cities and stops all along the routes:
You will also find smaller ferries and “boat taxis” in many locations. Taxies in Crete are not extremely expensive, and can sometimes be the only alternative. But tell the driver to use the meter.