Getting Around, Crete Travel, Transport and Car Rental

(Crete, Greece)

Picture of coastal roadA very comprehensive public transport network makes Crete an easy island to travel around. Frequent bus transport connects all of the major towns and resorts around Crete, such as Hania, Kastelli, Kissamos and also Sitia, while further, less regular buses, travel to various places of interest on both the north and south coast, often via the centrally located mountain villages.

Crete really is large enough to warrant hiring a car and plenty of transport rental agencies compete for your business at Heraklion International Airport. Hiring your very own vehicle makes it simple to reach some of the more remote places and smaller resorts, although do bear in mind that the country roads seldom have signposts, and the unpaved roads on the far southern side of Crete are really only suitable for jeeps.

Aerial view of the island's coastline

Heraklion International Airport (HER) / Arriving by Air

Address: Kazantzakis Heraklion, Crete, Greece, GR
Tel: +30 2810 397800
Known as either the Heraklion International or the Nikos Kazantzakis International, Crete's airport is to be found just 5 km / 3 miles from Iraklio (Heraklion city). Regular flights travel to Greek destinations such as Athens, Rhodes and Thessaloniki, and many European cities, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Birmingham, Budapest, Dublin, Geneva, Lisbon, London, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Tallinn, Warsaw and Zurich, amongst many other locations. Smaller, less significant airports are located at both Hania and Sitia.

Different photo of coastal road

Car Rental

A major highway known as the 'National Highway' runs around the northerly coast of Crete, connecting the easterly resort of Agios Nikolaos and Sitia with Kissamos, while lies to the west. Renting car transport on the island is straightforward and fuel stations tend to be located in most villages and along the National Highway, at approximately 40-km / 25-mile intervals. Worth noting, the majority of fuel stations tend to close at 19:00 and usually only accept cash as a payment, although attendants will 'fill you up' as you stay seating in the vehicle. The southern coast on Crete is rather mountainous and rugged. Many southern areas just don't have roads as such and so can be difficult to reach by anything other than a boat.

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Photo of the Plakias resort

Buses and Coaches

Bus transport on Crete is very popular with both locals and holiday makers, and the main bus routes travel around the northerly resorts, between Sitia and Kissamos. Further buses connect the resorts on the north coast with southerly towns, driving through a number of pretty mountain villages along the way, although these services are less regular. in general, buses stick to the island's timetables very well and are quite reliable, and many drivers will even alter their route between stops if you are heading for a nearby village.

Coastal image, showing the Rethymnon lighthouse

Boats and Ferries

There are a number of different ports on the island of Crete, at Agios Nikolaos, Iraklio (Heraklion), Kissamos, Rethymno, Sitia and Souda (Chania). Daily ferries to mainland Greece are extremely plentiful and often make stops at islands along the way. Sailing times do vary depending on the actual boat with high-speed Flying Cats (catamarans) being especially fast. The following are a good indication of travel times: Gythio (7 hours), Piraeus (5 to 12 hours), Rhodes (10 to 12 hours), Santorini (2 to 4 hours) and Thessaloniki (30 hours). The main ferry transport operating from Crete includes the companies of ANEK Lines, Hellenic Seaways, LANE Lines and also Minoan Lines.