Crete has two main airports, in Heraklion and Chania, served by flights from Athens. Heraklion also has some international flights. There are regular ferries and catamarans from Athens’ port, Piraeus, to Chania, Rethymnon, and Heraklion. A rental car is probably the best way to see more than one town or city. Avis (avis.com) and Hertz (hertz.com) have offices at both airports, while Eurocar (eurocar.gr) will deliver and collect cars from anywhere on the island.
Crete is not a place where go and stay trapped in a luxury resort.
Rent a car and drive around the island! You will discover many wonderful secluded beaches and peaceful mountain villages.
You will get the best rates through an internet reservation in al local rental agency. Be careful and look at the insurance options. Normally they don't cover the bottom of the car and tires.
It is not allowed to take a ferryboat with a rented car.
Agency where I have rented a car in Crete with a great experience:
East Area: Kafetzakis LTD
West Area: Autoway
If you did not book your hotel and you are planing to find your dream destination or to move from town to town - rent a car.
You have two choices, book a hotel in a touristy place close to the airport just for the first night and rent a car next morning walking from agency to agency and looking for bargain.
Or book your car before and have it waiting for you at the airport.
Warning! Never try to book the car at the airport - it is too expensive.
Do your homework, find out the best deal on line before you start looking for a car on food while already there.
If you are really on a budget and time is not the issue, the Crete has pretty friendly bus transportation along the island. To all you POLACY, Wez autobus za pare Euro, maly plecak z majtkami na zmiane i .......ahoj przygodo, przygodo ahoj!!!!
With so much to see on so large an island, a rental car is definitely the way to go. But be ready for an adventure when you drive on Crete. The highways are not numbered--you have to know the towns along the road to where you're going and find them. It is also not easy to get on and off the roads, even the main ones. There are a lot of signs in English but usually the Greek ones come first and the English ones are right at the exit. Luckily, I don't drive stick shift so I got to be the navigator for my sister. There were times we were as baffled as we would be if someone had asked us where Jimmy Hoffa is. Thank goodness the people of Crete were alway friendly and helpful on the many occasions when we stopped to ask directions. My advice is take your time, expect to get lost and allow for it. And relaz. After all, you're in Crete and not stuck behind your desk.
From Ierapetra harbour leaves the boats to Chrisi Island. It take about one hour sailing.
There are maybe 3 or 4 different boats, I suggest the smaller ones, they leave earlier than the huge "Fun Boat", the cost is the same, 20Euros every person in 2006. You can buy the ticket at the boat entrance just before to leave.
I took the slower ferry which leaves Santorini at about 22:00 hrs and arrives at Herk. Crete at about 00:30 hrs. One problem I had with this trip was that when I arrived at the port I had to wait about 20 mins. for a taxi, some other people were still waitting when I left. So keep in mind you may have a long wait before you get a taxi at that hour. Keep in mind this was the second week of Sept. and I'm sure things are different in July & Aug..
Although there is some public transport in Crete, if you want to have the freedom to explore all that this beautiful island has to offer then you will need to hire a car. Many of the best beaches and most interesting places to visit are off the normal public transport routes. You will generally get the best deals if you book your car hire as part of your air travel, as the discounts are much better and you will avoid the queues at the airport. Nearly all cars on offer in Crete, even the smallest, offer air conditioning and this is not a luxury but a necessity in the sizzling summer temperatures they experience there. Road maps in Crete are very basic, so if it is your first visit it's worth getting directions to your hotel before you leave home, in order to avoid any first day nightmares! Take care when leaving the airport, whether it is Chania or Heraklion as they are both extremely busy day and night in the summer period, with buses and coaches emerging from all directions. Out side of the main cities you will find driving in Crete quite a pleasant experience as traffic is generally light, but always be on the lookout for goats on the road!
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Getting to Crete can be quite costly from the UK, especially if you are travelling from Ireland. However i have found www.xl.com to have fantastic prices from may through to the end of october for DIRECT flights to Heraklion. In the winter months i have found the cheapest and quickest way to get to crete is via athens with easyjet.com from the UK mainland, DONT USE OLYMPIC AIRLINES just for the simple one hour journey from greece to the island of crete, aegean airways are so much cheaper starting from as little as 30 euro, if your luck is down and it seems like it will cost a bomb the boat from piraeus starts from 21 euro for a deck passenger, see anek lines on google for timetables, getting to the boat from Athens airport is pretty simple too, the metro station is attached across the road from the entrance of the airport. P.S athens airport has to be one of the best, brilliant shopping centre! and mcdonalds is in there too!!!!
I found that the buss's are very slow and would say a taxi would be much better if you can find it in your budget to do so. A taxi can avoid the many stops and take a more direct route. Make sure you ask the driver to take it eassy though as they drive like they're in a race.
BTW, Hrekalion to Matala is about 50 euros during the day and 60 euros at night.
We were using Condor in summer 2007.
I was able to find $200 flight from Berlin TXL to Chania.
Our flight was very pleasurable however the landing was very "hard"(few people started screaming). I guess it happens sometimes.
The meals on the plane were delicious (yes, delicious! I know, it is almost never the case) and the crew was very nice.
We will definitelly try to fly with Condor in the future.
In August 2006 we rented a car for 5 days in Chania.
We used "REISEN" rent a car B&S MARINAKIS on 75 Halidon Str in Chania.
We rented Hyundai Accent for about 160 Euro, however there was a 500 Euro "self risk".
Car rental owners were very nice, it took us about 15 minutes to rent a car. We also checked all other car rental agencies and this one had the best rates.
Over all, we had a great time driving around Crete in our Accent, and the return of the car took us about 2 minutes. The owner just looked at the car from far away, and took our keys back.
We paid cash for rental.
In August 2006 we were flying to Chania from Warsow on Centralwings (Polish private airline).
The plane was little late both ways, but I guess all charter planes are late. The service was great. Flight attendants were very pleasant and hard working. Plane was very clean and in pleasant colors (decor).
Pilot was announcing on the loud speaker all major towns we were flying over making the whole trip more interesting.
The whole plane was booked by travel agency, leaving few (Exit door) seats for individual tourists like us. That gave us an advantage of spreading on all empty exit door seats.
The buses i saw and used were clean, modern and on time, They run under the group KTEL,the buses are named Minoan and ANEK . The fare from Heraklion to Rethymnon was 6 euro, the same from Rethymnon to Chania.Just be aware that the cretes spell names in several ways, Chania can be Hania or Xania, Heraklion can Iraklion; Rethymnon can be Peoymo. A tip i use is, write the place name has you know it on a piece of paper to show to ticket office staff. My photo of the bus for Souda shows what i mean about spelling in greek.My travel was in May 2007.Oh by the way the bus in Chania to Souda goes from near the big market, not the bus station.
I travelled to Ancona in Italy by train from Paris.The Superfast Ferry leaves at 13.30 for Patras in Greece, it has comfortable cabins, aircraft type seats, and deck tickets which lets you sleep almost anywhere. Good food onboard, bars etc. The ship arrives at Patras 11.30. A bus is on hand to take you to Piraeus and Athens. The ferry cost £150 for cabin, the bus £12. At Piraeus i took the Minoan Ferry to Heraklion , cabin £40. The ferry leaves at 21.00 and arrives Crete at 06.00. On Crete i travelled by bus to Rethymnon and Chania. Bus fares were about £4.I left Crete from Souda the port of Chania,to Piraeus,this time i travelled air type seat £20. Ferry departs 21.00 and arrives 06.00.From Piraeus took local train to Athens,then coach to Patras,where i took the Superfast Ferry back to Ancona Italy.The ferries run everyday at same times so it is easy to arrange an itinerary at any speed of time taken.
Crete buses are easy & cheap to use. Info/timetable at KTEL website.
Main hubs are Heraklion,Rhethymon,Chania and Agios Nik.
From airport the bus into heraklion is opposite cross the car park and there is the stop.
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