Go for a local company as are more flexible and have better prices than big international chains. I had my car for a week from Elite – they gave free upgrade and pick up/ drop off was from my hotel. Not sure if they even wanted a CC guarantee, but I paid with one (they seem to prefer cash though) so I can’t be 100% sure.
One of the most stupid things a company can do is organise a conference to take place in an Olympic country at the exact time of the Olympics. The reason being that flights in and out are not only impossible to book (and confirm) but the ones you can find are incredibly expensive.
But if you find yourself in the position I did, the best way to get to Crete without going through Athens is with a Charter Flight. There are many charter flight services and companies, running from many UK airports as well as from Rome, Vienna, Frankfurt and other European countries.
Flights tend to be in blocks of 7 days (ie. you fly in on the 8th, and depart on the 15th) or 14 days, but limited 5, 10 and 11 day blocks are available also. Flights are quite easy to get on, but prices fluctuate so you need to pay a deposit in order to confirm your ticket and ensure the price does not rise on you.
Only 15 euros a day, nicer than a car in the heath!
You can rent different types of motorcycles, from a retro-scooter like here to a Harley Davidson. Also different types of cars.
If you stay at Serita Beach, you can hire it, when walking out of the hotel (poolside) going on the left, there you will find some companies.
Take an insurance also (not expensive).
It is fun to hire a car in Crete. Comparatively cheap and many agencies offer a wide range of selection of cars. We had not met tights roads, but what we have experienced was panoramic coastal roads - you stop as you wish and then your camera will have a hard job...
Travelling by public buss is great, but in Crete it is not that simple if you want to leave the north coast to go to small villages or to the south coast. Busses are not that frequent, one or two busses by day is regular. So if you want to go for a hike and at the end you have to take a buss, be sure to be there otherwise you will stay there also.
It is not very expensive, but it depends on the distance you want to go (of course !).
On the north coast for example to go from Rethymnon to Chania, or from Irakleion to Elounda, ... Busses are frequent. Check the hours at the buss station. You can buy tickets in the kiosks or at the big buss station.
Local busses worked well when we used them, exept that the way back was kind of exciting.
In the bus station the busses leave where ever they want, so be aware of all the busses leaving. Try them all and ask all the time, because the busses don't wait.
You can travel to Crete by plane to Iraklio or to Hania. As well there are differnent possibilities to travel by boat, as well to the capital Iraklio or Hania. Friends of mine did kind of island hopping by boat. They started in Athens and passed by 5 or 6 beautiful islands of Greece ending their journey on Crete.
Most enter through the airport or harbour of Irakleion. Large cruiseliners make stops on the island and - especially in summertime - numerous charter and regular connections come to (and go from) Crete.
Rent a car, motorbike or scooter and get used to the Greek chaotic traffic. Then the island is within your grasp. Furthermore there are buslines throughout the island and touristic companies offer several excursions to all mayor sights. Hiking is an option, but reckon with the heat in summertime.
The best way to see the place where you are staying is by motorcycle. But if you want to see Crete you must rent a car.
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