We caught the City Bus between the cruise ship port at Souda and the nearby harbour town of Chania during a Royal Caribbean cruise in October 2012.
The following information was correct as of that date and may be useful for any travellers who find themselves on a ship that docks at Souda and who want to avoid the costly excursions offered by their cruise company. Independent travel between Souda and Chania is very, very easy...and very, very cheap!
Souda port to Chania
The distance from Souda port to the centre of Chania is around 7 km.
Buses depart from right outside the port terminal building; little more than 100m walk from the cruise ship.
When a ship is in port, buses depart every 5 minutes or so.
Tickets are purchased from a small kiosk next to the bus stop and cost 1.50 Euros one-way / 3.00 Euros return. As you board the bus, give your ticket to the inspector and he will tear it in half to show that it has been used.
The bus that we caught was rather full (we didn't manage to get seats, and there were almost as many passengers standing as there were sitting) and was a little uncomfortable in the heat.
The journey to Chania was around 15 minutes. The bus dropped us off outside the market building on Sof. Venizelou Square. From there, it was a 10 minute walk or so (via shopping streets and cafes) to the port.
Chania to Souda port
The bus departed from the same spot that it had dropped us off outside the front of the market building on Sof. Venizelou Square.
We had purchased return tickets in Souda, otherwise we'd have had to purchase tickets as we boarded the bus. I'm glad that we had purchased tickets in Souda as boarding the bus on the return journey was a bit of a free-for-all; passengers boarded en masse rather than in an orderly queue. There was another bus directly behind the one that we boarded, so there was no need for the panic with which people were boarding the bus.
The return journey to Souda was even less comfortable than the journey into Chania. The bus was busier than the one we came on and we found ourselves standing in a crowded aisle. The heat was more intense (it was early afternoon) and the bus wasn't very well air conditioned. The heavy traffic in the centre of Chania also meant that the journey was a significantly longer one; it took nearly 30 minutes to get back to Souda port. Factor in the possibility of heavy traffic when planning your return to your cruise ship.
While we were waiting for the City Bus back to Souda, I noticed a local bus (#13) which had Souda (in Greek) as its destination. The bus was almost empty and the passengers were locals. I considered boarding that bus, but I'm not sure where it would have dropped us off or whether it would have taken a less direct route (we were pressed for time). It almost certainly wouldn't have dropped us off at the cruise terminal building like the City Bus did; it would perhaps have dropped us off on the main road outside instead (a 5-10 minute walk from the port building).
City Bus: an easy and cheap way to travel independently between Souda port and Chania town centre. But, prepare yourself for hot and crowded buses!
Bus from the airport to the city centre.it comes every half an hour.and it takes about 20min to the city centre the last stop is city cenrte just 5 min walk from the old town.
the price of single ticket is ONLY 2.30 euros.
You can buy the ticket from the driver.
Blue Star Ferries is the comany that I used to leave from Hania to Athens. They are generally really good, and clean ferries. But, it did seem like I lucked out having the newer ferries of the fleet. I have heard some horror stories about Greek ferries, but I can not say that I had a bad experience with any of the companies I used.
Blue Star does not have free hostel-type dorm beds as Super Fast Ferries did. But, what I did every time with Blue Star was to buy a deck class ticket, and be early to line up to board. Being one of the first ones on the ship allows you to rush on and pick a bench or chair inside the lobby or restaurants. NO ONE can make you move if you are in one of these seats! It worked like a charm every time. So, if you are looking to cut costs, or are the normal backpacker, save some money here and get the cheapest ticket possible and arrive early.
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.
Heraklion: Tel: 2810-397129, 397136 (info 24hrs)
Chania: Tel: 28210-63245, 83800
Sitia: Tel: 28430-24424, 22671
Flying to Crete via Athens:
All flights to and from Athens arrive and depart from the new "Eleftherios Venizelos Tel. 210- 3530000
For info on airlines, airlines, real-time arrivals/departures, parking.
Chania airport access: At Chania airport there are only a few, infrequent, buses - a taxi or renting a car are the best options. A taxi into the town takes 20 minutes and costs 14-16 euros.
Parking: Offers free parking, about 60 m from the airport building entrance There is also paid parking, running in front of the airport building.
Airport facilities: Cash/ATM machine for cash advances and withdrawal. Coffee and snacks are available. "Duty-free" shop and giftshops.
Tel: 28210-63245, 83800.
Charter flights to Crete - consider this option if you are flying from Europe to Crete. You can bypass the transit via Athens. They fly into Chania and Heraklion.
Pireas to Chania, the ANEK Lines overnight ferries take 9 hours, whereas the Highspeed catamaran of Hellenic Seaways takes 4 hours 45 minutes.
Tickets can be bought in advance www.ferries.gr
Heraklion: Tel: 2810-244912, 244956
Chania (for ferries see: Souda): Tel: 28210-98888, 52777
Souda: Tel: 28210-89240
Rethymno: Tel: 28310-22276
Agios Nikolaos: Tel: 28410-22312, 22612
Sitia: Tel: 28430-22310
Ierapetra: Tel: 28420-22294
Sfakia: Tel: 28250-91292
Paleochora: Tel: 28230-41214
Accommodation On Board Ship
2 First class cabins- less luxurius.
Large or heavy pieces of luggage can be stored in a luggage room on the car deck - ask as you board (it's a good idea, avoiding carrying all your luggage to the cabin). Tipping the porters is considered the polite thing to do.
3.Economy class- this has no cabin. Most ships have a room with bus style seats. But there is plenty of seating on deck and in the lounge rooms.You can have a nap in any of these places.Altrernatively you can mingle, play cards, watch TV with fellow passengers. (sometimes a bar area or two are reserved for first and deluxe class passengers) Spending time on the deck with a good book is my favourite. If you are traveling during the night, you often need a jacket if you are planning to spend any time on the deck.
Food- Food on the ships is satisfactory. There are both self service and full service restaurants - pricing in each is similar
Departures are weather dependent, so if you are traveling by ferry allow some flexibility in your schedule.
BUSES-This is a good and inexpensive way for getting around Chania and also visiting other parts of Crete.
Blue Busesc%*- these are for transport around the town of Chania..Punctuality is not their strenght!Bus stations for these are outside the court house, opposite the market outside the Bank.
Green Busesc%*- these will take you outside the centre of Chania usually anything above a 5km radius from the town center and also to other parts of Crete.
Bus station - walk to the top of Halidon Street, across the square and turn right - it's about a hundred metres on the left. Tel: 28210-93306, 93305, 93052.
Buses to Souda - in front of the main market.
General rule with busesc%*: ALWAYS check up to the last min before making your arrangements to travel by bus -schedules in Crete can change unexpectedly. During public holidays (1 Jan, 25 Mar, 1 May, 15 Aug, 28 Oct, 25 Dec + Easter Sunday) this can be even worse so keep checking before you travel.
In the summer, buy tickets the day before travel to other parts of Crete.Arriving early may mean a better seat. Buy tickets at kiosks for local buses ( last time i was there you could buy them inside the blue buses) Fot longer trips buy the tickets from the station -KTEL
Local buses tel: 28210-27044.
TAXISc%*-are not that expensive, since the disatnces are short.Usually are yellow or grey.
Radio taxi tel: 28210-98700-1, 98770, 98288.
Private car- a wonderfull way to wonder around Crete.The roads in the country side can be narrow winding roads, with dry yet slippery surfaces, potholes,loose gravel,rock slides. Also animals on the street espacially in villages are common- sheep,goats,chickens,dogs and cats!Also kids often play in small streets.Do not let these tips put you off driving but be aware!Get a good map!
In the town the traffic can appear a bit chaotic. ( see my tips on dangers lol)c%*
EOT (Greek Tourism Organization) information offices:(on Kriari St off the square at the top of Halidon Street) Tel: 28210-92943, 92624.c%*
Motorbikes are vey popular all over Greece. You can rent one for only EUR 15 per day.
Beware of the fact that many Greeks drive like crazy and use more horn than brakes. Motorbikers love to roar their powerful engines, especially in the presence of large crowds.
Green KTEL buses are a great means of transport from and to Chania. Timetable changes quite often so in holiday season you can get a free updated copy at the bus station.
As far as I know new buses were bought in 2003 - clean, comfortable, air-conditioned.
Tickets can be purchased at the bus station or on a bus (no extra charge).
Remember: travellers are required to refrain from drinking and eating on a KTEL bus. And one important thing - KTEL buses constitute a unique cigarette smoke free asylum in Greece - smoking is strictly prohibited!!! Also, don't try and eat on a bus, it's prohibited.
Take the Ferry from Pireaus to Chania.
We went the equivilent of steerage class. No seat or bunk for our overnight trip. I would not exchange the experience or discomfort for anything in the world. For just a moment in time I was transported back in history.
I feel like it was heavenly compared to what so many of our ancesters went through to come to the new world. I was all the more enamored with the destination due to the trip!
Renting a vehicle can be a blessing but do be careful. The center of gravity on this van made for some scary mountain trips.
If you look closely you will see the size of a 10 year old boy and his 7 year old sister in the back.
As sad as I was to leave Santorini, I was just as anxious to get to Crete. I traveled by Minoan Lines for this route. They are only offered on certain days of the week, so you have to do some advance planning if you are to catch the right ferry. Schedules change, so I suggest you check online for availability BEFORE you go to a travel agent. Some agents only support one ferry comapny and tell you that there are no ferries until their company has one. It pays to get online and check for yourself which companies are running on which days. The best site for that is:
Timetable as of time I wrote this page:
22 Feb - 16 June & 24 Sept - 30 Oct
Thursday 15.45 (arrival 19.30)
Sunday 16.15 (arrival 20.00)
17 June - 21 Sept
Wednesday 11.00 (arrival 14.45)
Friday 14.15 (arrival 18.00)
Sunday 19.15 (arrival 23.00)
While most of the islands have ferries to Iraklion, there are much fewer connections directly to Hania. But, this is not a big hassle because of the great services between Iraklion and Hania through KTEL. There are direct ferries between Pireaus and Hania, and I used this one to go from Hania to Athens overnight. All I can say, is that certain motion-sickness pills make you REAL drowsy! I took one about 20 minutes before I boarded the ferry, and I was asleep about 20 minutes after that. I literally woke up IN Athens!
Because of its rugged terrain, no trains are to be found on Crete. All cities and beaches can only be accessed by car or bus. KTEL is the bus service on Crete, and I will have to say that it does an excellent job. You truly can get to anywhere on the island. Obviously, you will have to wait awhile in the smaller cities. But, if you are in Iraklion, Hania, Rethymno, there are frequent buses to most parts of the island. Buses generally run late, up until midnight in some cases.
Buses connecting Iraklion and Hania (the two main cities) leave every 30 minutes, from 5:30 AM to 11 PM. Hania's KTEL station is very central, only a 5 minute walk from the harbor. There are numerous signs to lead you either way.
You can have a pleasant time by using this kind of transportation... But it will be rather... difficult to visit the modern city with the help of these horses - just, of course, the picturesque old town.