How to get to Crete

Crete, the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, is a captivating destination for travelers seeking to explore its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture. Located in the eastern Mediterranean, Crete has long been a popular tourist destination. Getting to this alluring island is easier than ever, with numerous transportation options available to visitors.

Crete’s transportation infrastructure has greatly evolved over time, catering to the growing number of tourists flocking to its shores. In ancient times, Crete was only accessible by boat. As the island’s significance grew, various modes of transport began to emerge to accommodate the increasing demand. Today, visitors can reach Crete by air or sea, allowing for a convenient and hassle-free travel experience.

Air travel has become the preferred choice for many visitors, thanks to the island’s well-connected international airports. Heraklion International Airport, located in the island’s capital, is the busiest and largest airport in Crete, handling a significant number of international and domestic flights. Chania International Airport, located in the western part of the island, is another major gateway for travelers. With regular flights from major cities across Europe and beyond, reaching Crete by air has never been easier.

For those who prefer a scenic journey, the option of sea travel is equally enticing. Crete boasts several ports, including Heraklion, Chania, and Rethymno, which welcome ferry services from various Greek islands and mainland ports. Ferry travel not only offers a picturesque voyage with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea but also provides a flexible and cost-effective option for travelers.

In recent years, the number of tourists visiting Crete has steadily increased. In 2019 alone, the island welcomed over three million international visitors, contributing significantly to its economy. This statistic highlights the growing popularity of Crete as a top travel destination and emphasizes the need for efficient transportation options to cater to the influx of tourists.

With the continuous developments in air and sea travel, getting to Crete has become more accessible and convenient than ever before. Whether by plane or ferry, visitors can easily reach this enchanting island. With its fascinating history, stunning beaches, and warm hospitality, Crete awaits to offer an unforgettable journey for every traveler.

How Can I Reach Crete? Your Go-to Guide on Getting to This Greek Island

Planning a trip to Crete but not sure how to get there? We’ve got you covered with all the information you need to reach this breathtaking Greek island. Whether you’re seeking scenic landscapes, historic ruins, or beautiful beaches, Crete offers it all. In this guide, we will discuss the different transportation options available, including air travel, ferries, and organized tours, providing you with all the details you need to make an informed decision for your journey to Crete.

How to Get There

Crete, the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, attracts millions of tourists each year with its stunning beaches, rich history, and vibrant culture. If you are planning a visit to this beautiful destination, you may be wondering how to get to Crete. Here, we explore the various transportation options available to travelers.

By Air

One of the quickest and most convenient ways to reach Crete is by air. The island has several international airports, with the Heraklion International Airport and Chania International Airport being the main gateways. These airports offer numerous flights from major cities around the world, making it easy for travelers to reach Crete.

If you are coming from within Europe, many budget airlines operate direct flights to Crete during the peak tourist season. Additionally, there are several connecting flights available from Athens, the capital of Greece. The flight duration from Athens to Crete is approximately one hour.

Once you arrive at the airport in Crete, you can easily reach your destination within the island by using local transportation options such as taxis, buses, or car rentals.

By Ferry

Another popular way to get to Crete is by taking a ferry. Crete has multiple ports that receive ferry connections from various mainland Greek cities and other nearby islands. The port of Heraklion is the most accessible, with regular ferry services from Athens, Santorini, Rhodes, and many other destinations.

The duration of the ferry journey depends on the route and the type of vessel. For example, a ferry ride from Athens to Heraklion can take around 8-9 hours, while a trip from Santorini to Crete may take approximately 2-3 hours.

Ferry services in Greece are well-developed, offering comfortable seating, restaurants, and entertainment facilities on board. It’s worth noting that ferry schedules can vary depending on the season, so it is recommended to check the timetables in advance and book your tickets accordingly.

By Road

If you prefer a more adventurous journey, you can reach Crete by road. Greece has an extensive road network that connects major cities and towns, allowing travelers to drive to Crete from Athens or other mainland destinations.

The most common route is to drive southward from Athens to the port of Piraeus or Rafina, where you can catch a car ferry to Crete. The road trip to Crete offers stunning views of the Greek countryside, and the ferry ride adds an exciting element to your journey.

It’s important to note that driving to Crete may require some planning, as it involves coordinating your vehicle with the ferry schedules. Additionally, you should familiarize yourself with the driving regulations in Greece, including obtaining an International Driving Permit if required.

In Conclusion

With its variety of transportation options, getting to Crete has never been easier. Whether you choose to fly, take a ferry, or embark on a road trip, you can enjoy the scenic beauty of this Greek island. So pack your bags, plan your journey, and get ready to explore the wonders of Crete!

Statistic: According to the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority, Crete received over 6 million tourists via air travel in 2019.


1. How can I get there?

You can either take a direct flight or a ferry from the mainland of Greece.

2. Are there direct flights to Crete?

Yes, there are direct flights to Crete from major international airports. You can check with airlines for available flights.

3. Which airports serve Crete?

Crete has two main airports: Heraklion Airport (HER) and Chania Airport (CHQ). These airports have regular flights to and from many European cities.

4. Can I take a ferry to Crete?

Yes, you can take a ferry from mainland Greece to Crete. The major ports for ferries to Crete are Piraeus and Rafina in Athens.

5. How long does it take to reach Crete by ferry?

The ferry journey from Athens (Piraeus or Rafina) to Crete takes around 9-12 hours, depending on the type of ferry and the destination port in Crete.

6. Are there any other ferry options to Crete?

Apart from Athens, you can also find ferry connections to Crete from other Greek islands like Rhodes, Santorini, and Mykonos.

7. How far is Crete from mainland Greece?

Crete is approximately 160 kilometers (99 miles) south of mainland Greece.

8. Can I rent a car in Crete?

Yes, there are several car rental agencies on the island. You can easily rent a car upon your arrival at the airports or major cities in Crete.

9. Are there public transportation options in Crete?

Yes, Crete has an extensive public transportation system, including buses that connect major towns and villages. You can also find taxis and rental bikes.

10. Can I travel within Crete by air?

Yes, there are domestic flights within Crete that operate between Heraklion and Chania, making it convenient to travel between these two cities.


From this article, we have explored various options for traveling to the beautiful island of Crete. By air, one can directly fly into Heraklion or Chania airports from major European cities. Alternatively, ferry services are available from Athens and other Greek islands, providing a scenic and affordable way to reach Crete. It is important to compare prices and schedules to choose the most suitable option.

For those traveling from Europe, air travel is usually the quickest and most convenient method. Booking flights in advance, utilizing price comparison websites, and considering flexible travel dates can help secure the best deals. Once in Crete, renting a car or using public transportation like buses is recommended to explore the island’s vibrant cities and stunning landscapes.

If you prefer a more leisurely journey or wish to combine your visit with other Greek destinations, taking a ferry is an excellent choice. Ferries offer picturesque views of the Aegean Sea and access to various Greek islands en route. Prior research on the ferry operators, as well as timetables, will help in planning the journey efficiently. Whether by air or sea, reaching Crete promises an unforgettable experience of sun-soaked beaches, ancient ruins, and traditional Greek hospitality.