CRETE ISLAND - GETTING THERE
Crete has three airports: from west to east, Chaniá, Iráklio (Heraklion) and Sitía.
Flights arrive from Athens just about every hour in summer. The duration of the flight from Athens to either Chania or Heraklion is about one hour.
There are flights to Crete from Athens, Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos and Paros within Greece. (Most of the flights within the islands operate only in the summer between July and September 15th).
Nikos Kazantzakis Airport Heraklion (HER)
Located in the central north of the island, it is a busy international airport receiving many flights from Athens and other European cities every day. The airport is 3 miles from the town of Heraklion. It also has flights to Santorini, Rhodes and Thessaloniki. The airstrip was in use since 1939, with international flights starting in 1988. It is among the busiest in Greece, serving roughly five million passengers each year. The facility is well-run, but can be unpleasantly hot and crowded in the peak summer season. Flying into Heraklion International Airport is an exciting experience for passengers, as the runway is only a few yards from the shore; however airport authorities do not allow pictures to be taken of the runway as the facility is jointly used by civil and military aircraft.
Heraklion International Airport's future is limited, as the airport was scheduled to be decommissioned entirely by the year 2015, when a new airport in Kastelli Pediados is completed, though the process of converting Sitía to an international one has only resumed in 2014 (expect flights into there no sooner than 2017).
Transportation into town:
The local bus service leaves every few minutes from outside the terminal to Eleftherias Square in the center of town until 11pm. Car rental desks are inside the airport terminal. The taxi stand is outside the arrivals hall and a taxi to the center of town should be around 8-10Euros.
Daskalogiannis Airport Chania (CHQ)
Chania Airport is located in the north-west of Crete, 10 miles from Chania town. This is a busy international airport receiving many flights from Athens and other European cities every day. The airstrip was in use since 1967, with international flights starting in 1974.
Chania Airport is 130 miles from Agios Nikolaos in the east, 93 miles from Heraklion and 44 miles from Rethymnon.
Transportation into town:
The local bus service leaves frequently from outside the terminal to the center of town, travel time is approximately 30 minutes. From Chania airport, about six daily buses ply to and from town but a taxi is a more likely option. Car rental desks are inside the airport terminal. The taxi stand is outside the arrivals hall and a taxi to the center of town should be around 20-25Euros. The trip into Chania center is around twenty minutes.
There is a small airport at Sitia (JSH), which is due to expand its services. This is located at the north-east of the island. It accepts flights currently from all over Europe. About half a mile from the town of Sitia.
Transportation into town:
Sitía has only taxi links (€8) to town.
The ports of Crete from east to west are Kastelli-Kissamos, Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos and Sitia.
The most traveled sea routes to Crete are from Piraeus (port of Athens) to Chania or Heraklion. The duration of the crossing can be from 6 to 12 hours and in summer there are many different ferries to choose from daily. At other times, it is best to check the schedule.
Ferries from Athens-Pireaus to Crete
Ferries leave from Piraeus, the port of Athensto Chania or Heraklion.
Ferries from Peloponissos to Crete
From Patras coaches travel to Kalamata, where ferries travel to Crete via Kythera. From mainland Peloponissos, at Gythion and Neapolis, ferries also leave for Kythera and Crete. These ferries arrive in the west of Crete, at the port of Kastelli-Kissamos. Departures are less frequent than from Pireaus, however it gives the opportunity to see the beautiful Peloponissos.
Ferries from Cyclades to Crete
In summer it is possible to island hop to Crete via Milos and Thira (Santorini). From Santorini, special fast ferries are scheduled in summer between Santorini and Chania and Heraklion.
Ferries from Dodecanese to Crete
From the south of the Dodecanese, ferries leave Rhodes for Crete via Halki, Karpathos and Kasos. From the northern Dodecanese, it is usually necessary to get to Rhodes to get a connecting ferry to Crete.
Ferries from Thessaloniki to Crete
Ferries leave often and travel to Heraklion via Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos, Tinos, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Ios, Thira (Santorini).
Ferries from Turkey to Crete
Ferry services run from the mainland towns of Cesme, Bodrum, Marmaris, Datsa, Gokova, and Dalyan in Turkey to matching island ports in the Dodecanese, including Rhodes, in Greece.
What we know as the Heraklion Port is actually divided into two parts. One is the old Venetian harbor and the other is the new Heraklion Ferry Port.
The Heraklion Port serves as a harbor for travelers to and from Heraklion as well as for the shipment of cargo. It is a port that is well equipped to serve the needs of all visitors. There are many shops, cafes and restaurants within and around the port. It is the third busiest port in all of Greece. It serves around two million passengers and approximately 300,000 vehicles every year. There are at least two large and modern ships belonging to the regular Cretan ferry lines that depart for Piraeus every day.
The Heraklion Port has a very strategic location along the highway system of Crete. It sits right in the middle of Crete`s main highway that runs alongside the north coast of the island. This main highway links the towns of Kissamos, Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos and Sitia from west to east.
The Heraklion Port also serves as the beginning point of the Heraklion Timbaki highway. This highway connects the northern and southern coasts of Crete, connecting areas such as Messara, the Phaistos Minoan Palace, the archaeological site in Gortys, Matala, Mires, Timbaki and others.
At the passenger terminus, you can also check in and out for your flight from the Heraklion Airport. You can also temporarily leave your luggage in the lockers as well as use the wireless Internet connection for your laptop.
Sailing Schedules at the Heraklion Port
The Heraklion Port is served by the ferries of the Minoan Lines. These ferries travel the following ferry routes: Heraklion to Piraeus, Heraklion to Thessaloniki Port, and Patras - Corfu - Igoumenitsa.
Ferries travelling the Heraklion - Piraeus route depart from the port twice a day during summer. The travel time is seven hours. Ferries leave Heraklion at 11:00am and at 10:00pm, arriving at Piraeus at 6:00pm and at 5:00am the following morning respectively. On the other hand, Minoan Lines ferries leave Piraeus for Heraklion at 10:00pm.
The Heraklion Port is also served by the ferries of ANEK Lines. Their ferries leave Heraklion at 9pm, arriving at Piraeus at 5:30am the following day. The same schedule is followed for ferries from Piraeus sailing for Heraklion.
Travelling to Heraklion Port by Car
Travelling to the Heraklion Port by driving is very simple. All you have to do is to take the national highway and follow the signs. If you are driving from Agios Nikolaos, drive west along the national highway, and then north towards the sea once you get to Heraklion. If you are coming from Rethymnon or Chania, drive east along the national highway. Just follow the signs towards Heraklion.
The port of Chania is named Souda and is one of the most important ports of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, and a major commercial center. During the summer months there are daily ferry connections between Souda port and the port of Piraeus in Athens. The traditional, Venetian harbor of Chania is located on the northern side of Chania. The Venetian lighthouse, the castle and the vaulted pane are characteristically sights of the port.
Getting to Chania Port
You can reach the harbor of Souda in Chania by bus. The bus starts from Chania and arrives at the port of Soufa in 15 minutes. Frequent itineraries connect Chania with other big cities of Crete, such as Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos and Rethymno.
You can easily find a taxi in Chania city center, at the port of Souda and in the most popular tourist resorts of the wider area of Chania. Transfer costs are predetermined for the most popular routes.
Sailing schedules from Chania
You can travel from the harbor of Souda in Chania to Piraeus (Athens port) by using boats of the ferry companies Anek Lines, Anen Lines, Hellenic Seaways and Blue Star Ferries. The itineraries to Piraeus are daily and during the summer period ferries may also depart twice a day.
The port of Rethymnon is connected with Piraeus (Athens port) but also with the port of Souda in Chania. A Venetian wall protects the harbor. Behind the wall you will find the old, traditional town of Rethymnon. Ferry boats connect Rethymnon with the port of Piraeus in Athens daily. The itineraries are very frequent during the summer months.
Sailing schedule from Rethymnon
You can travel from Rethymnon to Piraeus in Athens daily with the ferries of Anek Lines. You can also travel from Rethymnon to Santorini with the ferry company Sea Jets. LANE Lines has a scheduled ferry itinerary from Rethymnon to Kithira and Piraeus (Athens port).
Agios Nikolaos does not have an airport but the city is served by the airports of Iraklion (Nikos Kazantzakis) and Sitia.
There are ferries to Lassithi from Piraeus in summer. This ferry to Lassithi runs only in summer and arrives at the ports of Agios Nikolaos or Sitia.
There is also ferry to Lassithi from various Greek islands, like Karpathos, Santorini, Kassos, Milos and more.
Ferries to Lassithi usually take many hours because they pass through many other islands. There are ferries from Lassithi to: Anafi island, Halki island, Diafani in Karpathos island, Folegandros island, Heraklion port, Ios island, Kasos island, Milos island, Rhodes island, Santorini island, Sikinos island.
There is frequent bus service from Iraklion. There are boat connections all year round from the port of Agios Nikolaos to Piraeus. During the summer there are also connections with the islands of Cyclades and with the islands of Kassos, Karpathos, Kos.
Ships and Ferries to Lasithi.
Lasithi and the Crete island in general are connected to the port of Piraeus. There are evening departures to the ports of Lasithi (Souda), Rethymno, Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos every day, all year long.