Crete is the biggest and one of the most popular islands in Greece. It has huge natural wealth, wonderful beaches and endless choices and things to do. Holidays in Crete will surely need many days to spare in order to fully explore the island and visit its main cities and its impressive sites. There are various means to reach Crete, as the island has many passenger ports and 3 airports that are connected to major Greek cities and islands. But, which is the best way to get to Crete?
Ferry or Flight to Crete?
If you are wondering how to get to Crete, the answer is pretty simple, whether you already are in Greece or traveling from abroad. There are various domestic and international flights to all Crete airports and, of course, you can reach the island by ferry.
Even though the flight is shorter, traveling by ferry is surely more fun. First and foremost, it is more comfortable as you can stroll around and breathe fresh air at the deck, overlooking the blue sea. Furthermore, you can bring your car on the ferry and easily explore every corner of the island. In addition, the ferry is probably safer during the current COVID-19 situation as you can sit on the open-air deck, from a safer distance.
Keep also in mind that you can only fly to 3 cities in Crete, while you can travel by ferry to more destinations such as Rethymno or Kissamos.
Note: From the ecological point of view, the best way to travel to Crete is surely by ferry! You can find more information on sustainable ferry travel in our relevant article.
Amazing, crystal clear waters in Seitan beach of Crete
How to get to Crete from Athens
Traveling to Crete from Athens is easily feasible, either by plane or by ferry. The 3 airports of Crete, in Heraklion, Chania and Sitia are connected to the Athens International Airport with direct flights, all year long. On the other hand, you can catch a ferry from the port of Piraeus to the above-mentioned cities and occasionally, to Rethymnon and Kissamos.
Ferry from Athens to Crete
You can travel from Piraeus to Crete by ferry all year long. The most popular ones are towards Heraklion and Chania, with multiple crossings during the week. More specifically:
Piraeus - Heraklion: There are almost 2 direct ferry routes per day, from the port of Piraeus to the port of Heraklion. The ferry companies that usually serve this crossing are Minoan Lines, Anek Lines and Aegeon Pelagos, with large conventional vessels. The Piraeus - Heraklion ferry trip lasts from 8.5 to 10 hours and the standard ferry ticket costs about €30.
Piraeus - Chania: Travel easily from Piraeus to Chania with up to 2 daily ferry itineraries. This route is served by Anek Lines and Minoan Lines, during the whole year. Most crossings are overnight and the duration of the ferry trip is 9 to 12 hours. As for the ferry tickets, the simple one for a deck seat costs around €38.
Piraeus - Sitia: This route normally operates once a week throughout the whole year by the ferry company Aegeon Pelagos. The ferry trip from Piraeus to Sitia lasts between 12 and 20 hours and a simple ferry ticket costs around €40.
If you're worried about the long ferry journeys, bear in mind that traveling on the overnight ferry from Athens to Crete can be as tiring as a good night's sleep. All vessels have comfortable bed cabins where you can relax, sleep and enjoy your trip!
Note: Occasionally, there are ferry routes to the ports of Kissamos in Western Crete and Rethymno. Check Ferryhopper regularly in order to find all the latest ferry updates!
Extra tip: You can also travel by ferry from Rafina to Heraklion. However, you should know that this is an indirect ferry route and you need to choose a Cycladic island like Mykonos or Santorini as an intermediate stop.
Flight from Athens to Crete
Catching a flight is another way of getting from Athens to Crete. The Athens International Airport frequently serves flight routes to all airports of Crete (Heraklion, Chania and Sitia). The trip lasts around 1 hour and each airport is located a few kilometers from the city center. Keep in mind that you need to pre-book your plane tickets well in advance in order to find better prices. Furthermore, there is a strict luggage policy as there is a weight limit for your bags.
The Vai beach with emerald waters and palm trees
How to get to Crete from Santorini
The best way to get to Crete from Santorini is by catching a ferry from Athinios port to that of Heraklion. There are 1-2 ferry routes per day served by Seajets, Minoan Lines, Golden Star Ferries, and Aegeon Pelagos, mainly during the summer period. The duration of the Santorini - Heraklion ferry ride ranges from 2 to 6 hours, depending on your choice of vessel, as there are conventional and high-speed ones. Finally, the price for a standard ferry ticket starts at €25 and can reach up to €70.
Note: There are no direct flights from Santorini to any airport in Crete. All flight routes have Athens as an intermediate stop.
How to get to Crete from Naxos
You can travel by ferry from Naxos to Heraklion during the summer period. The ferry companies Seajets and Golden Star Ferries operate on this crossing 1-2 times per day. Their high-speed ferries cover the Naxos - Heraklion trip in 4 hours and an economy ferry ticket costs around €75.
Note: At this moment you can’t travel to Crete from Naxos by plane. All flight routes have Athens as an intermediate stop.
How to get to Crete from Mykonos
Traveling by ferry from Mykonos to Crete is another way to reach the island from the Cyclades. There are at least 2 daily ferry routes from the port of Tourlos to the port of Heraklion, mainly during the high season, served by Seajets, Minoan Lines and Golden Star Ferries.
How long does it take to get to Crete (from Mykonos) though? The duration of the ferry trip varies from 4 to 8 hours, based on the vessel typer and the company that you choose. To conclude, the price for a simple ferry ticket starts at €60 and can reach up to €100.
Note: Flying directly from Mykonos to Crete is also unavailable. All flights have Athens as an intermediate stop.
How to get from Rhodes to Crete
Rhodes is an excellent starting point in case you want to visit Crete as there are direct ferry routes and flights. To be more specific, there are weekly ferry crossings from the main port of Rhodes to both ports of Heraklion and Sitia, all through the summer. The Rhodes to Crete ferry itineraries are served by Aegeon Pelagos and ferry tickets cost around €25 to both destinations. Lastly, the duration of the trip from Rhodes to Heraklion is around 14.5 hours and from Rhodes to Sitia almost 11.5 hours.
Note: There is only 1 direct flight between Rhodes and Crete. The duration of the Rhodes - Heraklion flight route is around 1 hour.
Hiking the imposing Samaria Gorge
Getting to Crete from other islands
The most convenient way to reach Crete from other islands is by boat. There are many islands near Crete such as Kythira, Karpathos or Kassos. On our Map of Ferries, you can find all available ferry connections between the ports of Crete and other Greek destinations, in order to best plan your next island hopping in Greece!
Traveling to Crete from abroad
If you're wondering how to get to Crete from the UK, the US, Canada etc, you'll need to check whether your departure airport connects to Crete.
Generally, there are regular direct flights to Crete from all over Europe and many other countries of the world. Keep in mind that you can also fly to Athens or other Greek destinations like Rhodes and then take another flight or a ferry to Crete.
Book ferry tickets to Crete for 2021
Find the best way to get to Crete with Ferryhopper. On our fare search engine, you can check the Cretan destination ports, all its ferry routes and their respective schedules. Compare prices and book ferry tickets to the impressive island of Crete online, without extra costs!