Best Way to Get Around Crete: Public Transport, Car Rental & Taxis
Planning a holiday in Crete and wondering about the best way to get around? You’re in the right place! Our guide will help you decide between public transport, car rental, and taxis, keeping your needs in mind.
The best way to get around Crete is by car. With its flexibility and comfort, it can be a more cost-effective choice for families compared to public transportation especially if you intend to travel around the island. However public transport is your best option if you are going to stay put in one location.
Whether you prefer to drive or not, there are plenty of transportation options to explore Crete. In this guide, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of each travel option. That includes car rentals, taxis, and public transport, so you can make an informed decision about the best way to get around Crete.
This information was gathered in March 2023.
Driving on the island can be an exhilarating experience, allowing you to discover hidden gems and enjoy the freedom to travel around Crete at your own pace – which is why I recommend driving especially if you are traveling with children.
If you want to find some good deals for a car rental in Crete then Discover Cars is the way to go. They have an excellent rating on Trustpilot and won the award of the world’s best car rental booking website in 2022. The site is user-friendly with a wide selection of vehicles from reputable suppliers at competitive rates and excellent customer support.
A comprehensive guide on renting a car in Crete is available for more information should you need. It covers costs, rental company policies including age limits and the documents required to rent a car.
Crete’s roads are a mix of well-maintained highways, twisty mountain roads, and narrow village streets. The main national road (E75) connects the big cities and hotspots along the north coast. But if you’re up for exploring the southern coast and the heart of the island, be ready for some curvy roads and uphill climbs. Drive cautiously and watch out for blind corners, wandering livestock, and slow-moving vehicles.
Greek traffic laws apply in Crete, with driving on the right-hand side. Speed limits are 50 km/h in towns, 90 km/h on country roads, and 130 km/h on highways. Seatbelts are mandatory for all passengers and it’s illegal to use a phone while driving. Heads up, though – local drivers might bend the rules, so stay sharp and drive defensively.
Crete Public Transport
There are various types of public transport in Crete, including buses, ferries, and water taxis. The island has an extensive bus network connecting major towns and tourist destinations. Ferries and water taxis are available for traveling between coastal towns and nearby islands.
The bus system in Crete is affordable and relatively reliable, with KTEL being the main operator. Buses connect popular tourist spots, larger towns, and even some rural areas. Timetables are available at bus stations, tourist offices, and online on the KTEL website. Keep in mind that bus schedules may be less frequent in rural areas and during off-peak seasons.
Tickets and Prices
The KTEL bus service offers a variety of ticket options to suit the needs of different travellers. Prices depend on the distance traveled. Families can take advantage of the family discount, which offers a reduced fare for groups of four or more people. Moreover, there are also multi-ride tickets available for those who plan to use the buses frequently.
You can purchase your tickets directly from the bus driver, from the KTEL ticket booths located in major bus stations, or online. If you’re buying the ticket on the bus, it’s important to note that cash is the only payment method accepted, and you should have exact change ready.
Ferries and Water Taxis
Ferries and water taxis are a popular way to travel around Crete, with several ferry companies offering frequent services from major ports, such as Heraklion, Chania, and Rethymno, to various destinations around the island. Water taxis are also available and offer a more flexible, personalised experience, perfect for exploring Crete’s secluded coves and beaches.
Ferry Routes and Tickets
During the summer months, a network of passenger ferries on Crete’s southwest coast provides access to the beaches and resort towns. Some villages can only be reached by boat, and small boats or water taxis can be caught at multiple stops between Elafonisi in the west and Hora Sfakion in the east.
It’s advisable to check schedules in advance, particularly for smaller beaches, as ferry services may be limited. You can see a timetable here. The prices range between €10 – €30 per adult, and €7.50 – €15 per child (5-12 years old).
There are also various ferry routes to other islands or mainland Greece, including the Crete-Athens route, Crete-Santorini route, and Crete-Mykonos route, among others. Ferries are equipped with comfortable seats and amenities such as onboard cafes and Wi-Fi. The ferry ticket prices vary depending on the route and the season, and it is recommended to book in advance to secure a spot. Families can also take advantage of family discounts available on some ferry services.
Water Taxi Routes and Tickets
Water taxis offer a more customisable experience, allowing you to explore the island’s hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path destinations. Water taxi services are available at various ports and beaches, and the prices depend on the duration and distance of the trip.
Official taxi rates in Crete are set by the government and periodically revised to ensure fair pricing. As of summer 2022, the minimum charge for hailing a taxi is €4. The price per km is set at 90c during the daytime (5:00 am – 12:00 am) and €1.25 during nighttime hours (12:00 am – 5:00 am). Additional charges may apply for luggage, waiting time, or pickup from ports, airports, and bus stations.
Taxis in Crete can be hailed on the street, found at designated taxi stands, or booked through telephone. It’s good to note that Uber has yet to be available in Crete. The island is well-served by taxis in both urban and rural areas, making them a reliable and convenient transportation option for locals and tourists alike. When taking a taxi in Crete, it is always a good idea to confirm the fare before starting your journey to avoid any misunderstandings or overcharging.