Traveling to Crete

As one of the world’s most popular island paradises, Crete has attracted nearly 4 million tourists annually, in the last 5 years, according to official statistics. Most visitors seem to come directly to Crete by plane, especially charter, but there is also the option to travel by sea.

Traveling By Air

 Crete has four airports out of which three are in the cities - Heraklion (the main airport on the island, and the country's second-busiest airport after Athens), Chania (international, on the west side), Sitia (only for local connections and international private jet charters), and the fourth one is in Kastelli, 39 km south-east of Heraklion (a mixed-use public/military airport, an alternative to Heraklion International).

 Almost all scheduled international flights transit through Athens or Thessaloniki, where you take a domestic flight to Heraklion or Chania. There are few airline companies currently operating on these two routes, out of which Olympic Air, a subsidiary of the national Aegean Airlines is the most representative. The trip from Athens to Crete takes about 50 minutes and can be amazing fascinating as you travel to reach your destination. 

 As you move away from the mainland, high altitude flight gives you a beautiful view from above at the Cyclades Islands and the gorgeous Aegean Sea. In the summertime, these flights are quite frequent, around 8 times a day to Chania and even more to Heraklion, the capital city of the island.

 If you are not concerned about budget flights and you like to travel from overseas with less stress and crowding, you can choose direct international charters through the charter companies serving Greece from your country. There are many charter flights to Chania, Heraklion, and Sitia from most European countries, in the peak period, (from the end of March/April to the end of October), and only a few in the wintertime.

Traveling By Sea

 A more exciting way of enjoying the journey to Crete is to fly to Athens and then to take the ferry from Piraeus, the port serving Athens to Heraklion, Chania, or Rethymno. The regular year-round schedule offers at least two daily departures from Piraeus to Heraklion and one for the others Chania and Rethymno but in the summer the number of trips increases. Also, during the peak season, ferry routes between Crete and many Greek Islands are open, the connections with Santorini, Mykonos and Paros being the most popular. Three maritime lines serve from Piraeus Crete: Anek, Superfast, and Minoan Lines.

 The only risk you have to consider when you choose a ferry trip is the unexpected bad weather, because in extreme conditions - not often, but it may happen a few days in a year - sailing will be canceled or delayed, and you miss at least one day of your vacation, till next available sailing.

 The sea voyage from Piraeus to Crete takes about 5 - 8 hours on standard ferries, depending on the time you choose (daytime or overnight trip), weather conditions, the generation of the boat, and the port you arrive. On the newer, fast, and famous ferries, more than the comfort of interiors, the operators provide facilities and services like restaurant, bar, internet cafĂ©, cinema, swimming pool, and music club, to entertain you during the trip.

 Whether you choose a slow or a fast ship, these massive, sometimes busy, and crowded floating cities, will carry you to your dream-island and promising holiday in a romantic way... Overnight ferries arrive at their destination early in the morning, between 5.30 and 8.00. So, just imagine yourselves standing on the deck, admiring the sunrise and breathing the breeze of the sea, while you reach the port.

 The trip by ferry is probable the best way to start your holiday because it helps you to slow down and unwind in the arms of Nature. The beauty of the horizon melting into the restless blue waters inspired Nikos Kazantzakis for the vibrant remark of his hero in the famous novel Zorba the Greek: “Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean sea”.