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How to get to Crete

By plane or ferry?

Crete is not only the largest Greek island, but also the southernmost, and is located on the border of the Aegean and the Libyan Sea. It's still an island, though, so we have two options for getting here - by air or by boat.

Air transport to Crete

The fastest, cheapest and most popular way for us European tourists is of course air travel. During the peak tourist season, direct charters are operated to Crete from a large number of European airports and scheduled flights are also operated to Crete from the larger international airports. You can also choose the option of the larger international airports if you would like to travel to Crete outside the main summer season. During the winter months, however, the more common option is to fly to Athens first and then take another flight to one of the Greek islands. Crete is very beautiful in winter and spring! No tourists, empty beaches and flourishing nature.

But let's go back to the typical air travel during the peak tourist season. European airlines generally fly to two international Cretan airports - Nikos Kazantzakis Airport in the capital Heraklion (code HER) and Ioannis Daskalogiannis Airport in Chania (code CHQ). For domestic flights (if you're flying in from Athens or another Greek island, for example), Vitsentzos Kornaros airport in Sitia (code JSH) is also used.

Small glossary

A charter flight is an irregular air service that is booked for large groups of passengers. Typically, such an example is the chartering of aircraft capacity by a travel agency to transport its clients to their chosen destination. Generally, these flights are not open to the public, but if a travel agent has any tickets left, it may release them for sale. A special type of charter flight is, for example, the chartering of aircraft for sports representation or military or humanitarian aid.

The opposite of a charter flight is a scheduled flight, which is normally open to the public and individuals.

Shipping to Crete

The most important shipping hub for Greece and the Greek islands is the port city of Piraeus, located on the Greek mainland, south of Athens. Ferries depart from here to Crete daily and throughout the year, heading for the larger Cretan ports of Heraklion, Rethymno and Chania, and several times a week to the ports of Agios Nikolaos and Sitia. The Piraeus - Crete boat service is operated by the three main shipping companies Anek, Superfast and Minoan lines. The night cruise usually takes 8 to 9 hours, the classic day cruise about 6 hours.

These larger ports are also used for shipping between the Greek islands - Crete has regular services with Rhodes, Santorini and Karpathos, and less frequent services with other Greek islands. Between Crete and Santorini there are also so-called high speed boats that can make the journey in 2.5 hours, while a classic ferry takes about 4 hours.

Smaller and faster boats then go to other port towns around the island, but these are more likely to be used for local transport around Crete.

Greek ferry timetables - internet connection search engines

Let´s Ferry (
Greek Travel Pages (
Open Seas (
Danae Travel (

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