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Ultimate Athens to Crete Travel Guide: How to get from Athens to Crete in Greece

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Looking for a guide on how to travel from Athens to Crete in Greece? Look no further than this comprehensive post, outlining the best ways to do so.

As the summer sun warms the picturesque landscapes of Greece, your heart might be yearning for the island of Crete, a gem tucked away in the southeastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.

Crete, the 5th largest island found in the Mediterranean and also the largest and most populated Greek Island has been drawing in throngs of tourists in search of an idyllic and romantic Greek getaway.

Whether you’re exploring the exciting sounds and things to see and do in Chania or Heraklion, or visiting in order to explore the absolutely gorgeous beaches of Crete, the island promised to beguile even the most avid travellers. With its rich history, amazing sights, delicious Grecian drinks and cuisine, and warm hospitality, it’s easy to see why so many visitors fall in love!

If you too are planning a Greek Islands hopping escapade and plan to include Crete on your itinerary, then you may be researching exactly how to get from Athens to Crete, or vice versa.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll outline all the best ways to do exactly that, helping you plan and take care of the logistics of how to travel from Athens to Crete. Let’s go!

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Pssst…Before you jet off to idyllic Greece, be sure you have all your essentials packed by reading our European packing guide. Also make sure to check out our guide on the most useful Greek words and phrases too!

Flights From Athens To Crete

Balos Island

Journey time: flight time – 1 hour

If time is of the essence, catching a flight from Athens to Crete can be an excellent option and one of the easiest ways of getting from Athens to Crete.

A myriad of flights operate daily between Athens International Airport (ATH) and Heraklion International Airport (HER) or Chania International Airport (CHQ) in Crete, ensuring a convenient connection for all travellers.

Airlines like Aegean Airlines, Sky Express, and Olympic Air offer multiple flights daily, with a flight duration of approximately 1 hour. The short flight time allows you to maximize your time exploring Crete’s awe-inspiring attractions.

Other Airlines such as RyanAir, as well as Volotea all offer direct non-stop flights to Crete from various destinations in Europe too. 

Depending on the flight booked, and if doing so well in advance, you could bag fares for around €50 one-way per adult. 

Beware: Pay special attention when booking as many discounted European fares often exclude luggage and are also offered at the most restrictive fare rules, meaning they may in fact be non-refundable in case of cancellation.

Save Time Searching: Whenever I search for flights I always consult Skyscanner where I can search, consult, and book the various flight options available. To search and book on Skyscanner click here!

Ferry Athens To Crete

Chania Harbour View

Journey time: between 2h25 mins to 5h15 mins

Athens to Crete distance 154 kilometres, 95 miles

Travelling by ferry throughout the Greek Isles is another affordable and popular mode of transport. Whether you’re travelling from Athens to Santorini, between Mykonos and Athens, need to get between Santorini and Mykonos, or looking to book a Crete to Athens ferry, it really is a great way to hop around between these gorgeous islands scattered throughout the Aegean. 

Having said that, to get from Athens to Crete by ferry is by no means the quickest route with the fastest ferry travelling time around 8.5 hours. These ferries are usually overnight and also has a cabin option, although booking a cabin ticket will just about triple the price. 

Several ferry operators service this route include Minoan Lines, Blue Star Ferries, and Anek Lines. 

Ferry Ports In Athens And Crete

Most ferries for Crete will depart from the Piraeus port in Athens. Do make sure to get there ahead of time as this port is rather large and you’ll need sufficient time to find your ferry and book in. 

When booking you have the option to book a ferry to either Heraklion or Chania in Crete. Whether you’re booking the Athens to Chania ferry or the Athens to Heraklion ferry, they should both last more or less 8.5 – 9 hours in journey time. 

There are also some ferries with a slightly longer travel time, so do make sure to check this when booking!

Athens To Crete Ferry Cost

The ferry from Athens to Heraklion as well as the ferry from Athens to Chania are both in and around the €28 – €40 price range for a standard ticket one-way ticket per adult. An overnight cabin ticket could set you back in excess of €100 for a one-way adult fare.

Booking Your Athens To Crete Ferry – Save Time

When ready to book, don’t waste your time hopping around different ferry operator sites. Instead, save yourself the headache and search & book on Ferryhopper instead. This is exactly what I did on our trip to Greece and boy was I happy I did just that. The site allows you to compare all the various ferry routes, operators, times, and costs, as well as allowing you to book directly on their site too!

A Road Less Travelled: Athens to Crete by Car

Driving from Athens to Crete presents an adventurous alternative for those who want to explore Greece at their own pace and discover more of this incredible country. Keep in mind, though, that this journey involves both driving and a ferry ride.

You’ll be starting your road trip heading south from Athens to Gythio or Neapoli, where you can catch a ferry to Kissamos in Crete. The car journey takes around 3-4 hours, and the ferry ride can last between 7 to 9 hours, depending on the route and weather conditions.

It’s a longer and more complex journey compared to flying or a direct ferry ride, but the freedom to explore lesser-known sites along the way might be worth it for some.

Where To Stay In Crete

Colourful Streets of Old Town Rethymno in Crete

Most visitors to Crete will either head for Chania or Heraklion, the two main hubs on the island. Here are some suggested places to stay in these stunning locations on Crete:

Heraklion Hotels:

If you want to be in the heart of Heraklion, the capital of Crete (also referred to as Iraklio), then consider booking into the stunning 4* DOM Boutique Hotel, the gorgeous 4* Olive Green Hotel, the top-rated 5* GDM Megaron Historical Monument Hotel, or the modern 4* Ibis Styles Heraklion Central Hotel, all of which will make you feel right at home during your stay!

Alternatively, search for, and click here to search and book apartment-style holiday rentals through VRBO.

Chania Hotels:

As far as hotels go in Chania, check out these gorgeous options. The beautiful and charming Cretan Renaissance, the modern 4* SanSal Boutique Hotel, as well as the impeccable 5* Serenissima Boutique Hotel are great choices for your stay in Chania.

Again, should you want to search availability & rates of holiday apartments in and around Chania, then click here to book on VRBO

What To Do – Crete Tours & Activities

Knossos Palace

Crete offers visitors an exceptional range of sights to explore, beaches to uncover, and a host of other interesting things to see and do throughout the island. 

If like me you love to book a range of tours & activities when visiting any new destination, then why not consider these exciting experiences on offer in Crete. 

Chania Tours & Activities:

In Chania, enjoy a full-day Wine & Olive day tour, or a full-day Gramvousa Island & Balos Bay tour from Chania, or splurge out and treat that someone special in your life with an unforgettable Private Sailing Cruise from Chania’s Souda Port

For these and many more exciting experiences that you can book during your stay in Chania, click here

Heraklion Tours & Activities:

For your stay in Heraklion, consider booking this Skip-The-Line-Entry and Guided Walking Tour of the gorgeous Knossos Palace, one of the area’s most notable attractions and landmarks in Greece

Avid foodies will no doubt love the incredible cuisine and traditional Greek drinks on offer in Crete. Book this Heraklion Gourmet Wine Tasting & Lunch Tour, or this 4-Hour Bites and Sights Heraklion Walking Tour and savour all the best flavours of Crete. 

For other exceptional bookable activities and tours to round out your stay in Heraklion click here!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Traveling From Athens to Crete by Ferry

Traveling from Athens to Crete by ferry is a quintessential Greek experience, offering unparalleled views of the shimmering Aegean Sea dotted with idyllic islands.

However, if it’s your first time taking the ferry in Greece, you might have some questions. So, we’ve put together an FAQ section to answer those queries and provide some helpful tips for a smooth and enjoyable ferry journey from Athens to Crete.

How can I buy ferry tickets from Athens to Crete?

Booking ferry tickets online is the most convenient method. Websites like Ferryhopper provide easy platforms to book your tickets. You can compare schedules and prices before making a decision. Make sure to print out your tickets or keep a digital copy on your phone to show at the port.

What should I expect on the ferry?

Ferries from Athens to Crete are large, modern vessels equipped with various amenities to make your journey comfortable. Depending on the ferry company and the class of your ticket, you may find cafeterias, restaurants, or bars on board. Many ferries also have open deck areas where you can relax and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea.

What’s the difference between economy, business class, and cabin bookings?

Economy class tickets give you access to common lounge areas and open decks. Business class offers more comfortable seating in a separate lounge, often with better food and drink options. A cabin booking provides you with a private cabin, ideal for overnight journeys. The cabins range from basic ones with bunk beds and a bathroom to luxurious suites with large beds and windows, depending on the ferry company.

Can I bring my car or motorbike on the ferry?

Yes, most ferries from Athens to Crete have a garage deck for vehicles. However, remember that transporting a vehicle on the ferry comes with an additional cost, and you will need to indicate it while booking your ticket.

What should I do if I suffer from seasickness?

If you’re prone to seasickness, opt for a seat or cabin in the middle of the ferry, where the vessel’s motion is least felt. Keeping your gaze on the horizon can also help. Over-the-counter motion sickness medication is available in most pharmacies in Athens and can be useful during your journey. Be sure to consult with a medical doctor prior to your journey if this is the case.

Is it safe to travel by ferry in Greece?

Absolutely. Greek ferries adhere to international safety standards and regulations. Life vests are readily available, and safety instructions are provided at the beginning of each journey. It’s always recommended to pay attention to these instructions for your safety.

What should I pack for the ferry journey?

Pack a small carry-on bag with essentials like water, snacks, a book or tablet for entertainment, a light blanket or sweater (as it can get chilly with the AC), sunscreen, and sunglasses for daytime travel. If you’re on an overnight journey, you might want to bring toiletries and a change of clothes in your carry-on bag.

Can I bring my pet on the ferry?

Yes, many Greek ferry companies allow pets on board. However, they usually have specific areas or cabins designed for passengers with pets. Make sure to check the ferry company’s pet policy when booking your ticket.

Taking the ferry from Athens to Crete is not just a mode of transportation—it’s part of the Greek adventure. With a bit of planning and the right information, you’ll be able to enjoy a memorable and hassle-free journey across the magnificent Aegean Sea.