Anoula’s travel notebook.
How to go to Crete?
I knew I was going to Crete for at least a year, so I thought of going there by car from Paris…a pretty dream…but long, very long…between driving and sailing…to give you an idea, it takes about 10 hours on a boat to go from Athens to Heraklion, a faster boat exists (just 6 hours) but, of course, it is more expensive. And this is without all the hours driving before, in order to reach Athens (2570km from Lyon, about 26 hours drive without breaks and stopovers).
Be careful, if you stay more than 6 months with your car in Crete, they can take it from you without any sympathy after the elapsed time.
Eurolines, the European coach travel, regularly do the journey to Athens, you just have to take the ferry after to arrive in Heraklion. Other towns in Crete are on ferries lines such as Hania, Rethymnon, Agios Nicholaos and Sitia.
The simpliest, but unfortunately the least ecological, is to take the plane, the low-cost flight charters start flying from April and stop at the end of October, from then you will have to stop over in Athens and then take a domestic flight. The fares can be very different, but you can find flight tickets not too expensive: from 200 to 400 euros a return for one person. Regular scheduled flights are mainly managed by Air France, Olympic Airways and Hellas Jet. An airport exists in Heraklion, Hania and Sitia (see map).
Moving along on the Island of Crete
Using a taxi is quite expensive. To give you an idea, a journey from Heraklion to Sitia is about a 2 hours drive and the driver will ask you 100 euros.
Buses are much cheaper. From Heraklion to Sitia, it is about 10 euros. They can easily go all around the island, but they won’t take you to the most remote and so wildest places. Moreover, the buses network works very well during the touristic time, but not very well at all in winter, sometimes there’s even no buses on some routes.
Renting a car on the Island of Crete
I advise you to rent a car (from 30 to 50 euros a day) at least once to go to much more picturesque places where there’s few people. Crete is a place where tourism is at a high level, there’s no problem to rent a car, a motorbike or a bike (be careful if you use a bike, Crete is not a flat place, far from that!). Be careful of the brand of the car that you rent, indeed the roads end easily into paths which are un-passable and where just a four-wheel drive or a pickup truck can drive. Also, be careful of the way of driving, Crete is a Mediterranean Island, you have to drive on the very right side as much as possible, even if you have the impression of driving on the emergency stopping lane as we call it in France.
Hitchhiking is easier in the summer thanks to the huge number of tourists around, less easy in winter.
There isn’t any railway in Crete…