Travelling from Athens to Crete, the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, is a popular choice for many tourists and Greeks alike. Known for its diverse landscapes, rich history, and beautiful beaches, Crete is the perfect destination for a relaxing getaway or a cultural adventure. With multiple methods of transport available, getting to this charming island from mainland Greece is both convenient and accessible, depending on your preferences and time constraints.
If you’re seeking the quickest method to reach Crete, a flight from Athens has a duration of around 50 minutes. Several daily flights are offered, with the most direct route connecting Athens International Airport (ATH) to Heraklion (HER), the capital city of Crete. Ticket prices may vary, so be sure to compare your options ahead of time.
For those who prefer to travel by sea, taking a ferry from Athens to Crete allows visitors to enjoy the scenic journey, though it does take considerably longer, with some trips exceeding 8 hours. Ferries operate daily all year long, departing from the Piraeus port in Athens. There are two main ports in Crete, Chania and Heraklion, so make sure to choose which destination suits your plans best.
Modes of Transportation
One of the quickest ways to travel from Athens to Crete is by air. There are frequent flights from Athens (ATH) to two cities in Crete, Chania (CHQ) and Heraklion (HER). The flight duration is approximately 1 hour, making it a convenient and time-efficient option.
Airlines operating on these routes include:
- Aegean Airlines
- Olympic Air
- Sky Express
Ticket prices vary depending on the airline, time of booking, and season. It’s always recommended to book your tickets in advance to secure the best deals.
For those who prefer a more scenic route, travelling from Athens to Crete by ferry is another popular option. The ferries depart from Piraeus, the main port of Athens, and disembark in either Chania or Heraklion, depending on your preference.
The journey time by ferry varies depending on the type of vessel:
- High-speed ferries: 5 to 6 hours
- Conventional ferries: 8 to 9 hours (usually overnight)
Some of the ferry companies operating on this route include:
- Minoan Lines
- Anek Superfast
- Golden Star Ferries
Travelling by ferry offers benefits such as more luggage allowance, the ability to bring a car or motorcycle, and the opportunity to enjoy the views of the Aegean Sea.
It’s essential to keep in mind that ferry schedules are subject to change based on seasonal demand and weather conditions. As with flights, booking ferry tickets in advance is advised to ensure the best prices and availability.
Remember to consider both your budget and personal preferences when selecting a mode of transportation for your journey from Athens to Crete. Whether you choose to fly or sail, enjoy the stunning landscapes and immerse in the rich culture of these beautiful Greek destinations.
Popular Ferry Routes
When travelling from Athens to Crete by ferry, you have two main routes to choose from:
- Piraeus to Heraklion: This route connects Athens’ main port, Piraeus, with Crete’s largest city, Heraklion. The ferry connection between Piraeus and Crete operates daily all year long. The journey takes approximately 7 to 12 hours, depending on the ferry.
- Piraeus to Chania: Another popular route is from Piraeus to Chania, a picturesque city on the northwest coast of Crete. This route also operates daily throughout the year. The travel time for this route varies from 6 hours and 30 minutes to 8 hours.
Two major ferry companies that serve these routes are Minoan Lines and Anek Lines.
Ticket Types and Prices
There are various ticket options available for travellers when booking a ferry from Athens to Crete. Some common types include:
- Standard Seat: The most affordable option, providing a simple seat for the journey. Prices usually start at €30.
- Bed Cabin: For those who prefer a more comfortable journey, bed cabins offer private sleeping quarters. These can cost around €160.
- VIP Lounge: Some ferries also have VIP lounge options, coming at a higher price but offering exclusive facilities and services.
Please note that prices may vary depending on the ferry company, time of travel, and demand.
To make your ferry experience as smooth as possible, consider the following booking tips:
- Book in advance: Ferry tickets can sell out, especially during the high season (June to September). Booking early ensures you’ll secure a spot and potentially find better prices.
- Choose the right port: Make sure to select the correct departure port (Piraeus) and arrival port (either Heraklion or Chania) when booking your ticket.
- Flexible dates: If possible, be flexible with your travel dates. This can help you find the best deals on tickets and ensure a more comfortable journey if the ferry is less crowded.
- Compare prices: Before booking, compare prices between different ferry companies and routes to find the best option for your travel needs and budget.
- Check for discounts: Some ferry companies may offer discounts for students, seniors, or other groups. Be sure to check for these when booking your ticket.
There are several flight options to get from Athens to Crete, with regular direct flights available. Crete’s two main airports are Chania (CHQ) and Heraklion (HER). The usual duration of a direct flight is around 1 hour.
While direct flights from Athens to Crete are easily available, travellers can also explore Crete through connecting flights via some European cities. However, a direct flight is the most convenient and quickest way to reach Crete from Athens.
Various airlines operate flights from Athens to Crete, such as:
- Aegean Airlines
- Sky Express
- British Airways
These airlines might offer seasonal flights or year-round services, so it’s recommended to check their schedules when planning your trip.
The cost of a flight from Athens to Crete can vary depending on the airline, time of booking, and season. Prices can range from as low as €28 to over €100 for a one-way ticket. To find the best deals and compare prices, consider using travel booking websites like Expedia or visit the airlines’ official websites.
Born and raised on the sun-drenched island of Crete, Sofia Mavromatis is a seasoned traveler and writer with a deep-rooted love for Greece’s vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and rich history.