Wondering how to get from Athens to Crete?
Crete is one of the largest islands in all of Greece. There are so many things to do, see and explore that could leave you wanting to stay longer. Crete is a popular spot for people on their romantic Greek honeymoon but also solo travelers wanting some adventure.
There’s something for everyone on this diverse island!
Traveling from Athens to Crete is a very popular route. If you are planning your Greek vacation, you might be wondering how exactly to get from Athens to Crete.
In this blog post, we’re going to share the number of transport options, the prices and the time each one takes which is important to consider.
Here’s the complete guide on how to get from Athens to Crete.
Where Is Crete Located?
Crete is the largest but also most populated island in Greece.
It is located between the Aegean Sea and the Libyan Sea. The island of Crete is quite long and narrow, stretching about 160 miles (260 km) east to west.
How Far Is Crete From Athens?
If you look on the map, you can see Crete is much further than popular Greek islands such as Santorini, Mykonos and Naxos. Crete is about 160 km south of the Greek mainland.
If you take a flight from Athens to Crete, it will take around 1 hour of flight time.
If you want to take a ferry, the journey time will depend on which port you decide to arrive in. For the Chania port, it will take around 8-8.5 hours and if you want to arrive in Heraklion it takes around 9-9.5 hours of journey time.
Where To Fly/Dock In Crete?
Remember – Crete is the biggest island in Greece. There are going to be multiple points of arrival depending on where you want to start exploring.
Here are the 2 ports most travelers land in when visiting Crete:
Athens To Chania
Chania was built by the Venetians back in the 1300s. When you walk around Chania Harbour, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Venice, Italy. Many similarities you’ll see will take your breath away. Chania is a picturesque and romantic town that has also become a popular honeymoon destination!
Chania is located on the west side of the island. It’s about a 3-hour drive from Chania to Heraklion. If you want to explore both Chania and Heraklion, we recommend starting in Chania and making your way to Heraklion as more ferries and flights are departing from Heraklion.
Athens To Heraklion
Heraklion is the capital city of Crete. It’s located on the north side of the island which makes it a great port to land in but also to depart from. Heraklion has many ferry options to head to islands like Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos and more.
Many international and domestic flights land at Heraklion Airport. It’s easy to catch a flight here to other Greek islands or all the back to Athens.
From Athens to Heraklion, it’s an extra hour on the ferry. Chania is an hour less if that makes any difference to you. Both are beautiful towns worth visiting on the island of Crete!
How To Get From Athens To Crete – 2 Options
What’s the best way to get from Athens to Crete?
Well…that depends on several factors! You can argue for both types of transportation but everyone’s circumstances are different. That’s why it’s important to ask yourself these questions:
- Would I rather save time or save costs?
- Am I super sensitive to motion sickness?
- Do I need to make the most of my time?
- Am I pressed for time?
- Is money a matter in this case?
The most vital things you need to consider are simply: cost and time. If you need to save some money, you will choose one option over the other. If you don’t have 7 days in Greece, for example, you might not want to waste hours of your precious time sitting still.
There are really only 2 options to get from Athens to Crete. You can either take a flight from Athens International Airport to any of the airports in Crete – Heraklion or Chania. Or you can take a ferry from the Piraeus port to any of the ports (Heraklion or Chania).
If you’re pressed for time, it’s MUCH faster to take a plane than a ferry that’s for sure. If you take a ferry, you might spend a lot of time on the boat but hey – it’s part of the complete Greek adventure right?
Here’s all the details you need to consider for each transport option when traveling from Athens to Crete.
Getting From Athens To Crete By Plane
Looking for the fastest way to get from Athens to Crete?
You can’t beat the speed of an airplane. It’s easy enough to book a flight, choose a destination in Crete and rush off to the airport.
If you’ve got a short number of days to explore Greece, this is a great option because you barely waste any precious hours. The flight time from Athens to Crete is only 1 hour – seriously!
Crete is a very popular island for travelers to visit and there have been more flights from Athens to Crete. Some airlines include Aegean Airlines, Sky Express and the good ole budget airlines, RyanAir.
Matthew and I spend our anniversary on the island of Crete while we were digital nomads in Athens. When we tried to decide how to get from Athens to Crete, the main thing we considered was our time. We were only going for 3 nights and we wanted to make the most of it!
Crete has two major airports where the flights land – Heraklion Airport and Chania Airport. The island is very big and it takes a couple of hours to get from one end to the other. It’s important to choose your flight destination wisely!
That’s why we decided to fly from Athens to Crete in the end. We found pretty cheap RyanAir flights for a return journey from Crete to Athens as well. Matthew and I decided we would solely explore Chania because we had heard the old town was very romantic – and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
This was the best decision for us because it saved us tons of time and it was easy enough to get from Chania Airport to the city center.
How Long Is The Flight From Athens To Crete?
Whether you are flying into Heraklion or Chania, the flight duration is actually the same. The journey time from Athens to Crete by plane is only 1-1.5 hours.
Taking a plane from Athens to Crete whether that’s at Heraklion Airport or Chania Airport – it’s going to be the fastest transport option for you.
As it’s a domestic flight from Athens to Crete, you won’t have to go through immigration and simply need to go through security. This also makes it a much faster journey!
How Much Does A Plane Ride From Athens To Crete Cost?
That depends on how early/late you book your tickets and which airlines you decide to fly with. For budget airlines like SkyExpress or Volotea, we have seen tickets for as low as $30 USD! The only catch is that luggage is usually not included and you’ll have to pay extra if you need to check bags.
You can spend a little more for a nicer airline like Aegean Airlines and they offer tickets from $70 USD. Sky Express is a little more in the middle and they can start from $55 USD.
Getting From Athens To Crete By Ferry
Want the full Greek experience?
You can take a ferry from Athens to Crete! We loved traveling by ferry across islands like Santorini and Paros. It makes you feel like you’re in Greece and it’s something you should try at least once!
When you are booking a ferry from Athens to Crete, you need to decide which ports to arrive in. Most ferries depart from the Piraeus port in Athens. From here, you need to choose between two wonderful cities in Crete: Heraklion or Chania. Heraklion is the capital city filled with a ton of history and Chania is a romantic city that will remind you of Venice.
For the Athens to Crete ferry, there are a few companies that will take you there. Minoan Lines and Anek Superfast are great options! From Crete, it’s also pretty easy to take the ferry to other islands like Santorini, Milos or back to Piraeus (Athens).
How To Book Your Athens To Crete Ferry
When booking your Athens to Crete ferry, you first need to determine your arrival port. You can choose between these routes: Athens to Chania and Athens to Heraklion. What’s the difference?
Heraklion is an extra hour on the ferry but it is the main port. Chania is located on the west side of the island and we think it’s a great starting point to explore Crete. You can make your way over to Heraklion where most ferries and flights depart from. There are a lot more ferry options in Heraklion to islands like Santorini, Mykonos or Athens.
Where should you book your ferry tickets? You can do it by heading directly to the ferry companies’ websites or through third-party websites.
These are the ferry companies’ websites to get from Athens to Crete:
We used a third-party website and we had no issues! These are the most popular third-party websites for ferries from Athens to Crete:
Both options are great ways to buy your tickets. You’ll receive an email confirmation with your tickets and you should be set to go!
How Long Is A Ferry Ride From Athens To Crete?
I’ll be honest with you – taking the ferry from Athens to Crete will take longer than if you take a flight.
If you decide to arrive in Chania, the ferry takes about 8 to 8.5 hours. If you want to arrive in Heraklion, it takes a bit longer at around 9 to 9.5 hours from Piraeus. We took the Athens to Santorini Ferry and it was around 6 hours which was long enough for us. I don’t know if I could’ve done another 3 hours. Eeep!
It’s a long journey from Athens to Crete by ferry and that’s why decided against taking the ferry ourselves. We were only spending 3 nights in Chania, Crete and we wanted to make the most of our time. This is something you might need to consider if you’re pressed for time like we were.
How Much Does A Ferry Trip From Athens To Crete Cost?
A ferry from Athens to Crete can cost from $48 USD. We have found that Heraklion seems to be a cheaper port to arrive in by around $10 USD.
This can sometimes be cheaper than a flight if you don’t book your tickets early enough. Prices for flights do rise closer to the dates whereas the ferry prices don’t usually climb as fast or as high.
Can You Do A Day Trip To Crete From Athens?
You can certainly attempt to do a day trip to Crete from Athens. But do we recommend it? Not if you want to truly see this vast island.
Crete is the largest island in Greece! You certainly can’t see enough of it in a single day. You can make your way over via ferry or plane within a day but you wouldn’t see much or do much in 24 hours.
We spent 3 nights in Chania and that wasn’t enough time for us to enjoy the surrounding areas. It’s very easy and cheap to grab a rental car too which makes Crete a great island to explore for at least a couple of days. In fact, we think we could stay in Crete for a month and still not see everything! You really don’t realize how big it truly is until you are there yourself and have to drive around the roads.
What’s The Best Way To Get From Athens To Crete?
If you’re pressed for time, the best way to get from Athens to Crete is definitely via plane. The journey time is only 1 hour and you’ll land on the beautiful island of Crete!
When Matthew and I were weighing up on which way to get to Crete, we only had 3 nights to explore. We wanted to make the most of our time and taking the flight made the most sense! If you book early enough, you can get flights for as low as $30 USD.
Want the complete Greek adventure? Take the ferry! It does take around 8-9 hours to get from Athens to Crete but you can book a comfortable cabin to sleep in or sit in the ‘airplane seats’ provided.
The best way to get from Athens to Crete will depend on the amount of time and budget you’ve planned for the trip. We hope you have the best time in Crete because we loved it! We’re counting the days till we get to go back and explore more this huge island.