Pros & Cons of Traveling Crete By Bus

Visit Crete

Before you travel to Crete it’s important to figure out getting around the island. Essentially, there are two forms of transportation that most people decide on. You can either travel Crete by bus, or rent a car and take the island into your own hands. So do you plan to visit the popular Northern Crete beach towns, or are you looking to explore the rugged southern coast? If you’re a budget traveler then you’ve probably at least thought about doing Crete by bus. However, there are pros and cons to this method of transportation. Let us break down what we learned after our own visit to Crete! 

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Pros for Traveling Crete by Bus

Extensive Bus System in Northern Crete: The bus system is Northern Crete is awesome! The bus connects not only the large cities but also the small towns running along the coast. You can even visit the famous Knossos Palace historical site from Heraklion.

Inexpensive and Reliable: Traveling by Bus is affordable by any European standard. Most trips will only cost you a few Euros, while the long multi-hour trips will run you between 10 to 15 Euros.

Multiple Buses Per Day: Buses run often down the coast, and you can catch one about every hour. At the main bus stations there will be large screens with the bus times, and at the small town stops you can find schedules posted on the street signs.

Connects Easily to the Airport: From Heraklion there is a bus that runs directly to the airport and vice versa. The bus station is directly outside the arrivals terminal on the main road, and you can be in the center of Heraklion within 20 minutes.

No Stress about Driving in a Foreign Country: This is one of the biggest benefits in our minds. It can be quite overwhelming driving in a foreign country, but no need to worry about that with the bus!

Parking: This is really only an issue in some of the bigger towns such as Heraklion, Chania, and Rethymno in Crete. Nevertheless, you might end up booking a hotel based on what has parking and not the area you want to be in.

Sitia Crete

Cons For Traveling Crete by Bus

Forget the South: There will be no possibility to travel with a public bus along the southern coast of Crete from east to west! This is something we didn’t realize immediately when we arrived. Unfortunately, to travel to the towns in the south you will have to backtrack the same way you came and the buses are infrequent.

Backtracking: The city of Heraklion or Chania is where you can fly into and most likely catching the bus from. The problem is if you want to go all the way down the northern coast, you will have to backtrack and return on the same route. That is unless you do some planning in advance and book two individual tickets flying into one airport and out of the other. Not the biggest deal, but it will add many more hours onto your trip.

Freedom: Crete is like a playground for adventure travelers, and not having a car means that you’ll miss out on 90% of the island. So if you are looking for the freedom to go where and when you want and explore lesser known parts of Crete, the bus probably isn’t for you.

Price: Just as the price was a pro it can quickly become a con if you’re traveling to visit Crete with others. Yes the bus is cheap, but if you’re using it to explore the entire Northern Crete coast with all the stops and backtracking it will still add up. We found that if you are two people or more the car will cost the same (or less) as the bus in the end.

If you’d prefer a vehicle on Crete after reading this check out our article on renting a car below!

→ Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Rent a Car on Crete Greece

Traveling Crete by Bus Guide

Should You Travel Crete by Bus?

To be completely honest we arrived in Crete with all intentions of traveling the entire island by bus. Yet, after only a few days we made the executive decision to upgrade to a car.

If you only plan to visit Northern Crete then traveling by bus won’t be a problem. You can easily travel from Heraklion, to Rethymnon, and continue on to Chania.

Still, if you want to explore Southern Crete you will absolutely need to rent a car. So to sum this all up, it really depends on the type of trip you have planned! Clearly, there are pros and cons to both, but we’d highly recommend renting a car to explore the entire island if possible.

Bali Crete

More Tips For Traveling Crete by Bus

Know Your Stop Number, Not the Name: There will be a driver and a ticket person working together on each bus. The stops have no names unless it is a large hub town, but instead numbers. So don’t be surprised when you hear someone calling out “Stop 31” instead of the name of a town.

Sit on the Coastal Side of The Bus: The views from the bus running along the Cretan coast are stunning. Try and grab a seat on the side of the bus with the view so you can take it all in!

Cash Only: Once you’re out of the main bus terminal in Heraklion make sure to have cash to pay for the bus.

Check the Bus Time Before Waiting: Time tables such as the one below are at every bus stop in Crete. When you get off snap a photo of the timetable, or check the times for your next bus. You can also find some of the schedules online.

Traveling Crete by Bus

Have any questions about traveling Northern Crete by bus, or want to share your own tips on how to visit Crete? Please share in the comments below! 

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

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Traveling Crete by Bus Guide

Greece Travel Planning 

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!

When island hopping use FerriesinGreece to compare different routes, prices, and companies. 

 Flights: We always check Skyscanner and Kayak to search for cheap flights. That’s how we got from Crete to Athens for under $50 USD!

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Rental Car: You can book a rental car for around $20 a day in Greece! We use Discover Cars to explore the larger islands with a vehicle.

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities in Crete Greece. You can find everything from taking a boat cruise to Balos Lagoon, to a guided tour of Knossos Palace, and Trekking Samaria Gorge.

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

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Explore Greece

Rhodes: Planning a TripRenting a Car1 Week Itinerary23 Things to DoOld TownElli BeachKallithea SpringsLindos GuideLindos AcropolisMonolithos –  Melenos Art Boutique Hotel11 Best BeachesAnthony Quinn Bay

Karpathos: Fun Things to Do1 Week ItineraryMust Try Food6 Best BeachesOlymposSaria Island Boat Tour

Crete: 19 Food & DrinksMatala Hippie CavesElafonisi (Pink Sand)Renting a Car – 20 FactsVai Beach Palm TreesBest Things to Do

More Dodecanese: Halki IslandSymi Island GuideSymi Things to Do 

Cyclades: Moon Beach MilosAdamas MilosIosNaxos BeachesNaousa ParosGalissas SyrosMykonos Old TownSantorini

Corfu: Old Town FoodGreece to Albania Ferry

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15 Comments

  1. Alan Paine
    August 2, 2023 / 2:55 pm

    I meant West to Elafonisi in my previous comment

  2. Alan Paine
    August 2, 2023 / 2:50 pm

    There is a ferry that goes along the South coast between Paleochora, Sougia, Agia Roumeli (no road access at all) and Chora Sfakia. Another ferry goes East from Paleochora to Elafonisi.

    • Brigitte & Jake
      August 2, 2023 / 3:19 pm

      Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Julie Gardiner
    January 5, 2022 / 3:23 am

    Nowadays it’s better to buy a ticket from the kiosks or shops, as some drivers stop the bus outside supermarkets and wait for you to buy a ticket.

    • Brigitte & Jake
      January 5, 2022 / 5:30 am

      Thanks for the tip Julie!

  4. anne shelley
    December 3, 2021 / 1:56 pm

    hello, im in uk retiring next year and want to move to crete, iv seen a house in saskia , is there a bus route from the village will take me into sitia to the shops and cafas daily please.
    kind regards
    Anne ps are there any english cafas around also .

      • ms adrianne shelley
        November 19, 2022 / 11:37 am

        hi Brigitte and jake, could you tell me where if any are english cafas and restaurants please il be honest going for the weather but i will try my best to join in. But i like english food.lol xx

        • Brigitte & Jake
          November 22, 2022 / 2:46 am

          Hi! Sorry but we didn’t go to any English cafes or restaurants on our visit. There seems to be plenty around though so you shouldn’t have too much trouble. Enjoy your vacation!

  5. Klaus Larsen
    October 21, 2020 / 3:47 am

    Many kiosk sell bus tickets that save you a bunch !

    In Chania where I live a buss fare is 2.50 € if you buy the ticket in the bus, but if you buy the ticket in a kiosk it’s only 1.50 €, so 1 € saved for every trip 😉

    • Brigitte & Jake
      October 21, 2020 / 4:00 pm

      That’s a great tip Klaus, thanks!

  6. Gillian
    March 2, 2020 / 8:06 am

    Can you please send me details of travelling to crete. By bus from Northern Ireland.

    • Brigitte & Jake
      March 2, 2020 / 9:05 am

      haha! That would be quite a wild and extremely long trip… Sorry we can’t help with that one! (;

  7. Patrick Burns
    January 13, 2020 / 7:55 am

    The bus timetables ARE available online and are even downloadable in PDF format (https://www.e-ktel.com/en/services/dromologia). You also have the option of flying in or out of Chania (much nicer airport than Heraklion) and in / out of the other, this will avoid a lot of `backtracking’. There ARE buses to the south of the island, specifically Paleochora, Chora Sfakion / Fragokastelo and Sougia, although they are not so frequent and there is no direct route east / west along the coast.

    • Brigitte & Jake
      January 13, 2020 / 7:45 pm

      Hi Patrick. Thanks so much for the information! When we initially arrived on Crete the tourist office told us there was no way we could take the bus through the South. After doing some more research we felt it was better to rent a car to see this part of the massive island. As you mentioned you can get to some towns, but there’s no way to go east/west by bus. We’ve updated our post to explain this better and added the link to the bus schedule. Thanks again!

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