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!
Greece Travel Inspiration
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- 10 Days Circling Crete Island: Fun Itinerary with Best Route & Hotels
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Brigitte & Jake
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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.
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.
Rhodes: Planning a Trip – Renting a Car – 1 Week Itinerary – 23 Things to Do – Old Town – Elli Beach – Kallithea Springs – Lindos Guide – Lindos Acropolis – Monolithos – Melenos Art Boutique Hotel – 11 Best Beaches – Anthony Quinn Bay
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