ONLY USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, and there is a lot to see. With two major airports for flights leaving from the UK, it may seem intimidating to work out your choices. Hiring a car on the island is easy, and the main roads are pretty nice. However, for whatever reason such as not being able to drive, too young to hire a car, don’t fancy the stress, no credit card, Crete has good public transport- enough to see a lot of historical locations, natural beauty, and hang out in fabulous cities.
Follow the links below for a detailed account to the places I visited. Scroll down for suggested plans for people with more time.
CHANIA; HERAKLION AND KNOSSOS; RETHYMNO; SAMARIA GORGE as well as ALTERNATE PLANS we made if we had more time.
For each place I have basic transport info and costs, a history, site seeing recommendations, and food spots.
Please check out the links to the full page write ups
As one of my goals of the trip was to go to Knossos, I am aware that this trip would have been easier and involved less travelling if we had flown into Heraklion, spent two days there in order to see Knossos, and then head to Chania to relax in one accommodation for the rest of the trip. I would recommend this means of travel if possible, however, due to living right by Cambridge station (30 minutes to Stansted airport for £10 return), I knew it would be easier to travel from Stansted and Chania had the best flight times.
Whilst we only had a week and were limited due to having no hired car, there were a few other places we wished we could have visited.
Santorini – Santorini seems like a stunning place and I would love to visit. The easiest way to travel there from Chania would be staying in Heraklion and getting a ferry. From my research, the ferries tend to cost around 50 euros but some ferries can easily cost over €100. These take 2 hours to 6 hours depending on ferry type as well as weather conditions. If you just want to go for a day trip, the first ferry is at 7:30am from Heraklion and the last ferry from Santorini departs at 6:00pm.
Aptera – Roman ruins about 20 minute drive outside of Chania. The ancient city has been inhabited since the Minoan times though the best remaining ruins date from the Roman times. These include a theatre, bath house, and cistern for people to explore.
During my trip, we found ways to get there via public transport too difficult- stop a bus at a busy road side then walk 45 minutes up hill, and most of our days we had our full rucksacks with us. Hiring a taxi was an option but we would have to make the driver wait or arrange a pick up. In the end we didn’t make it, but it seems hiring a car will get you there easily, if not the other means are slightly difficult but options.
Beaches– Whilst I am not a beach person, there are a lot of lovely ones in the area. We found a random one from the map, however, a recommended one on the west of Crete were Elafonisi, with some tours from Chania stopping off in nice monasteries on the way.
Kournas Lake– Having a car, driving to Kournas Lake, the only freshwater lake in Crete, seemed like a nice option. Whilst I was not able to make it easily to the lake by public transport, I did stop off at Georgoipolis, a nearby beach resort, and the walk from there to the lake is an option. Georgoipolis was nice enough but probably not worth the beach trip. If you did visit the seaside town, it contains a church, Agios Nikolaos Church, out on a causeway and a reasonable seaside resort containing deck chairs and places for food and drink. Got the bus for €10.70 to Georgoipolis from Heraklion, a seaside town we had spotted on the map for the journey back to Chania. Got bus back around 18:30 on the road side. €4.50 to Chania from Georgoipolis.