Athens to Crete | Best Flights, Ferries & More Travel Ideas

Melina Thalassinou
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Table of Content
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Key Takeaways

  • Athens and Crete are two must-visit spots in Greece.
  • There are three ways to travel from Athens to Crete: by flight, ferry, or private boat.
  • Flights are the quickest, while ferries offer picturesque views of the coastline and the opportunity for island hopping.
  • Hiring a private boat is the most expensive option but offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience and can be split among a group for cost-effectiveness.

balos lagoonBalos Lagoon - credits: Pixabay.com

Have you been planning a trip to the beautiful sun-soaked nation of Greece? Are you enticed by the mouthwatering food, idyllic weather, centuries-old monuments, and inviting manner? 

Well, you’ve reached the right spot (We’ve got you). You’re in luck, as we’re rather dedicated to finding the coolest things to do in Greece and the best places to stay. All that said, traveling can be stressful and complicated, from organizing flights and ferries to deciding where to go.  

Two spots in Greece that you have to visit are Greece’s capital, Athens, and the largest Greek island, Crete. Athens is full of history and awe-inspiring landmarks, while Crete has multiple landscapes, from majestic mountains to white-sand beaches. 

Now, you ask, but how do I get from Athens to Crete? Well, keep reading, as we’ll show you the best ways to travel from the Greek mainland to the southernmost island in Greece.

How Far Is Crete From Athens 

chania creteChania, Crete - credits: Pixabay.com

As Crete is the most southern island in Greece, it is approximately 200 miles (350 kilometers) away from the capital city of Athens. The Aegean Sea separates the town destinations, with various Greek Islands along the way. In terms of how long it takes to get to Crete, it highly depends on which transport method you use. 

How to Get From Athens to Crete

crete ferryFerry in Crete - credits: Pixabay.com

So you’re probably still wondering how to get to Crete from Athens. Don’t stress anymore, as there are a few ways of getting from Athens to Crete. So, how do you get to Crete from Athens?

  • The easiest way is to grab a flight to the island.
  • A more popular method is landing a seat on either a high-speed or traditional ferry.
  • Or, you could splurge and charter a private boat (color us jealous). 

Athens to Crete Flights

crete kri kriKri-Kri goats in Crete - credits: Pixabay.com

The easiest way to get to Crete from Athens is by taking a flight. This is because flights from Athens to Crete are usually quite affordable, especially if you book in advance. 

The other huge benefit of flying is that an Athens to Crete flight usually takes around 50 minutes to 1 hour. It is definitely the quickest way to get from Athens to Crete, perfect if you’re spending a weekend in Crete and if you’re aiming to avoid the slow-paced Greek way of life. 

Knossos Delights: Knossos Palace & Heraklion Food Tour with transportation

There are multiple direct flights from Athens to Crete daily from the Athens International Airport to Heraklion Airport in (you guessed it) Heraklion, Chania, and Sitia, so you won’t find it hard to get a seat.

Also, many airlines offer flights, including Sky Express, Ryanair, Aegean Airlines, and Olympic Air, and for convenience, you can stay in one of Athens airport hotels

One-way tickets start at a reasonable $24 (€22), while a round-trip booking can cost you as little as $56 (€51). If you ask us, that sounds like a bargain! 

Ferry From Athens to Crete

elafonisi creteElafonisi Beach - credits: Pixabay.com

The other option how to get to Crete from Athens is by catching a ferry. This is especially great for you if you’re scared of getting too close to the sun like Icarus did.

Before setting sail, however, it’s important to pick the boat to get the job done. Luckily you have three options:

  1. You can choose a traditional (slow) ferry; slow doesn’t mean boring; the views are epic, and the ferry tickets are arguably cheaper than the flights.
  2. Blue Star Ferries are the most popular ferry company that offers both high-speed and traditional ferry routes, while Minoan Lines is another one of the most trustworthy ferry operators, with direct ferries to Crete.
  3. If you’re a speed freak then a high-speed ferry is your new best friend.
  4. For the ultimate ferry experience, overnight ferries are a great travel and accommodation combo. All you need to do is check the ferry timetables, compare ferry ticket prices, and buy ferry tickets that work best for you. 

However, taking an Athens to Crete ferry is no Odyssey or an epic journey. As far as gorgeous journeys, it’s a brilliant way to catch some of Greece’s magnificent scenery and Greek islands as you sail through the Aegean Sea. 

lighthouse chaniaChania Lighthouse - credits: Pixabay.com

Some ferries even stop off at some of the Cyclades Islands, making it the perfect opportunity for Greek island hopping, an exciting way to travel through Greece. In fact, transporting from Santorini to Crete, for example, is easier than one might think.

Regular ferries depart from various ports in Athens, close to Athens city center, such as Piraeus Port (the main ferry port), Rafina Port, and Lavrion. In peak season, there are around five to eight crossings daily to Crete.

These take around 9 to 17 hours to get to Crete, so bring something to keep you entertained. It’s also a brilliant time to plan which Crete tours to go on (if you haven’t booked them already).

Catch an overnight ferry from Athens to Crete! This way, you can save on a night at a hotel in Crete and have a comfortable ferry trip. 

Family Adventure: 11-night Trip to Athens, Crete & Rhodes

spinalongaSpinalonga Island, Crete - credits: Pixabay.com

Most ferries from Athens to Crete cost anything from $25 (€23) to $225 (€205), depending on whether you want to sleep in a private cabin or if you just want a seat. 

If you’re looking for the most efficient way to get from Athens, Greece, to Crete by sea, is to catch one of the high-speed ferries Greece offers. These ferries to Crete take around 6.5 hours to get to the island and depart once daily.

They are more expensive than the normal ferries (sometimes twice the price), but the Crete ferry routes are pretty long, and so when given the opportunity to cut them short, we highly recommend you do it! 

Private Boat From Athens to Crete

historic center chania creteChania, Crete - credits: Pixabay.com

The last option, for those of you with a bit of cash to splash, is hiring your own private boat. This is definitely for people who love the sea, like Poseidon, wanting to sail from Athens to Crete and not having to worry about ferry schedules.

It’s also the longest transportation method (and, of course, ferry ride) on this list, as it will take a few days to get there. 

That said, it will also be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will treasure forever. It will set you back quite a chunk of change, as you’ll need to hire a professional skipper (unless you have a boating license). 

You can expect to pay anything from $1,600 (€1,500) to $5,500 (€5,000). But as far as unforgettable adventures abroad go, plan this as an extended family trip to Greece, as you can split the costs. 

Final Thoughts on the Best Way to Travel From Athens to Crete

knossos palaceKnossos Palace - credits: Pixabay.com

Traveling in Greece doesn’t have to be stressful, regardless of what some wannabe guide to Greece says.

It’s the ideal location to be, from its gorgeous waters to its immense culture and history. What’s more, there is (literally) so much to explore, and these two spots are brilliant to visit. 

That said, the best way to travel from Athens to Crete is highly dependent on what you prefer. If you’re looking for efficiency on a short trip, flying is the quickest way to Crete.  

If you find the journey is more important than the destination, we recommend taking the ferry for picturesque views of the Grecian coastline.

Lastly, if you’re looking for the most cost-effective method, take the overnight ferry to save on accommodation costs. For the truly cheapest way, you could swim (for legal reasons, this is a joke!).  

Our Tailor-Made Trip Planning
Hop on a quick call with a local expert from our team
Receive a tailor-made itinerary for your journey
Fine-tune the details and you're ready to go

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Days Should You Spend in Athens and Crete?

When Is the Best Time to Visit Athens and Crete? 

What Are Athens and Crete Famous for?

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