Traveling in Crete By Bus: Everything You Need to Know!

Crete by Bus

Ever wondered if it’s possible to travel in Crete by bus? Although the answer depends on your holiday style, we have some good news. Crete is navigable by bus, at least when it comes to the main settlements. So, without further ado, here is a complete guide on how to travel in Crete by bus and what it means for you.

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How to Travel in Crete by Bus

Crete By Bus

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What You Need to Know About Traveling in Crete by Bus

crete by bus
Chania bus station.

First things first, buses are your only option for traveling around Crete with public transport. Thankfully, the bus services on the island are reliable, and the roads are in good condition, at least the most important ones.

Of course, there will often be some mountains you have to cross or go around, and that’s the main reason there is no train available.

Although not every village or remote beach is accessible by public transport, the bus services in Crete have an excellent reputation.

Crete By Bus
Bus stop in Imbros Gorge (Chaia-Chora Sfakion route).

The coaches are new, the buses arrive on time, and there are short—and long-distance connections, mainly in the island’s northern part.

Sometimes, the buses are so efficient and reliable that it might seem like you’re not in Greece anymore. I’m sure you’ll appreciate that German-like punctuality in no time. Want to know more? Let’s dive deeper into the world of Cretan buses!

The Bus Network in Crete

Bus tickets, Heraklion, Crete.
Local bus ticket Heraklion.

Imagine two worlds: a flat plateau in the north and mountainous terrain in the south. Cretan buses view the island this way and prefer to stay in the north, just like our long-forgotten transport buddies, donkeys, would. 

In short, if you want to travel around Crete without a car, stick to the north and avoid the south. Traveling along the southern part of the island would mean a lot of backtracking along routes with infrequent bus services. After all, the main bus stations are in the northern cities of Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion, and Agios Nikolaos.

Crete By Bus
Long-distance ticket Rethymnon – Chania

So, if you are a city bird, you’re in for a treat. There are several daily connections between those main destinations. At the same time, you’ll also find regular buses to the largest villages and tourist hubs. 

Most Common Bus Routes in Crete

Crete By Bus
Chania bus station.

If you’re traveling in Crete by bus, you should know that the most common bus service in Crete is between Heraklion and Chania since both cities have international airports. You can catch a bus every hour from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

If there is no traffic, the trip will take 2 hours and 45 minutes, but chances are it will be around 3 hours, especially during peak hours.

The bus also stops along the way, with Rethymno being the most important one. Here, many passengers will get off, and more will join.

Bus Station Heraklion, ticket fees.
To get to the Heraklion airport, take bus number 1.

Other common bus routes from Heraklion are the services that take you south to Matala or east to Agios Nikolaos. From Agios Nikolaos, you can easily reach Ierapetra, another known destination. 

Finally, there are less frequent but popular bus services from Chania to the South. Paleochora is the main terminal in the island’s southwest, and most tourists ask about getting to Elafonisi by bus. 

Depending on the season, you might find a direct 2-hour bus to Elafonisi that leaves the Chania station at 9 am and gets back at 4 pm.

Bus Stations in Crete

Crete By Bus
Heraklion bus station.

Almost every large town has one bus station, usually centrally located. The only exception is the capital, Heraklion, which has two.

The central bus station has services to the north coastline of Crete and is only a five-minute walk from the ferry. The second Heraklion bus station is outside the town in the Chanioporta area. From here, buses go south to destinations such as Knossos, Rogdia, and Gortys.

Finally, don’t expect to find many amenities at most bus stations. Mini marts, luggage lockers, and toilets may be the norm for large cities, but a bus station in a village might be as big as an isolated kiosk or sign at the side of the road. 

However, the new bus station in Heraklio has luggage lockers, a restaurant, and a few other amenities. But this station is brand new… and it’s the exception!

The Urban Bus Network in Crete

Crete By Bus
Urban areas in Chania. The ticket costs €1.10 for the red zone (€2.00 if you purchase the ticket on the bus). For the green zone, the price is €1.50 (on-bus purchase €2.50).

While most intercity buses are green (or white), you might encounter some blue buses while walking around the streets.

Those are local buses that serve the settlements of Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion, and Agios Nikolaos, the four largest cities in Crete.

Crete By Bus
Urban areas in Heraklion. The ticket costs €1.10 for the yellow zone (€2.00 if you purchase the ticket on the bus). For the blue zone, the price is €1.50 (on-bus purchase €2.50).

Although the urban buses won’t go far from the city center, they are an excellent solution for visiting the suburbs. For example, in Heraklion, you can hop on Bus No2 to visit the archaeological site of Knossos.

Just remember to buy a ticket from a kiosk before boarding the bus and always keep the ticket with you; controls are not rare, especially in summer.

Crete By Bus
(Photo via Astiko Irakleiou).

For Heraklion buses, always check this website. Your contact point for Chania buses will be this page.

Crete By Bus
New scan system in Heraklion.

Tips to Travel in Crete by Bus

Keep these suggestions in mind when navigating the island on a bus…

Check the timetable in advance

Although there is no unified Crete bus app, you can find some schedules here. Still, the most reliable way to know the Crete bus timetable is old-fashioned; this means viewing the itinerary from the posters on bus stations. I know it’s pretty archaic, but it is exceptionally reliable.

Keep an eye out for street bus stops

You don’t always need to walk to a normal-looking bus station to catch a bus. As long as you stand on the right side of the bus route, you only have to locate the closest bus stop.

If all else fails, feel free to hail the bus from the roadside. The driver may be kind enough to make a special stop for you.

Tell your stop number rather than the name

Every time you step on a bus, especially if you’re not in a central city, you will be greeted by a ticket person who works with the driver.

Instead of using the name of the place you go, tell them you want to get off at a specific stop number; you can find the numbers online. 

Watch out for changes in the timetable during the holidays

Next to tracking the seasonal updates in the Crete bus timetable, you must be extra careful if you travel on a public holiday.

For example, the 15th of August is a national celebration, so many public services have unique itineraries. Similar dates include the 1st of May, the 28th of October, and Greek Easter. 

Sit on the window facing the coastal side of the bus

If you travel along the northern coastline, make sure to sit closer to the ocean. The views along the way can be incredible at times, so be ready for them.

Even if the sun faces your way, remember all the Cretan buses are air-conditioned, so you’ll not get hot easily.

Bring cash on the bus

Although you can use a card to buy tickets at central bus stations, always remember to bring cash, especially if you take the bus from a village.

Crete bus prices may be reasonable since they are government-regulated, but they have kept increasing over the years. If you want an estimate, a short bus trip may cost around 5-10 euros, whereas a long-distance service will set you off from 10 to 20 euros. 

Crete By Bus

Consider using both buses and car rentals

Many travelers think they should travel only by car or public transport in Crete. However, mixing the two strategies may save you a ton while giving you the freedom to get to more remote places.

In other words, you can find affordable car rentals for specific activities that are only part of your holiday.In short, if you want to travel to Crete by bus, you will love the island’s efficient public transport. Use the bus to save on transport costs, and feel free to rent a car if you want to go off the beaten path. 

>> Which car rental service is the best to choose? If you want to rent a car for your trip, consider Discover Cars, a worldwide car rental booking engine.

I publish new content about Crete almost every day! Bookmark my Crete and Practical Guides pages to learn more before your trip.

Are you dreaming of a getaway to Crete but feeling overwhelmed with planning?

  • You can join my Facebook Group, Things to Do in Crete, a friendly gathering of Crete enthusiasts.
  • With my consultation call services, I have assisted countless travelers in crafting the perfect Crete experience. Email me for more information!

Don’t forget travel insurance!

Although Crete is a safe destination, consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself and your loved ones from unexpected situations.

>> Join our Facebook Group!

More resources to enhance your Crete adventure

Start by checking out my guide to planning your trip to Crete, packed with helpful essential information. Explore the articles on prices in Crete, common mistakes to avoid, and insider secrets. You can also get one of the digital travel guides I’ve written about Crete. They are affordable and practical to check from your mobile.

When it’s time to plan, explore the best places to visit on Crete Island, discover my tours and activities, and be amazed at Crete’s incredible beaches. If you are exploring specific areas like Heraklion, Rethymnon, Lasithi, and Chania, I’ve got detailed guides to help you make the most of your time.

Suggested accommodation in Crete

No time to read all my accommodation guides? Check out these places to stay:

Crete By Bus

Written by Dimitrios Tsevremes
Passionate about travel, spirituality, and sports, Dimi divides his time between Chania (Crete) and other countries. Writing is a way for him to express himself and his creativity. You can find out more about him and his work here.

Pin This Complete Guide to Travel in Crete By Bus!

Crete By Bus

About me:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I have lived in Chania, Crete, since 2016. As a local, I have an intimate knowledge of the Crete. I host culinary and concierge tours and experiences in Crete and write about the island for several travel media. During the last five years, I have helped many travelers plan the perfect holiday in Crete. I co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

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