Wheelchair-Accessible Vacations in Crete: A Guide to Crete for People with Disabilities

Crete for People with Disabilities: Travel Guide to Wheelchair-Accessible Vacations in Crete | Accessible tours | Accessible hotels | Accessible beaches.

Greece and Crete can be an ideal destination if you are looking for wheelchair-accessible holidays.

Although historically, the island has not been friendly to the needs of people with limited mobility, there have been significant improvements in recent years, and we are here to give you the inside scoop on everything you need to know! 

Want to learn more? Here is why Crete could be the best Greek island for people with disabilities. 

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Travel Guide to Crete for People with Disabilities

Crete for People with Disabilities

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📍 Top tours I recommend on the island:
Boat cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa
Ticket to Knossos Archaeological Site

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Several Initiatives are Making Crete more Wheelchair-Accessible

Crete for People with Disabilities
Crete for people with disabilities.

Historically, Crete offered little wheelchair access. After all, it isn’t the flattest Greek island out there, and many of its settlements have traditionally been built around hills for protection. That being said, things are beginning to change. 

For example, high-end resorts and vacation rentals have installed ramps, making their premises more wheelchair-accessible. Travel agents have also adapted and offered suitable transportation options and tours.

Many restaurants and museums have even become step-free while providing toilets for disabled people. Of course, parking for SUVs is readily available almost everywhere on the island. 

Greeks Have Become More Considerate of Individuals with Limited Mobility

Crete for People with Disabilities
Crete for people with disabilities.

Although Greece is nowhere near Western and Scandinavian countries regarding sensitivity towards disabled people, the Greeks have taken notice and followed suit. 

So why now? One big reason is that the government and local authorities have adapted European standards for relevant institutional policies. At the same time, the media has continuously raised awareness of the difficulties disabled people face daily. 

Thankfully, all this effort has paid off immensely. In addition to increased awareness and new initiatives, there have even been community-wide projects. Rethymno for All is one of these and has made this charming Cretan town more accessible and welcoming to people with reduced mobility. 

Cretan Towns that are Friendly to Disabled Tourists

Crete for People with Disabilities
Crete for people with disabilities.

If you want to visit Greece and Crete and have limited mobility issues, it goes without saying that you should, for the most part, stick to the bigger towns, where facilities are modern enough to accommodate every need.

Chania, Rethymno, and Heraklion are your best three options, with Agios Nikolaos and the resort of Elounda right behind.

All these towns are home to wheelchair-accessible hotels, friendly locals, dedicated parking for disabled people, and unique transportation options in the form of vans.

As mentioned earlier, the town of Rethymno has shown the most progress in this matter thanks to the Rethymno for All project. This includes new wheelchair ramps in major monuments, wide streets that are easy to navigate, and easily accessible museums, making Rethymno an ideal destination for disabled tourists.

Cretan Travel Agencies Organize Several Wheelchair-Friendly Tours

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Wheelchair.jpeg
Crete for people with disabilities.

Sticking to the island’s urban centers doesn’t necessarily confine you to places to see. Almost all Cretan travel agents offer easy tours for people with limited mobility to join.

For example, you can explore the old city of Chania in the comfort of your wheelchair. On tour allows you to admire its Venetian harbor, visit the town’s archaeological museum, and enjoy a panoramic view from the hill of Prophet Elias.

Major Cretan Museums are Step-Free and Fun to Explore on Wheels

Crete for People with Disabilities
The new Archaeological Museum in Chania.

No matter which museum you visit in Crete, help is only a word away. All you have to do is politely ask the reception, and they will get you a guide to escort you in the lifts and through shortcuts around the rooms.

If you’re into history, I recommend visiting the archaeological museums over the ancient sites since the latter are full of rocks and uneven surfaces. 

For something different, join a wheelchair-accessible tour of the CretAquarium. You’ll be amazed by the natural marvels and charming water creatures around you. 

Finding Wheelchair-Friendly Accommodation in Crete is Easy

Crete for People with Disabilities
Crete for people with disabilities.

An essential aspect of what makes Crete suitable for disabled tourists is the accommodation options. Crete has hundreds of vacation rentals with infrastructure to accommodate guests with limited mobility.

Whether you are looking for a beach hotel, a high-end resort, or a city stay, Crete has you covered.

You’ll undoubtedly receive exceptional services and help from the personnel of your accommodation, a common trait of Crete’s legendary hospitality.

Finally, if you want to bring a guide dog, inform your host beforehand, and I’m sure they will be okay with that. They are accepted everywhere on the island. 

Recommended Wheelchair Accessible Hotels in Crete

These are some of the hotels we recommend on the island:

ERIA RESORT for People with Special Abilities

  • Location: Maleme, Chania region.
Crete for People with Disabilities
Courtesy of the property.

The first wheelchair-accessible hotel in Crete is located in Maleme, about 20 minutes from the center of Chania. It has been exclusively designed for guests with accessibility needs, and it features a wellness center, a heated pool, and a poolside bar-restaurant with Cretan cuisine.

The property also offers the following dedicated amenities and services:

  • Easily accessible and ample rooms
  • Therapeutic massages and physiotherapy sessions
  • Special buses for airport transfer and excursions
  • Visual aids: Tactile signs and Braille
  • Bathrooms with emergency cords
  • Lower bathroom sinks
  • Higher level toilets
  • Toilet with grab rails
  • Entire units wheelchair accessible
  • Upper floors accessible by elevator

>> CLICK HERE TO BOOK


Creta Maris Resort

  • Location: Hersonissos, Heraklion region.
Crete for People with Disabilities
Courtesy of the property.

Ideally located in the vibrant seaside resort of Hersonissos, just a few kilometers from the island’s capital, this hotel offers accessible stays opposite the beach. It combines warm Cretan hospitality, accessible amenities, a green-oriented environment, and exclusive 5-star services.

The property also offers the following dedicated amenities and services:

  • Sixteen swimming pools
  • Lower bathroom sinks
  • Higher level toilets
  • Toilets with grab rails
  • Wheelchair-accessible rooms and common areas

>> CLICK HERE TO BOOK


Ibis Styles Heraklion Central

  • Location: Heraklion town, Heraklion region.
Crete for People with Disabilities
Courtesy of the property.

This wheelchair-accessible hotel in the capital of Crete is recommended for travelers who want to stay in the city center, a more comfortable location to check out the city’s museums and exhibitions.

The property also offers the following amenities and facilities for disabled guests:

  • Emergency cords in bathrooms
  • Lower bathroom sinks
  • Wheelchair accessible areas
  • Upper floors accessible by elevator
  • Special diet menus can be arranged on request

>> CLICK HERE TO BOOK


Grecotel Marine Palace & Aqua Park

  • Location: Seaside village of Panormos, Rethymnon region.
Crete for People with Disabilities
Courtesy of the property.

Located in the tranquil seaside village of Panormos, in the region of Rethymnon, this is another accessible hotel that’s also pet-friendly. It offers units with air conditioning, a TV and a fridge, or a kitchenette. There is also a spa center available.

The property also offers the following services and facilities for disabled guests:

  • Emergency cords in bathrooms
  • Wheelchair accessible areas
  • Entire units wheelchair accessible
  • Upper floors accessible by elevator
  • Pet-friendly property

>> CLICK HERE TO BOOK


Many Cretan Beaches Offer Independent Water Access Equipment

Swimming pools won’t be your only option for a dip in Crete. A new Panhellenic project named SEATRAC offers an automatic ramp and chair that brings you safely into the water and is available on several beaches around the island.

If you haven’t heard of the system, think of a movable chair that slowly moves you into deep water. You use it with a remote controller, which you can find at a nearby venue, usually a cafe or a tavern. 

The best news is that these services are entirely free of charge. If you are a frequent visitor to such beaches, you can even ask for your own remote controller by calling +302610876000 or emailing [email protected].

Crete for people with disabilities - seatrac
SEATRAC in Agia Galini, South Rethymnon.

Once you have the remote, approach the ramp and press the right button for two seconds, and the chair will return to its initial position. Then, align the wheelchair next to the seat and shift yourself to the center of the chair. 

Press the left button for two seconds, and voila! The machine will slowly get you into deeper water where you can unload and swim.

GOOD TO KNOW: SEATRAC comprises a fixed track mechanism in which a wheelchair can be moved in and out of the water. SEATRAC is environmentally friendly, utilizing solar energy as its only power source.

You can currently find this system installed on the beaches of Agioi Apostoloi, Agios Onoufrios, and Marathi around Chania.

On the other hand, if you’re staying in Heraklion or Hersonissos, you will find it on the nearby coast of Ligaria. Finally, Plakias and Agia Galini will be your primary choices in the Rethymno region.

Crete for People with Disabilities
(Photo via SEATRAC).

As you can see, no matter where you are in Crete, wheelchair-accessible beaches are always within a few minutes’ drive.

More often than not, they include additional amenities such as beach tracks, specialized restrooms, dedicated parking, and even shower facilities for people with mobility issues.

Crete for People with Disabilities
Crete for people with disabilities.

So, if you consider Greece your next destination, I urge you to give Crete a chance.

The island may not be fully accessible for those on wheelchairs, but considering the terrain and recent advancements, it can surprise you positively. Crete for disabled tourists can and will be a blast. You only have to try.

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.
  • My personalized consultation calls assisted countless travelers in crafting the perfect Crete experience. Please email me your anticipated travel dates to turn your Crete dreams into reality!

Don’t forget travel insurance!

Although Crete is a safe destination, getting travel insurance is like having a safety net for your adventures. 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 ultimate 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 for an unforgettable experience.

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:

More useful travel resources

  • Check out all the digital travel guides I’ve specifically written about Crete. They are affordable and practical to check from your mobile.
  • Find convenient ferry tickets with Ferryhopper.
  • Welcome Pickups offers a convenient pre-paid airport transfer service, while Discover Cars is my favorite engine for finding a rental car on the island.
  • To book adventures, tours, and cultural experiences, I recommend Get Your Guide for its flexible cancellation policy.
Crete for People with Disabilities

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 Travel Guide to Crete for People with Disabilities

Crete for People with Disabilities

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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