The island of Crete has three airports, a small one in Sitia, an international airport in Chania, and Crete’s main airport in Heraklion. Many people fly into Heraklion from other European cities, while many travelers coming from Athens also land in Crete’s capital. If you’re one of them, this article will show you how to get from Heraklion to Chania.
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How to get from Heraklion to Chania
Whether you plane lands in Heraklion or your ferry docks in Crete’s capital main port, you can easily reach Chania with any of the following methods described below. Being both cities on the northern coast of the island, the trip is pretty straight forward, no matter what travel method you choose. Let’s see now how to get from Heraklion to Chania and all the transport options you have.
Arriving at Heraklion
Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport is located under 10 minutes away from the center of Heraklion (about 6 km), while the Ferry Port of Heraklion is about 5 minutes from the center of town.
Many tourists landing in Heraklion choose to spend their holidays in Chania, a region home to some of Crete’s best beaches. While Heraklion is in the center of the island, Chania is located to the west, about 140 kilometers from the airport of Heraklion.
The most important road on Crete, the National Road, runs along the north coast, connecting the easternmost city of Sitia, to the western city of Kissamos. No matter what transport method you choose, this is the road you need to take so as to reach Chania from Heraklion. And the length of the trip will mostly depend on how you decide to get there. These are your options:
Before you make up your mind…
Depending on your budget, but also on your travel style and likes, you can get to Chania from Heraklion either with public transport or with a private car. Taxis are probably the most expensive way to get there while renting your own car can prove a cost-effective solution since it will also let you explore the rest of Crete at your own pace and without trusting on buses and schedules.
Bear in mind, that bus travel is really easy when it comes to reaching cities and villages on the north coast of the island while getting to popular places in the south, such as Elafonisi, Loutro, Preveli, Matala, Ierapetra, or Plakias can be more difficult.
Oftentimes there are no buses connecting smaller villages, and a car becomes indispensable unless you have an unlimited budget to spend on taxis.
When it comes to buses, remember that services don’t often run very late at night or very early in the morning, so don’t forget to plan accordingly and always check this website for further accurate information.
How to get from Heraklion to Chania by bus
One of the most cost-effective ways to get to Chania from Heraklion is to get the bus. It leaves hourly from Heraklion’s Central Bus A (New building – Efesou Street). The station is just a few meters from the port.
The bus connecting the Airport of Heraklion with the Central Bus Station leaves you right behind the Station. It’s a frequent, convenient service (the bus has ample space for luggage), and the ticket is under €2.
Once there, head to Heraklion’s Bus Station ticket office to purchase your ticket to Chania.
There are buses covering the Heraklion-Chania route every hour, this frequency can increase during the high season, depending on the demand. The service is reliable and quite affordable. A ticket Heraklion-Chania is €15.10 one way. Buses usually depart on the hour, and always keep your ticket with you during the whole trip since ticket controls on the bus are not rare.
Buses from Heraklion to Chania leave every hour, starting from 5.30 in the morning. The last bus departs every night at 9 pm. According to the official website, the trip is 2 hours and 45 minutes, however, it can be up to 3 hours with heavy traffic (sometimes even more, especially in summer).
The bus makes a few stops along the way, being the city of Rethymnon the most important one. During the stop, you’re not allowed to leave the bus for long (always ask the driver first if you need to get off the bus).
Those traveling with plenty of time and a flexible schedule can easily stop in Rethymnon for an afternoon or a couple of days, and then continue their trip to Chania. Always check with the controller on the bus or at Heraklion’s Bust Station (before your departure) whether your ticket will still be valid or if you need to buy a new one.
Traveling with a pet: Traveling by bus with your pet, according to the official website of the bus company, the itineraries on which two escort animals are accepted within the passengers’ area are the ones departing at 5:30, 09:30, 11:30, 14:30, 17:30, and 21:30.
Luggage restrictions: Passenger luggage must be placed in the luggage compartment of the bus. Each passenger can carry 2 pieces of luggage for free. There is an extra charge for every extra piece of luggage. Small pieces (hand luggage, backpacks, etc.) can be taken on the bus but must be placed in the special luggage racks inside the bus.
WiFi: All buses offer a free wi-fi network service, powered by external GSM antennas and advanced free wi-fi routers. There is free wi-fi access inside the bus stations as well.
Discounts: Discounted rates are available for students, families with more than 3 children get a 50% discount on all routes. People with disabilities have the same discount. Infants until 6 years old travel free of charge. Credit cards and debit cards are accepted to pay all tickets.
Refunds: In case you pay a ticket and you don’t travel, the company gives the passenger a 70% refund of the ticket price or a refund of 50% in case of a cancellation within 8 hours before departure time.
More info: Information for passengers is available daily from early morning to late at night on the phone 2810-246530. You can also call to learn about the timetable calling this number 2810-245020 with an answering machine 24 hours a day.
How to get from Heraklion to Chania by taxi
It’s also possible to reach Chania from Heraklion with a taxi. You can take the taxi at the Airport of Heraklion or at the Port of Heraklion.
The 140-km trip can take about 2 hours (always depending on the traffic and the season), and the ride can cost anything from 180 to 200 euros.
It is always advisable to discuss and agree on the price with the driver before you get into the taxi. Taxis are a good way to get to Chania if you arrive late at night, when there’s no bus service available, or when sharing the cost with other travelers.
Remember that it’s not odd for taxi drivers to charge an extra fee for night rides.
How to get from Heraklion to Chania with a private pre-booked transfer
Pre-booked transfers are always more convenient than taxis since you can arrange the price beforehand and book online before your trip.
A driver will be waiting for you at the port or at the airport and will take care of your luggage. Since everything will be arranged before the trip, you won’t need to bargain for the price.
Prices can go from 150 to 180 depending on the company and the number of passengers. Please check before hiring the service since the number of passengers inside a car might vary this season due to Covid-19 restrictions. If you want to save a few euros, check this service, it’s really convenient.
For your own peace of mind, it’s also a good idea to book the return trip in case you’re flying out of Crete also from Heraklion Airport.
How to get from Heraklion to Chania by car
Hiring a car if probably the best way to get from Heraklion to Chania. Driving will allow you to stop all the times you want, and to reach Chania at your own pace.
I’ve written a complete guide with tips and suggestions about car rental and driving in Crete. Don’t forget to check it before making up your mind.
Driving from Heraklion to Chania is quite straight forward. You will be driving along the National Road for about 2 hours. And of course, you can make a stop not only in Rethymnon but at any other village you find on the way.
A note on fuel: Most gas stations close at 7 pm but there are some others that usually stay open much later, especially the ones located on the highway. Ask the locals for information.
Some stations accept credit cards but it’s always a wise idea to have some cash with you, just in case. There’s no self-service option in Crete, Staff will fill your vehicle and you will pay either him or inside the shop.
Remember: Unfortunately, you cannot buy fuel with your credit card automatically once the station is closed.
Experts say that…
- Lead-free petrol can be found everywhere.
- Regular unleaded petrol has an octane rating of 91 or 92 while the octane rating of super is 96 or 98.
- Unleaded super petrol has an octane rating of 95.
Are you ready to explore Crete? It can be the trip of your lifetime. Get in touch if you need extra help to plan your itinerary and join our Crete Travel Group on Facebook. Or check this guide if you’re touring West Crete. You’ll find detailed info about where to go, what to see, where to eat, and more!
Coming to Crete any time soon? These fantastic resources will help you organize the trip!
- Start by heading right to my post with helpful tips to plan a trip to Crete, which goes over every detail you need to know, from when it’s best to travel to what documents you need, or how to get a SIM card. You can also check my post to plan a Crete trip with kids!
- Probably, you’re also planning to spend some time at the beach on the island. Check my guide to the best beaches in Crete to choose the one you like the most. Read this article to decide what area suits best to stay in Crete, or check this post is you still don’t know all the things you can do in Crete.
- Finally, to have updated information about the island, join my private group on Facebook about Crete and download a copy of my West Crete Travel Guide to have it always with you on the island!
Finally, make sure you’ve got everything you for a hassle-free trip!
- I never move around the island with any of these… my Osprey backpack has been the most loyal travel partner over the last 5 years. It’s sturdy, light, roomy, and super comfortable! I just love it. To visit the old town, archaeological sites, and museums, this little crossbody bag is always around.
- When driving around Crete, I always pack my Michelin map, clear, accurate, and easy to read and my Nikon D7200, I’m lost without any of them. In summer I also carry good sunscreen lotion, the sun on the island can be pretty aggressive.
- Greece, and especially Crete, is a fairly safe destination, however, I’m sure you know that it’s always better to travel with an insurance policy for complete peace of mind. My favorite? World Nomads. Already left home? Buy your travel insurance online now!
- Always bring with you a good travel guide to Crete! The best Crete Travel Guide I’ve found so far is the one published by Lonely Planet. It has all the information you need.
- Airfares to Crete can vary immensely from one airline to the other, make sure you always compare ticket prices with a powerful search engine. Getting to Crete can be really comfortable with an airplane, but nothing beats the romantic experience of traveling by sea. I always choose Direct Ferries to visit other Greek islands or to travel directly to Crete from Athens. It has a powerful search engine to get the right ticket you need!
- If I need to book accommodation in Crete or anywhere else, I personally use Booking.com. Their Genius Loyalty Programme allows me to find better fees. As they say, the more you stay with them, the more rewards you get.
- Road trips in Crete are the most authentic way to explore the island. Find the cheapest rental car using a good car rental search engine. Discover Cars searches over 500 trusted rental companies for you to find the best deal. Compare prices for rental cars in Crete here.
- Sometimes, the best way to get to know a place better and make the most of your time on Crete is to join an organized tour. GetYourGuide has a great selection of proposals that help you save time and money. From cooking lessons to archaeological site tours, skip-the-line attractions, and even airport transfer!
Do you have everything you need? Then you just have to get ready to discover Crete, Greece’s most beautiful island!
- Further reading
If you would like to learn everything about the practical aspects of planning a trip to Crete, you should also check what to pack for a road trip around Crete and this crazy useful guide to renting a car and driving on the island. This 3-week-in-Crete itinerary is super flexible and can be adapted for less (or even more) time on the island. However, you might already know that the island is quite big, and it’s not always easy to decide which region to visit or where to stay. I’ve written a post about the best regions to stay in Crete according to your interests and travel style, and it’s a must-read before your trip.
Once on the island, make sure you check some of the best archaeological sites in Crete as well as the stunning Balos Beach, on the western coast. Make some time to discover Crete’s beautiful monasteries and to taste the most delicious street food in Chania while exploring the Turkish district in the old town!
How are you planning to get from Heraklion to Chania this season?
Let me know in the comments below!
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About the Author
Hola! I’m Gabi. Welcome to The Tiny Book – Crete Travel Blog! I moved to Crete to explore the island all year round. I love taking pictures and driving on the mountain roads of Crete. I’m a beach freak and on this island I’ve found heaven on earth!