Are you getting ready to tour Crete with your car? That’s awesome news! You’ll have the time of your life and discover some unique hidden spots that you wouldn’t be able to see traveling by bus. Now, it’s time to plan your bag, let’s see what essentials you need to pack for a road trip in Crete! Ready? Great, let’s go!
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Last-minute plans? Check these top picks
Book your ferry tickets in advance at the lowest price, with no hidden fees or extra costs.
Where to stay in Crete
For a boutique experience, Casa Delfino in Chania or Avli in Rethymnon. Mrs. and Mr. White (affordable luxury) is a gorgeous resort near Chania. Budget? Check Archipelagos in Rethymnon. Hostel type? The best ones are So Young in Heraklion and Cocoon City in Chania.
Top-rated tours in Crete
Boat Cruise to Balos Lagoon from Kissamos (Bestselling tour from US$ 29.65).
Samaria Gorge Trek: Full-Day from Rethymno (Another best-seller, from US$ 36.73).
Day Trip to Elafonisi Island from Chania (From US$ 41).
Knossos Palace: E-Ticket & Audio Tour (Check Knossos at your own pace, from US$ 19.34).
Touring Crete by car?
I use both Discover Cars and Rentalcars.com to reach places where my old jalopy won’t take me.
I’m obsessed with Transferwise! The best online money transfer service: Ridiculously low fees to exchange currency and debit cards accepted all over Greece.
Are you covered?
It’s always better to have travel insurance. Check quotes on World Nomads.
Three items you need in Crete
Don’t forget your daypack for beach days and excursions. Add a good map, the Lonely Planet Guide, or get a copy of my own guide to West Crete!
Getting ready for a road trip in Crete
Touring the island by car is my absolute favorite way to travel. I simply love traveling around Crete by car. It’s the best way to discover places that I would have never seen had I been sitting on a bus. To make your Crete road trip as comfortable as possible, add these items to your road trip packing list.
Remember, some of the things on the list can be bought on the island. But more often than not, you will need to pay a bit more. It’s a good idea to buy some of these items in advance so as to save money, but also to be sure you’re getting with you exactly what you want. On the other hand, many items are not easily available in Greece, so gather all you need beforehand whenever you can!
Road trip essentials
Car Documents you need to have with you all the time:
– Passport, driver’s license, and car documents.
– Copy of your car rental contract and insurance policy.
– Copy of road assistance number in case of emergency, this number should be provided by your car rental company, have it always at hand together with your driver’s license.
– Road emergency kit. Always ask the car rental company if they provide for it.
– Spare tire, car manual, and chains for snow (if you travel in winter). Not every rental company is going to provide for these, but it’s good to know that you have them because you might need them. Always check the state of your tires before setting on a road trip.
–If you’re traveling with kids, always ask for a seat according to your kid’s age and weight. There are several different categories. Backless boosters are ok for kids over 8 years old.
Most car rental companies require you to pay extra, don’t hesitate and do it! Ask for the right seat while you’re booking your car so that you’re certain that the seat will be available when you pick the car.
The Mifold grab-and-go Car Booster Seat is a fantastic foldable booster perfect for travel. It’s compact, as safe as a regular booster, and it can be used on the plane too.
Bookings through Airbnb have soared on Crete during the last years, and the trend is here to stay.
>> Check here the best Airbnbs in Crete <<
Key items to keep in your car
For me, these are essential items, they can make a big difference when you least expect it!
- Map of Crete: Traveling around on the island can be a true adventure, especially when your Wi-Fi fails, something quite common on the south coast or when you cross the mountains. This is my favorite map of Crete. I never – never! – travel without it.
- Flashlight: Because you never know when you might need it, a flashlight always comes in handy. This item is essential if you travel at night, if you go camping, or if you’re sleeping in a hostel. Buy something small and handy that you can easily keep in your purse. This is a good travel flashlight and it’s also water-resistant.
- Spare money: Always keep some cash and a little purse with some coins. Although there are no toll roads on Crete, change is always useful to grab a cup of coffee when you make a stop. I also like to have some coins at hand for park meters. A few years ago I bought a rubber purse like this. It’s awesome also to throw in your beach bag because it’s waterproof. It’s super cheap and I love it!
- First Aid Kit: Always pack at least a very essential first aid kid for travel. I usually add to it any medicine I might need, pain killers, and motion sickness relief pills for my vertigo. When traveling with kids add extra bandages!
- Spray for bugs: Mosquitoes can be a pain in the neck in summer on the island. I always keep one of these at hand.
- Notepad and pen: Ok, you might not need this. But I always like to keep notes (they sometimes transform into articles that I publish here!). I also use a notepad to write down new Greek words that I learn, directions that people might give me on the road, or the mileage done in a day.
- My favorite Crete travel guide: This book never stays home!
These are other items that I like to know are sitting inside my trunk everywhere I travel in Crete:
- Big cooler: One of the things I try to pack every time I’m traveling on Crete, is a cooler bag. Especially if I am planning to stop at some remote beach. I normally only keep water, and sometimes fresh fruit. They’re super practical!
- Two items I carry in winter: I always keep a small foldable umbrella and an ice scraper. Remember that winter can be cold and it sometimes snows!
Things to pack for a road trip in Crete to stay connected
- Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot: I bought this item for my first road trip in Crete and it soon became an absolute must. Just add a SIM card (you can buy them in any Vodafone, Cosmote, or WIND store in Crete) and everybody in your car will be connected.
- Charger and cord for the car: My second favorite item, always in my car. I have this one with a double slot because there’s always more than one device that needs to be charged.. Especially when you travel with kids! Don’t forget to add the cord that goes with your device (phone, tablet, Kindle, etc.)
- TomTom: This is the one I use. It was a present from my kids and although I love my paper maps, I must say that TomToms are super comfortable and much faster. This version comes with maps from all over the world. TomToms are easy to use. Just a quick touch and you’re ready to go. But don’t say anything, even though I love it, my map is always in my car too!
- Bluetooth headset: Don’t be tempted to pick up the phone while driving. It’s not just dangerous, but you could receive a high fine too because it’s illegal to talk on your mobile while you drive in Greece. Even with regular headphones! For peace of mind, get a Bluetooth headset. This set is quite convenient if you plan to speak on the phone a lot.
Other electronics I always carry with me:
- Photo gear: I always pack my camera with my 18-300 tele zoom lens which I simply adore and it’s worth every cent spent on it! I sometimes add a 35 mm prime lens too, it depends on where I might be going. If it’s a long trip, I always pack my tripod, a polarizing filter (ideal for Crete’s super sunny days), and a 10-stop ND filter for long exposure pictures. I also include the battery charger, extra SIM cards, and SIM card reader to download pictures on my computer.
- Kindle or good books: I normally carry both. These are some of the books you can find inside my Kindle. I have the old Paperwhite version, but now you can also get the waterproof model, great for the beach and with double storage space!
- USB drives: Never leave without a couple of USB flash drives with good music for the trip.
What to pack for comfort on the road
I came up with a comfort kit, a list of things that, although they are not really essential, they can make your trip really comfortable. These are my go-to things for an unforgettable trip on the road in Crete:
– Travel mug: I love coffee. I drink loads of coffee when I’m home and when I’m on the go too. I love a good cup of hot coffee in winter and can’t live without a glass of iced coffee in summer.
Some coffee chains in Greece (Grigoris is one of them) offer a discount on your coffee if you bring your own travel mug, and it’s also a good practice in order to reduce our waste when traveling.
This is my favorite travel cup. It’s made of bamboo and has a silicone grip that keeps the liquids warm for longer.
I have three of them, my partner has his own too and my kids also have it. My youngest is a tea addict and these travel mugs are also great for tea or juice!
– A wrap or light small blanket: Of course you’re not gonna use it in summer, but it’s always handy when the sun goes down or in spring.
These wraps are fantastic when you stop to visit a church or a monastery, when it gets chilly up in the mountains… or when your partner puts the A/C really high (my case!).
This brand makes my favorite wrapt. It has become a key piece for traveling and it always comes with me.
A sarong or a big scarf work wonders too!
– Towel: I always pack a microfiber towel like this one, they dry super fast and use almost no space. I cannot stress enough how handy they can be. We have several at home and we use them for a road trip and to go to the beach too.
– Reusable water bottle: Water in Crete tastes quite good. For instance, if you hike Samaria gorge you will notice that nobody carries more than just one bottle. Yes, because even if the hike can take up to six hours, everybody refills their bottles in the natural springs of the White Mountains. Having a refillable water bottle is always a good idea when you’re on the road even if you don’t plan to cross Samaria. If you’re shopping for a new bottle, go for one that has a large capacity and that keeps liquids cold for long.
I always carry also: Sunglasses, mint, cereal bars, extra jumper or light sweater, a hat, and sometimes a travel pillow too.
Prepare a comfort toiletry bag with the following essentials
– Antiseptic gel: Hand sanitizer is another necessary item to carry with you. Washing your hands isn’t always possible on the road. Also, add a face mask to this safety kit… well, you know why!
– Sunscreen lotion, lip balm, wipes, a small hairbrush, travel toothbrush and toothpaste.
Comfort on the road with kids
Road trips are awesome adventures for children. They are a great opportunity to learn and discover new places. But kids are kids… and they will eventually get bored if trips are too long.
Make their (and your) life easier packing a small backpack. In it, put all the things they need for a more enjoyable trip.
– Games: There are tons of games out there especially thought for car travel. Personally, we always pack UNO. We usually play UNO on the beach, at the hotel… everywhere! We also love Rory’s Story Cubes (we have two sets) and Spot it. And they’re not just for kids!
– Tablet: Some parents might be against them, but if used smartly and for short periods, they are great for kids to play and read. Don’t forget the cables and chargers! If you have young kids, add a good protective case!
– Travel pillow and blanket: Great for those naps on the road. This set great for smaller children, while this model is perfect for older kids.
– Travel journal: Kids love to keep the memories of their trips and travel journals are a good way to do so. Some journals come with blank pages for kids to draw and glue memories, such as leaves or the ticket to Knossos Palace! Once back home, they can print and stick pictures too.
– Backpack: Gather an extra jumper, their sunglasses, a hat, their favorite snacks, and put everything in a small backpack. Go for a washable model that’s also lightweight. This convenient, no-frills Amazon model is perfect. It’s cheap, easy to clean, and with a compartment for their electronics.
>> If you’re looking for a memorable off-road experience, check these safari tours in Crete <<
Other Essential items to pack for a road trip in Crete
And of course, a few more things you shouldn’t forget:
- Flip flops and swimming suit.
- Hiking sandals or hiking shoes.
- Small, foldable Swiss knife with basic features.
- Plastic bags for any garbage.
- Foldable shopping bag.
Are you ready to explore Greece? It can be the trip of your lifetime. Get in touch if you need extra help to plan your itinerary. If you happen to also tour West Crete, check this guide. You’ll find detailed info about where to go, what to see, where to eat, and more!
Want more? Join my Private Facebook Group to connect with like-minded travelers who love Crete as much as you do!
Coming to Crete any time soon? These resources will help you organize the trip!
Start by reading these helpful tips to plan a trip to Crete, which covers details such as when it’s best to travel, what documents you need, or how to get a SIM card. Check family holidays in Crete if you travel with kids.
To visit Crete’s heavenly beaches, check my guide to the best beaches in Crete. Discover what region is best to stay or check what things you can do in Crete.
For updated information about the island, join my private group on Facebook, or get my West Crete Guide!
Finally, make sure you’ve got everything you for a hassle-free trip!
I never move around Crete without my Osprey backpack, a sturdy, light, roomy, and super comfortable travel partner I just love. To visit villages, sites, and museums instead, I carry this little crossbody bag.
When driving around, I pack my Crete Michelin map and my Nikon D7200. In Summer I also carry good sunscreen lotion, the sun on the island can be pretty aggressive.
Airfares to Crete can change from one airline to the other, make sure to compare prices with a powerful search engine. Planes are fast, but nothing like the romantic experience of traveling by sea in Greece. With Ferry Hopper, you can book your ferry tickets in advance at the lowest price.
If I need to book accommodation, I personally use different search engines. Booking.com
and Hotels.com are my go-to options.
Sometimes, the best way to make the most of your time on Crete is to join an organized tour. GetYourGuide has top-rated tours to save time and money. From cooking lessons to archaeological site tours, skip-the-line attractions, and airport transfer!
Do you have everything you need? Then you just have to get ready to discover Crete, Greece’s most beautiful island!
Check these articles written especially for you!
If you’re curious about traveling on Crete and all the things you can do on the island, check the 50 unmissable things to do in Crete. For a better way to discover all those things, simply head to the 3-week itinerary on Crete, it can be easily adapted for 2 or even just 1 week on the island. Those wanting to explore more the Rethymnon region, it would be a great idea to check the best things to do in Rethymnon or to discover one of the best day trips in Rethymnon: Arkadi Monastery. If road trips are your thing, then check out this stunning day trip around the Lasithi Plateau, in East Crete, it tells you all you can do in the area.
Matala makes a great road trip if you’re staying in Heraklion, so why not check all the things to do in Matala? On your way there, don’t overlook the beautiful villages in Crete you could discover. Heraklion is known for being the capital of the island, but also for hosting Crete’s most important archaeological site, the wonderful Knossos Palace.
Are you touring Crete by car any time soon?
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!
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