Crete Road Trips

south Rethymno coast

If you are looking for a great road trip destination, look no further than Crete island.

Combining mountainous and coastal terrain, wild beaches and shallow bays, quaint villages and world-renowned gorges, Crete is a paradise for nature lovers and adventurous souls. Pack the car, or why not even a van, and head to the most remote and stunning locations that will captivate you and make you wish summer never ended. Whether you are after a long multi-day road trip around Crete island, or somewhere to escape to for a day or two during your summer holidays, this section will offer you advice, tips, and information on where to go and what to see.

Most of the routes in this section are designed to be made by car, motorcycle, or for the adventurous, even by bicycle. They can serve as basic guidelines for visitors who wish to get to know Crete more intimately over a longer period. It should be noted, however, that in some cases it is not possible to complete a route within one day, due to the complex terrain of the island. This is true especially if you wish to see all points of interest presented in each route, in which case multiple stops and delays will have to be taken into consideration.

From Chania to Lassithi, and Heraklion to Rethymno, there are options regardless of your starting location. Visitors arriving in Chania and interested in the beaches, will not want to skip the Kasteli-Elos-Elafonissi-Falassarna route and meet the unique ecosystems of Western Crete.

Just like in the rest of Greece, people in Crete drive on the right side of the road. The speed limits may also be lower than expected (90 km on the highway) but there is good reason to adhere to them and not just to avoid legal issues. Narrow roads, confident locals and international tourists all need to co-exist peacefully, which means staying alert and cautious. Road signs can also often be hard to read or be riddled with bullet holes so a GPS navigation system will be useful.

Overall, the idea that Crete poses a challenge on driving depends is not entirely true and depends primarily on your previous driving experiences. If you stick to the main roads and cities, it is no different than any other place.

Choose below the region you wish to explore.

Lassithi Road Trip: Ierapetra – Myrtos – Viannos – Keratokampos

Lassithi Road Trip: Ierapetra – Myrtos – Viannos – Keratokampos

The route crosses the coastal front of the area of ​​Viannos, passing through small seaside settlements with mild tourist development, ideal for quiet holidays in Crete. Then it crosses through semi-mountainous settlements rich in history and beautiful nature. Ideally, the route suggested should be followed in sections, as a guide for exploring the area, with overnight stays at each place. Ierapetra – Myrtos – Kato Symi This route passes through areas with many greenhouses and leads to Myrtos, a picturesque…

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Heraklion Road Trip: Heraklion – Krousonas – Zaros

Heraklion Road Trip: Heraklion – Krousonas – Zaros

The route develops along the eastern and southern fringes of Psiloritis and passes through picturesque villages, archaeological sites, Byzantine churches and places of special natural beauty. At the same time, it offers the possibility of many detours and hiking routes and therefore can be used as a guide for exploring the surrounding area. For those who want to see everything suggested in this guide, it is best to dedicate at least a few days. Starting from Heraklion we follow the…

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Heraklion Road Trip: Houdetsi – Profitis Ilίas – Venerato – Dafnes

Heraklion Road Trip: Houdetsi – Profitis Ilίas – Venerato – Dafnes

Houdetsi is a well-hidden village on the slope of a beautiful valley. South of the village a hilly landscape with vast vineyards opens up towards the south of the inland area of the Prefecture of Heraklion. This is a short and enjoyable road trip through various villages and wine-growing regions in Heraklion. Houdetsi – Metaxochori – Made – Voria Following the main road south of the village of Houdetsi, we stop at the Epanosifi Monastery, one of the richest and…

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Heraklion Road Trip: Heraklion – Archanes – Peza – Houdetsi

Heraklion Road Trip: Heraklion – Archanes – Peza – Houdetsi

Heraklion – Knossos – Spilia – Archanes Beginning at the exit of the city of Heraklion, we take the Knossos Avenue (Leofóros Knossoú) and reach the archaeological site of Knossos. Not far from the Palace, other important Minoan monuments are to be found, such as the Royal Villa, the Little Palace, the Caravanserai, the House of the High Priest, the Temple Tomb and the Roman Villa of Dionysus. The Minoans were very skilled vine-growers and winemakers, and they traded wine…

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Lassithi Road Trip: Sitia – Ziros – Zakros – Palekastro

Lassithi Road Trip: Sitia – Ziros – Zakros – Palekastro

This route passes through the most beautiful landscapes of eastern Crete, breathtaking beaches, notable archaeological sites and one of the most well-known monasteries of Crete. In order to visit all these sights, it is advisable to divide the route into different parts. The region of Sitia seems quite different from the rest of Crete, given its characteristic off-the-beaten-track quality. According to archaeologists, Sitίa once was “the ancient gate to the Orient”. It is believed that all the great, ancient civilizations…

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Lassithi Road Trip: Agios Nikolaos – Selakano – Kritsa

Lassithi Road Trip: Agios Nikolaos – Selakano – Kritsa

This road trip route in the eastern region of Crete passes through a verdant landscape with interesting morphological diversity. You will get the chance to see traditional villages, an extended pine forest and one of the most beautiful plateaus of Crete. Hiking enthusiasts will find ample opportunities for short and long hikes in the area. Agios Nikolaos – Kalamafka – Males – Selakano We set off from the picturesque town of Agios Nikolaos, following the coastal road to Istron. From…

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Lassithi Road Trip: Hersonissos – Avdou – Lasithi Plateau – Vrahasi

Lassithi Road Trip: Hersonissos – Avdou – Lasithi Plateau – Vrahasi

This route passes through picturesque villages and the Lassithi Plateau, which is the largest of Crete island. It is also famous for its characteristic windmills and the Dictaean Cave, where the Olympian Greek god Zeus is said to have been born. Starting from Hersonissos, we take the road that leads towards Kasteli. We pass by a golf course on our right and then continue on the road that goes to Avdou in an easterly direction. We drive through the beautiful…

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Heraklion Road Trip: Gouves – Kastelli – Episkopi – Knossos Palace

Heraklion Road Trip: Gouves – Kastelli – Episkopi – Knossos Palace

This route links some of the most significant sights in the Heraklion prefecture and passes through traditional settlements, vineyards, and historical monasteries. It is a fairly easy and gentle route. However, museums and other sights demand quite a lot of time; therefore, one may choose to break it down so there is enough time to see them individually. This route begins at Thalassokosmos, the largest aquarium in the Eastern Mediterranean, which is located at the coastal settlement of Gournes, east…

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Heraklion Road Trip: Asterousia Mountain Range

Heraklion Road Trip: Asterousia Mountain Range

This road trip connects the most important points of interest in the region of Asterousia, such as archaeological sites, settlements, gorges and beaches. You can choose to follow whichever parts of the route you find most interesting. It should be noted, though, that the roads which climb up the slopes of the mountain range usually twist and turn, and in some cases, they are not paved or require a 4×4 vehicle. Vori – Phaestos – Hodegetria Monastery – Kali Limenes…

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Rethymno Road Trip: Panormo – Milopotamos – Nida

Rethymno Road Trip: Panormo – Milopotamos – Nida

This is a route for those who wish to get to know the historical Idi (Psiloritis) massif. Here, according to Greek mythology, the Olympian god Zeus was born. During this route, you will discover the most significant settlements and areas of historical and archaeological interest and explore stunning landscapes, and sites of ancient civilizations. In the Psiloritis massif area, there are several villages which have been living in more or less the same way for thousands of years now. They…

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Rethymno Road Trip: Rethymno – Arkadi – Amari

Rethymno Road Trip: Rethymno – Arkadi – Amari

This route is specially designed for nature and history enthusiasts. It connects important archaeological sites, historical and ecclesiastical monuments and traditional villages, and it passes through a verdant landscape where one can also organize various hikes. Following the old national road from Rethymno in an easterly direction, we reach Adele. We then pass through a beautiful agricultural area where the scenery is dominated by traditional olive groves, interspersed with several small valleys with groups of cypresses. Before we reach Perama…

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Rethymno Road Trip: Rethymno – Plakias – Frangokastello

Rethymno Road Trip: Rethymno – Plakias – Frangokastello

This route crosses through the Rethymno Prefecture, via one of the most imposing gorges of Crete. Along the way, you will have the chance to explore some of the most beautiful and famous beaches of southern Crete and visit sites of rich historical and archaeological interest. Following the road south, from Rethymno towards Spili, we make our first stop at Armeni, to visit a cemetery of the Late Minoan period, at the location of Prinokefala. Excavations here have unearthed more…

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Chania Road Trip: Frangokastello – Sfakia – Askifou – Vamos

Chania Road Trip: Frangokastello – Sfakia – Askifou – Vamos

This route passes through the most impressive landscapes of the area of Sfakia and offers many alternatives for hiking excursions. It passes by several historical sites and other locations that are worth visiting and ends up at the area of Apokoronas. It is essentially one of the primary routes for those who wish to explore the surrounding areas. In order to make the best of this complex route, which has numerous points of interest and it is characterized by fascinating…

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Chania Road Trip: Chania – Therisso – Omalos – Sougia

Chania Road Trip: Chania – Therisso – Omalos – Sougia

This route passes through historical villages, natural monuments of outstanding beauty, ancient towns, and then ends up at the coastal settlement of Sougia, which can serve as the starting point for exploring the southern coast of western Crete. Since the route is characterized by great historical and natural wealth, and the degree of difficulty is significant due to the geomorphology of the region, it is preferable to split it into several parts. Chania – Therisso – Meskla – Fournes We…

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Chania Road Trip: Kolimbari – Kandanos – Paleochora

Chania Road Trip: Kolimbari – Kandanos – Paleochora

This route begins in Kolimbari and ends up at Paleochora, one of the most beautiful coastal towns of Crete. Paleochora is an ideal base for your excursions to southwestern Crete or a place to simply relax and enjoy the holidays. The picturesque coastal settlement of Kolimbari is located at the western end of the bay of Chania; at a short distance south of it, there is the Monastery of Panagia Hodegetria Gonia. It is one of the largest and best-preserved…

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Chania Road Trip: Kasteli – Elos – Elafonissi – Falassarna

Chania Road Trip: Kasteli – Elos – Elafonissi – Falassarna

The route between Kasteli and Falassarna connects some of the most beautiful beaches of western Crete and reveals unique ecosystems and picturesque villages to the visitor. Kasteli – Elos – Elafonissi We begin at Kasteli, the westernmost town of the island, and follow the road that leads to Topolia. A little to the south of the village and somewhat lower than the road level, the entrance to the gorge of Topolia, which is worth a visit, can be seen. The…

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