Crete can be thought of as a large island or a small continent. In this section, we have compiled the most useful information for the island of Crete that will prove useful to visitors before – or during – their stay here.
Crete has an average of 300 days of sunshine a year – one of the best climates in Europe. Overall, the greater part of the island has a temperate Mediterranean climate, although the winter brings snow on the mountains. Broadly speaking, winters in Crete are relatively mild, and spring, autumn and summer are sunny and warm, with summer having the highest temperatures. The period of rainfall is concentrated between autumn until spring, highest at the west of the island, lessening as one goes east. The prevailing winds are westerly; in the summer, a wind from the north, the “meltemi”, can bring a much-appreciated coolness – and ideal conditions for surfing. At the same time, in the summer – and less frequently winter months – the Livas (a southerly wind from the African continent) can bring hot blasts and sand!
Shopping in Crete matches the schedule for Greece generally that is 9:00 am – 2:30 pm and 5:30 pm – 8:30 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 9:00 am – 3:00 pm for the rest of the days, excluding Sunday. However, ‘tourist’ shops may remain open 7 days a week (and even on holidays), sometimes until late at night, especially during the peak summer season.
Visitors that may require medical attention during their stay will find hospitals in all the large cities (see below), and Medical Centers in the following villages:
Heraklion Region Medical Centers
- Agia Varvara: 28943-40100
- Arkalochori: 28913-40200, 28910-23013, 28910-23035
- Harakas: 28933-40000
- Ano Viannos: 28953-40000
- Kasteli: 28913-40000
- Mires: 28923-40100, 28920-23312
Chania Region Medical Centers
- Vamos: 28253-40401, 28253-40402, 28253-40403
- Kissamos: 28223-40100
- Kantanos: 28233-40000
Rethymno Region Medical Centers
- Anogia: 28340-31208
- Agia Fotini: 28333-40000 έως 28333-40011
- Spili: 28323-40011, 28320-22222
- Perama: 28343-40000
Lassithi Region Medical Centers
- Ierapetra: 28423-40122
- Sitia: 28433-40100
- Tzermiado: 28443-40000, 28440-22602
- Neapoli: 28413-40801, 28410-90830
How to get to Crete
Crete is connected with the rest of Greece by air (Aegean, Olympic Air, Skyexpress) and by boat (Minoan Lines, Anek Lines, Superfast, Hellenic Seaways). The island has two international airports in Heraklion and Chania and a national airport in Sitia with connections to other transport hubs in Greece. Chania airport is 12 km from the city of Chania and 68 km from the town of Rethymno. The airport of Heraklion is only 5 km from the city of Heraklion and 65 km from Agios Nikolaos. A new airport is currently under construction near Kastelli in Heraklion.
Similarly, the two major ports of the island are also in Chania and Heraklion, with four smaller ones in Kissamos, Rethymno, Agios Nikolaos and Sitia. During the summer season, (between Easter and late October) there are frequent flights between Crete and numerous cities inside and outside Europe. For budget flights, visitors can consider the Ryanair (to Chania) and Easyjet (Heraklion) routes or search online for other charter companies. From within Greece, in addition to Aegean Airlines and Olympic Airways, it is worth looking at the timetables and routes offered by Sky express. Whatever you choose, remember that an early booking can bring substantial reductions in costs.
Getting Around the Island
In Crete, there are two main bus companies. These bus routes carry the name KTEL, both on the island of Crete and elsewhere in Greece. For the centre and east part of the island, you need KTEL Heraklion-Lasithi and for the west, KTEL Chania-Rethymnon. The two companies work in tandem, so one can purchase a ticket that crosses their nominal border. Tickets can be purchased at the main bus terminals or kiosks and sometimes after boarding the bus.
The websites of the companies provide the main and local timetables but it is always worth checking by phone, especially for the shorter and less popular routes that have only one or two buses a day. Inevitably the buses cannot cover every village, landmark and beach on the island! So for that sort of flexibility and in order to be able to explore fully with no time constraints, it is better to travel by rented car. In all major cities – and some villages – you will encounter car-rental companies for your needs. Of course, tourist resorts and airports also offer various car rental options.
Main Bus station in Chania
Kydonias & Kelaidi Str.
Tel.: 28210 93052
Main Bus station in Rethymno
Tel: 28310 22212
Main Bus station in Heraklion
Tel: 2810 246530, 245020
Other Cities – timetable information
Agios Nikolaos, Tel: 28410 22234
Sitia, Tel: 28430 22272
Ierapetra, Tel: 28420 28237
Useful Phone numbers
Useful telephone numbers in the main cities of Crete are listed below
- Heraklion Airport: +30 2810 397800
- Heraklion Port Police: +30 2810 244912
- Olympic Air: +30 2810 288073
- Aegeanair: +30 2810 330475
- Minoan lines: +30 801 1175000
- ANEK lines: +30 2810 222481
- Taxi: +30 2810 210102, +30 2810 361362, +30 2810 211212
- Touristic Police: +30 2810 283190
- Traffic Police: +30 2810 247790
- General University Hospital of Heraklion: +30 2810 392111, +30 2813 402111
- Venizeleio Hospital: +30 2810 368000, +30 2810 408000
- Chania Airport: +30 28210 63171
- Souda Port Police: +30 28210 89240
- Olympic Air: +30 28210 53760
- Aegean: +30 28210 63366
- ANEK lines: +30 28210 27500
- Hellenic Seaways: +30 28210 75444
- Aneldyk: +30 28210 95511
- Taxi: +30 28210 94300, +30 28210 98700
- Tourist Police in Chania: +30 28210 25930
- Traffic Police in Chania: +30 28210 25903-5
- Hospital in Chania: +30 28210 22000-9
- Rethymno Port Police: +30 28310 22276
- Olympic Air: +30 28310 22257
- ANEK lines: +30 28310 29874
- Taxi Companies in Rethymno: +30 28310 24316, +30 2810 25000
- Tourist Police in Rethymno: +30 28310 28156
- Traffic Police in Rethymno: +30 28310 22589
- Hospital in Rethymno: +30 28310 87100, +30 28313 42100
- Agios Nikolaos Port Police: +30 28410 22312
- Olympic Air: +30 28410 28929
- Taxi Companies in Agios Nikolaos: +30 28410 24000
- Tourist Police in Agios Nikolaos: +30 28410 91409
- Traffic Police in Agios Nikolaos: +30 28410 91423
- Hospital in Agios Nikolaos: +30 28413 43000, +30 28410 66000
Mountaineering Clubs in Crete
Below you will find useful phone & contact details for associations in Crete that are involved with nature, outdoor activities and other adventures on the island.
Heraklion Mountaineering Club
Address: 53, Dikeosinis Str.
Tel.: +30 2810 227 609
Contact/Visiting Hours: Monday to Friday, 20:30 to 22:30
Chania Mountaineering Club
Address: 90, Tzanakaki Str.
Tel.: +30 28210 44647
Fax: +30 28210 54903
Contact/Visiting Hours: Monday to Friday, 21:00 to 23:00
Rethymno Mountaineering Club
Address: 12, Dimokratias Str.
Tel.: +30 28310 57766
Fax: +30 28310 57766
Heraklion Hiking Club
Address: 25, Averof Str.
Tel.: +30 2810344588
Contact/Visiting Hours: 20:00 to 22:00
Naturalist Club of Heraklion
Address: 46, Kornarou Square, 1st floor
Tel.: +30 2810 224667
Contact/Visiting Hours: Monday to Friday, 19:00 to 22:00