If you decide to rent a car and go exploring Crete, you will certainly feel the immense pleasure that this adventure is offering.

Driving on Crete can seem to you a little heavy, but if you drive carefully, respecting the signs and speed limit, there shouldn’t be problematic situations.

Advantage of driving car on Crete: Advantage of driving car on Crete is immeasurable, you’ll see many interesting things, meet lovely people, get to the places that you have never even dream of.. It seems to me that exploring Crete really change people, for the better in every sense.

Before this adventure, you should read some information about roads and unwritten rules of driving on the Island.

Highway National Road: Highway, known as National Road, has 4 lanes, 2 in each direction, separated in some way (with grass, metal fence…). Every year, they are working on improving quality of roads and extending them.



Thus, the wider road is built on the Messar area, in the direction from Heraklion (north) to Matala and further to Timbaki, Kokkinos Pirgos (the south of island). There are, inter alia, archaeological excavations of ancient cities Festos and Gortyna.

Drive on the south side of Crete

Far from the north coast, situation is changing radically, and roads are narrow and can have vast curves and serpentines.

If you want to visit the farthest parts (usually approaches to the beach on the south side, monasteries and caves in the mountains – that are usually the most beautiful), then expect gravel. It is important to talk with locals before starting trip on this roads, because some of the parts are approachable only by ATVs.

In some places, for example near Preveli beach, you will leave car on the parking and follow the path by foot, so it is smart to have shoes for walking on rocky.

Crete Sfakia4
Crete Sfakia4

Look on the map how is the road, because traveling on the road with lot of curves and serpentines lasts longer then it is expected when you look at the distance in kilometers. Crete is a mountainous island and you will want to stop and just enjoy the view or suddenly come to some attraction, church, tavern or fellow travelers may have nausea.. consider it while you’re planning the trip.

Unwritten rules for driving on Crete

Drive on the right side. The limits are 50km / h in built-up area – 90 km / h on the highway. You must observe speed limits, not because of the police (I have not seen this for 2 years in Crete), but for your own safety.

– Do not be surprised if on a narrow mountain road before you pick up comes up from some curve (the villagers in the mountains prefer to drive) – be focused, alert and ready when you are driving, especially in the mountains.

– Traffic signs, road signs are in Greek and English and often not very big, so it’s easy to overlook!

– Cretans drive in the auxiliary tray (up to half a car – not all the way to the possibility of landslides in some places), so be careful when stopping. It is best to get off the road if you need to stop unexpectedly.

– There is a huge number of vehicles (families usually have 2 cars) in Crete. The number of cars, seems to me, tripled over the years (rent-a-car). In Heraklion, parking is a big problem – keep that in mind, and if you have the opportunity visit Heraklion by bus.

-It is important not to drive near the left side of your taskbar, to leave room for overtaking.

– Allowed level of alcohol in the blood is 0.5 mg. and the police are not tolerant on this issue, despite the fact that you are a tourist.

– There are radars and they work, especially in places where speed is limited to 40/50 km / h. You will see a visible notice on the existence of a radar on a some part of road ..and the restrictions.

– No pay phones for emergencies, so charge your cell phone.

-When you drive around the town, pay special attention to motorcyclists, scooter, bicycle. Motorcyclists frequently overtake on the right side (instead of left), even if they leave enough room to pass on the left, they will do everything to go round to the right.

– If you see a car in the rearview mirror that dim headlights, it is a sign that a driver who is moving faster than you require to move to the right so they can overtake.

-Locals forget to use signaling (indicator) when intend to change direction or to stop – it means that while driving, turn on your sixth sense, instinct and foresight.

-white solid line may suddenly disappear on the way.

-Especially be careful on Saturday night because a lot of people coming out then, drink a glass more and …

-While driving in the settlements notice a lot of pedestrians on the road. Often there are no paths for pedestrians and they are forced to walk on the road.

-Animals (sheep, goats, dogs, cats …) are frequent participants in traffic. Goats often graze next to the road, so they can be seen in mountainous areas lying on the road (not too much often, but be careful …)

– MANDATORY! Take along 2-3 bottles of water to clear the glass in the car, in the case of  driving on non-asphalted roads, the dust will disturb you while driving. Therefore, in the trunk … a bottle of water and a cloth for cleaning the glass.

– Also it wouldn’t be bad to bring some newspapers or towels or … to protect the interior while the car is standing in the parking lot, because it probably will not all find a parking place in the shade.

National Road: Highway
National Road: Highway

Phones for the emergency service:

Phone for the emergency service 112 and is free. By calling you will get information about the emergency, firefighters, police and coast guard – in English, Greek and French. Help on the road you can look for on 154. Towing services at number 104, call the police 100, 166 ambulance, fire service by dialing 199.

Parking on the island

Parking spaces in cities are charged for example: in Rethymno 1.70 for the first hour, every following +0,30 but in Rethymno there is free public parking near the park … in some places you can buy a parking ticket…). You can often park, as the inhabitants of the island, wherever you want on the street, if you manage to infiltrate the remaining space –  you take the risk, as well as residents.

Roads in Crete

The roads in Crete vary in quality. Major cities are connected by wide highways, smaller settlements have narrow roads, the farthest places – non asphalted road.

North Crete has a wide road E 75 from Agios Nikolaos, over Heraklion to Chania and Rethymno.

Advice for pedestrians

Be careful when crossing the street. If there is no trail for pedestrians, yu will have to walk along the road, especially pay attention to cyclists and motorcyclists.

If you need to cross the road in areas where there is a lot of traffic, for example. Amodara (near Heraklion) Platanias, Agia Marina) in Chania) ... you will look in vain for pedestrian crossing.. it's gone. Now look left and right and go.

On the other hand if there is a pedestrian crossing, do not expect anyone to stop - be careful.

Rent a Car on Crete

Holidays in Crete includes at least one trip.

The trips you can go:

- through the agency, which will recommend a guide (the agency in which you have paid holidays) that waited for you at the airport and take care of your group,

- through some of the many local agencies (usually located around the main promenade)

- directed by the independent bus (local buses are regular, clean, with good ventilation and is affordable)

- renting cars, motorcycles, bicycles from the local Rent a Car agency (which also has a large number, almost on every corner).

- own car, if you came by car

What do you need to rent a car: Required documents: International driver's license and passport.

The car you can take: At the airport, train or bus station or hotel where you are staying.

Rental conditions

  • Driving internship minimum 1 year.
  • Over 21 years ages
  • fuel costs borne by the customer. The client takes the car with a full tank and return it in the same condition
  • Penalties for non-compliance and violations are on the client

Lease period

-Minimum lease is 1 day

-Discount for rentals of 7 days and over

-Every hour over the agreed lease is charged separately

-Services of drivers are charged separately

- Child safety seat is charged separately

-In case of unforeseen conditions the company reserves the right to change the brand of car.

Tips on renting a car

Here are some of my experience when it comes to rent a car in Crete. Note that you still have everything to detailed inquiries in the agency in which you rent a car.

-In August when is so called peak season, as well as renting a car can be more expensive and more difficult to lower the price.

-Ask whether the discount include reducing the price of insurance! It happens that the discount given for lowering the price of insurance! and if the price is reduced to 50% may occur in the committed harms you have to pay 50% of the damage!

-Also ask what Full insurance means, because it can happen that it does not include damage to the lower trap car or tire damage.

-You can pay by credit card - then the price increases by 5% or in cash (both cheaper option).

- Take a walk through agencies, ask for prices and conditions without complaining.

- Read the fine print on the price lists and contracts.

- You can arrange to rent a car for 3 days, but these 3 days are not associated. For example, Monday - Thursday - Sunday, the price is cheaper than if you rent every day (one day)... of course, you return the car to the Monday evening, Thursday evening, Sunday evening.

- Rent an economical car if you plan to drive through the center of large cities such as Heraklion and Chania during the day. Not only you will save on the price of fuel, but also rental economical smaller cars are cheaper.

Warranty: As a guarantee (that you return the car, etc.) if you do not have a credit card (a copy showing the data), regardless of how you pay, the agency can ask for a few hundred euros (from 150 to more depending to the vehicle) that will return to you as you return the car.

When choosing a car, consider the roads that you drive, ie. if you plan to tour the cliffs and explore the mountainous areas, roads are not paved - of course you will rent a jeep.

If you have any problems with the car (from a broken mirror to a failure on the car)) immediately call the agency and do not touch anything (suggestion- take some pictures of fault, situation, etc.) In the case of unpleasant situation (collision ...) call the police IMMEDIATELY!

Agency workers have to come to you at any time of the day and replace problematic or damaged car - if you paid full (Full) insurance - the payment of damages borne by the agency.

Pricing for comparison

Prices of renting a car in Crete range from 32 euros per night in low season and from 50EUR per day in peak season. Of course, if you rent a car for several days, the price will be lower.

Prices at Rent A Car cars with manual air conditioning, you can see in the picture below:


Prices of rent a car

PRICE OF FUEL AND petrol station in Crete

Fuel prices at Crete May / June 2013.

Ordinary petrol 1.748 €

Super LRP 1,898 €

100 speed 1,998 €

Diesel Economy 1,425 €

Note the opening hours of petrol stations! Keep in mind that they work to 20h (though often work until 22:30) on the back roads and small towns. One on the main road E 75 works longer and for which the price of fuel is more expensive. Prices may also vary from the station to station.

At the station, workers pump the fuel, not you. You tell them how much liters you want or for how much money, give them the key and pay.

The penalties for certain traffic offenses

- driving drunk (over 0.5 parts per thousand) - from 75 to 625 EUR

- exceeding the speed limit - 40 to 750 EUR

- detachment of the seat belt - 350 EUR

- using a mobile phone while driving without a special device - 100 EUR

- going through a red light - 700 EUR

I hope this information will be useful for you, drive carefully and good luck ...


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