To get to the island of Crete you can take the ferry from Piraeus (but there is also a maritime connection from the port of Githion in the Peloponnese to that of Kastelli in Crete) or use the plane, usually stopping in Athens.
Better the ferry with the car in tow or the plane with the rented car?
The ferry + own car is the most convenient formula if you spend more than two weeks of holidays in Crete. If the holiday period is shorter, there is no choice: it is necessary to take the plane + rental car. This is because with the ferry from Italy you lose 2 days for the outward journey and as many for the return.
FLIGHTS TO CRETE
The island of Crete is served by three airports, the main airport of the island is the Heraklion International Airport (HER) which is located about 5 km from the city of Heraklion in the central area of the island. Heraklion airport is one of the busiest airports in Greece and in number of passengers it is second only to Athens airport. Many of the major European cities have direct flights to Heraklion.
The other two airports on the island are Sitia (JSH) and Chania (Chania International Airport). Chania International Airport (CHQ) is the second on the island and is mainly frequented by low cost airlines and charter flights. Sitia Public Airport is a small airport located in the eastern part of Crete which is connected by flights with Athens and other Greek locations.
FERRIES TO CRETE
The ferry is another very popular means of transport to get to Crete. The island of Crete is well served by daily ferry connections with the main Greek port, that of Piraeus, the port of Athens. The island of Crete is also connected by ferries with Thessaloniki, the Peloponnese, Santorini and other Cycladic islands, Rhodes and other Dodecanese islands.
The ports of Crete most used by ferries are those of Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Rethymno, Souda, Chania and Kissamos. Between Piraeus and the ports of Crete it takes between 7 and 9 hours by ferry. The time taken by the ferry between Santorini and Crete varies between 1 hour and a half and 2 and a half hours, while from Mykonos it takes 4 and a half hours by ferry.
CAR IN CRETE
As regards terrestrial communications, it should be noted that there are no railways or highways. There is only a fast road along the northern coast that cuts across the island allowing in 3½-4 hours to reach Agios Nikolaos (in the eastern part of the island) from Kastelli (which is located about 250 km of distance to the opposite end) at an average speed of 70 km / h. After Agios Nikolaos the main road forks into 2 branches: one heading south towards Ierapetra, on the Libyan sea (36 km from Agios Nikolaos), the other east which allows you to reach Sitia (70 km) and Vai (90 km).
Access to the southern coast of the island is more difficult because it forces you to take winding mountain roads, after which you reach the villages located on the Libyan sea, which especially in the western part, communicate with each other only through the shipping lines. Alternatively, it is necessary to go up the mountains in the direction of the northern coast, take a stretch of the fast-flowing coast road and then descend towards the Libyan sea.