ARRIVING BY AIR
The majority of travelers who visit Crete arrive by plane into either Chania or Heraklion Airports. Between April and October, there are many charter flights flying direct to Crete from most European countries, therefore saving time and avoiding the hassle of having to change planes in Athens.
Chania airport is situated on the Akrotiri Peninsula about 20 minutes drive from the centre of Chania Town and 30 minutes drive from the Apokoronas area (just east of Chania) where most of our villas are situated. Chania airport is the smaller of the 2 airports and is the better option on a number of levels. It is a very easy airport to find your way around and it is much less chaotic than Heraklion Airport, and closer to our holiday villas.
Flying in and out of Chania airport does, however, have limitations as to the day of the week that you travel (most direct UK charters only arrive and depart on Tuesdays).
Easy Jet fly to Chania from London Gatwick on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Ryan Air have direct routes into Chania Airport from a number of UK destinations including: East Midlands on Fridays, Glasgow Prestwick on Tuesdays, Leeds/Bradford on Saturdays, and London Stanstead on Saturdays and Tuesdays.
Ryan Air routes from other European airports into Chania Airport include: Brussels Charleroi on Thursdays, Frankfurt Hahn on Sundays and Wednesdays, Milan Bergamo on Mondays and Fridays, Oslo Rygge on Saturdays, Paphos on Saturdays, Sundays, Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, Pisa on Sundays and Wednesdays, Rome Ciampino on Saturdays, Stockholm Skavstka on Tuesdays and Fridays, and Wroclaw on Mondays and Fridays.
Heraklion Airport is located about 5 km east of the city of Heraklion and is the largest airport on Crete. Heraklion is about 1 hour and 50 minutes drive from the Apokoronas region and the Villas Crete Holidays representative. This drive is almost exclusively on the National Highway that runs parallel with the scenic north coast and is very pretty during the day (harder at night though due to the lack of street lamps).
There are more flights to Heraklion than to Chania which means that the airport is much busier. There are advantages, however, to flying in and out of Heraklion airport including the increased number of arrival and departure days, the increased number of destinations from the UK, and the greater availability of seats, which in turn can lead to cheaper prices.
From the UK Easyjet fly into Heraklion Airport from: Bristol on Wednesdays and Saturdays, London Gatwick (LGW) Daily, London Luton (LTN) on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and Manchester on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
From other European Airports Easyjet fly into Heraklion Airport from: Berlin (BER) on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays, Geneva on Saturdays and Tuesdays, Madrid on Wednesdays, Milan (MXP) Daily from June 30, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays before June 30 , Paris (CDG) on Wednesdays and Sundays from July, and Rome (FCO) on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from June 30.
EasyJet now fly into Heraklion and their prices can be quite low if you book early: www.easyjet.com
Scheduled Flights from the UK.
Monarch Airlines are running the routes of Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds/Bradford, London Gatwick, and Manchester into Heraklion Airport in 2013. Monarch Airlines tickets can be purchased through Avro - the flight only operator for Monarch Airlines. Monarch Airlines also fly into Chania Airport from Birmingham, London Gatwick and Manchester on Tuesdays.
ThomsonFly have flights into Chania Airport in 2013 from London Gatwick and Manchester, and into Heraklion Airport from Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Glasgow International, London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester, and Newcastle.
FlyThomasCook do not currently fly into Chania Airport but they fly into Heraklion Airport from Belfast, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, East Midlands, Glasgow International, London Gatwick, Manchester, and Newcastle.
Jet2.com do not fly into Chania Airport but they fly into Heraklion Airport from East Midlands, Glasgow International, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester, and Newcastle.
Anyone wanting more flexibility with flight times and arrival days, or anyone not travelling from countries with direct charter flights, will need to take a scheduled international flight to Athens and then change planes to a scheduled domestic flight. There are many domestic flights a day from Athens to either Chania or Heraklion with Aegean Airlines or Olympic Airlines. Changing at Athens airport has become relatively easy since the new airport was opened a few years ago. If you have flown in with either Aegean or Olympic you should already have your boarding pass for your connecting plane and your luggage will be automatically transferred for you. If you are changing from a different airline you just collect your luggage and then go upstairs to check-in at either Aegean or Olympic. For prices and schedules go to: www.aegeanair.com or www.olympicairlines.gr
For travellers who have a long lay-over at Athens Airport, they could leave their luggage so that they can go into the city centre to see the sites. The left luggage office is on the departures floor of the airport at the far left side (as you look at the exit/entrance doors. Further information about the left luggage office at Athens Airport and fees for stored baggage can be found at the following link: http://www.pacifictravel.gr/baggage.html
ARRIVING BY SEA
You can take a ferry from the port of Piraeus (Athens) to either Heraklion or Chania. There is a regular overnight ferry service and the ships depart each evening around 8:30 PM and they take approximately 10.5 hours to complete the journey, arriving at their destination at about 6.00am. During the summer there is also a high speed catamaran that runs between Piraeus (Athens) and Rethymnon, that takes about 4.5 hours. Travelling by ferry is generally cheaper than flying and can be quite an adventure. For those on a budget you can go deck class, and for those of you who require a little more comfort sleeper cabins can be bought with bunks for either 2 or 4 persons (best to book in advance). The ferries are fairly modern and have cafes, bars and restaurants. An overnight summer sailing can be a lovely experience but you would be best to avoid weekends and travelling at the beginning or end of Greek holidays as the ferries can then be very crowded (and smoky). Particularly during the winter, stormy weather can cause the ferries to be delayed of cancelled, whereas planes can fly in almost any weather. For ferry schedules (these are usually not updated for the current year until March/April time) and prices, go to www.greekferries.gr.
Detailed Travel Information Between Crete and The United Kindom.
For the best travel information for visitors to Crete from the United Kingdom including a full list of which airlines fly from which airports, on which days, I highly recommend that you go to the website: www.travel.creteforyou.com
When you are looking for flight seats we suggest that you try the following companies who sell airline tickets: