Driving on Crete

Driving on Crete is the best way to see Greece’s biggest island and here is our driving advice and some information about Greek driving regulations.

Driving on Crete on a road by the seaDriving on Crete Can Have Its Challenges!

Note that this advice was correct at the time of writing but you should always double-check if you’re planning on driving in Crete, or anywhere else in Greece. A good place to start is the RAC’s Driving in Greece page.

Most of the main roads are of a good standard, the best being the E75 highway that links the cities and towns along Crete’s north coast. This is invariably signposted as the New Road, and is also called the National Highway.

Off the main road standards vary enormously, and even on major roads you should watch out for unexpected pot-holes or rock-fall.

On many main roads the right-hand ‘lane’ is not a proper lane but a wide shoulder, and is used for pulling into when a car wishes to overtake. Make sure you can see well ahead, however, as this can be dangerous going round bends.

It is always best to ask locally about road conditions, as roads which may appear to be good roads on maps can turn out to be rutted tracks.

Greece has the second-worst record in Europe for deaths on the road. Many drivers like to drive down the middle of the road, even when coming round blind bends. Keep well in to your side of the road. Reckless overtaking is common, also on blind bends.

Another driver flashing his headlights at you means that he is coming through, NOT that he is giving way to you as is the practice in some other countries. If you’re simply driving along and an oncoming driver flashes his headlights, this is a common signal that there is a police speed trap ahead of you.

The beeping of horns is very common. This can be something as simple as the driver seeing a friend walking by, or tooting as he passes a relative’s shop, so don’t assume any sound of the horn is directed at you.

A goat by the side of the road on CreteWatch Out for Goats While Driving on Crete!

Driving on Crete: The Essentials

• Drive on the right.

• Wearing seatbelts where fitted is compulsory, but many locals ignore this rule. Don’t be tempted to emulate them.

• Children under ten must not sit in the front seat.

• Drink-driving is a serious offence. A blood-alcohol level of only 0.05% means a heavy instant fine, and over 0.08% is a criminal offence and can lead to imprisonment. The police sometimes set up random breath-testing checkpoints.

• The speed limit is 120kph (75mph) on highways, 90kph (56mph) on other main roads and 50kph (31mph) in urban areas. These may vary slightly so watch for the speed-limit signs.

• Vehicles coming from the right have right of way, even on roundabouts.

Goats on the road on CreteMore Goats on the Road!

Car Hire on Crete

Rates in Crete are higher than the European average, but local firms tend to under-cut the major international names.

In theory an international driving licence is required but in practice a valid national driving licence will suffice.

Minimum age varies from 21 to 25 depending on the company’s policy.

Rates usually include third-party insurance and unlimited mileage, but it is advisable to take out additional coverage for CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) insurance.

Rental companies will usually ask for a deposit using a credit card slip, or in cash.

If hiring in late summer or autumn, it may be worth paying extra for a recognised name such as Hertz or Europcar, whose vehicles probably have a better service record.

All main towns and tourist resorts, and airports, have several car hire companies competing for business.

Driving on Crete on a road by the seaDriving on Crete Has Its Rewards

Taking Your Own Car to Crete

You are allowed to take your own car to Crete for a period of up to six months or until the tax or insurance expires.

Driving on Crete: Car Breakdowns

Car rental companies will provide an emergency number to contact.

Alternatively, dial 104 for emergency help anywhere on Crete, or dial 174 purely for information.

Driving on Crete

Our Hire Car in Crete
Amari Valley Drive
Central Crete in Three Days
Eastern Crete in Five Days
Lasithi Plateau Drive
West Coast of Crete Drive
Western Crete in Five Days

Where to Stay on Crete

Other Crete pages

  • Margarites is known on Crete for its pottery, with ceramics shops and workshops lining the streets of this charming small town not far from Rethymnon.

    Margarites

    Margarites is known on Crete for its pottery, with ceramics shops and workshops lining the streets of this charming small town not far from Rethymnon.

  • Western Crete in five days allows time to visit Chania and Rethymnon, enjoy the beaches, hike the Samaria Gorge and see the monasteries at Arkadi and Preveli.

    Western Crete in Five Days

    Western Crete in five days allows time to visit Chania and Rethymnon, enjoy the beaches, hike the Samaria Gorge and see the monasteries at Arkadi and Preveli.

  • Ancient Gortina is an archaeological site in southern Crete famous for the church of Ayios Titos and for the Law Code inscribed here, the first in Europe.

    Gortina ancient archaeological site in southern Crete

    Ancient Gortina is an archaeological site in southern Crete famous for the church of Ayios Titos and for the Law Code inscribed here, the first in Europe.

  • Greece Travel Secrets visits the Crete Botanical Gardens near Chania and finds a wonderland of colourful plants, trees, and flowers filling a lovely valley.

    Crete Botanical Gardens

    Greece Travel Secrets visits the Crete Botanical Gardens near Chania and finds a wonderland of colourful plants, trees, and flowers filling a lovely valley.

  • Hiking the Samaria Gorge on Crete, one of the best things to do on Crete, by Greece Travel Secrets.

    Hiking the Samaria Gorge

    Hiking the Samaria Gorge on Crete, one of the best things to do on Crete, by Greece Travel Secrets.

  • Crete's capital and largest city is Irakleio, also called Iraklion or Heraklion, a large and busy place with good restaurants, museums and historical buildings.

    Irakleio

    Crete's capital and largest city is Irakleio, also called Iraklion or Heraklion, a large and busy place with good restaurants, museums and historical buildings.

  • Greece Travel Secrets page on  Phaistos or Faistos, the site of one of the finest Minoan palaces on Crete and is where the mysterious Phaistos Disc was found.

    Phaistos Minoan Palace on Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets page on Phaistos or Faistos, the site of one of the finest Minoan palaces on Crete and is where the mysterious Phaistos Disc was found.

  • Keramos Studios in Zaros on Crete is an inexpensive two-star hotel/guesthouse with one of the best breakfasts on the island using food from the family’s farm.

    Keramos Studios in Zaros

    Keramos Studios in Zaros on Crete is an inexpensive two-star hotel/guesthouse with one of the best breakfasts on the island using food from the family’s farm.

  • The best Crete hotels include 5-star luxury hotels, historic and romantic Venetian palaces, and several hotels in Hania and Iraklion.

    Best Crete Hotels

    The best Crete hotels include 5-star luxury hotels, historic and romantic Venetian palaces, and several hotels in Hania and Iraklion.

  • Visiting the Arkadi Monastery near Rethymnon is one of the best things to do on Crete.

    Arkadi Monastery

    Visiting the Arkadi Monastery near Rethymnon is one of the best things to do on Crete.

  • The area east from Paleohora along the south-west coast of Crete includes resorts like Agia Galini, gorges like the Imbros Gorge and quieter towns like Sfakia.

    Paleohora and the South-West Coast

    The area east from Paleohora along the south-west coast of Crete includes resorts like Agia Galini, gorges like the Imbros Gorge and quieter towns like Sfakia.

  • This Airbnb in the quiet village of Malaxa, a 30-minute drive into the hills above Chania, is a peaceful retreat with a delightful and thoughtful artist owner, with wonderful views and amenities.

    Airbnb near Chania

    This Airbnb in the quiet village of Malaxa, a 30-minute drive into the hills above Chania, is a peaceful retreat with a delightful and thoughtful artist owner, with wonderful views and amenities.

  • Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Western Crete with tavernas and restaurants in Chania, Rethymnon, and Paleochora.

    Where to Eat in Western Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Western Crete with tavernas and restaurants in Chania, Rethymnon, and Paleochora.

  • This Rouvas Gorge walk starts and ends in Zaros in southern Crete and should take three to four hours with a distance of eight kilometres or five miles.

    Rouvas Gorge Walk

    This Rouvas Gorge walk starts and ends in Zaros in southern Crete and should take three to four hours with a distance of eight kilometres or five miles.

  • The Byzantine Church of Panagía Kerá near Kritsa and not far from Ayios Nikolaos is one of the most famous in Crete, and close by is the site of Ancient Lato.

    Kritsá, Lato, and Panagía Kerá

    The Byzantine Church of Panagía Kerá near Kritsa and not far from Ayios Nikolaos is one of the most famous in Crete, and close by is the site of Ancient Lato.

  • Greece Travel Secrets visits the Zacharioudakis Winery near Ancient Gortina in southern Crete, and does a vineyard tour arranged by our guide from Go Crete.

    Zacharioudakis Winery

    Greece Travel Secrets visits the Zacharioudakis Winery near Ancient Gortina in southern Crete, and does a vineyard tour arranged by our guide from Go Crete.

  • We visit and tour the Manousakis Winery on Crete with a wine-tasting and a chance to buy their tsikoudia, sea salt, olive oil and other goodies.

    Manousakis Wine Tasting

    We visit and tour the Manousakis Winery on Crete with a wine-tasting and a chance to buy their tsikoudia, sea salt, olive oil and other goodies.

  • What was daily life as a Minoan like on Crete, living in palaces like the ones at Knossos, Malia, Phaistos, and Zakros, and what were their religious beliefs?

    Life as a Minoan

    What was daily life as a Minoan like on Crete, living in palaces like the ones at Knossos, Malia, Phaistos, and Zakros, and what were their religious beliefs?

  •  The Samaria Gorge is one the longest gorges in Europe and doing the hike is one of the best and most popular things to do on Crete.

    Samaria Gorge

    The Samaria Gorge is one the longest gorges in Europe and doing the hike is one of the best and most popular things to do on Crete.

  • Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Eastern Crete including restaurants and tavernas in Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, and Kato Zakros.

    Where to Eat in Eastern Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Eastern Crete including restaurants and tavernas in Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, and Kato Zakros.

  • The Goules Taverna in Goulediana, south of Rethymnon, has been called one of the best tavernas on Crete and Greece Travel Secrets recently visited them.

    Goules Taverna Crete

    The Goules Taverna in Goulediana, south of Rethymnon, has been called one of the best tavernas on Crete and Greece Travel Secrets recently visited them.

  • How to make Petimezi, the sweet Cretan syrup made from wine must, is explained to Greece Travel Secrets.

    How to Make Petimezi

    How to make Petimezi, the sweet Cretan syrup made from wine must, is explained to Greece Travel Secrets.

  • This olive grove walk from Limnes to Vrises on Crete also takes you through orchards and gives close-up views of some of the island’s windmills.

    Olive Grove Walk

    This olive grove walk from Limnes to Vrises on Crete also takes you through orchards and gives close-up views of some of the island’s windmills.

  • Ancient Gournia is a Minoan archaeological site between Agios Nikolaos and Sitia in Eastern Crete where the visitor can see evidence of a maze of back streets.

    Ancient Gournia Minoan Site in Eastern Crete

    Ancient Gournia is a Minoan archaeological site between Agios Nikolaos and Sitia in Eastern Crete where the visitor can see evidence of a maze of back streets.

  • Malia on the north coast of Crete is renowned for its nightlife and beaches but also has the Minoan Palace of Malia, one of Crete's many archaeological sites.

    Malia and its Minoan Palace on Crete

    Malia on the north coast of Crete is renowned for its nightlife and beaches but also has the Minoan Palace of Malia, one of Crete's many archaeological sites.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. Epirus One of the ‘Most Welcoming Regions on Earth’ for 2023

    Epirus in northwestern Greece has been recognized as one of the Most Welcoming Regions on Earth for 2023, according to Booking.com’s recently announced Traveller Review Awards list.

    Read More

  2. Thessaloniki Gets Ready for 17th International ‘Alexander the Great’ Marathon

    Thessaloniki in northern Greece is preparing to host the 17th International ‘Alexander the Great’ Marathon-bwin that is scheduled to run on April 30.

    Read More

  3. Greek Destinations in the Running for Best in Europe Title

    Athens, Rhodes and Milos are the three Greek destinations competing with popular cities in Europe for the title of “European Best Destination 2023”. The competition is being held for the 14th consecut…

    Read More

  4. Study: UK Prices for Package Holidays to Greece Soar

    Package holidays to Greece, which include accommodation for a week, will cost UK travelers 30 percent more this year compared to 2022, according to UK consumer association Which?.

    Read More

  5. Virtual Industrial Museum to Open in Thessaloniki

    The restoration of Thessaloniki’s old municipal slaughterhouse building complex will be completed with the creation and opening of a virtual industrial museum, according to an announcement by the city…

    Read More

  6. Ferry Travel: Greek Seamen Announce 48-hour Strike for February 8-9

    Ferries will stay docked at ports across Greece during February 8-9 after the Pan-Hellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO) announced a 48-hour strike in all ship categories.

    Read More

  7. Things to See in Trikala

    paleokarya-bridge-pyli-near-trikala.jpg
    Trikala is a city in Thessaly, noted for its traditional architecture with lots of things to see and a good base for visiting the monasteries of Meteora.

    Read More

  8. Thessaloniki: First Look at New Museum with Treasures from Metro Excavations

    The Greek Culture Ministry recently released photorealistic images of a new museum in Thessaloniki that will host artefacts discovered during the city’s metro excavations. Following the ministry’s ann…

    Read More

  9. Trikala, Thessaly, Among Europe’s Best City Break Destinations for 2023

    The Greek city of Trikala in Thessaly has been chosen as one of Europe’s 18 Best City Break Destinations for 2023 by digital magazine Time Out. Launched in 1968 as a London-only publication, Time Out…

    Read More

  10. Chios Archaeological Museum Set to Expand, Get Upgrade

    The archaeological museum of Chios, whose award-winning design stands as a characteristic example of 1960s architecture, will soon see renovation works that will include a state-of-the-art expansion.

    Read More