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

  • 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.

  • The Stilianou Winery near Knossos on Crete uses only Cretan grape varieties, with every bottle numbered, and aims for quality rather than quantity.

    Stilianou Winery near Knossos

    The Stilianou Winery near Knossos on Crete uses only Cretan grape varieties, with every bottle numbered, and aims for quality rather than quantity.

  • 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.

  • The most famous Cretan writers and artists include the painter El Greco and the author of Zorba the Greek, Nikos Kazantzakis.

    Cretan Writers and Artists

    The most famous Cretan writers and artists include the painter El Greco and the author of Zorba the Greek, Nikos Kazantzakis.

  • Visiting Knossos near Iraklion is one of the best things to do on Crete, and this page has a history of the site with visitor information.

    Knossos

    Visiting Knossos near Iraklion is one of the best things to do on Crete, and this page has a history of the site with visitor information.

  • Crete (Kriti) is the largest Greek island and its main attractions include the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the Samarian Gorge, Chania and Rethymnon.

    Crete

    Crete (Kriti) is the largest Greek island and its main attractions include the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the Samarian Gorge, Chania and Rethymnon.

  • Crete festivals and events include Carnival Easter, Whitsun, Christmas, many other religious feast days and public holidays.

    Crete Festivals and Events

    Crete festivals and events include Carnival Easter, Whitsun, Christmas, many other religious feast days and public holidays.

  • Greece Travel Secrets tours the Lyrarakis Winery on Crete and learns about Crete grape varieties such as plyto, dafni, vidiano, vilana, mandilari and kotsifali.

    Touring the Lyrarakis Winery on Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets tours the Lyrarakis Winery on Crete and learns about Crete grape varieties such as plyto, dafni, vidiano, vilana, mandilari and kotsifali.

  • Driving central Crete in three days gives you time to see the highlights including the Minoan palaces at Knossos and Phaistos, the beaches and the Diktean Cave.

    Central Crete in Three Days

    Driving central Crete in three days gives you time to see the highlights including the Minoan palaces at Knossos and Phaistos, the beaches and the Diktean Cave.

  • The best things to do on Crete and top things to see include the Samaria Gorge, the Minoan Palaces at Knossos and Phaistos, the towns of Chania and Rethymnon.

    Best Things to Do on Crete

    The best things to do on Crete and top things to see include the Samaria Gorge, the Minoan Palaces at Knossos and Phaistos, the towns of Chania and Rethymnon.

  • Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in Central Crete including hotels in Matala, Ayia Galini, and Zaros.

    Where to Stay in Central Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in Central Crete including hotels in Matala, Ayia Galini, and Zaros.

  • Is someone from Crete a Greek or a Cretan? They are both, of course, but most will tell you that they are Cretan first and Greek second.

    Greek or Cretan?

    Is someone from Crete a Greek or a Cretan? They are both, of course, but most will tell you that they are Cretan first and Greek second.

  • 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 Snails House in Plouti near Phaistos in southern Crete serves the Cretan delicacy of snails, cooked in several different ways.

    The Snails House on Crete

    The Snails House in Plouti near Phaistos in southern Crete serves the Cretan delicacy of snails, cooked in several different ways.

  • 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.

  • The Battle of Crete during World War 2 inspired several books and took place with an airborne invasion over Maleme on the north coast of the island.

    Battle of Crete

    The Battle of Crete during World War 2 inspired several books and took place with an airborne invasion over Maleme on the north coast of the island.

  • This drive along the west coast of Crete and inland from there will take a whole day and starts and ends in Kastélli Kissámou, west of Chania.

    West Coast of Crete Drive

    This drive along the west coast of Crete and inland from there will take a whole day and starts and ends in Kastélli Kissámou, west of Chania.

  • 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.

  • Greece Travel Secrets chooses ten of the best beaches on Crete including the beautiful beaches at Vai and Elafonisi.

    Best Beaches on Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets chooses ten of the best beaches on Crete including the beautiful beaches at Vai and Elafonisi.

  • 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.

  • Studies have shown the Cretan Diet as one of the healthiest in the world, involving lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, and moderate amounts of wine.

    The Cretan Diet

    Studies have shown the Cretan Diet as one of the healthiest in the world, involving lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, and moderate amounts of wine.

  • Icon painting is a centuries-old tradition in Crete and the rest of Greece, and Greece Travel Secrets meets a modern-day icon painter in Elounda on Crete.

    The Icon Painter

    Icon painting is a centuries-old tradition in Crete and the rest of Greece, and Greece Travel Secrets meets a modern-day icon painter in Elounda on Crete.

  • The Diktean or Diktaean Cave, also known as the Psychro Cave, near the village of Psychro in eastern Crete, is said to be the birthplace of Zeus.

    Diktean Cave, the Birthplace of Zeus near Psychro on Crete

    The Diktean or Diktaean Cave, also known as the Psychro Cave, near the village of Psychro in eastern Crete, is said to be the birthplace of Zeus.

  • Greece Travel Secrets’ potted guide to Eastern Crete and why you should consider it for a holiday, including seeing Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Vai Beach and Zakros.

    Eastern Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets’ potted guide to Eastern Crete and why you should consider it for a holiday, including seeing Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Vai Beach and Zakros.

  • Agios Nikolaos is a pretty and popular town on the north coast of Crete and this page on Greece Travel Secrets covers its history, museums and beaches.

    Agios Nikolaos

    Agios Nikolaos is a pretty and popular town on the north coast of Crete and this page on Greece Travel Secrets covers its history, museums and beaches.

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