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.

Our Pick of the Crete Guides

Lonely-Planet-Crete-2023.png

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

Other Crete pages

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • This Lasithi Plateau drive on Crete starts in Neapoli and ends in Malia, covering a distance of 80 km (50 miles) and taking two to three hours.

    Lasithi Plateau Drive

    This Lasithi Plateau drive on Crete starts in Neapoli and ends in Malia, covering a distance of 80 km (50 miles) and taking two to three hours.

  • 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.

  • How to see eastern Crete in five days, with its beaches, Minoan palaces, timeless villages, unique churches and mountain and coastal scenery.

    Eastern Crete in Five Days

    How to see eastern Crete in five days, with its beaches, Minoan palaces, timeless villages, unique churches and mountain and coastal scenery.

  •  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.

  • Matala Beach on Crete is a guest blog for Greece Travel Secrets from the We Love Crete website, inviting you to Awaken Your Inner Hippy in Matala, Crete.

    Matala Beach

    Matala Beach on Crete is a guest blog for Greece Travel Secrets from the We Love Crete website, inviting you to Awaken Your Inner Hippy in Matala, Crete.

  • 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.

  • Lonely Planet Crete is an excellent and thorough guide of almost 300 pages to the largest of the Greek islands.

    Lonely Planet Crete

    Lonely Planet Crete is an excellent and thorough guide of almost 300 pages to the largest of the Greek islands.

  • Cretan music is part of the island’s soul and visitors will hear live music wherever they go, with several distinctive Cretan musical instruments and songs.

    Cretan Music

    Cretan music is part of the island’s soul and visitors will hear live music wherever they go, with several distinctive Cretan musical instruments and songs.

  • Greece Travel Secrets suggests where to stay in Eastern Crete with our favourite hotels in Zakros, Elounds, Sitia, Agios Nikolaos, Istron Bay, Myrtos, Neapolis.

    Where to Stay in Eastern Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets suggests where to stay in Eastern Crete with our favourite hotels in Zakros, Elounds, Sitia, Agios Nikolaos, Istron Bay, Myrtos, Neapolis.

  • 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.

  • The travel tale Our Hire Car in Crete describes what it’s like when you go driving in Greece and get off the beaten track, resulting in kindnesses.

    Our Hire Car in Crete

    The travel tale Our Hire Car in Crete describes what it’s like when you go driving in Greece and get off the beaten track, resulting in kindnesses.

  • 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.

  • Maleme near Chania is where the people who died during the battle of Crete are buried, in the German War Cemetery with the Commonwealth War Cemetery nearby.

    Maleme and the German War Cemetery on Crete

    Maleme near Chania is where the people who died during the battle of Crete are buried, in the German War Cemetery with the Commonwealth War Cemetery nearby.

  • 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.

  • Greece Travel Secrets visits Crete and learns about making rakomelo from Jorgos Kourmoulis in Agouseliana.

    Making Rakomelo on Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets visits Crete and learns about making rakomelo from Jorgos Kourmoulis in Agouseliana.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The Dalabelos Estate offers luxury eco-tourism accommodation on Crete in the hills near Rethymnon with its own farm, vineyard and olive groves.

    Eco-Tourism Accommodation on Crete

    The Dalabelos Estate offers luxury eco-tourism accommodation on Crete in the hills near Rethymnon with its own farm, vineyard and olive groves.

  • Chania is the main city in Western Crete with a lovely setting and a beautiful harbour as well as several museums.

    Chania, in Western Crete

    Chania is the main city in Western Crete with a lovely setting and a beautiful harbour as well as several museums.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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