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by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 27, 2023
Athens to Crete – Ferry Essentials
- Chania and Heraklio are the two main ferry ports in Crete and both have direct ferries from Athens. Some years there are also Athens to Rethymno ferries but on last looking there were not any ferries scheduled for this route in 2023.
- Ferryhopper.com is the best way to buy ferry tickets for Athens to Crete ferries. It’s also good for researching ferry timetables, costs, and schedules.
- Most ferries do not sell out. But for peace of mind, book tickets 2 to 3 months in advance. For sleeper cabins book as early as possible.
- Most tickets (when booked at Ferryhopper) are e-tickets which means you do not have to pick up a paper ticket before boarding.
- If a ticket purchased online doesn’t have a barcode that usually means you’ll need to pick up a real ticket when in Greece. This is most often done at the ferry port 30 to 45 minutes before departure. Don’t worry about pick up – it’s easy and effortless and usually very close to your actual ferry.
- Ferries will leave Athens on time. Don’t be late.
Athens to Crete Ferry Schedule
There are ferries from Athens to Crete year-round, with frequency increasing in the summer months. Ferries depart from the port of Piraeus, with routes to the Cretan ports of Chania and Heraklio. The length of the ride varies from 6.5 to 9 hours, with many routes traveling through the night. It can be a good idea to book a cabin on an overnight ferry – the large boats that service this route are slow and stable and the berths are fairly comfortable for sleeping. Ferry tickets from Athens to Crete cost €30 to €120, depending on the ferry line and class of ticket.
Departure Port in Athens
Ferries to Crete depart primarily from the port of Piraeus, located approximately 10 kilometers southwest of central Athens. The port is easily accessible via public transportation, including the Athens Metro Line 1 (Green Line) and various bus routes.
Destination Ports in Crete
• Heraklio: The largest city and the capital of Crete, Heraklio is the primary arrival point for most ferries from Athens. The ferry port is a short walk from several good Heraklio hotels.
• Chania: A picturesque port city on Crete’s northwest coast, Chania offers a charming Old Town with Venetian and Ottoman influences. The ferry port is 10-minutes by taxi and 20-minutes by bus from the Old Town, where most Chania hotels are located.
• ANEK Lines: With a focus on routes between the mainland and Crete, ANEK Lines operates conventional ferries connecting Piraeus with both Heraklio and Chania. The journey typically takes around 9 hours.
• Minoan Lines: Known for their luxurious amenities, Minoan Lines operates high-speed ferries between Piraeus and Heraklio. The journey duration is approximately 6-7 hours.
• Blue Star Ferries: Providing conventional ferries, Blue Star Ferries offers connections between Piraeus and Heraklio. The journey takes around 9 hours.
Ticket Classes and Amenities
• Economy Class: The most affordable option, offering basic seating in indoor or outdoor areas.
Air Seat Lounge: Comfortable airplane-style seats in a designated indoor seating area.
• VIP & Business Class: A more luxurious experience with spacious, comfortable seating and additional amenities.
• Cabins: Ranging from shared to private accommodations with beds and en-suite facilities, cabins are available on most overnight trips and some daytime journeys.
• Ferries generally offer a range of amenities, such as restaurants, bars, snack kiosks, and Wi-Fi. The availability of these services depends on the ferry company and vessel type.
Ferry tickets can be purchased online (recommended), at travel agencies, or directly at the Piraeus port. It is advisable to book 2 to 3 months in advance, especially during the peak summer season (June-September) when popular routes can sell out quickly.
• Plan your itinerary: Crete is a large island with a lot to explore. Plan your itinerary in advance to make the most of your visit and ensure you have enough time to experience the highlights. Consider arriving at one of the main ports, and departing from the other port, so that you don’t have to retrace your steps.
• Check the weather forecast: Although less common than on high-speed ferries, rough sea conditions can still affect conventional ferries. Keep an eye on the weather and have a backup plan in case of cancellations.
• Pack snacks and entertainment: The ferry journey to Crete can be long, especially on conventional ferries. Consider getting a cabin to have more privacy and sleep or nap some of the trip away.
• How to buy ferry tickets: Ferryhopper.com
• Best seats: I recommend Business or VIP if available (nicer seats in a more relaxed setting)
• When to book tickets: 2 to 3 months in advance (any sooner and some ferry routes might not be released yet, any later and some ferries could be sold out)
Example Athens to Crete Ferry Schedule
- Greek Ferry Guide
- Piraeus (Athens) Ferry Port Guide
- Heraklio (Crete) Ferry Port Guide
- Crete to Santorini Ferries
- The Best Greek Islands
- Athens Travel Guide
- Best Hotels in Athens
- Best Hotels in Athens for Families
- Where to Stay in Athens
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