Greece › Crete › Car Rental
by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 28, 2021
Rental Car Pick-up in Crete
RentalCars.com offers many locations for vehicle pick-up and drop-off. Heraklion Airport and Chania Airport have the most selection and best prices.
Renting a Car in Crete
Rental cars in Crete are new and well-maintained and come in everything from SUVs and vans, to sports cars and convertibles.
RentalCars.com is the best site for booking and reserving rental cars in Crete. Great selection (SUVs and small, medium, and large cars), good prices, and multiple pick-up and drop-off sites including the main cities of Heraklion, Chania, and Rethymnon; the airports at Heraklion, Chania, and Sitia; and the beach resorts at Agios Nikolaos, Elounda, Malia, and Hersonissos.
In theory, it’s possible to take rental cars to Santorini (or any other Greek island) but in practice it’s an expensive hassle that involves booking car ferry tickets and getting written permission from the rental car company. It’s much easier and cost effective to simply rent a car in Santorini or Mykonos when you get there.
Rental cars come in all sizes and luxury levels in Crete.
The roads and highways in Crete are good quality.
Should you rent a car in Crete? If you’re sticking to the major towns of Heraklion and Chania then it’s easy to get around on foot and take the bus between cities. But if you want to get away from those centers and see the sights of the island – like the Church of Saint Nikolaos in Georgioupoli – then a rental car is essential.
Parking can be a hassle in Heraklion and Chania but is rarely a significant problem anywhere else.
Rental cars can be taken on ferries – but it requires special permission and an expensive ticket for the vehicle. Much better to just rent a different car on the island you’re heading to.
Balos Beach in Crete. Much easier to visit if you have a rental car.
The small fishing port of Chora Sfakion on the south coast. A great day trip from Chania or Rethymnon (with a stop at the wonderful beach and 14th century Venetian fortress at Frangokastello) if you have a rental car.
Buses are great in Crete. Air conditioned and lots of luggage storage. They’re best for travel between the north coast cities of Heraklion, Rethymnon, and Chania. There are also good connections for other smaller towns but they do require a bit more patience.
The Heraklion and Chania airports have the most rental car selection, the best prices, and are the most convenient for most travelers. They’re also fairly close to the ferry port for each city so even if you arrive by ferry it’s still a good idea to taxi to the airport to get your rental car.
Agia Roumeli is a charming south coast city at the southern entrance to the Samaria Gorge. For most walkers, this is the exit, as the usual route through the gorge is to descend from the north. From Agia Roumeli you take a small ferry to Chora Sfakion and from there a bus back to Chania or another north coast town. All of that is a long way of saying that a rental car is no help in seeing the gorge.
This is beautiful Bali village on the north coast, located about halfway between Rethymnon and Heraklion. This is another town that’s possible to visit by bus (there’s a bus stop up on the highway that’s a 10-minute walk from town) but it’s much easier to get here with a rental car.
Elafonisi is one of the best beaches in Crete and easy to visit from Chania by either bus or rental car. However, if you arrive by bus you can then take the small ferry onwards to Paleohora and skip across the south coast towns (Sougia, Agia Roumeli, Loutro, Chora Sfakion) by boat.