Heraklion Port in Crete, Greece

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by Santorini Dave • Updated: August 30, 2019

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large red and white passenger car ferry, docked in port

The Minoan Lines Mykonos Palace highspeed ferry to Santorini, docked in Heraklion port, Crete.

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Where is Heraklion Port?

Heraklion has the third busiest port in Greece, and serves around two million passengers a year. Located in central Crete along the north coast, Heraklion is 145km east of the town of Chania, 80km east of Rethymnon, and 3km west of the nearest airport: Nikos Kazantzakis International (airport code HER). Greece’s capital city of Athens is 340km to the northeast of Heraklion, reachable in 7-13 hours by ferry. The nearest island to Heraklion port is Santorini, a 2-3 hour ferry ride away.

Heraklion Ferry Port Transportation

Heraklion Port Buses

It’s easy to get to or from Heraklion port by bus, but the bus station (A or B) and type of bus you’ll use (blue/local or green/intercity) will vary:

  • Heraklion bus Station A, also called the Port Bus Station, is located very near the ferry port (an easy 5-minute walk down and across the street). Station A serves green intercity buses with routes along the northeast coast (Hersonissos, Archanes, Sitia, Agios Nikolaos, Lassithi Plateau), Chania, and Rethymnon, as well as connecting buses to Imbros, Sfakia, Kastelli and other places in west and south-west Crete. • KTEL regional bus website
  • Blue local buses to the Heraklion Airport, ancient Knossos, the city of Heraklion, its suburbs, and its surrounding villages also operate out of Bus Station A near the port. Multiple local bus lines stop at the airport, with buses departing every 10 minutes or so; the trip between the port and the airport takes about 20 minutes and costs 2€ per person. The #2 bus to ancient Knossos departs every 15-20 mins or so. Buses run from 6am to 11pm. • KTEL local bus website
  • Heraklion Bus Station B, also known as Chanioporta, is located on the western side of Heraklion just outside the city walls (a 30-minute walk or 11-minute taxi ride) and serves green intercity buses with routes along with the southeast coast of Crete: Zaros, Agia Galini, Anogia, Matala, Mires, Phaestos, and places in between. • KTEL regional bus website

Heraklion Port Taxis

  • There is a taxi stand located across from the passenger terminal inside of the port gates. Taxis are generally readily available after the arrival of a ferry.
  • A taxi between Heraklion port and the Heraklion airport will take about 10-15 minutes and cost around 15€.
  • Taxis in Greece accommodate a maximum of four passengers. If there are more than four people in your party, you’ll need to take more than one taxi.

Private Car Service at Heraklion Port

  • Welcome Pickups is my favorite car service to use in Greece, and is a great pre-planned alternative to a taxi. Drivers operate 24 hours a day, speak English, monitor the ferry schedules in case of delays, and are available by text to answer travel questions throughout your stay in Heraklion. They can even provide travel extras such as guided tours, SIM cards, and maps. Child car seats can be pre-ordered in advance of your trip, and minivans are available to accommodate larger parties. When you arrive at the port, your driver will be waiting, holding a sign with your name.

Heraklion Port Parking and Car Rental

  • Heraklion port is located along the Green National Road 90, a well-maintained highway that connects all major cities along the northern coast of Crete. If you are driving from Agios Nikolaos or another area east of the port, drive west along the national highway, and then north towards the sea once you get to Heraklion. If you are coming from Rethymnon, Chania, or other areas to the west, drive east along the national highway and follow the signs towards Heraklion, again heading north toward the sea.
  • Heraklion port provides plenty of short and long-term parking spots. These are located just to the west of Piers I and II. Handicapped parking spots are also available.
  • Car rental desks are located inside the passenger terminal. If you need an automatic shift, definitely pre-book your rental car, as these are often in short supply – especially in July and August. I recommend reserving through Rentalcars.com; either ask the rental agency in Heraklion to have the car delivered to you at the port, or reserve your car at the airport – the bus station across the street from the port has frequent buses to the airport on the Agios Nikolaos route.

Heraklion Port on Foot

  • Walking is the easiest way to get around Heraklion if you’re not carrying a lot of luggage. The city is compact, and you can walk the town from end to end in less than an hour. Most of the city’s attractions are found within a five or six-block area, and within 20 minutes’ walking distance of the port.
  • From the Heraklion port passenger terminal, walk west along the seafront to the old town, the main tourist area where most major sights, shops, and restaurants can be found. The port helpfully provides a walking route that’s marked in yellow along the ground.
  • If you’re just in port for a few hours and want to explore the city, luggage storage facilities can be found inside the port’s passenger station.

Heraklion Port to the airport

  • Blue local buses to the Heraklion Airport operate out of Bus Station A, located an easy 5-minute walk from the ferry port. Multiple local bus lines traveling east stop at the airport, with buses departing every 10 minutes or so. the trip between the port and the airport takes about 20 minutes and costs 2€ per person (buy your ticket on board the bus). Buses operate from 6am to midnight. • KTEL local bus website
  • A taxi between Heraklion port and the Heraklion airport will take about 10-15 minutes and cost around 15€. The taxi stand is located inside of the port gates, across from the passenger terminal. Taxis are usually readily available after the arrival of a ferry. Taxis in Greece can only accommodate up to four passengers. If you have more than four people in your party, you’ll need to take more than one taxi.
  • Welcome Pickups car service is a great pre-planned alternative to a taxi. Drivers operate 24 hours a day, speak English, and monitor the ferry schedules in case of delays. Child car seats can be pre-ordered in advance of your trip, and larger vehicles are available for parties greater than four people. The trip takes about 10 minutes and costs 16€ (27€ for a minivan). When you arrive at the port or airport, your driver will be waiting, holding a sign with your name.

Heraklion Port to Chania and Rethymnon

  • It’s easy to get from Heraklion port to Chania or Rethymnon by bus. Bus Station A is located an easy 5-minute walk from the ferry port and serves the green intercity buses that travel along Crete’s northern coast. Buses heading west to Chania and Rethymnon depart hourly. The trip from Heraklion to Rethymnon by bus will take two hours and cost about 12€; the bus from Heraklion to Chania takes three and a half hours and costs about 15€. • KTEL regional bus website
  • Taxi or car service will take an hour and a half and cost about 95€ to Rethymnon; a bit over two hours and 160€ to Chania.

Heraklion Port Ferry Tickets

How Early to Arrive for Heraklion Ferry?

  • Heraklion is the third-largest port in Greece, but it’s not overly large or complicated. If you’ve pre-ordered your tickets in advance (recommended for travel between June and September), arriving 30 minutes before departure to pick up your tickets is a safe bet. In the spring, fall, and winter, it’s generally not a problem to show up at the port 30-40 minutes early and purchase tickets at the port.

Should I buy my ferry tickets in advance or at the port?

  • Big ferries like the Blue Star rarely sell out, but the smaller, faster, catamaran-type ferries sometimes do, especially during high season. If you’re traveling between June and September and are taking a smaller ship, it’s a good idea to purchase tickets in advance. During the spring, fall, and winter, it’s generally not a problem to show up at the port 30-40 minutes early and purchase tickets there. FerryHopper.com’s helpful search function makes it easy to research ferry routes, schedules, and prices, whether you’re buying in advance from their website or purchasing at the port.

Where are the ticket kiosks in Heraklion Port?

  • Ticket counters for all ferry companies can be found both inside the port’s Passenger Terminal and next to the ship’s departure point.

Do Greek ferries use e-tickets?

  • Certain Greek ferry companies, such as Golden Star Ferries and Aegean Speed Lines, now offer electronic tickets, eliminating the need to collect physical tickets at the port. After booking tickets on FerryHopper.com, a confirmation email with links to web check-in will be sent. After checking in online on the day of your departure, you are able to download your boarding pass to print on your own or keep in your phone/tablet to present at departure.

Can I get my Heraklion Port tickets delivered in advance?

  • Some ferry companies will deliver tickets in advance to your hotel, but I don’t recommend this. Schedule changes are common, and once you are in physical possession of your tickets, any cancellation or modification can only be processed in person by a representative of your ferry company. It’s much easier to book e-tickets through FerryHopper, or pick up your tickets at the port.

Heraklion Port Passenger Terminal

Heraklion port has a new, modern passenger terminal that offers a mini-market, duty-free shop, cafe, car rental and ferry ticket counters, luggage storage lockers, free wi-fi, an ATM, and an information desk with free city maps. The passenger terminal is located inside of the port gates, at Pier II. Open 8am to 10pm.

Heraklion Port Ferry Schedules

There are two or more daily ferries from Heraklion to Piraeus port in Athens, as well as ferries running to Athens’ Rafina port, the Dodecanese, and the Cyclades islands.

  • Minoan Lines: Heraklion to Santorini, Milos, Ios, Paros, Mykonos, and Piraeus (Athens).
  • Anek Lines: Heraklion to Sitia, Kasos, Karpathos, Chalki, Diafani, Rhodes, Anafi, and Santorini.
  • Blue Star Ferries: Heraklion to Piraeus.
  • Seajets: Heraklion to Santorini, Ios, Paros, Naxos, and Mykonos.
  • Golden Star Ferries: Heraklion to Santorini, Ios, Naxos, Paros, Tinos, Mykonos, Andros, and Rafina (Athens).

FerryHopper.com has the most up-to-date schedule and route information, and is the easiest way to find ferries and book tickets in advance.

Heraklion Port Map


All ferries use piers I and II on the western part of the port. Cruise ships use the eastern side of pier II, as well as piers IV and V.

Staying Near Heraklion Ferry Port

More than just a ferry port, Heraklion is one of Greece’s largest cities, with plenty of history and culture to keep visitors busy for a couple of days or more. Remnants of the city’s Venetian and Ottoman past are evident in the vast stone walls that encircle the city, ornate architecture, and the beautiful fountains you’ll find scattered around town. Heraklion is compact and easily walkable, with many excellent hotels and restaurants. Modern shopping, great museums, and proximity to Knossos, the island’s most famous archaeological site, add to the appeal.

Hotels near Heraklion Port

  • GDM Megaron
    Sophisticated hotel overlooking the harbor, offering stylish rooms and suites with wooden floors, high ceilings, contemporary furniture, bathtubs (some), and balconies with city/sea views; top-end suites have jacuzzis. Complimentary buffet breakfast. 7-minute walk to the port. • Map
  • Lato Boutique Hotel
    Modern design hotel with an excellent rooftop restaurant overlooking the harbor. Many rooms have sea views, some add jacuzzis. Family rooms sleep four. 9-minute walk to the port. • Map
  • Infinity City Boutique Hotel
    Stylish, modern, and new hotel, with comfortable and well-equipped guest rooms. Singles, doubles, triples, and junior suites; some with balconies. Friendly and helpful staff. 10-minute walk to the port. • Map
  • Aquila Atlantis Hotel
    Large, cosmpolitan hotel with spacious, modern rooms and suites with city or unobstructed harbour views. Upgraded rooms add balconies, suites add deep spa tubs. 2 pools, spa, restaurant and lounge bar. 11-minute walk to the port. • Map
  • Olive Green Hotel
    Modern, eco-friendly hotel with minimalistic rooms featuring vivid digital art and in-room tablets (with apps). Upgraded rooms have balconies and club rooms sport large furnished terraces with city/park views. 12-minute walk to the port. • Map
  • Kastro Hotel
    Great moderately-priced hotel in a quiet pocket of the city center. Guest rooms (single, double, and triple are offered) feature colorful and contemporary decor, and there’s a rooftop patio and excellent complimentary breakfast. 15-minute walk to the port. • Map
  • Veneziano Boutique Hotel
    Beautifully restored boutique hotel in a historic landmark Venetian and Ottoman building. 4 double rooms and 2 two-story family apartments surround an interior courtyard. Great restaurant and bar. 18-minute walk or 10-minute drive to the port. • Map
  • Galaxy Hotel
    5-Star hotel with two amazing restaurants, large freshwater pool, and wellness center. Beds are super comfortable and amenities are top-notch. All rooms have balconies (pool or city views), some have jacuzzi tubs. 24-minute walk or 10-minute drive to the port. • Map

Restaurants near Heraklion Port

  • Kritikos Fornos – Cretan bakery chain with a good selection of breads, coffees, pastry, sandwiches, and ice cream. 6-minute walk from the port.
  • Herb’s Garden – Lovely rooftop garden restaurant at Lato Hotel with views over the Venetian harbor and the port. Full bar. 8-minute walk from the port
  • Plani – Rustic, romantic, and reasonably-priced spot for authentic Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. Garden dining in summer, fireside in winter. 9-minute walk from the port.
  • Veneto – Hidden gem with a Greek/Italian menu and fabulous port views. A great option for larger groups. 9-minute walk from the port.
  • Paralia – Harborside dining, excelling at fresh, local seafood dishes. Busy but relaxed atmosphere. 11-minute walk from the port.
  • Kouzeineri – Excellent Greek steakhouse specializing in all things meat; if you like a good pork knuckle, this is your place. Also, one of the best wine lists in Heraklion. 11-minute walk from the port.
  • Peskesi – Traditional Cretan cuisine, cozy rustic-modern atmosphere. Open late. 15-minute walk from the port.

Things To Do near Heraklion Port

  • Knossos – The largest and best-known ancient Minoan palace complex in Crete. Admission is 15€ (or save some money with a 16€ combo ticket to the Archaeological Museum). Located 5km south of Heraklion; the #2 bus to Knossos departs from the Port bus terminal (4-minute walk from the port) every 15-20 mins or so. Better yet, get picked up at the port (or your hotel) and take a private guided tour.
  • Heraklion Archaeological Museum – Excellent exhibits about the history of Crete and the Minoan civilazation, with loads of locally-sourced artwork and artifacts. Great to pair with a trip to nearby Knossos (a combined entry ticket will save you money). Admission is half-price from November through March. 12-minute walk from the port.
  • Koules Fortress – Also known as Castello del Molo or Rocca a Mare, this impressive Venetian citadel was constructed in the Sea of Crete to protect the Heraklion harbor. 2€ will get you admission to explore the fort, but bring water and sunscreen – it’s a 2.2km unshaded walk across the rampart to get there. 14-minute walk from port to fort.
  • Odos 1866 Open-Air Market – Fruits & vegetables, herbs & spices, Cretan souvenirs, clothing, you name it. Open 8am-2pm Monday to Saturday. 18-minute walk from the port.
  • Natural History Museum of Crete – Fun exhibits about current and past animal life and geography in Crete, featuring stuffed animals, anamatronic dinosaurs, some live animal displays (mostly reptiles), and a cool earthquake simulator. 20-minute walk from the port.

Heraklion Port Photos

Port entrance with car and pedestrian gates, two ferries are docked in the background.

The entrance to Heraklion port in Crete. Cars enter on the left, pedestrians enter through the turnstile or open gate to the right. Ferries dock directly behind this entrance.

Looking back at the entrance. To the left, there is an open, operating ticket booth for Minoan Lines ferries. You can buy or collect your tickets for Minoan Lines ferries here. Ferry ticket booths are located next to or across from the docking location of the ferry, and also inside of the passenger station.

Blue Star ferry docked in port next to a closed ticket booth.

This ticket booth for Blue Star ferries is not open, because the ferry is not due to leave for some time. Ticket booths generally open 45 minutes before a ferry is due to depart.

Parking area of Heraklion port, with passenger station in the background.

To the right of where the ferries dock, there is a port passenger station, identifiable by the Greek flags flying above.

Passenger station building in Heraklion port.

The passenger station is a large, modern building with many amenities.

Sign listing the amenities at the Heraklion Port passenger station.

The Heraklion Port passenger station offers food and drinks, city information, ferry and car rental desks, free wi-fi, and luggage storage.

Map of Heraklion posted outside of the Heraklion Port passenger station

Directly outside of the passenger station, there is a well-marked map of the port and city.

Yellow line painted on the sidewalk, near a sign explaining that it leads to Heraklion city center

The passenger station also marks the beginning of a helpful yellow line that leads to Heraklion city center. From the port, it’s a level 10 to 15-minute walk into the center of the city.

Empty covered taxi stand in a parking lot.

Directly opposite the passenger station there is a taxi stand. There is generally a line of taxis waiting here after a ferry arrives.

Covered taxi stand in a parking lot.

There are other taxi stands scattered around the port, as well, nearer to the ferries.

Man walking down the steps into the KTEL bus station A in Heraklion

To catch a bus to Knossos, or to the towns of Chania, Rethymnon, or Agios Nikolaos, walk 6 minutes from the port to the Heraklion Port Bus Station (also known as Station A). The building entrance is down the stairs from the street.

Travelers with suitcases entering the Heraklion bus station building.

Heraklion Bus Station A is a modern station with a snack shop, restaurant, travel agencies, and luggage storage.

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