Heraklion Ferry Port in Crete

GreeceCrete › Heraklion Port
Updated: June 29, 2023
By Santorini Dave

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Heraklion Ferry Port.

View of the Heraklion ferry port from Aquila Atlantis Hotel. If you have light luggage the port is easy to walk to from several hotels (listed below).

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Where is Heraklion Port?

Heraklio Ferry Port location in relation to other Crete ferry ports.

Heraklio, home to Greece’s third busiest port, serves about two million passengers annually. Situated on Crete’s north coast, it lies 130 km east of Chania, 75 km east of Rethymno, 60 km west of Elounda, and 3 km west of Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport (code HER). Athens, Greece’s capital, is 340 km northeast of Heraklio and accessible by a 7-13 hour ferry ride. The closest island to Heraklion Port, Santorini, is a 2-3 hour ferry journey away.

Heraklion Ferry Port Transportation

Heraklion Port Buses

Bus Station A in Heraklion.

Bus Station A in Heraklion.

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 6-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 Rethymno, 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 Heraklio 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
  • Most areas in Greece, including Crete, have public transportation strikes on various dates throughout the year. These strikes can affect all forms of transit, including, buses, trains, ferries, flights, and taxis. During strikes no buses, no ferries, and only a handful of trains and flights will depart on time (or at all); taxis tend to be the least affected mode of transport. Though strikes can occur any time, there is always a huge strike on May 1. Avoid booking any ferries, flights, or trains that day.

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.
  • As mentioned before, taxis are the least affected mode of transportation during public transportation strikes.

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 Heraklio. 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 Heraklio. If you are coming from Rethymno, Chania, or other areas to the west, drive east along the national highway and follow the signs towards Heraklio, 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.
  • A few car rental companies are located near the Heraklion Ferry Port. There are more rental cars at the Heraklion Airport, inside the Arrivals 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. The bus station across the street from the port has frequent buses to the airport on the Agios Nikolaos route.

Heraklion Port on Foot

Ferry with kids.

My boys boarding the Santorini ferry in Heraklio.

  • Walking is the easiest way to get around Heraklio 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 6-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 Rethymno

  • It’s easy to get from Heraklion Port to Chania or Rethymno by bus. Bus Station A is located an easy 6-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 Rethymno depart hourly. The trip from Heraklio to Rethymno by bus will take two hours and cost about 12€; the bus from Heraklio 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 Rethymno; a bit over two hours and 160€ to Chania.

Heraklion Port Ferry Tickets

Ferry at the Heraklion port.

Popular Ferry Routes

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?

  • Most Greek ferry companies 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 Heraklio to Piraeus port in Athens, as well as ferries running to Athens’ Rafina port, the Dodecanese, and the Cyclades islands.

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

Staying Near Heraklion Ferry Port

Best hotel close to Heraklion Ferry Port.

The view of the Heraklion ferry port from Lato Boutique Hotel which is an easy walk from where the ferries arrive and depart.

More than just a ferry port, Heraklio 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. Heraklio 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.

Map of Heraklion Port in Crete

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.

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. 5-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 harbor 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 5-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. 20-minute walk or 7-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 Heraklio. 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 Heraklio; 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 Heraklio 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

Passengers boarding ferry.

Passengers boarding a ferry at the Heraklion Port.

Taxis waiting for Heraklion ferry.

Taxis waiting for at the Heraklion ferry port. Taxis wait for passengers just steps from the ferries.

Seajets, ANEK, and Minoan Ferries.

Ferries arrive and depart along a fairly small strip of the port. Finding your ferry is never difficult.

Taxi prices in Heraklion.

Taxi prices to different destinations around Crete. (This taxi stand is at the nearby marina but prices generally apply to the ferry port taxis as well.)

Map of Heraklion Ferry Port.

Map of the area posted at the ferry port.

Bus Station A ticket purchase.

Buying tickets at Bus Station A – about an 8-minute walk from the ferry port. Buses from this station go to Chania, Rethymno, Agios Nikolaos, and other places along the north coast of Crete.

Hotel with pool near Heraklion ferry port.

The rooftop pool at Aquila Atlantis Hotel. You can see the ferries in the background.

Bus station near ferry port.

This is the local bus station just in front of the GDM Megaron. Buses to Knossos and other local destinations depart from here. Bus Station A is a short walk to the east on the same street.

Ferry port parking lot.

Ferry port parking lot.

Ticket kiosks opening hours.

Ticket kiosks are open just a few hours before ferry departure (usually always in the morning). It’s best to book tickets in advance on FerryHopper.com, but if necessary it’s possible to buy tickets at these kiosks, just before departure.

Hotel close to Iraklio Ferry Port.

GDM Megaron is the closest hotel to the Heraklion Ferry Port. About a 5-minute walk to the ferries and ticket kiosks.

Ferry ticket kiosks for pick up or purchase.

Ferry ticket kiosks for pick up or purchase. Taxis dropping off passengers pull up right next to the kiosks and ferries.

A ferry departing Iraklio Port.

A ferry departing Heraklion Port.

Ferries in Heraklion Port.

Ferries in Heraklion Port.

About Santorini Dave

Santorini Dave Author Bio. Santorini Dave was started in 2011 by a guy who loved Greece, travel, and great hotels. We're now a small team of writers and researchers on a mission to deliver the most helpful travel content on the internet. We specialize in Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, and Greece and recommend the best hotels, best neighborhoods, and best family hotels in top destinations around the world. We also make hotel maps and travel videos. I can be contacted at dave@santorinidave.com.