DRIVING YOUR OWN CAR IN CRETE
This itinerary goes through the following steps:
Day 1 : Heraklion
Day 2 & 3 : Chania
Day 4 : Matala
Day 5 : Ierapetra
Day 6 : Sitia
Day 7 : Agios Nikolaos
Day 8 : End of the trip
A travel in complete freedom, at the heart of the Mediterranean biggest island!
To drive through Crete is to discover an island unlike any other. The largest of the Greek islands has a rich archaeological past, a striking cultural identity, beautiful weather all year long and a magnificent coastline where sandy beaches give way to natural coves. With accommodations to suit all budgets, this trip has everything you need for an unforgettable holiday.
This tour is just one possible itinerary that can be modified and extended as you wish.
N.B : Contact our greek specialists so they can customize this itinerary and adapt it to your needs and wishes.
Crete offers a wide range of independent accommodation. From the guest house to the 3-star hotel you'll find the accomodation which best suits your needs and your budget. Our desire to adapt our trips to your expectations and to offer you the "authentical Greece" also means selecting the best hotels. If you already know the perfect place for you, do not hesitate to share this information with our local specialists so we can customize your trip according to your wishes.
Estimated price per person, based on a 2-person trip:
- 400 Euros in guesthouses or charming local hotels
- 600 Euros in a 3-star hotel
Fixed price according to the number of people, the season and the vehicle category
- 8-day hire of a category A car (including VAT, unlimited mileage, comprehensive insurance, drop-off and pick-up)
- 7 nights in the category of accommodation of your choice with breakfasts
What's not included
- All meals, with the exception of breakfasts
- Tips and extras
- Visits and activities
Day by Day
Day 1: Heraklion
Arrive at Heraklion by airplane or boat and pick up your hire vehicle. The capital of Crete with its age-old Venetian monuments and beautiful old town is a must see. The museum devoted to the Minoan civilisation, one of the first of its kind in Europe, is astonishing. And you will of course travel to the archaeological site at Knossos, located 10 km south-east. This Minoan palace is part of the most ancient city in Greece, a place of legend.
Overnight in a hotel in Heraklion.
Day 2: Heraklion – Chania
140 km. 2 hours.
You will take the coastal road west, admiring the breathtaking panoramic views of hills dotted with olive trees and beautiful beaches. Take a detour to marvel at the Arkadi Monastery, a symbol of the people’s struggle for independence, located in a stunning natural setting.
Stop for lunch in Rethymno and admire the ancient Venetian harbour and fortress facing the sea. The town centre’s labyrinth of narrow streets is bustling with activity.
Arrive in Chania, or Hania in Greek, in the afternoon. With 2,500 years of history, the ancient city is one of Crete’s most enchanting.
Overnight in a hotel in Chania.
Day 3: Chania
The city of Chania and the western tip of Crete have much to offer travellers. You will be able to choose from a variety of excursions and activities: work your way round the old city’s maze of streets, wander around the covered market and don't forget to walk along the sea wall and take in the sight of Chania’s recently-restored ancient Venetian lighthouse. Hike around the Samaria Gorge, one of Crete’s most beautiful sites, with 16 km of rugged landscapes. Visit the Chryssoskalitissa Monastery on the island’s western tip, built on rocks some 35 metres high overlooking the sea. Go sightseeing on the peninsula of Gramvousa, featuring several archaeological sites and heavenly beaches. There are lots of museums to visit, such as the Archaeological Museum located in a former Venetian church and the Maritime Museum, in particular. Why not extend your stay a day or two...
Overnight in a hotel in Chania.
Day 4: Chania – Matala
140 km. 2 hours.
You will head east again, past Rethymno, until you reach the Matala region, located on the southern tip of Crete. This former harbour, tucked away in a magnificent bay, is today a pleasant seaside village. Get there nice and early to visit the Minoan archaeological sites at Phaistos and Agia Triada. The setting alone is worth the visit! You should also have enough time to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Kommos located near Matala.
Overnight in a hotel in Matala.
Day 5: Matala - Ierapetra
120 km. 2 hours.
Continue your journey eastwards along the scenic coastal road until you reach Ierapetra, Europe’s southernmost town. On your way, stop at the small fishing harbour of Myrtos, one of the villages located along the southern coast that has preserved its strong Greek character. In Ierapetra, the bars and restaurants located along the seafront and the Turkish district guarantee a friendly atmosphere during the summer months. The Venetian fortress located in the harbour is also well worth visiting, as is the Archaeological Museum. Some beautiful beaches can be found to the east of Ierapetra, Agia Fotia, in particular. If you have the time, you could also go walking in the Ha Gorges, located around 10 km north of Ierapetra. The gorges are Crete’s deepest and wildest. Hiking through them, however, should only be undertaken by seasoned hikers.
Overnight in a hotel in Ierapetra.
Day 6: Ierapetra – Sitia
150 km. 2 hours 30 minutes
Today you will have the opportunity to discover all of the magnificent sites along Crete’s eastern coast. First, the palm beach of Vai. Climb up the adjacent hill and take in this one-of-a-kind view that looks more North African than European. In Zakros, thirty kilometres or so south, you can visit the ruins of a Minoan palace and explore the beautiful, protected natural surroundings. Sitia is a charming town undiscovered by mass tourism. The town gives its name to an excellent local white wine... There are some very beautiful shady walks that will allow you to explore the town.
Overnight in a hotel in Sitia.
Day 7: Sitia – Agios Nikolaos
80 km. 1 hour 30 minutes
Take the scenic coastal road towards Agios Nikolaos. On your way, stop by the Minoan archaeological site at Gourma. The coastal town of Agios Nikolaos is nestled around a salt water lagoon and has lost none of its charm over the years. Its archaeological museum is well worth a visit. You can also go exploring the small island of Spinalonga with its impressive Venetian fortress. You will find some beautiful beaches a stone’s throw from Elounda, along the Gulf of Mirabella,
Overnight in a hotel in Agios Nikolaos.
Day 8: Agios Nikolaos – Heraklion
Head back to Heraklion. If you have time take the inland road through the Lasithi Plateau. At 900 meters above sea level the air is fresh and the landscapes of orchards dotted with white-sailed windmills. It is easy to find bicycles to hire here.
Leave your vehicle at the airport or harbour.
Highlights of the travel in Greece:
- This holiday is available all year round
- Renting a car in Crete is the best way to visit the island at your own rythm.
- A 7/7 assistance during your trip
Our advices for this travel in Greece:
- When it comes to visiting Knossos, we advise you to park your car a few meters around the site to avoid paid parking areas. By coming right after its opening hours or before its closing, you'll avoid excess heat as well as the crowd.
- During outdoor tours, it is recommended to take with you some water, hats and sunscreen.
- June and September are perfect times to visit Crete: beautiful weather and no excess heat!
- Thinking about a family trip in Crete? This destination is a children's paradise: Cretans are very affectionate when it comes to kids.
- If you are interested in Cretans' alcools, we recommend that you taste the raki and the Tsikoudia, two must-drinks of the region!
Have an amazing experience in Greece!