The size and diversity
Crete’s size and diversity make it an amazing place to drive around. It is hard to find a more varied or scenic set of routes and roads than those traversing the island.
Often, visitors don’t realise how big the island is so let’s begin with the basics:
it takes approx. 5 hours to drive from West to East along the North coast (without any in between stops) and approx. 40mins from North to South at the narrowest point of the island
Avoid waiting and busy crowds
Explore the real Crete
Some examples of places to drive to on the North coast, are:
- In the Elounda area, drive across the narrow stretch towards Kolokytha beach for a swim and a bite to eat at the first tavern you meet.
- In the Agios Nikolaos area, seek out the small and traditional village of Kritsa with the picturesque streets and shops and have a Greek coffee in the little square with the locals.
- In the Malia/Hersonissos area, drive up to Krasi where you can enjoy a ‘kanelada’ (cinnamon drink) at the local ‘kafeneion’ (café) upon entering the village.
- In the Heraklion area, why not drive to some of the wineries and/or for a local beer tasting? The village of Archanes is also worth a visit!
- In the Rethymnon area, drive South towards Plakias so that you have to drive right through the Kourtaliotiko Gorge, an experience not to be missed!
- In the Chania area, visit the beach of Stavros where the famous scenes from the film Zorba the Greek were filmed! Turquoise waters and plenty of choice for snacks and drinks but try to avoid the weekends when it gets busy.
Experience local driving culture
Crete’s culture is also reflected in the driving, with a chilled approach unless in a hurry. For example, it is customary to move over the hard shoulder and allow others to pass when they are faster than you, sometimes they will even toot to say ‘thank you’.
In addition, using hazard lights could mean anything from turning and stopping to just saying ‘hello’, so be prepared and don’t hesitate to copy this behaviour. When on rural roads, it is good to remain alert as herds of sheep and goats crossing are a frequent occurrence – some of them may even come to peer in through your car window!