Ferries from Athens to Crete (and return)

by Cristina on February 22, 2013

by Cristina | February 22nd, 2013  

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The Crete to Athens ferry schedule is available at the bottom of the article.

Nothing is more romantic than approaching Crete by ferry. And if your budget is rather low, nothing is cheaper either! Ferries have become a very popular way to travel between the mainland and the islands, especially when you are looking to save some money. A deck seat on a ferry costs less than the airplane ticket between Athens and Crete.

Port of Piraeus

The Port of Piraeus (or Pireas*) serves Athens. It is large, hectic and confusing, especially without a map (download and print a map from the Ministry of Mercantile Marine page ). Make sure you allow plenty of time to get from the airport or the hotel to the port. And also allow enough time to find the gate (it’s written on the ticket).

Ferries to Crete depart from Port Gate Ε2 and E3. The port gate E2 is served by the free bus within the port, while at the gate E3 you will also find a rest area and places to eat.

>>more information on Getting from Athens to Piraeus

Crete, Heraklio, Chania, Sitia, Kissimos or Rethymnon ?

When you look up ferries between two places (mainland to islands or between islands), you are actually looking for a way to travel by ferry between two ports. While for the majority of islands, you’ll find the port name exactly the same of the island’s name, it is not Crete’s case.

The island is served by the following ports:

  • Heraklio (or Heraklion), port code HCR
  • Chania , port code CHC
  • Rethymnon (or Rethymno), port code RET
  • Kissamos , port code KIS
  • Sitia, port code SIT


To make it less confusing, Heraklio and Chania are served by the most ferries, so those two ports are the best choices for tourists. Price-wise, the tickets to Chania are cheaper than the tickets to Heraklio.

How long does it take to get from Athens to Crete?

The ferry journey between Athens (Piraeus, alt spelling Pireas) to Crete (Heraklio or Chania) takes between 6 hours, 30 minutes and 8 hours, depending on the type of ferry you are taking. If you travel between Athens and Rethymnon, the journey takes 12 hours and 3 minutes.

Is there a high speed ferry between Athens and Crete?

Yes, there’s a ferry which takes only 6 hours and 30 minutes to get from Athens to Crete.

How much does it cost to get from Athens to Crete by ferry?

The price depends on where you prefer to stay (deck seat, cabin, lounge) and the type of ferry you are taking, as well as the port you’ll be arriving in (although the differences are not significant) . Also, you should consider that several ferry companies serve the route so there’s also a price difference between the same type of seat on ferries run by different companies.

Heraklio

There are two ferry companies operating the overnight ferry from Piraeus to Heraklio. The travel time is the same (5 h 30 min) but the prices differ. On the ferry operated by Anek, the deck seat costs €36 one way and you can pay up to €153 one way if you choose a luxury cabin for yourself. On the ferry operated by Minoan Lines, a deck seat is €41 one way , while an airplane type of seat is €52.

Chania

Only Anek operates ferries between Piraeus and Chania. The deck seat is €35 one way, while the airplane type of seat is €43 one way.

How many ferries per day depart from Athens to Crete during the low season?

During the low season 2013 (March – May), the following ferries run between Athens (Piraeus) and Crete:

To Heraklio

Fri 6 p.m., Mar 1 to Apr 12
Daily 9 p.m., Feb 21 to May 2 , May 6 – Oct 31
Daily 9:30 p.m., until May 31
Mon, Tue, Wed , Thu, Sat, Sun 11 a.m., May 1, 2, 6, 7, 11, 12
Thu 12 p.m., May 2
Mon, Tue, Wed , Fri, Sun 3 p.m., May 1 ,3, 5 , 6, 7

To Kissamos:

Wed 12 p.m., Mar 6 – Oct 30
Fri 5 p.m., Mar 1 to Jun 7
Wed 3 p.m., May 1

To Sitia : Fri 6 p.m., Mar 1 to Apr 12

To Chania: Daily 9 p.m., Feb 21 to May 3 , May 6 – Dec 23

How many ferries per day depart from Athens to Crete during the high season?

During the high season 2013 (June – October), there are the following connections between Athens and Crete:

To Heraklio:

Daily 9 p.m., May 6 – Oct 31
Daily 10 p.m., Jun 1 – Aug 31
Daily 9:30 p.m., Sept 1 – Oct 31
Fri , Sat 11 a.m., Jul 5-20
Wed, Fri-Sun 11 a.m. , Jul 26-Aug 11 , Aug 16-Sept 1
Sat 11 a.m., Sept 7

To Chania:Daily 9 p.m., May 6 – Dec 23

To Kissimos:

Wed 12 p.m., Mar 6 – Oct 30
Fri 5 p.m., Mar 1 to Jun 7
Fri 6 p.m., Jun 14- Sept 6, Sept 13-Oct 25

Are there any overnight journeys between Athens and Crete?

Yes, there’s a ferry departing at 9 p.m. daily both during the high and low season. There are departures to both Heraklio and Chania. Also, during the low season there’s a ferry departing at 9:30 pm to Heraklio, almost daily.

Where can I buy tickets from?

You can buy tickets online right here, at most 2 months before the departure. Another option is to have your travel agent book them for you, but they will need to contact a Greek travel agency. So an easier option is to contact a reliable Greek travel agency yourself and book your tickets via them.

If you have some time available between your arrival in Athens and the time you planned to take the ferry to Crete, you can buy the tickets directly in the port of Piraeus, at Port Gate Ε1. Unless you are traveling during the peak season or national holiday weekends, you shouldn’t worry about booking in advance, especially if you plan to use a deck seat.

Does everyone charge the same prices?

All the research points to the fact that the prices are exactly the same, whether you buy them online , via a travel agent or directly from the ticketing office in the port. If there are any differences, those shouldn’t be significant.

How about the ferries between Crete and Athens?

During the high season 2013, the following ferries are available between Crete and Athens:

From Heraklio:

Daily 9:30 p.m., May 6 – Oct 31
Daily 10 p.m., until Oct 31
Fri, Sat 11 a.m., Jul 5 – Jul 20, Sept 7
Wed, Fri-Sun, 11 a.m., Jul 26-Aug 11, Aug 16-Sept 1

From Kissimos

Sun 5 p.m., Jun 6 – Sept 8
Sun 6 p.m., Mar 3 – Jun 9, Sep 15- Oct 27
Thu 9 p.m., Mar 7- Jun 6
Thu 22:45 p.m., Jun 13 – Sept 5
Thu 22:30 p.m., Sept 12- Oct 31

From Chania:Daily 9 p.m., May 6 – Dec 23

During the low season 2013, the following ferries are available between Crete and Athens:

From Heraklio:

Sun 4 p.m., Mar 3 – Apr 14
Daily 10 p.m., until Oct 31
Daily 9:30 p.m., Apr 1 – May 2, May 6 – Oct 31
Mon, Tue, Wed , Thu 8:15 a.m., May 1, 2 , 6, 7
Mon, Tue, Wed , Thu, Sat, Sun 11 a.m., May 1 , 2 6, 7, 11, 12
Thu 12 p.m. May 2
Fri 3 p.m., May 3

From Kissimos

Sun 6 p.m., Mar 3 – Jun 9
Thu 9 p.m., Mar 3 – Jun 6

From Chania: Daily 9 p.m., until May 3, May 6- Dec 23

From Sitia: Sun 12:05 p.m., Mar 3 – Apr 14


Important note:

Sometimes the ferry schedules available on line are not very accurate. It’s not the websites’ fault at all as the ferry companies submit their schedule to the Ministry of Merchant Marine weekly. Hence the ferry schedule might change from week to week.

The weekly ferry schedule comes out each Friday in the Athens News (in English) so get yourself a copy as soon as you arrive in Athens.

More information

Read more about
>> Ferries in Greece
>> Ferries from Athens: How to deal with the Port of Piraeus
>> Ferries from Athens to Aegina
>> Ferries from Athens to Mykonos
>> Ferries from Rafina to Mykonos
>> Ferries from Athens to Santorini
>> Ferries from Athens to Rhodes
>> Ferries from Athens to Hydra
>> Ferries from Athens to Patmos
>> Ferries from Athens to Karpathos
>>Ferries from Mykonos to Syros
>>Ferries from Santorini to Crete
>> Ferries from Santorini to Mykonos
>> Ferries from Santorini to Naxos
>> Ferries from Alonissos to Skopelos
>> Ferries from Corfu to Patras
>> Ferries from Rhodes to Kos
>>Ferries to and from Santorini
>> Ferries from Athens to Paros
>> Ferries from Mykonos to Crete
>> Ferries from Santorini to Karpathos
>>Ferries from Thessaloniki to Lesvos
>> Ferries to and from Mykonos
>> Ferries from Mykonos to Paros (and return)
>> Ferries from Crete to Gavdos
>> Ferries from Santorini to Rhodes
>> Ferries from Santorini to Paros
>> Ferries from Mykonos to Ios
>> Ferries from Mykonos to Tinos
>> Ferries from Thessaloniki to Rhodes
>> Ferries from Athens to Naxos
>> Ferries from Athens to Thessaloniki
>> Ferries from Santorini to Syros
>> Ferries from Kavala to Thassos
>> Ferries from Alonissos to Skiathos
>> Ferries from Athens to Lesvos (Lesbos)
>> Ferries from Thessaloniki to Kos
>> Ferries from Thessaloniki to Chios

Note:
* Pireas and Piraeus are exactly the same place, but you can find them spelled in both ways. All road signs though point to Pireas.
*The article was first published in 2009; latest schedule update was made as of February 2013.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Colby August 13, 2009 at 10:05 am
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I was wondering what the different levels of seats were on the ferries. It is rather confusing, and is it worth getting a cabin if I am traveling with 3 other adults, and we want to take the “overnight” ferry trips to Crete. Any suggestions? Also, while we are in Athens we want to watch a football game, is there a local pub that has the US Football games on, that you would recommend? Thank you.

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Cristina August 13, 2009 at 10:14 am
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@Colby: I cannot help with the US Football thing, sorry. But i bet you can watch a lot of European soccer :) Actually the seats aren’t “that” confusing. Typically there are deck seats (which are un-numbered), then there are those aircraft type of seats (numbered, reclining) and the different cabins. If there’s 4 of you, yes, you might want to look at a cabin but the prices are quite high. The only suggestion would be to compare the prices and if a cabin bed costs more than a flight, you are probably better off flying anyway and if you want to save money, just book a different kind of seat. Just think about it like you would if you were taking the train over night. Is it ok to travel in a regular seat in a compartment or do you prefer a couchette (or sleeping car)? Just make sure to look at the particular ferry you want to take b/c not all ferries offer the same types of cabins. [more confusing?]
You can email me at greece@logueit.com if you have more questions.

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Gabe October 7, 2009 at 1:44 am
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I will be touring Europe in Nov/Dec, and Greece in the below dates. I’d like to see Athens, but spend the majority of the week in Crete (I think this is during the low season, but I don’t know what the season dates are). I arrive in Athens at 20:05, 27 Nov by flight and depart 20:35, 04 Dec. Any recommendations on planning a round trip ferry ride?

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