Where To Stay In Crete Without A Car

Crete is the largest Greek island filled with breathtaking beaches, ancient ruins, quaint villages, and scenic hiking trails. Getting around can be challenging without your own set of wheels, but fret not, there are plenty of car-free options for travelers.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Some of the best places to stay in Crete without a car include Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion, Matala, and Plakias thanks to their walkability, public transportation, and proximity to top attractions.

Best Destinations in Crete to Visit Without a Car

Crete, the largest island in Greece, offers a multitude of stunning destinations to explore. While having a car can be convenient for exploring every corner of the island, not everyone wants to rent a car or feels comfortable driving in a foreign country.

Fortunately, Crete has several destinations that are easily accessible without a car. Here are some of the best destinations in Crete to visit without a car:


Chania, located on the northwest coast of Crete, is a picturesque city known for its charming Old Town and Venetian Harbor. The Old Town is a maze of narrow alleyways filled with boutique shops, traditional tavernas, and historical landmarks.

Visitors can wander through the vibrant streets, visit the impressive Chania Archaeological Museum, and enjoy a meal at one of the many waterfront restaurants. Chania also offers easy access to beautiful beaches, such as Balos and Elafonisi, which can be reached by public transportation or organized tours.


Rethymno, situated between Chania and Heraklion, is another great destination to explore without a car. The town is known for its well-preserved Venetian architecture, including the imposing Fortezza Castle overlooking the sea.

Visitors can stroll along the narrow streets of the Old Town, visit the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno, and relax on the sandy beach. Rethymno is also a gateway to the scenic villages of the Amari Valley and the beautiful Preveli Beach, which can be reached by public buses or organized tours.


Heraklion, the capital of Crete, is a bustling city with a rich history and vibrant culture. The city is home to the famous Heraklion Archaeological Museum, which houses a vast collection of Minoan artifacts, including the iconic Knossos Palace.

Visitors can explore the ancient ruins, wander through the Venetian Walls surrounding the old city, and enjoy the lively atmosphere of the city center. Heraklion also offers easy access to nearby attractions, such as the stunning beaches of Agia Pelagia and the historic village of Archanes.


Matala, located on the south coast of Crete, is a small village famous for its unique rock-cut caves and beautiful sandy beach. In the 1960s and 70s, Matala became a popular hippie destination, attracting famous artists and musicians.

Today, visitors can explore the caves, relax on the beach, and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the village. Matala can be reached by public buses from Heraklion or Chania, making it an easily accessible destination without a car.


Plakias, situated on the south coast of Crete, is a charming coastal village surrounded by rugged mountains and pristine beaches. The village offers a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere, making it a perfect destination for those seeking tranquility.

Visitors can spend their days lounging on the sandy beach, hiking in the nearby gorges, or exploring the traditional tavernas in the village. Plakias can be reached by public buses from Rethymno, making it a convenient option for travelers without a car.

These destinations in Crete offer a variety of experiences, from historical landmarks to stunning beaches. Whether you prefer the vibrant streets of Chania, the Venetian charm of Rethymno, the rich history of Heraklion, the hippie vibes of Matala, or the tranquility of Plakias, Crete has something to offer for everyone, even if you don’t have a car.

Getting Around Crete Without a Rental Car

When it comes to exploring Crete without a rental car, there are several transportation options available. Whether you want to visit the historic sites, relax on the beautiful beaches, or explore the charming villages, there is a way to get around the island without having to rely on a car.


Crete has an extensive bus network that connects all major towns and villages. The buses are a convenient and affordable way to travel around the island. They are well-maintained and provide a comfortable journey for passengers.

The bus routes cover almost every corner of the island, making it easy to reach popular tourist destinations. The bus schedules are reliable, and they operate frequently throughout the day. Traveling by bus also allows you to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way.

Boats & Ferries

Another great way to get around Crete is by taking boats and ferries. These options are especially useful if you want to visit some of the smaller islands or explore the coastline. There are regular ferry services that connect the major ports in Crete to other Greek islands and mainland Greece.

This is a fantastic opportunity to experience the stunning Mediterranean Sea and enjoy the breathtaking views. The ferry rides are comfortable and provide an enjoyable travel experience.


If you prefer a more convenient and private mode of transportation, taxis are readily available in Crete. Taxis can be found at the airports, ports, and in major towns. They offer a door-to-door service and can take you to your desired destination quickly.

While taxis may be slightly more expensive than other options, they are a convenient choice if you have limited time or want to travel with ease. It is always a good idea to negotiate the fare with the driver before starting your journey.

Walking & Hiking

Crete is a paradise for walkers and hikers, with its diverse landscapes and well-marked trails. If you enjoy outdoor activities, exploring the island on foot is a great way to immerse yourself in its natural beauty.

There are numerous hiking trails that take you through picturesque villages, stunning gorges, and breathtaking mountain ranges. Walking and hiking allow you to discover hidden gems and experience the true essence of Crete. Just make sure to wear comfortable shoes and carry plenty of water.

Tips for Navigating Crete Without Your Own Transportation

Crete is a stunning island in Greece that offers a plethora of attractions and experiences for travelers. While having a car can be convenient, there are still plenty of ways to navigate and explore Crete without your own transportation. Here are some helpful tips to make the most of your trip:

Stay in a Central Location

One of the best ways to navigate Crete without a car is to choose accommodation in a central location. This will allow you to easily access public transportation options such as buses or taxis. The cities of Heraklion and Chania, for example, are well-connected and have reliable bus services that can take you to various parts of the island.

Plus, staying in a central location means you’ll have easy access to restaurants, shops, and other amenities.

Plan Your Itinerary Wisely

When you don’t have a car, it’s essential to plan your itinerary wisely. Consider visiting attractions that are located close to each other to minimize travel time. Crete has a diverse range of sights, from ancient ruins to picturesque beaches, so prioritize the ones that are easily accessible via public transportation.

Additionally, check the bus schedules in advance to ensure that you don’t miss any connections.

Consider Group Tours

If you prefer a more guided experience, consider joining group tours to explore the island. Many tour operators offer day trips to popular destinations like the Samaria Gorge or the Palace of Knossos. These tours often include transportation, making it convenient for travelers without a car.

Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to meet fellow travelers and learn from knowledgeable guides who can provide insights into Crete’s history and culture.

Leverage Your Hotel’s Offerings

Make the most of your hotel’s offerings when exploring Crete without a car. Many hotels provide shuttle services to popular attractions or can arrange transportation for their guests. Take advantage of these services to save time and hassle.

Additionally, seek recommendations from the hotel staff on nearby attractions that are easily accessible without a car. They may suggest hidden gems or local experiences that you may not find in guidebooks.

Remember, exploring Crete without a car doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the island’s beauty and charm. With careful planning and utilizing the available transportation options, you can still have an amazing and unforgettable experience on this enchanting Greek island.


With enchanting coastal cities, quirky mountain villages, ancient ruins and sublime beaches – Crete has something for every type of traveler. By opting for car-free friendly destinations, utilizing public transportation, joining tours, and staying centrally, you can still check off top highlights across the island.

Just be sure to allocate enough time to account for transit when plotting your itinerary.

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