By car to Crete

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By car via Germany and Italy to Greece and on the island of Crete.

car ferry at Venice

By car to Crete: in front of the car ferry at Venice.

As an alternative to the usual air travel, it is also possible to arrive on Crete by car. This journey is practically a part of the actual holiday, with much more sightseeing possibilities on the way and additional almost already a cruise.

Anyone who has ever driven by car to Crete, basically has two options:
On the one hand, only to use the shortest ferry routes, but all about driving your car much more
– or –
to spend most of the trip on the ship to relax and to use the car as little as possible.

The first way leads most travelers down to the Italian port of Brindisi and from there by ferry to Patras.
However, we have decided to spend most of the trip on the sea because the waterway is still the cheapest means of transport since time immemorial. Since the trip was made during the off-season, the prices for the car ferries and cabins were about 1/3 cheaper than in the summer time. And by considering fuel saving and wear on the car, tolls for the Italian highways, etc., this is favorable option.
Moreover, a cruise on which you do not have to drive yourself, is much more pleasant, relaxing and free of stress and risk of accidents on the road. For this sea voyage across the Adriatic Sea you have to go to Venice.

Day 1 – from Germany to Bardolino on Lake Garda

Our trip took us on the first day from the heart of Germany on the highways to Bavaria and Munich of course, where the first photo was taken.

Now we crossed the Brenner Pass from Austria to Italy.

Since we knew Bardolino on Lake Garda well, our first stop for the night was a local Hotel there, which we reached towards evening. In the familiar old town and out of season we could have a nice evening meal with a very good, original Italian pizza.

Day 2 – from Bardolino to Venice

For the second day our destination was just Venice, which is just a ‘stone’s throw’ from Bardolino away.

There we embarked on a car ferry Venice-Patras to Greece, where we booked a two bed inside cabin with meals. Due to the short travel time from Bardolino to Venice and the departure of the ferry in the afternoon, there is also a little bit time for a short visit to Venice.

Day 3 – across the Adriatic to Patras

The third day we spent practically almost completely at sea. In total, it was a beautiful voyage from 1 1/2 days on the Adriatic, with a brief stop at Corfu.
If one considers that the fare with cabin on the route Venice-Patras is higher by only about 50% as for the much shorter route Brindisi-Patras, this trip already is worth alone because of the saved gasoline and tolls for Italian highways.

In the evening against 21 hours the ship finally arrived in Patras, where we also found immediately a nice hotel for the night. Since the ferry from Piraeus to Crete is leaving earlier the evening and it takes around 3 hours to arrive there, it would make not much sense to drive there now.

Day 4 – from Patras to the port of Piraeus

Today we drove again only a short journey from Patras via Corinth directly to the port of Piraeus, to avoid the usual traffic chaos in Athens. We spent practical all day at the port until the car ferry Minoan Lines Piraeus-Heraklion on Crete could be boarded in the late afternoon.
If you do not know Athens, you can also use the time for a sightseeing tour.

In the evening, the ship left and the fares from Piraeus to the other Greek islands are not very expensive in general. Practically, the ferries in Greece are the same like the trains in UK.
Again we booked an inside cabin, but many travelers spend the night even on easy chairs or other seating and lying opportunities.

Day 5 – Arriving on Crete

Early in the morning the ferry arrives at Heraklion on Crete and we were at the destination of our trip by car to Crete.

port of Heraklion

A car ferry of Minoan Lines in stormy weather in the port of Heraklion.

Information about ferry connections

Minoan Lines has been providing a large European ferry company with a well-equipped fleet in the Aegean and Italy for over 35 years.
Minoan Lines currently mainly use the ferry services

  • Ancona (Italy) to Patras (Greece),
  • Piraeus (Athens) to Heraklion (Crete),
  • Venice (Italy) to Patras (Greece).

It is also possible to leave the ships on Corfu or Igoumenitsa.
More information, prices and fares are available here.

ANEK Lines currently mainly handles the ferry services

  • Ancona (Italy) to Patras (Greece),
  • Bari (Italy) to Patras (Greece),
  • Venice (Italy) to Patras (Greece),
  • Piraeus (Athens) to Chania (Crete),
  • Piraeus (Athens) to Heraklion (Crete).

Here, too, the ship can alternatively be left on Corfu or at Igoumenitsa. There are also connections to the Cyclades (eg Santorini) and Dodecanese Islands (eg Rhodes), but also Sitia in Crete.
Further information, prices and fares are available here.

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4 Comments

  1. Antonios Stavroulakis

    We travel from Sweden to Crete, we have to take 6 different boats forward and back,We go through Rostock and the same day we are in Venecia 1440 Km.Now it’s important that the times match the boats. If you take a boat that arrives at Patra in the morning, you can arrive at Piraeus until the afternoon, and then you can take the boat the same day to Heraklion, then you win you time and money.I come from Crete and have lived in Sweden for 43 years now.So I have made that trip many times !!!

  2. Our jorney to Crete this summer was frugal… It was from Plovdiv, BG through Thessaloniki, Athens to lovely Chania in Crete. A night in Athens, a night by ferry from Pireaus.. and the next you can imagine it – magical island with delicious food and brilliant beaches. <3

  3. Can anyone tell us a vague cost of this trip. Uk to crete using ferrys whenever possible. ??

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