Flights to Crete, Greece
Crete is Greece’s most populous and largest island and together with its surrounding islands, compose the region of Crete. The island is one of Greece's most popular holiday destinations partly thanks to the many popular tourist attractions located on the island. It is home to the Venetian old city and port of Chania as well as archaeological sites of the Minoan civilisation. It is also popular for Rethymno’s Venetian castle and the Plam of Vai, Europe’s largest natural palm forest.
Crete is served by two airports:
- Crete Heraklion Airport (HER) – Officially known as the Heraklion International Airport and locally known as Irákleion Airport, it acts as the primary airport for Crete and is the second busiest airport in Greece. The airport is located approximately 5 kilometres from the city centre where a taxi ride would cost around EUR17-21 (MYR85-110) and take about 4 minutes of travel time. There are currently no direct flights from Malaysia to Crete Heraklion Airport, but some airlines that operate flights between Malaysia and Crete include KLM and British Airways. Other airlines serving flights from the airport include Lufthansa, Aeroflot and Olympic Air.
- Crete Chania Airport (CHQ) – Officially known as the Chania International Airport, it is an international airport serving the city of Chania. However, with the increasing influx of tourists to the region, it also serves as a gateway to Crete’s western region. The airport is located approximately 14 kilometres from the city centre of Chania. A taxi ride from the airport to the city centre would take about 14 minutes of travel time and cost EUR23-29 (MYR110-150). Meanwhile, the airport is located approximately 144 kilometres from Heraklion, the central area of Crete. A taxi ride would take about 2 hours and 6 minutes of travel time and cost EUR120-150 (MYR600-750). Taking the bus would be a cheaper option at EUR17-18 (MYR88-91) but would take almost 4 hours of travel time. There are currently no direct flights from Malaysia to Crete Chania Airport. Other airlines that fly to Crete Chania include British Airways, Aegean Airlines, Finnair and Norwegian.
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Best Time to Visit Crete
The best time to visit Crete would be during the autumn months of September and October. Not only is the average temperature perfect for a holiday at 19 to 24 degrees Celsius, but flight tickets and hotel rates are also relatively cheaper compared to other seasons. It will be warmer in September where you can enjoy swimming in the Mediterranean and the cooler October days would be perfect for trekking along the historic attractions and join in the Chestnut Festival and Ohi Day, both happening in October.
The summer months of May through August is also a popular time to visit Crete. The average temperature would range between 21 to 27 degrees Celsius which is perfect for frolicking at the beach. However, not only will the flights and hotel rates be steeper during this season, expect crowds and queues at popular tourist attractions. If you do find yourself in Crete during summer, don’t miss the Rethymnon Wine Festival in June or the Yakinthia Festival in July.
Spring season is also a good time to visit Crete. During the months of March and April, temperatures would be cooler at an average of 12 to 16 degrees Celsius. Hotel rates and flights will also be cheaper during this low season. However, be prepared for rain showers during the day. For the spring season, be sure to time your holiday around the 1821 Memorial Parade in March or the Burning of Judas Celebrations in April.
The coolest season of the year in Crete will be during the months of November to February. Temperatures during this period will average between 10 to 15 degrees Celsius with high precipitation. However, despite the rainy days, the winter season has some of the liveliest festivals of the year such as St. Minas Parade in November and the Rethymnon Carnival in January and February. If you want to attend the carnival, it is recommended that you book your flights and especially your hotel rooms well in advance.
Things to do in Crete
There are many things to do and sights to see while visiting Crete. Here are some of the highly recommended sights and activities:
- Heraklion Archaeological Museum – Located in Heraklion, this museum is considered to one of Greece’s greatest museum as well as considered to be the world’s best for Minoan art. It is open daily from 8 am to 8 pm.
- Samariá Gorge – A national park since 1962, it is one of the island’s major tourist attractions. One of the highly recommended activities is to trek down the gorge from the Omalos plateau to Agia Roumeli where visitors can sail the Libyan Sea to reach the nearby village of Sougia. The park is open daily from 7 am to 3 pm.
- Knossos – Crete's largest archaeological site from the Bronze Age and known as Europe's oldest city. It covers a land area of 10 square kilometres with the main attraction being the Palace of Knossos. The site is just 5 kilometres south of Heraklion with many tour companies operating excursions or day trips to the site.
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