Heraklion is the fourth largest city in Greece and the capital of Crete. With winding mountain roads and vantage points that overlook the sea, exploring the area by car is an experience like few others. Heraklion International Airport, the second busiest in Greece, offers excellent rental car options for arriving travellers.
Rentals in Heraklion, Crete
Renting a car from Heraklion International Airport is easy, and renting a car is a great way to make the most of a stay on the Greek Island, Crete. There are eight national rental brands that service the airport and travellers who pre-book rental reservations can have the chosen car waiting upon arrival.
Typically, the most affordable rentals are mini and economy cars. However, renters can often find discounted rates on intermediate and full-size vehicles, making them less expensive than the smaller available options. So, tourists wanting the best deal should check all rates. Renters do need the following items to rent a vehicle in Greece:
- Rental booking confirmation
- Driver's License from the UK or an International Driver's License
- Second form of ID like a passport
- Credit card in the driver's name
- Any extra items requested during booking
Each car rental company has different policies for driver age, refueling, mileage, pick-up/drop-off, and tolls. Drivers should become familiar with all policies.
Important Things to Know when Driving in Crete
- Greek drivers pass each other by entering into on coming traffic lanes, but they also expect the driver they are passing to move to the shoulder to allow for safe passage. This is a customary practice in Greece.
- Roadways are often slick, so drivers should use caution around winding roads, on cliffs, and at night.
- Watch for animals on roadways and highways.
- Drivers do not thank each other, as allowing other cars to pass is a given and an open hand gesture is actually considered rude in Greece.
- Parking is not a huge issue in Crete, unless travellers are in the main city centres. Even then there are plenty of parking options, including paid parking garages.
Must-see Places in Heraklion, Crete
Heraklion is the largest city on the island of Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands. The varying terrain makes driving through Crete a remarkable journey. From white sand beaches to the massive White Mountains, the varying terrain offers visitors a lot to see. Below are a few of the must-see places on the Island of Crete.
- Samaria Gorge is a World's Biosphere Preserve and a major tourist attraction. A National Park of Greece since 1962, the site is 3 hours and 2 minutes (180 km) from Heraklion International Airport via VOAK/E75.
- Knossos, also known as "Europe's Oldest City," is the largest Bronze Age site in Crete. The site is a very short 10 minute (7.1 km) drive from the airport and offers tourists a great first look at the history of the island.
- Heraklion Archaeological Museum is the greatest museum in the world for tourists interested in Minoan art. The museum has a vast collection of artifacts from the Minoan civilization and is a 9 minute (3.8 km) drive from Heraklion International Airport.
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