Cheap Flights to Crete
In Greek mythology, the island of Crete was the birthplace of the thunder god Zeus. It’s the largest and most populous of the 6,000 islands scattered across the Aegean and Ionian seas. Flights to Crete offer travelers the chance to lounge on sun-drenched beaches, snorkel and kayak in clear waters, explore archeological treasures, and sample unusual local delicacies such as marathopita (fennel pie) and sautéed goat.
Flights to Crete
Crete has three airports. Heraklion International Airport (HER), 3 miles east of the city of Heraklion, is Greece’s second-busiest airport after Athens International Airport (ATH). Chania International Airport (CHQ) serves travelers flying to the western reaches of the island, while tiny Sitia Airport (JSH) takes travelers in and out of Lasithi. Easyjet, SmartWings, Transavia, Ryanair, and Vueling all provide cheap flights to and from Crete.
There are regular buses between Heraklion International Airport and Eleftherias Square in the center of Heraklion, but public transportation from Chania International is erratic, and Sitia Airport has none at all. Both Heraklion International Airport and Chania International have gift shops, duty-free shops, and ATMs, but Sitia Airport has no traveler amenities.
Attractions in Crete
Crete’s most popular tourist attraction is the great Bronze Age Palace of Knossos, which is located just 5 miles away from the Heraklion Airport and is familiar to lovers of Greek mythology as the place where the Athenian prince Theseus fought and conquered the Minotaur. The Knossos ruins encompass the royal living quarters, courtyards, frescoes, and a very sophisticated water delivery system that predates Roman aqueducts by 1,500 years. The Archeological Museum of Heraklion contains many artifacts taken from the Knossos site as well as pottery, jewelry, and other treasures that document life in Crete during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
The village of Fodele, 17 miles west of Heraklion, was the birthplace of the 16th-century artist El Greco. The house in which the artist was born is now a museum celebrating his life.
Crete has many spectacular stretches of sand along its 650 miles of coastline. Cheap flights to Crete that land in Chania will give you easy access to the unspoiled beaches of Balos, Elafonissi, and Falassarna Source. The caves above Matala Beach near Heraklion were famous hippie hangouts during the 1960s and ’70s, and even though the caves are now fenced off, you’ll still find travelers and local families enjoying the beach and its crystal-clear waters.
Travel Tips for Crete
There’s very little signage at the Knossos archeological site, so if you want to make sure you understand what you’re looking at, be sure to hire a guide or sign up for a tour when you buy your ticket. The former option costs around 90 dollars, while a group tour will set you back approximately 12 dollars.
If you’re a beach lover, you may want to avoid August when you book your flights to Crete.
Throughout late summer, the Meltemi wind blows in from the north, making seas choppy and tossing sand around.