Road trips in Crete are amazing ways to explore the island in only a few days. However, as there are literally hundreds of beautiful places and beaches to see in Crete, it is wise to make a reasonable plan and not to have the expectation to see the whole island in 5 days. It is better to pick one prefecture (Chania, Heraklion, Lassithi or Rethymnon) and organize your road trip to see all the points of interest there. After this decision, you should follow some more steps to get the best out of your vacation.
Rent a car in Crete
The first step is to rent a car in Crete, which is convenient for your type of holidays. If you travel with your family, we recommend you renting an SUV, which is the ideal type of car for kids and many luggages. However, for two people, it is more flexible to rent a small car, which is great to find parking easily wherever you want.
When to come
Most travellers come to Crete during the summer months and especially in July and August. But if you want to spend some relaxing days away from the crowds, you should definitely avoid this time span. For road trips, you should also avoid the winter months and especially January and February, as there are mountain chains on the island, and you will find snowy conditions on the twisting roads. The best time to come is in autumn and spring and especially in May and October, when the weather is still good and the sea water warm enough to enjoy your holidays away from mass tourism.
Organised beaches or off-the-beaten-path?
Another decision to take when planning your road trip is whether you want to go off-the-beaten-path or stay around the fully organised and highly touristic places. Generally, the northern coast of Crete, which overlooks the Aegean Sea, is developed with many resorts and organised beaches, while the southern coast, which overlooks the Libyan Sea, is wilder and more untouched and virgin. However, part of it, such as around Agia Roumeli, is not accessible by car.
If you stay within one prefecture, you will need about 1-2 hours maximum to go from one point of interest to another. Keeping that in mind, you can organize your plan to see the best highlights in every region. Remember that roads are not highways, so you have to drive carefully. Plus, it is better to have extra time during every route to enjoy the magnificent scenery or make unplanned stops to a virgin cove or a traditional village you may unexpectedly discover.
You can stay in a hotel in the main town of the prefecture and then organize day trips around it. In large towns, such as Chania and Heraklion, as well as in touristic resorts, such as Stalis and Hersonissos, you can find great deals and cheap all-inclusive packages. If you want something more authentic, you can stay in a traditional guesthouse in a mountainous village, find your inner peace and explore by car the breathtaking places all around.