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Travel Guide: Car Hire - Rental in Crete, Greece

Here at Photos of Crete .com we always try and use our experiences and unbiased opinions on visiting Greece's largest island of in order to help you make the most of your time in Crete whatever the reason for your visit. Be it for holidays, business or maybe visiting family and whether you reach the island by plane or boat once you get there the onward journey and the rest of your time in Crete your modes of transport becomes your next dilemma.

Eastern approach to Nikos Kazantzakis Airport, Crete, Greece.
Heraklion Nikos Kazatzakis Airport Approach

Some use a taxi or bus from the airport to their lodgings and spend the rest of their holiday lapping up the warm Cretan sun and waters and never venture far from base and if that is your ideal break then car rental might not be worthwhile. However if you are planning on seeing some of the historical sites or venturing to a water park or checking out some of the island's other resorts or towns then a rental is a fantastic and cost effective option to make the best of your break.

Opposite the main terminal at Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport, Heraklion, Crete, Greece you can catch a public bus or rent a car.
Public Bus & Car Rental Nikos Kazatzakis Airport, Heraklion, Crete, Greece

Of course if you're going to hire a car the first consideration is if you can legally drive on the island. If you're home nation is part of the EU then all you are going to need is your driving license, passport and a credit / debit card and you are in business. Age will also be a consideration with some car hire companies so it's worth checking with your rental firm of choice that you are old enough to use the vehicle.

If you're not in the EU (The UK from early 2021) you may need an additional document such as an International driving permit to be able to legally drive in Greece and Crete.

Greek National Road 90 VOAK runs the length of the island of Crete., Greece along the northern coast linking the major towns of Heraklion, Sitia, Rethymno & Chania.
Greek National Road 90 VOAK near Heraklion, Crete, Greece

So once you've done your checks and you are legally good to drive in Crete what's it like to take to the roads on Greece's largest island?

We we've made a guide to help you decide whether or not driving in Crete is right for you and you can check it out: HERE

You can rent a car, bike, scooter or minibus on Crete Greece both from local car hire companies and from the large international rental agencies.
Car Rental / Hire, Crete, Greece

The benefits of hiring a car in Crete for you trip are significant and for the Photos of Crete .com team to make the most of your visit car rental is highly recommended. The island is large and it can be an hour or two (and sometimes more) driving time from the airport to your final destination and car hire gives you that freedom to be able to see some of the islands world class attractions (and not to mention beauty) for yourself and even if it's only 2 or 3 days out of a week's holiday that you might use the car to get out and about it can still work out cheaper than using other transport.

The Minoan Palace of Knossos in Crete, Greece is one of Europe and the world's most important archaeological sites and lies just a few kilometres south of the island's capital Heraklion.
Knossos Minoan Palace, Crete, Greece

For us we'd always want to see some of the stunning history, towns, beaches, gorges, smells and tastes the beautiful island of Crete has to offer, and if you're like us then a car rental will almost certainly offer you better value over paying for transport from the airport to your lodging then paying for coach excursions to see some more of Crete.

So where do you start in your hunt for a hire car?

Well firstly TIP 1: do not wait until you get to the island to book a car.

This will be far more expensive than organizing your rental well before you travel to Crete. Our advice is to get online and use both price comparison sites married with contacting some local rental companies on the island to find the best price.

The large car rental agencies have offices within the terminals at both Heraklion and Chania international airports.
Car Rental Offices Nikos Kazantzakis Airport, Crete, Greece

In our experience you can find huge value on the comparison site (that largely index the big rental companies) either side of the main tourist season months of July and August. During the high season value is often best found with a local car hire company.

Tip 2: Be careful when hiring a car from the local companies though. They are friendly, helpful and will meet you with the vehicle at the airport or port so you've not got to struggle with your bags however the age and condition of the vehicles on offer can widely vary so be sure to check with the company the age of the vehicle you are renting prior to booking.

Some families rent with the same local company year after year and build a relationship of trust with the often family owned rental companies that operate around the major airports and ports of the island, and that relationship of trust can often mean great prices and quality.

The local car rental companies in Crete, Greece are often family owned and run and offer a reliable and friendly service. It's always worth checking out the age and condition of the vehicles on offer prior to making a booking.
Local Car Hire, Crete, Greece

With the larger national and international car rental companies at both Heraklion and Chania International Airport you'll find either a small office within the airport terminal or an office & compound close by. The local hire companies will almost always meet you at arrivals with a piece of paper with your name on then walk you to the car that is parked nearby.

Tip 3: Both local and major car rental companies will want a holding deposit so ensure you have a credit card to make this payment as it is 'held' rather than debited from your account on most occasions and if you use your debit card it could freeze a large amount of the available funds in your account!

Baby or child seats are just one of several 'add on' requirements when hiring a car that the cost of should be checked out prior to making your booking.
Child / Baby Seat Car Rental Crete, Greece

There are other significant differences between the local and major car rental companies that are important to investigate too prior to making your booking as they can significantly alter the price or lead you to potential post rental charges.

TIP 4: If you have kids check out additional charges for child seats. Whilst most local rental companies will either include these in the rental price (or at worth levy a small fee) the larger companies are famous for offering attractive car rental prices and then loading the overall cost with huge add on fees. I've seen charges of over 150 euro for a child's car seat on a week's hire so watch these fees and check them out prior to booking.

Tip 5: Accidental damage waivers along with collision waivers, fuel and mileage charges are also worth checking out prior to making your booking.

Most local hire companies will 'include' these within the price they offer you and ask you to return the car with the same fuel level in the car when you collected the vehicle. The bigger companies are full of additional charges and terms so check them out prior to making your booking. With damage to the car and potential fees once again the local companies will generally 'include' collision waiver into your rental whilst the larger rental options will want additional fees. The key to all of the above is to CHECK CHECK CHECK BEFORE YOU BOOK!

The freedom car hire on Greece's largest island affords empowers you to experience the history, culture, landscape, beaches and resorts of the island at your own pace.
Car hire / rental Crete, Greece.

Like some airlines the initial price can look great but when then add-ons are all totaled up the final price is much larger than it first appeared. Because of the varying condition of the roads and places you might decide to take a car in Crete we would always recommend protecting the vehicle for damage to the underside and collision as a basic, and as such always ensure that the cost for this cover is not putting another large amount onto your overall rental price.

The mountain roads of Crete, Greece offer breathtaking scenery and fascinating villages and history to visit. The condition of these roads can vary and damage waiver on your car rental is recommended.
Mountain Roads of Crete, Greece.

The online exploration and research that you do in the months prior to arriving in Crete with not only provide you with a good quality vehicle but also the right cover, terms and additional accessories you need for your trip. We believe that you will love the freedom and opportunities that a rental car offers whilst enjoying the island of Crete. Us guys at Photos of Crete .com never visit without a car as part of our stay, and your understanding and enjoyment of the island will be hugely enhanced by having a vehicle as part of your trip.

Photos of Crete bring you our unbiased and honest guides to the island of Crete, Greece. We've had a connection to the island for over 30 years and we have called on our own personal experiences to bring you what we think is important and our opinions on how to get the best from your stay as we write guides about each and every aspect of visiting the largest of the Greek islands... Crete. We have a SHOP and we also offer PROPERTY CONSULTANCY & MANAGEMENT within Crete so don't forget to take a look and have a wander about the entire PHOTOS OF CRETE SITE. Thanks for reading.

© Simon Mcilvenna 2020 Photos of Crete

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