Travel Guide: Getting to Crete, Greece

Here at Photos of Crete .com one of the questions we get asked often by visitors to our Facebook page and site is… Which is the best airport to land in Crete??

Well we like to help out where we can so we’ve decided to create a simple guide to answer this question and help you make the right choice for your trip to the island of Crete, Greece.



The approach to Nikos Kazantzakis Airport, Heraklion Crete usually comes from the eastern side turning in over Hersonissos and following the coastline into the runway that sits on a peninsula close to Karteros. This stunning photos shows a western approach over the city of Heraklion itself. This only happens when the wind prohibits an eastern approach and landing.
Approach to Heraklion International Airport

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and is the 5th largest island in the Mediterranean sea. At 160 miles or 260 km in length east to west Crete is a relatively long and thin stretch of land and the airports that service the island are along the northern coast. As Crete is only 37 miles or 60 km in width (at it’s widest point) heading south from the airports is no more than an hour coast to coast, but as Crete is so long touching down in the wrong part of the island could lead to a long and tiring drive after what can quite often be a lengthy flight to Crete from Northern Europe.


Crete has 2 internatonal airports in Chania and Heraklion and a regional airport at Sitia all servicing passenger flights.
Airports in Crete

The island of Crete is serviced by two international airports:


Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport in Heraklion the island’s capital and relatively central on the island’s east / west axis


Ioannis Daskalogiannis International Airport in Chania at a more westerly position on the northern coast.


The 2 international airports offer flights beyond Greek shores during the summer season (April to October) and beyond this scale back to offering domestic flights only to the major Greek hub airports of Athens or Thessaloniki, and if you want to get to Crete during the winter then you’ll need to book a connecting flight to one of the Cretan airports via either.

There has been much debate / conjecture and consternation around the desire and need of a year-round tourist season in Crete. There is no doubt that the weather can be warm and sunny at times throughout the winter and it never gets what we northern Europeans would ever call cold. Other Mediterranean destinations of similar climate (such a Cyprus) operate all year round but Crete never has. It would take a collaborative effort between the large package holiday companies and the airlines to make it happen and for one reason or another despite previous attempts it’s never quite got there yet. Maybe recent events with the global pandemic will encourage everyone with a part to play that 2021 could be the winter to finally make this happen? We’ll see.


Nikos Kazantzakis Heraklion International Airport HER Prefix


The Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport at Heraklion, Crete, Greece is the island's largest airport services major tourist destinations such as Malia, Hersonissos, Stalis, Agios Nikolaos. Elounda and Rethymno