Driving In Crete

Old Jul 24th, 1999, 06:35 PM
Jonathan Martin
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Driving In Crete

I am looking for some advice on driving at night in Crete. We will be on our honeymoon in the early part of September and will be taking a night flight from Santorini into Heraklion Airport. There we will be picking up a rent-a-car and driving to the Elounda Beach Resort (supposedly 45 minutes drive away). My concern is that I have heard that driving in Greece is the worst in Europe (even worse than driving in Boston!!) and adding to the fact that we are travelling at night - should I be even more concerned.
Can anyone please shed some light on this area about how the road conditions are, Greek drivers are, etc. Any comments would be much appreciated.
Thank you.
Old Jul 24th, 1999, 10:01 PM
Martha B
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It's been a few years, but it seems to me that drive takes longer than 45 minutes. The roads are extremely winding along the coast, with spectacular (i.e., dangerous) drop-offs down to the sea. And Greece does have a high accident rate.
If I were you, I'd rent a hotel room in Irakleon for the night, and enjoy the drive in daylight the next day, either stopping at the Minoan archaeological site at Malia, or cutting inland to the windmill-dotted Plain of Lassithi.
Congratulations, and have a good trip.
Old Jul 25th, 1999, 05:37 AM
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My wife and I spent a week on Crete two years ago and drove to Elounda from Chania. Though we did it during the day, the road we used (and you will to). Is a well-paved two to at times, four-lane highway. Very goo condition. I do not know how well lighted it is, but there are alot of homes and business es of it, so I believe you will be OK. When you get near Elounda, be careful because the road leading up to it and especially down to Elounda is VERY CURVY with a large drop off. Take your time here. Elounda is a beautiful little town, definitely eat at the restaurant on the pier in the middle of town..great seafood they catch in the morning and bring in at night..Also go to the former leper colony at Spinalonga...the views are incredible. Have a great time
Old Jul 25th, 1999, 09:25 AM
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Whether day or night, drive defensively. Greek drivers take more chances especially when passing others with limited visibility of oncoming traffic. Stay well on your side of the road around curves. The road you're taking is fine and you'll be on the land side heading to Elounda. Also at night you'll be able to see 'em coming. The previous comment about enjoying the drive during the day also has merit - the scenery can be breathtaking. Iraklion has a pedestrian only area at night that can be fun with lots of tavernas, bars etc. On the other hand, I've heard Elounda Beach Resort is fabulous and can't blame you for wanting to get there asap. I wish I had your problem! Have a great trip.
Old Jul 25th, 1999, 05:08 PM
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Get a local hotel. Drive on the next morning. Often road work is not lighted or signed.
Old Aug 5th, 1999, 04:22 AM
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Just got back from a one-week stay in Crete which included some driving between Chania and Heraklion. As several others have rcommended, I also recommend staying the night at a local hotel to drive during the following daylight. I found the Greek/Cretian roads to be narrow and not well maintained. Look at a map of Crete and you'll see that some of the roads look like hair-pins, and their not exaggerated! And this includes the main road on the northern coast. The Greek drivers, or perhaps more so the vacationing turists, drive like hell, to say it simply. The main road across the northern coast is a decent stadard, but the remaining roads are not nearly as good. Be prepared to be passed at very high speeds, for roads to be in a lesser condition that unusual in the States or in the rest of Europe, and for the drivers to be rather careless. My conclusion: I think that kamakaize (sp?) may be a Greek word and not Japanese.

And be prepared for some remarkable views. But don't let the roads or the drivers destroy the beauty of Crete! A recommendation: while on Crete, see the Samaria Gorge, or better yet, walk through it!

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