Road traffic(updated July 14, 2007)
At first glance, the traffic movement on Crete is a chaos. But, in practice, it isn't. Simply do like everyone does and it all works out pretty well.
Crete's biggest highway (New National Road) stretches from Agios Nikolaos, in the east, to Kissamos, in the west. The road runs along the major cities, Heraklion, Rethymno and Chania. Also, the road runs along places like Chersonissos and the airport at Heraklion. If you want to get around by car on the island you will, sooner or later, need to use this road. The quality of this road is generally good. A lot of effort is made to improve the road.
There is also the Old National Road. This was created after the Second World War with the help of money from the Marshall Plan. The quality of this road is much less than that of the new highway. However, the views and the setting where this road runs through are very nicely. Especially the part east of Chersonissos is beautiful.
In the area around Heraklion several highways are constructed currently to make parts of Crete easily accessible.
Across the island are smaller roads. The quality of these roads varies enormously. Most roads are so narrow that you need to slow down for upcoming traffic. Most roads run through small villages. In these villages the roads are often narrow. There is a great lack of sign posts and there are many blind curves. Some outlying roads are not paved and only accessible by jeep. It is not recommended to drive through the interior when it's dark and you don't know the situation. Given the condition of the roads that's asking for trouble.
|Outside built-up areas:||70 km/h|
|Inside built-up areas:||50 km/h|
Here are the speed limits on Crete. All limits are valid unless otherwise indicated. You will not easily reach the speed limits on the island. On the highway you can travel an average of 80 km per hour. Sometimes you come against speed limits in places where these seem superfluous. These spots are often used by the local police to deal out speeding tickets. Stay alert!
|Parking Error:||€ 30, -|
|Crossing speeds up to 20%:||€ 60, -|
|Crossing speeds up to 40%:||€ 150, -|
|Motorcycling without a helmet:||€ 150, -|
|Driving under the influence of alcohol|
(between 0.5 and 0.8 ‰):
|€ 150, -|
|Driving without seatbelts:||€ 150, -|
|Driving against the direction of travel:||€ 150, -|
|Shed waste from car:||€ 300, -|
|Crossing red light:||€ 300, -|
|Overtaking on the right:||€ 300, -|
On Crete traffic fines can be classified in several categories. There are low fines for offences where no one is at risk. Higher fines are handed out when the administration of the car is not exhaustive and the highest penalties are handed out for offences which, possibly, put a third party at risk.
When you've made a very serious offence or caused a serious accident, according to Greek law you've committed a crime committed and you will be arrested. You risk a sentence of 1 to 2 years in jail.
- With most European licenses you may drive in Greece. But make sure that you look a bit similar to the photo in your passport and your driving license.
- Roundabouts are slightly different than in the rest of Europe. Not the person who is on the roundabout but the person who is approaching the roundabout has priority. Unless otherwise stated of course.
- Do not take precedence if you do not have it or if you are not sure whether you have priority. Other road users do not brake! Be aware, however, that you do not always get priority when you have it.
- Watch out for holes in the roads.
- Overtake only if it's necessary and if the road is suitable. When you drive faster than the one before you sooner or later he'll give you a sign when it is save to overtake.
- Try to ride in the pace of other road users. If you drive to slow you are faced with dangerous overtaking.
- Be suspicious about other road users who do not use their mirrors. Partly because of they often want to forget the indicator at a junction. Take a little more distance than you are used to.
- Do not park along the side of the road in the centre of a city. The probability that you will do it wrong is great. Often only the drivers of rental cars get a penalty. It is better to enter parking garages or guarded parking lots.
- Make sure you take a good road map with you. The road maps that get from the car rental companies are often far from complete. Maps for Crete are sold at better bookstores in Europe and costs up to ten Euros. You can also download a map of the Greek national traffic department. This card is fairly good, as long as you have the ability to print it in a high-resolution. You can download the ZIP file containing the map at this location (right, and then "save target ").
Below you'll find a table showing the distances between various important places on Crete.