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Crete Bus Service
The local and regional bus services in Crete are run by regional collectives known as Kino Tamio Eispraxeon Leoforon or KTEL.
There are many different lines to take, mainly in the north of the island where the major capitals are located.
Bus services are usually on time and reliable. Tickets are cheap and the buses are very safe. Timetables vary during different seasons.
Busy season is summer which is July and August. Slow season is winter which is November to February. From March to June the bus services start to increase and are changable, so check the timetables. From September to October, after summer, there may be changes in the timetables so it is always best to check first.
Most bus stations are fairly basic and central in each town, except for Heraklion which has two regional bus stations for KTEL buses.
We urge you to get a good Crete guide book to see details of these different bus stations, because many people do get confused about them and they are located in different parts of the city.
As you can see below, the buses used for the local service are actually very modern coaches. They are looked after very well because each one is an owner, there is usually a driver and an assistant who takes the fare after you get on the bus, in a remote bus stop.
If you are at a bus station, you can buy your ticket before getting on a bus.
These are really comfortable and reliable and we have gone everywhere in Crete on them and had no hassles.
Inland, Crete is a harsh and mountainous island with many steep, curvy roads. Roads from the north to the south are not common as they need to cross over the White Mountains, or Psiloritis range, and in the east, the Dikti Mountains. Therefore, journeys from the north to the south are on high, winding mountain roads and are not fast freeway rides.
This, of course, is just the amount of adventure that real travellers are after off the beaten track. For all these reasons, please check the suggested time of duration of your bus journey and do not assume it will take 'freeway time'.
One route that does not cross mountains is from Heraklion to Matala in the south, the road crosses through some of the foothills of Psiloritis range but generally passes through the beautiful Messara valley, with beautiful views to the west and east over olive groves. Visitors come here to see the southern beaches and also Phaistos and Gortys and many other historical sites.
The Crete Bus service is perfect for independent travellers who want to explore the small villages and out of the way places in Crete. Just be patient and be prepared to wait for infrequent services to smaller places.