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Getting from Heraklion Airport to Plaka and Spinalonga


I'm looking to travel from London to Heraklion airport (as I believe this is the closest airport to travel visit Spinalonga). I just need some advice about where to go from the airport, as I will be travelling alone.

So far, I'm thinking to catch a bus from Heraklion airport to Plaka and to stay at a hotel there for the first night. Then the next day, to catch a boat to Spinalonga from Plaka.

I then wish to travel to Santorini and wondering what's the cheapest/easiest way to do this?


Visit to Spinalonga

Hi there,

Yes, Heraklion would be the closest airport to Spinalonga, that accepts direct flights from London. Or you could fly London to Athens to Heraklion.

We are not sure what month of the year you are planning this, or what price accommodation you would prefer, so we have kept these options open for you. In summer there are direct flights from London to Heraklion but in the other seasons you could fly via Athens.

The airport is 4.5 km to the east of Heraklion, so it is already on the same side of the city from where you can travel to Spinalonga, without having to go into Heraklion town.

If you did want to go into Heraklion town, the taxi or bus is quite cheap and you could easily stay the night there. That would make sense if you arrive after 5pm.

That is because the bus trip to Plaka will take you some time, so you want to leave a good window of time, about half a day at least.

Arriving into Heraklion airport before 2 pm, you could make the trip on the same day.

Arriving into Heraklion between 2pm and 5pm, you could make the trip for part of the way. I will give you the trip details below and travel times and so you can best decide which flight to book.


From Heraklion airport take the local bus called KTEL to Agios Nikolaos. The travel time is one and a half hours and cost €7.10. This is a journey of 60 km. The bus stop is 2 minutes from the arrivals hall, the bus will be travelling east and marked ‘Agios Nikolaos’. If in doubt, ask about this at the info desk in the arrivals hall. Check bus timetables below.

At Agios Nikolaos bus station, change buses and take the local bus to Elounda or Plaka. In low season you may not be able to travel to Plaka, only as far as Elounda, which is 11 km. Travel time is 30 minutes and cost €1.70. It is most likely that the buses to Plaka only run between May to October.

If the bus does take you from Agios Nikolaos to Plaka, it is 15 km, travel time is 40 minutes and cost is €2.10

From Elounda to Plaka is a journey of 5 km. If the bus does not operate in the month you are planning, take a local taxi there. This should cost approx. €7.

Total travel time 2 hours 10 minutes (this excludes waiting for connections). Total cost buses only €9.10 Total cost with buses and taxi approx. €16.

Of course you have the option to arrange a pre-booked transfer, a taxi to pick you up, take your luggage and take you all the way to Plaka, when you are checking this price, choose 'Plaka Elounda', depending on your specific date and time of day the cost is approx. €90.

Pre-booked transfer in Crete...

Accommodation Options

Depending on the time of day of your arrival, you can choose your accommodation in Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos, Elounda or Plaka. You cannot stay overnight on Spinalonga. Below we suggest budget and mid-range characteristic accommodation in each location


Budget – Mirabello Hotel

Mid range - Lato Hotel

Agios Nikolaos

Budget – Pergola Hotel

Mid range - Sgouros Hotel


Budget – Corali Studios

Mid range – Akti Olous Hotel


Budget – Athina Rooms

Mid range – Stella Mare Apartments

Santorini from Crete

The cheapest and easiest way to get from Crete to Santorini is by ferry from Heraklion. Between May and October there are super fast ferries daily that do this trip in around two hours, and the cost is around €60

Information pages for this journey:
Heraklion airport...
Heraklion town...
Getting Around in Crete...
Local buses...

Agios Nikolaos
History of Crete
Crete to Santorini

Kalo Taxidi! Bon Voyage!

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