Alpha & Omega. Greece, Athens, Crete, Corfu, Rhodes. Booking  Hotels, rentals, rent a car
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Alpha & Omega. Greece, Athens, Crete, Corfu, Rhodes. Booking  Hotels, rentals, rent a car
Alpha & Omega. Greece, Athens, Crete, Corfu, Rhodes. Booking  Hotels, rentals, rent a car Alpha & Omega. Greece, Athens, Crete, Corfu, Rhodes. Booking  Hotels, rentals, rent a car Alpha & Omega. Greece, Athens, Crete, Corfu, Rhodes. Booking  Hotels, rentals, rent a car
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Boats to Crete



The connection of Crete to the Greek mainland is handled by five different shipping lines running a total of eleven big ferry boats that will take you to one of Crete’s north shore harbours. Boats depart from Piraeus, Githio and Kalamata, and they arrive at Kasteli, Hania, Rethimno, Iraklio, Aghios Nikolaos and Sitia.

In spite of the heavy tourism in the summer and the huge profit of the ferry companies, the conditions at the ports and inside the ships are quite bad and keep getting worse.
Travelling by ferry during the months of July and August can indeed be a trying experience. The heat is often unbearable and ships and islands are swamped with millions of tourists. If you add to this the general sloppiness that characterises Greeks, there is only one word to describe the situation in the Greek ports and ships: chaos!

ROAD Editions is currently working on preparing an Annual Guide of Ferry Connections. It will be published soon and will contain valuable information on routes and prices and the quality of service in every ship, along with all the addresses and phone numbers of port authorities and shipping lines. But until we are ready to publish the guide, we hope that the following information will help you to survive.

Eating on the ferry
The trip to Crete lasts several hours, so you will probably feel the need to eat something. The bar or restaurant of the ship usually serves good quality food at reasonable prices. However, if you want to avoid the queues or want to enjoy your lunch on the ship’s deck, try to get your own food and drinks before boarding the ship. Most restaurants in the port area will sell food in a package, so all you need to do is point to the dish you like and say “se pakèto parakalò” (package, please). In addition, you can buy some good quality snacks, or candy, bottled water and a few soft drinks from any street kiosk, or, alternatively, you can go into a supermarket and find everything your heart desires.

Sleeping on the ferry
As a rule, ferries leave for Crete some time in the late evening and arrive at the island the next morning. (In fact, day trips are almost impossible to find, though there is one from Githio and a couple from Piraeus). If you are travelling with at least one friend, your smartest move would be to book a cabin. (They come with either two beds or four). If you are alone, however, it might be best to avoid cabins altogether, because you never know who you’ll be sharing it with, and you may end up having a dreadful night!

If you cannot afford to pay for a cabin, take along your sleeping bag and plastic mattress and look for a quiet spot on the deck or in one of the lounges. Such spots are unfortunately very hard to find and very quick to go, and motorcyclists in particular have little chance of finding one because they are always the last to board the ship. If the ship is too crowded, you may even have difficulty finding a place to sit!

These sad facts prompt us to advise you the following: If you are travelling with a group of friends go to the port early and park your bike near the place where the ship will moor. Send one person from the group to wait in line with the sleeping bags. As soon as passengers can board the ship, your friend will get in, run to the deck, find a good spot on which to lay the sleeping bags, and stay there to protect the place from invaders. This is why it is best to send the biggest fellow among you rather than a girl. As for the rest of the group, you must in no way relax your attention and scatter about the place, but should be alert so you can help your friend in case of emergency. If all this reminds you of a battle, well... this is exactly the case! Overcrowded ships in the high tourist season have unfortunately become a frequent phenomenon, and they can make your trip quite unpleasant.

Safety on the ferry
What suffers most during ferry trips is your motorcycle. The people at the garage could not care less for the fortune it may have cost you; they treat it like a sack of potatoes. They ask you to fit it in the gaps left between cars and trucks, or they squeeze all motorcycles together in front of the movable door or under the ramps leading to the second level of the garage. Of course, if something happens to your bike they never accept any responsibility.
Worst of all, insurance companies are well aware of the chaos prevailing in ferry garages and refuse to compensate you for any damages sustained in there. If there are witnesses you just may have a chance of compensation by the shipowners, but you must act immediately and with great persistence. Notify the person in charge of the garage and the captain of the ship, and show them that you are very angry at what happened and very determined to set things right. Otherwise, it will be impossible for you later to prove that the dint on the gas tank or the broken fairing had anything to do with the ship; so know it and act accordingly...

It is always best to park your bike near the garage wall, to put on a gear, to use the side stand rather than the middle one, and to secure the bike tightly with ropes tied against something immovable. If you use the wrong stand you may later find that the waves have rocked the boat so hard that they have caused it to fall; August, especially, is famous for its strong winds (meltèmia), which create high waves that can rock even the biggest boat travelling in the Aegean. As for the ropes, do not expect to find any on the boat but bring your own.
A final note: The best precaution you can take is to stay near your bike until everyone around you has parked and to go down to the garage every time the boat makes a stop. In this way you will save your bike from any rough handling.

Tips for a pleasant voyage
All ships have air-conditioning, so the temperature on board may be slightly (or considerably) lower than you would like it to be. But since it is not possible to tell the crew to turn the air-condition down, it might be wise to take along a footer so you can keep yourself warm.

Lights never go out on a ship! Why should they, anyway, if no one pays for the electricity? If you have no cabin and plan to spend the night on the deck or in some passageway, be sure to bring along an eye mask like those distributed in airplanes.

Creaking and snoring and all kinds of sounds will go on all night. If you want to sleep in peace you must also bring along a pair of ear plugs.
For safety reasons, the garage of the ship will be locked all during the trip. Since in the havoc of the parking process you can easily get distracted by the shouts of the parking crew and the exhaust fumes of the truck right in front of you, you may easily forget to take with you half of the things you need. For this reason, we suggest you use the time you’re waiting at the port to put those things in a shoulder bag.

Source of the information on this page : “Unexplored Crete”, Road Editions. For more guidebooks and maps of Greece, click here.

 


Tip of the day

In the small but organized city museum you will see findings from excavations in ancient Kissamos and its surrounding areas. The museum’s collection includes floor mosaics of 2nd and 3rd century houses found in Kissamos city, as well as findings from the archeological sites of Polirrinia and Falasarna (mainly statues, reliefs and ceramics dating back to the Hellenistic and Roman times).
The present town is famous for its amazing wine which is produced here and is celebrated with “the Feast of Wine" at the beginning of August. During the feast local wine is offered in great quantities under the sound of lyre and lute and in a very enthusiastic atmosphere.
The beaches surrounding Kastelli that you can visit for swimming in the homonym gulf are Molos beach covered by thick pebbles, Ghipedo beach surrounded by trees and Telonio beach with view of the Venetian walls. It is better though to take the road to the famous Gramvousa peninsula.

 

 

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Address in Greece: Astrikas - Chania - Crete, 73006 Greece