Driving in Crete can be a wonderful and exciting experience, but it can also be intimidating for those who are not used to driving in a foreign country. Whether you are a seasoned driver or a newbie, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before hitting the road in Crete.
Crete is the largest and most populous island in Greece, and it offers a wide range of natural beauty, history, and culture to explore. To make the most of your trip, it’s a good idea to rent a car and drive around the island. This will allow you to discover the hidden corners and attractions of the island that you might miss if you rely on public transportation.
Here are some tips to help you navigate the roads of Crete like a pro:
Know the rules of the road The first and most important thing you need to know before driving in Crete is the rules of the road. Greece is a right-hand drive country, which means that you drive on the right side of the road. This may be different from what you are used to, so it’s important to pay attention to the road signs and markings.
The speed limit in Crete is in kilometers per hour (km/h), and it varies depending on the type of road you are driving on. In residential areas, the speed limit is usually around 50 km/h, while on highways, it can be up to 120 km/h. It’s important to pay attention to the speed limit signs, as there are speed cameras and police patrols on the roads.
It’s also important to wear your seatbelt at all times, as it’s required by law. Using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited in Greece, so make sure you don’t use your phone while driving.
Get comfortable with the car Before you start driving in Crete, take some time to get comfortable with the car you will be driving. This is especially important if you are not used to driving a manual transmission car. Make sure you know how to operate the car’s controls, including the turn signals, headlights, and windshield wipers.
Adjust the seat and mirrors to your liking, and make sure you have good visibility in all directions. If you are driving a rental car, make sure you know where the spare tire and jack are located, in case you have a flat tire.
Practice in a quiet area If you are new to driving, it’s a good idea to practice in a quiet area before you hit the main roads. Find a quiet parking lot or residential street where you can practice basic maneuvers like starting and stopping, turning, and parking.
If you are not used to driving a manual transmission car, it’s important to practice shifting gears and using the clutch. This will help you get a feel for the car before you hit the main roads.
Pay attention to road signs As you start driving on the main roads in Crete, pay close attention to road signs. Road signs in Crete are usually written in both Greek and English, so you should be able to understand them easily. Keep an eye out for speed limit signs, stop signs, and other important indicators.
There are also some signs that may be different from what you are used to. For example, the sign for a roundabout is a white circle with a black arrow pointing to the right, while the sign for a yield sign is a white triangle with a red border and a red exclamation mark.
Be aware of other drivers When driving in Crete, it’s important to be aware of other drivers on the road. Greek drivers can be quite aggressive, so you need to be assertive but cautious. Keep a safe distance between your car and other cars on the road, and be sure to use your turn signals
when changing lanes or turning.
In addition, be aware of motorcyclists and bicyclists, as they are common on the roads in Crete. They may weave in and out of traffic, so it’s important to give them enough space and be extra cautious when passing them.
Drive defensively To stay safe on the roads in Crete, it’s important to drive defensively. This means anticipating potential hazards and being prepared to react quickly if necessary. Keep an eye out for pedestrians, stray animals, and other obstacles on the road.
If you are driving on mountain roads, be prepared for narrow roads with sharp turns and steep drops. Take your time and drive slowly, especially if you are not used to driving on these types of roads.
Be prepared for parking challenges Parking in Crete can be challenging, especially in busy tourist areas. Some towns have designated parking lots, while others have street parking. Make sure you understand the parking rules in each area, as they can vary.
In some cases, you may need to pay for parking using a parking meter or a pay-and-display system. If you park illegally, you may receive a fine or even have your car towed.
Stay hydrated Crete can get hot during the summer months, so it’s important to stay hydrated while driving. Make sure you bring plenty of water with you, especially if you plan to drive for long periods of time.
Take breaks Driving for long periods of time can be tiring, so it’s important to take breaks. Stop at rest areas or pull over at a safe location to stretch your legs, use the restroom, and get some fresh air.
Enjoy the ride Finally, remember to enjoy the ride. Crete is a beautiful island with plenty to see and explore. Take your time and enjoy the scenery, and don’t be afraid to take detours to discover hidden gems off the beaten path.