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2024 Guide: Ferry from Crete to Naxos

Naxos harbor

Are you planning a trip to the breathtaking island of Naxos from Crete? If your answer is yes, you might be contemplating the best way to journey there via ferry. Renowned as a top destination within the Cyclades, Naxos captivates visitors with its pristine beaches, charming villages, and deep-rooted history. As the largest and most bountiful island in the chain, Naxos presents an assortment of activities and attractions catering to a wide range of preferences and budgets.

Opting for a ferry from Crete to Naxos not only allows you to soak in the mesmerizing vistas of the Aegean Sea but also offers the freedom to explore the Greek islands at a pace that suits you. With various ferry types, timetables, and pricing options available, you can tailor your journey to meet your specific desires and requirements. In this guide, we’re on hand to furnish you with all the necessary information to secure your ferry tickets, snag the best deals and discounts, and ensure your time spent aboard is both comfortable and pleasurable. So, let’s dive in!

Ferry Schedules and Types

Exploring the Aegean Sea by ferry, especially from Crete to Naxos, offers a variety of choices tailored to your preferences, budget, and schedule. In this guide, we’ll dive into the 2024 ferry schedules, compare the high-speed and standard options, and highlight some unique routes and stops to enhance your journey.

Understanding the 2024 Schedule

The Crete to Naxos ferry route is predominantly a summer affair, operating from April to October. Expect 1-2 direct ferries daily, setting sail from Heraklion, Crete’s bustling capital. This route is serviced by Seajets and Minoan Lines, with departures generally between 08:00 and 10:00 morning hours. The journey averages at about 4 hours.

For those seeking a bit more adventure, an indirect route via Santorini is available year-round, peaking in crossings during the summer months. You can embark from either Heraklion or Chania to Santorini, then onwards to Naxos, totaling about 6 hours of travel. This detour also offers a perfect opportunity to soak in Santorini’s iconic beauty.

Comparing High-Speed vs. Standard Ferries

The choice between high-speed and standard ferries hinges on your priorities—speed, cost, or comfort. High-speed ferries, while quicker and more expensive, offer less space. On the other hand, standard ferries are slower but more affordable and comfortable.

Operated by Seajets, the high-speed options are hydrofoils, capable of reaching speeds up to 40 knots, accommodating 500 passengers without vehicle transport. Prices vary from €70 to €140, offering economy, business, or VIP seating. The trip to Naxos takes approximately 3 hours and 40 minutes.

The standard ferries, courtesy of Minoan Lines, are traditional ships cruising at speeds up to 25 knots. They carry up to 2000 passengers and 600 vehicles, with ticket prices between €35 and €99 and a variety of seating options. The journey spans 4 hours.

Special Routes and Stops

Exploring the Cyclades can be even more enriching by taking advantage of ferries making stops at other picturesque islands. Below are special routes worth considering:

  • The Rethymno to Naxos ferry: A twice-weekly high-speed service departs from the scenic north coast city of Rethymno, reaching Naxos in 4 hours and 15 minutes at a cost of €63. It also makes a stop at Paros, another gem in the Cyclades.
  • From Heraklion to Naxos via Mykonos: This weekly standard ferry leaves on Sundays, offering a 5 hours and 30 minutes trip priced at €35. Mykonos, famed for its vibrant atmosphere, is a noteworthy stop.
  • The Heraklion to Naxos via Milos route: Departing once a week on Thursdays, this high-speed option gets you there in 5 hours and 45 minutes for €70, with a pause at Milos to enjoy its breathtaking beaches and volcanic scenery.

Tickets, Offers, and Discounts

Ready to set sail from Crete to Naxos? Before you finalize your journey plans, let’s ensure you get the best value for your ferry tickets. Here, we’ll share essential advice on securing top deals, benefiting from valuable group and family discounts, and selecting the most suitable booking and payment methods for your trip.

Finding the Best Deals on Ferry Tickets

The cost of ferry tickets between Crete and Naxos can fluctuate widely, influenced by factors like seasonality, demand, the ferry operator, and seat selection. Prices generally range between €35 and €140. For the most economical fares, consider the following tactics:

  • Book early: Securing your tickets well in advance increases your chances of snagging lower-priced options and ensures availability on your preferred ferry. Websites like Ferryhopper or Ferryscanner let you effortlessly compare schedules and prices, facilitating a secure online booking experience.
  • Avoid peak times: Aim to travel outside the busy June to September window if possible. During off-peak periods, you’ll not only enjoy reduced ticket prices but also less crowded ferries.
  • Special offers and discounts: Keep an eye out for promotions or discounts specific to certain routes, dates, or passenger categories. Regular checks on the Ferryhopper blog or direct ferry company websites can lead to significant savings.

Group and Family Discounts

Traveling as a part of a group or with family? You’re in luck, as numerous discounts could apply to your booking:

  • Toddlers and kids: Enjoy free travel for children up to 5 years, while those aged 5 to 10 benefit from a 50% reduction on adult fares.
  • Large families: If you’re a family of four children or more, a 20% discount on ticket prices can be a great relief.
  • Island residents: Those with a Unique Islander Number, proving permanent residency on the islands, can access a 50% fare reduction.

Booking and Payment Options

Securing your passage from Crete to Naxos is straightforward and efficient, offering a variety of booking and payment routes:

  • Online booking: Utilize platforms such as Ferryhopper or Ferryscanner to explore all available ferry routes, effortlessly comparing both schedules and costs. Payment is secure, accepting credit cards, debit cards, or PayPal.
  • Phone booking: If you prefer personal interaction, booking via phone can provide a bespoke experience. After providing essential details and payment info, you’ll receive a confirmation email complete with your booking reference and ticket collection instructions.
  • Physical booking: For those who favor traditional methods, visiting a ferry company’s office or travel agency allows for in-person booking. Simply present your ID or passport, specify your travel dates, and choose your payment method to receive printed tickets instantly.

Onboard Experience and Facilities

Embarking on a journey from Crete to Naxos by ferry offers not just convenience but a wealth of enjoyment too. As you voyage across the sea, immerse yourself in the array of amenities and services provided to ensure a delightful experience. Whether travelling with pets, managing luggage, or transporting vehicles, this guide will navigate you through the onboard experience, facilities, and essential tips for a seamless journey. We will also delve into accessibility options and additional support available for passengers with special needs.

Amenities and Services

The ferries servicing the route from Crete to Naxos are modern vessels, equipped with an array of facilities tailored for a comfortable and enjoyable journey. Depending on the specific ferry and company, passengers can look forward to the following onboard amenities and services:

  • Lounges with numbered seats, available in economy or business class, providing a cozy spot to enjoy the view or catch up on TV shows.
  • Cabins with private bathrooms, offering enhanced privacy and comfort during your journey.
  • Bars and cafeterias, perfect for grabbing drinks, snacks, or light meals.
  • Restaurants and self-service buffets, where you can savor delicious dishes and local cuisine.
  • Shops and mini markets, ideal for purchasing souvenirs, gifts, or travel essentials.
  • Wi-Fi and charging stations, ensuring you stay connected and entertained throughout your trip.
  • Children’s play areas, providing a fun space for your little ones to enjoy and interact with others.
  • Open decks, offering breathtaking sun, breeze, and panoramic views of the Aegean Sea.

Traveling with Pets, Luggage, and Vehicles

Ferry travel from Crete to Naxos with pets, luggage, or vehicles is hassle-free, thanks to the thoughtful arrangements by ferry companies. Here are handy tips and guidelines for a smooth journey:

  • Pets: Bring your furry friends onboard with a valid pet passport and health certificate. Options include designated pet areas or special pet cabins for togetherness. Remember a leash, a muzzle, and to clean up after them.
  • Luggage: Travel light within the allowed dimensions and weight, using either luggage lockers or passenger areas for storage. Always label your luggage clearly with your name and contact information, and keep it secure.
  • Vehicles: Ensure your vehicle fits the ferry’s specifications, booking your ticket in advance. Arrive at the port early, adhere to crew instructions for a smooth process, and remember, staying in your vehicle during the journey is not permitted.

Accessibility and Additional Support

Committed to ensuring a safe and comfortable journey for all passengers, ferry companies offer several facilities and services geared towards passengers with special needs. Available options include:

  • Accessible cabins and seats for enhanced space and comfort.
  • Easy-to-navigate toilets and elevators for safety and convenience.
  • Wheelchairs and ramps for a smooth boarding and disembarkation experience.
  • Assistance dogs are welcome aboard, free of charge, providing companionship and support.
  • Professional and friendly assistance staff are on hand to offer help or guidance whenever needed.

To avail of these facilities and services, please notify the ferry company or travel agency at least 48 hours before departure. Arriving at the port at least 2 hours before departure is also recommended for a seamless travel experience.

Travel Tips and Practical Information

Embarking on your ferry journey from Crete to Naxos brings with it a sprinkle of excitement and perhaps a handful of questions. In this guide, we’re committed to enriching your travel experience with essential tips and practical information. Whether it’s pinpointing the best time to sail, understanding the ports of departure and arrival, or answering those last-minute queries, we’ve got you covered.

Best Time to Travel

Choosing the prime time for your ferry trip from Crete to Naxos hinges on your travel must-haves. Dreaming of basking in glorious sunshine, diving into crystal-clear waters, and indulging in the joy of sailing? Late June through early September is your window, blessed with sublime temperatures and serene seas. Yet, be mindful, this period is the high season, synonymous with steeper prices and bustling ferries.

For enthusiasts of culture, history, and gastronomy, the April to October span offers a delightful climate and steady ferry services – a perfect match for exploration. This period, outside of the peak season, gifts you with more space and gentler fares.

Winter months, from November to March, present a quieter and cooler alternative. This timeframe is ideal for those looking to escape the crowds, though be prepared for the chance of rougher seas and occasional closures of attractions.

Departure and Arrival Ports: Heraklion and Naxos

Your journey embarks at Heraklion, Crete’s bustling hub. The port, a stone’s throw from the city and a brief drive from the airport, splits between the historic Venetian harbour and the modern ferry/cruise terminal. Expect a host of facilities here, from luggage storage to ATMs, ensuring a smooth start to your trip.

Arriving in Naxos, you’re greeted by the island’s vibrant main town and port, a hub of activity especially during summer. Just steps away from local icons like the Portara, the port area is brimming with amenities and sits near the heart of Naxos Town, a treasure trove of dining, shopping, and cultural sights.

FAQs: Last-Minute Checks Before You Go

As your departure nears, here’s a quick checklist of frequently asked questions:

  • Duration of voyage? Approximately 4 hours, with high-speed options shaving off a bit of that time.
  • Cost of the journey? Tickets fall between €35 to €140, varying by season, demand, and ferry type.
  • Booking methods? Secure your spot via online platforms like Ferryhopper or Ferryscanner, or opt for traditional booking through phone or in-person visits.
  • Essentials for the trip? Alongside official documents and your ticket, don’t forget cash, personal items, and perhaps some snacks. Also, consider packing for comfort and weather protection, including a camera to capture the memories.
  • Missed your ferry? Reach out to the ferry company or your agent swiftly for possible solutions or alternatives.


Congratulations on reaching the end of our comprehensive guide on embarking on a ferry journey from Crete to Naxos. We trust this guide has served you well, preparing you for an exhilarating journey ahead. Here’s a recap of the crucial points to bear in mind:

  • Variety is the spice of life, and this holds true for ferry schedules and types. Your choices can vary based on the time of year, departure port, and personal preferences.
  • To secure the best value, consider booking your ferry tickets in advance, traveling during the off-season, and staying vigilant for any special offers or discounts.
  • Expect a comfortable and pleasurable ride, complete with a range of amenities and services tailored for pets, luggage, and vehicles.
  • Your safety and convenience are paramount, ensured by accessible, supportive facilities and services, alongside valuable tips and information.

Now is the perfect time to spring into action and chart your course from Crete to Naxos. Beyond the logistics of ferry travel, you’re stepping towards experiencing the unparalleled beauty, rich heritage, and warm hospitality of two exceptional islands. A trip filled with breathtaking vistas, serene moments, and thrilling adventures awaits. Book your ferry tickets today and embark on an adventure that promises to be nothing short of unforgettable.

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