Skinakas climb 10-10-2020 Photo Gallery25 November 2020
The roads of Crete5 June 2021
Are the roads of Crete good for cycling?
Crete is a big island with a huge road network to connect the hundreds of Villages and small towns. The paved asphalt roads are in very good condition and wide. The road signing is not perfect and need some improvements so the use of GPS device is highly recommended. The roadbed at some turns maybe has a reversed incline so be careful how fast you come down on a street that you visit for first time.
Since 2020 the Prefecture of Crete started a huge investment of millions of Euros to repair and improve the existing roads with new tarmac for hundreds of kilometers.
In general cycling in Crete is safe but when you ride inside the urban areas you have to be extra careful because of the traffic. When you cross a road with traffic lamp and you have green light or the other road has a STOP sign, slow down and double check even if you have priority to pass first.
Do drivers in Crete respect cyclists?
The local drivers respect the cyclists and do not overtake them on narrow streets but you have to ride always at the right side of the road on a single row and not next to your cyclist friends. When you go uphill on a narrow street with tight turns, ride always at the right edge of the road because cars usually come up fast and do not see you. Some special days like Easter, the 15th of August or other local celebrations have in your mind that maybe some drives are drunk.
Are there special roads for cycling in Crete? Are there bicycle lanes in the cities ?
In Crete cycling is not so famous and there are no many cyclists. In the cities the cycling lanes are rare and if you find one, cars will be parked on them. At some big cities there cycling lanes next to the coastal road but they are for riding the bike slowly and maybe pedestrians walk or run on them. In the country side there are not special roads only for the bicycles but the roads here are wide and without traffic.
Can I ride with a bike on the the northern national road of Crete, A90 or VOAK?
The Greek National road of Crete is the main road of the island which connects all the big cities of Crete. The road runs along the north coast of the island from Kisamos (west) to Siteia (east). The road which is also known as VOAK (Northern Crete highway | Greek: ΒΟΑΚ= βόρειος οδικός άξονας Κρήτης) is part of the European route E75 and E65.
Three sections of the road (the bypasses of Heraklion, Chania and Rethymno cities) 50km in total have been upgraded to 22meters wide motorway standard road with 4 lanes).
The A90 road of Crete is a highway and cyclists are not allowed to ride here. The A90 starts from Kissamos village and finishes at Istro Village (256kilometers). The road from Istro village to Siteia city although it is a section of the northern national road of Crete (VOAK) it is not part of the A90 (54 kilometers). This is the old road EO90 and the cyclists are allowed to ride their bikes (the road with red colour).
The new National Road of Crete was designed in the early 1960s and the constructions started in 1968 due to the large residential and tourist development and to connect the major urban centers, ports and airports. During the 1990s, due to the large increase in traffic, began the construction of Highway 90.
Which is the best alternative road to the highway Crete?
For the cyclists the best and most beautiful road to move from east to the west side of the island (north coast) is the old national Road of Crete EO90. It passes through many settlements, sometimes on the coastal front and sometimes with a mountainous outline.
The old road of Crete is approximately 328km and during all of its length you can find small cafés to stop for refreshments, traditional taverns to taste the local Cretan cuisine, rooms to let, and interesting places to visit.
The road follows a route almost parallel to the new National Road with the exception of the sections from Heraklion to Stavromenos of Rethymno where the road passes south of Talea mountains and from Rethymno to Kournas where it follows again a more mountainous route.
Attention: From Kalyves to Souda the old road is the same as the new road so to avoid the traffic (and because bikes are not allowe here) you have to climb up to Malaxa and then from Neroukourou to Chania.
The construction of the old National Road of Crete began in 1911, during the years of the Cretan State and was completed in 1925, initially as a dirt road and later with gravel. It had a length of about 94km in Chania Prefecture, 69km in Rethymno Prefecture, 72km in Heraklion Prefecture and 93km in Lassithi Prefecture. The total length was approximately 328 km. It was 8 meters wide.
Is EO97 a good road to go from Heraklion to Moires? Is there a better alternative?
If you have a car the best way to go from Heraklion to central south Crete (Matala, Lentas, Agia Galini...) is to follow the EO97 road the main road that goes from Agia Varvara a village exactly at the center of Crete. If you way a bike the best and most beautiful road is to Follow a beautiful route which passes Agios Mironas Village, Prinias, Agia Varvara from quite back roads with beautiful villages and no traffic.
Is EO99 a good road to go from Heraklion to south Crete (Tsoutsouras or Viannos)? Is there a better alternative?
This is another road of Crete with much traffic which we donot like and we avoid cycling on it. The best alternative is to ride from the road passes next to Knossos minoan palace. The route is a amazing and you have the opportunity to visit many amazing villages through the most famous wine area of Crete and many wineries to visit.
What is the best way to ride from Heraklion to Rethyno?
As we have already mentioned the best road for cyclists to connect the big cities of Crete is the old road EO90. The road passe south of Tale mountains where there are many small and picturesque villages. A place that you must stop for a coffe and a pie with honey is the old traditional cafe at Doxa village. Under the cafe there is and a beautiful cave with stalagmites and stalactites that it is free to visit. Drosia village (Geni Gave was the older name) is also a very good stop fro lunch or coffee. The village with the many taverns is very famous for the roasted pork.
Can I do the round of Crete by following coastal roads?
Crete is a mountainous island with deep canyons and high mountains. The old villages of Crete were built on the mountains and not on the coast in order to protect them from the pirates. Most of the villages you see now next to the sea were developed recently because of the tourism. So when the first roads of Crete were constructed they followed the old paths that connected the villages through the mountains. So if you plan a tour of Crete you will not have the opportunity to ride all the time next to sea but you always have to go up and down to pass deep valleys or canyons and through the villages. But this is what most cyclists love to do.
Can I ride from Sfakia to Paleochora (or Sougia) at the south slopes of the White Mountains?
White mountains are the biggest massive of Crete. There is a path from Sfakia to Paleochora which is extremely beautiful but this is a hiking path. The best, fastest and easiest way is to take the boat which goes to Agia Roumeli (the coastal village at the exit of Smaria canyon).
Can I ride through Samaria canyon?
No,cycling through Samaria, canyon is not allowed. Samaria is a national park and cycling is not allowed. There is only one entrance, from Xyloskalo of Omalos plateau, with guards all year who not allow anyone except hikers to pass. Samaria canyon is also closed the winter months and when it rains due to flood risk.
Nevertheless the path of Samaria canyon is for hikers and even if it is allowed to pass you need a special downhill or enduro mountain bike.
Can I ride through the E4 European hiking path of Crete?
You can ride several sections of the european E4 path of Crete but not all of it. Sometimes the E4 path follows paved asphalt roads, some other times follows scenic off-road trails but most of it travels through the high mountains of Crete at places that even hiking is difficult to do.
Are the maps for Crete accurate. Is it better for cyclists to use a map or a GPS device?
If you want to buy a good and accurate map of Crete read our post about the best maps of Crete. There are some maps that are really good and some other that you waste your money.
Furthemore the Cyclingcreta team have created some maps especially for cycling wich are more detailed with many information and interesting places to see. You can download and print them for free. Cyclingcreta Maps
In general a map is good and usefull when you are planning a trip and you want to check where to ride, what to see and create a route. When you ride your bike we recomend that you use a gps device with preloaded routes. The signing of the roads in Crete is not perfect so a GPS device will really help you.
Can I transfer my bike with public bus (KTEL)?
Yes, as long as there is space in the luggage compartment and the bike will not cause damage to the vehicle and other passengers' belongings.
Caution: the Sticker that they put on your luggage that you trnsfer with the KTEL public buses is strong that it very difficult to remove and may cause damage on the paint of your bike or the components.
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