Maps - Recommendations

3 min.


As it has been already said in the section Maps general, travelling between the most common tourist destinations is not really difficult using maps from your car rental service or the cheaper ones by EuroCart, ADAC or F&B Crete road map 1:200 000. The road signing on the tarmac roads is usually good, and the signpost usually includes the name both in roman letters and Greek alphabet.

Well-know historical sites like Knossos or Gortys have their own signposts on the roads, mostly in different colours, so those places can be visited literally by everyone and they can´t really be overseen.

Beautiful wild Crete

Travelling in the mountains or the places unaffected by mass tourism can be a bit difficult. The road signing is insufficient, or there is not any at all.

Even on the best maps, you will find only the main roads connecting the villages. There is usually only one road on the map, but in reality this can be quite different: from the main road, there are plenty of turn-offs leading to water places, fields or beehives. Some of those paths are passable and finally you will get where you wanted, only using a different way. On the other hand, sometimes you don´t even realize where you are going, and then you see you are in another village nearby when looking at the map.

The worst of the cases is when the path is a blind one. Sometimes it happens that when searching for a turn-off from the road on the ridge passing down to the valley or to the sea, you drive down several kilometres and then all you see are a few beehives and a gorge. Given the state of the roads where the average speed even when driving in an off-road vehicle is between 5-20 km per hour, even those few kilometres may cause you a big delay, not mentioning that such paths are often quite dangerous and deserted, and that any failure automatically means you will need to walk to the closest village. Which can be quite unpleasant if you get lost.

When searching for a road connecting two places (villages, significant places in the surroundings), you can use the quality of the road as a clue - the roads that are used more often usually have less huge stones and hollows, or the road is rutted, but it is not always reliable. The locals don´t really travel too often to other villages nearby, and so, the roads between villages are almost unpassable even in an off-road vehicle. On the contrary, the paths leading to water places or beehives are quite passable despite being blind.

General advice and recommendations

  • always check the technical state of your vehicle before travelling to an unknown place
  • always get a full tank before your travel
  • take more maps, including one with well marked contour lines. If you get lost, you can figure out where you are comparing the landscape you see around you (like the peaks and gorges, or the slope steepness) with the contour lines on your map.
  • always take your mobile phone with the number of your car rental service. Many car rentals offer their services all over Crete, so if you get in trouble, you can call them where you are and they will pick you up.
  • be careful of the beehives: often there can be three or four beehives one on the top of another on several dozens of metres. When passing along them, it is recommended to switch over the air conditioning and wind up the windows. Even a moment after you pass along a row of beehives, your car will be literally sprinkled with bees (mostly quite furious). The question is how people do it when driving a motorbike or a open-top car…

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