The vibrant seaside city of Heraklion, being a unique patchwork of different historical periods, provides excellent options for recreation, entertainment, educational walks and culinary adventures ensuring that its visitors will surely enjoy every bit of their stay.
However, not many people know that the real beauty of Heraklion is hidden in the surrounding areas, at the charming villages that have managed to retain their customs and traditions. Let’s start!
Go South For Unspoiled Beaches:
If lying on a beautiful beach sums up your ideal holiday experience, then you are at the right place. The southern coast of Heraklion region features the most stunning beaches of the island, ideal for all types of travellers. Leave your worries behind and head towards the beaches Aspes, Kaminaki and Matala – offering beautiful natural settings, they attract every year visitors from all over the world.
Do a Museum break:
Heraklion, the capital of Crete, is also known as the heart of the island’s civilization. Right in the city center, two extraordinary museums are waiting to be explored. Get ready for a strong cultural dose!
The Heraklion Archaeological Museum, located on Eleftherias Square, is one of the most important museums in Greece. Covering a span of 5,500 years, it exhibits representative samples of all the historical periods of the island – from the Neolithic Period to the Roman Times. Enjoy a memorable journey back in time and keep your eyes wide open as you search for the ultimate must-see exhibit, The Disc of Phaestos, as well as stone statuettes and pottery pieces you used to read about at your history schoolbooks!
Archaeological Museum of Heraklion (2 Xanthoudidou Str., 712 02 Herakleion),
- Nov. 1, 2014 - Mar. 31, 2015
Monday: 11:00 - 17:00
Tuesday-Sunday and bank holidays: 08:00-15:00
- Apr. 1, 2015 - Oct. 31, 2015:
Everyday: 08:00 - 20:00
Just a few blocks away and a little closer to the seafront, the Historical Museum of Crete awaits to teach you everything you need to know about the history of Crete. After your visit you will surely have a better picture of the Cretan mentality and background.
Between your visits to the museums, take some time to admire some of the most important landmarks and monuments of Cretan history, like the Koules Fortress, right in the heart of Heraklion Port.
Historical Museum of Crete (27, Sofokli Venizelou Ave. / 7, Lysimachou Kalokerinou St., 71202 Heraklion)
- April - October: 09:00 - 17:00
Sundays & Public Holidays: Closed
- November - March: 09:00 - 15:30
Sundays & Public Holidays: Closed
Try Wine Tasting in Peza, the ‘wine valley of Crete’:
Heraklion is the perfect place for oenophiles, producing more than 70% of Cretan wines. Known for its long tradition in wine production since antiquity, Peza area id blessed with verdant vineyards and lush valleys. Its climate and soil guarantee the fine quality of its spirits and a visit there will give you the opportunity to indulge in wine tasting tours and seminars so that you become an exceptional connoisseur.
Travel back in time to Knossos:
In just 20 minutes drive from Heraklion city, you will get the lifetime opportunity of visiting one of the most important archaeological sites of Greece. The beautiful Palace of Knossos, with its complex and unique architecture, invites you to explore the secrets and mysteries of the ‘oldest town in Europe’. The Palace was the administrative center of the Minoan civilization, one of the greatest civilizations that ever existed, and its grandeur created myths and stories that are still very much alive (just think of the myth of Daedalus and Icarus or Theseus and Ariadne - it all happened here). The site has been partially reconstructed by Sir Arthur Evans, the head of the excavations, at the beginning of the 20th century, giving an interesting (but, sadly, not accurate) idea of how the original Palace might have looked like.
01 Apr. - 31 Oct.: Mon-Sun, 08:00-20:00
01 Nov. - 31 Mar.: Mon-Sun, 08:00-17:00<
Discover the Villages:
If you are curious to find out how life goes by in a traditional Cretan village, then be prepared to blend in with women embroidering, men harvesting and students drinking raki at narrow alleyways. Pay a visit to the mountainous Village of Acharnes, a settlement that has been awarded as an archetypical village from the European Union for its long term restoration plan. Get impressed by its authentic atmosphere, beautiful houses, cobblestone streets and olive presses.
Bliss Out by the sea:
Heraklion is home to the most significant port of Crete, offering a wide range of cruises and sailing tours. If you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and leave all your worries behind, then there is an exciting adventure waiting for you at the waterfront. Get in a yacht and experience the one-day sailing tour in the small island of “Dias” to explore the most unspoiled side of northern Crete. Dive in the crystal clear waters of this isolated islet right opposite Heraklion city and admire the beauty of the north coast while enjoying the breathtaking view to the infinite blue sea.