Heraklion is the biggest city on the island of Crete in Greece. Although at first sight, it isn’t as picturesque as Rethymnon and Chania after exploring it you will discover that there are a lot of things to do and see.
How to get to Heraklion Crete
By Air: Heraklion international airport “Nikos Kazantzakis” is located just 4km away from Heraklion city centre.
By ferry: Heraklion port is the biggest port in Crete. There is a daily connection from Heraklion Port to Piraeus port in Athens. Also from Heraklion port there is a connection to other Greek islands like Santorini. Also at the port arrive a lot of cruise ships. The port of Heraklion offers a lot of services like luggage storage lockers, wi-fi and check – in service for your flight.
What to see and do in Heraklion Crete
The archaeological site of Knossos
The Palace of Knossos is situated 5 km away from the city of Heraklion. You can get to Knossos either by taxi (it is 20 minutes ride} or by taking the bus from the bus station next to the port. Look for the ticket office that says KNOSSOS.
The archaeological site of Knossos is considered on of the most important sites in Greece and the oldest city in Europe. The Minoan palace was constructed in 1.900 B.C. on the ruins of a neolithic settlement.
The Minoan civilization was at its peak between 1.700 B.C and 1.450 B.C and it was inhabited by 100.000 citizens.
The site was discovered by Minos Kalokairinos in 1878 and the excavations started in 1.900 A.D by the english archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans and his team.
It is one of the most impressive archaeological sites I have ever visited.
The archaeological site of Knossos is open daily from 8.00 am to 20.00 p.m in the summer months and from 8.00 am to 15.00 pm in the winter.
Ticket costs: Full: 15.00 € Reduced: 8.00 €
There is also a combined ticked that is valid for the Archaeological Museum at Heraklion: Full: 16.00 € Reduced: 8.00 €
You might also be interested in: The best places to stay in Crete.
The archaeological site of Phaistos
The palace of Phaistos was built around 2.000 A.D and it’s the second largest palace in Crete after Knossos. It is located on a hill with beautiful views of the Messara plain and Psiloritis mountain. One of the most important findings was the disc of Phaistos that can be found at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.
The site of Phaistos is 60 km away from Heraklion city. You can get there by public bus that you can take from the bus station next to the port.
Tickets for the archaeological site of Phaistos cost: Full 8 € and Reduced 4 €.
The archaeological museum of Heraklion
It is located at Heraklion city centre and is considered one of the most important museums in Greece. It houses artefacts from the Neolithic period to the Roman times. At the museum, you will see many findings from the archaeological sites of Phaistos and Knossos. It is one of the most interesting and beautiful museums I have seen and totally worth a visit.
Ticket costs: Full: 10.00 € Reduced: 5.00 €
There is also a combined ticket that is valid for the Archaeological Site of Knossos: Full: 10.00 € Reduced: 5.00 €
The Koules Venetian Fortress
The Koules fortress is the symbol of Heraklion and it dominates the entrance of the Venetian port. A walk at the promenade that leads to the fortress is one of the most scenic walks at the town of Heraklion. Opposite the port you will see the old shipyards where the ships were repaired.
Venetian Walls of Heraklion
They were built by the Venetians in order to protect the city by the Turks. They were so strong that lasted the 21 year siege.
The Venetian Loggia
The Venetian Loggia of Heraklion was constructed in 1626 by Francesco Morosini. It was a meeting place for the nobles. Now it houses the town hall. Close to the Loggia, at the central square Francesco Morosini also built the Lions fountain which is now a meeting point for the locals. It was built to provide the locals with water.
It is considered to be one of the biggest aquariums in Europe. It is located 15km away from Heraklion city centre. Here you will discover a lot of species that live in the Mediterranean. Under each tank there is a description in 9 languages and you can also put your headphones on and discover a lot of information about the species you see.
The Aquarium is open from October until April from 9.30 until 17.00
and from May till September from 9.30 until 21.00
Tickets cost 9 € for the summer months and 6€ for the winter months.
The entrance is free for children until the age of 4 and 6€ for children 5-17 years old.
Have you ever been to Heraklion Crete?
What did you like?