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10+1 Things to see in Heraklion, Greece

10+1 Things to see in Heraklion, Greece
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Ultimate Guide of Places to see and things to do in Heraklion, Greece

From the Palace of Knossos, where the Minotaur once roamed, to the imposing Koules fortress that’s cooler than Medusa’s gaze, Heraklion is a treasure trove of ancient wonders. You’ll feel like Indiana Jones on a quest for hidden artefacts, except with sunscreen and a selfie stick in hand. Jokes aside though, Heraklion truly is an unforgettable city to visit, with beautiful beaches and a lively nightlife. The capital city of the island paradise of Crete, this city is a melting pot of ancient and modern civilization, perfect for families and couples alike.

But Heraklion isn’t just about dusty relics and mythical creatures. It’s also a city that definitely knows how to let loose and have a good time. Soak up the sun at the beach, where you can channel your inner Baywatch babe (or dude) and ride the waves like a Poseidon-approved pro. And when the sun sets, the city comes alive with buzzing markets, lively tavernas, and clubs that are hotter than the forge of Hephaestus. You’ll be dancing like Zorba the Greek in no time!
So, grab your fedora, put on your best sandals, and let’s delve into the top 10+1 things to see and do in Heraklion, Greece. Get ready for a myth-tastic adventure that will leave you with tales to tell and memories that will last a lifetime! Now, let’s look into our list of the ultimate places to see and things to do in Heraklion!

10+1 Best Places To See and Things To Do in Heraklion, Greece

1. The Palace of Knossos: First up on the list, and perhaps the most famous thing to see in Heraklion, are the remnants of this Bronze-age city. Originally settled during the Neolithic period, it is considered one of Europe’s oldest cities. The remains found in the area have indicated that the first civilizations to inhabit the area were likely there at around 6000-7000 BCE, although the first palaces were built by the Minoans in 2000 BCE. Legend holds that King Minos dwelt in one of the palaces of Knossos, and had an elaborate maze built to retain his son, a minotaur. Today, likely you won’t run into any minotaurs, but you can expect to have a full day of exploration ahead.

2. Heraklion Old Town: This city has a relatively large old town, in comparison to other Greek islands at least. As has become common in most cities, an attempt has been made to modernise the old town, with the inclusion of all the obligatory fast “fashion” brands all having set up shop in the old town. If you can keep yourself away from their allure, then you will be in for a treat. Head firstly to the Lion Square, also named Eleftherios Venizelos square, where you can find a beautiful fountain to relax at. From there, have a seat in one of the numerous bars and restaurants for lunch, and enjoy some Cretian cuisine and beer! Finally, head down to the port to enjoy the sunset. Sounds like a fun day, right?

3. Koules (Rocca a Mare) Fortress: Left over from the days when the Venetians ruled Crete, this fortress is located at the entrance to the old port of Heraklion. Although built in the 16th century, this stronghold still holds up remarkably well today. You can walk along the guard towers and enjoy a beautiful view of the city below as well as the Mediterranean sea.

4. Archaeological Museum: Home of the Phaistos Disc, one of the most iconic artefacts of the ancient Minoan civilization. This museum was first put into operation in the last quarter of the 19th century. Since then, it has continued to house important objects from the entirety of the existence of Heraklion, and the wider Greek civilization in the area. With ticket prices ranging from €6 to €12, it is definitely worth a visit. Plus, you’ll feel like a total history buff after checking out all there is to see here!

5. Agios Titos Church: There has been a church on this spot for over 1000 years! Although the one currently standing there was built much later, it is still definitely worth a visit. In the church, there are the usual amount of Orthodox icons, but even more strangely, the skull of Saint Titos is also one of the exhibits of the church! Creepy, right?

6. Ammoudara Beach: First beach on the list! Yay! This beach is easily accessible for all, with tons of sunbeds and umbrellas available, making it your go-to beach to start your Cretian trip off best. The water at the shore is shallow enough for children to safely play, and there are a lot of facilities to make your beach day as comfortable as possible.

7. Cretaquarium Thalassocosmos: That name is definitely a mouthful! Well, a big name is needed for such a big aquarium! Although a public aquarium, there is still an exquisite amount of aquatic life to be seen. All for just €12.00! Look out for the hammerhead shark, he is said to be quite friendly.

8. Venetian Loggia: To quickly explain, Loggia are an architectural feature of Venetian-era buildings, namely in the form of a covered exterior gallery or corridor. The Loggia which has survived to the current day, used to be used as a place for noblemen to gather and discuss the issues of the age. The building was renovated during the 20th century, and is a beautiful reminder of Heraklion’s Venetian past.

9. Heraklion Lighthouse: Close to the Rocca a Mare fortress, this lighthouse is at the end of a long pier. If you are feeling in the mood for a nice afternoon stroll with your significant other, you might as well add this to your sights to see, as the sunset here is stunning. Along the way you can also catch a glimpse of the Mermaid of Heraklion – No, not a real one, but a statue built in their likeness – although, you never know, you might get lucky and see a real one, too!

10. Bembo Fountain: Named after a Venetian ruler of Heraklion, this fountain consist of a spout and small rectangular basin. Over the spout is a headless statue depicting a Roman official of Crete. You can find the fountain at Kornarou Square, close to a Sebil of Haci Ibrahim Agha, an Ottoman ruler of the past.

11. Tomb of Kazantzakis: Nikos Kazantzakis was a Greek thinker of the 20th century. His main focus was on the notion of God and Man, which made him quite unpopular with the Orthodox and Catholic Churches. As he was excommunicated by the Church, he was not able to be buried in a regular cemetery (which was also requested in his will). Thus, his tomb lays outside the walls of his hometown, adorned with a simple wooden cross, and the words “I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free”.

10+1 Things to see in Heraklion, Greece

Fot.Stavros Markopoulos / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 /

10+1 Things to see in Heraklion, Greece

Fot. NiTenIchiRyu / CC BY-SA 4.0

10+1 Things to see in Heraklion, Greece

Fot. Tony Hammond / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Crete, Greece Travel and More

Although we finish this list with a slightly morbid addition to our list, we would like to quickly revert to the fun optimism present at its start. We are more than confident that Heraklion is an amazing place to visit, either as the main area of your stay, or as an addition to your exploration of Crete. From beautiful beaches, Venetian architecture and so much more, this city has a little of everything.

To make your trip even better, make sure to deal with your airport transfers in advance by booking a transfer with us from the airport in Heraklion. We offer a fixed price option with a wide range of vehicles, ranging from economy sedans, business vans and luxury first-class town cars. With a personalised service, we offer the ultimate option in airport transportation when visiting Crete. Head to our booking page now and book your quality transfers to and from Heraklion Airport.

Happy Travels, or Καλό Ταξίδι, and see you soon!

10+1 Things to see in Heraklion, Greece

Posted by AtoB • June 5, 2023

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