An island of mythology, history, local traditions, culture, unique landscapes and birthplace of the famous Cretan hospitality. Majestic mountains, golden beaches, sparkling sea water, wild nature, the island is blessed with sunshine during most of the year.
The town with the most intense nightlife in Crete, Heraklion offers many chances for a night out. The night entertainment consists of modern and traditional spots to choose from. There is an interesting variety of bars and clubs which are located in Heraklion Town, Malia, Hersonissos and other places. Malia, Stalis and Hersonissos are the busiest nightlife spots of Heraklion. In the other tourist places of Heraklion, you may find few all-night clubs but mostly you will find bars that stay open till 2-3 o’clock in the morning. These bars play lounge or loud music. For a more peaceful night out, you can have a dinner at the many taverns around the prefecture of Heraklion. These taverns have delicious local dishes, local wine and traditional raki.
Heraklion is the perfect holiday base, with soft golden beaches, miniscule coves, buzzing towns, archaeological treasures, majestic mountains and deep gorges all within easy reach. You can arrange many daily trips from Heraklion to Spinalonga, Balos, Knosos and Vai, places with incomparable beauty and historical value.
If you begin a walk around Heraklion, starting at the fishing harbour close to the Rocca al Mare, but is now known as Koules. It has a mixed history; for centuries it was used as protection against invaders, as were the great city walls and ditches. These are among the longest city walls in Europe.
St. Mark’s Basilica is now the Municipal Art Gallery and often host to art and crafts exhibitions, almost always open to visit. Built in 1239 in the Piazza delle Biade (Square of Blades), it was at one time the Cathedral of Crete. The Basilica belonged to the reigning Duke, eventually becoming his burial place.
This is the heart of Heraklion where tourists and locals share the small space around the fountain, exchanging glances and perhaps a few words. Business and pleasure combine here, and it is the place to meet for whatever purpose or no purpose. To give some background, it might also be called the Morosini Fountain or, Liondaria in Greek or, more properly, Plateia Eleftheriou Venizelou, after Venizelos, Crete’s greatest man of state.
Knosos: The archaeological site of Knossos is sited 5 km southeast of the city of Iraklion.
There is evidence that this location was inhabited during the neolithic times (6000 B.C.). On the ruins of the neolithic settlement was built the first Minoan palace (1900 B.C.) where the dynasty of Minos ruled. This was destroyed in 1700 B.C and a new palace built in its place. The palace covered an area of 22,000sq.m. Due to this fact the Palace is connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur. The most important monuments of the site are The Great Palace, The Little Palace, The Royal Villa, The House of the High Priest, The Caravan Serai and The Royal Temble Tomb-Sanctuary.
The visitor can admire a number of finds that come from different periods of time, and different parts of Crete, in the various rooms of the Archaeological Museum, where treasures of the Palace of Knossos hold an important place.The Historical Museum with its various collections offers to the visitor a trip through time from the first centuries A.D. until nowadays, with emphasis on the dramatic history of the city of Heraklion.In the Museum for the Battle of Crete and National Resistance the visitor can see relics of the glorious, but heartbreaking, period of Cretan resistance to occupation between 1941and 1945.In the exhibition room of the church of St. Aikaterini of Sinai one can admire representative art work of the Cretan Renaissance that exudes a certain religious awe to the visitor. Damaskinos holds a special place amongst this very special school of work.Last but not least, a totally different exhibition but equally important and interesting, is in the Museum of Natural History where representative samples of the flora and fauna of Crete are exhibited.
Hersonissos is 26 kilometers east of Heraklion, between Anissaras and Stalis.Hersonissos has developed due to tourism and, in just a few decades, has grown into the largest tourist resort in Crete. Hersonissos is officially named Limenas Hersonissou (“Port of Hersonissos”), because it was once the harbor of the village of Αno Hersonissos (“Upper Hersonissos”), now known as Old Hersonissos. Ano Hersonissos is 2 kilometers south of seaside Hersonissos, which essentially developed from the 1960s onwards due to tourism. Until then it had been just a small village with a rudimentary harbor, from which local agricultural goods were exported.Hersonissos means fun, tourism, lovely beaches, a modern town with dozens of shops selling tourist goods, clothes and jewels, restaurants offering all kinds of food, cafeterias, bars and nightclubs to suit every taste.From Heraklion Airport you can get to Hersonissos by rented car, delivered on your arrival at the airport, by taxi or by bus. Heraklion Airport is roughly 20 kilometres from Hersonissos, about a 15-minute drive along the new National Road.
Hersonissos is one of the most popular tourist resorts in Crete, just 28km east of Heraklion. The calmer beaches are shaped in small coves located west of the port. East of the port there are the most popular beaches of the area.The first beach you come across east of the port of Hersonissos is a long sandy narrow beach, which is flooded by thousands of people. It is very well organized and close to the amenities of the city.Anissaras Beach is located 25 km to the east of Heraklion on the north coast of Crete in Greece.The beach can be accessed by everyone. There are many rocky shelves which create little coves and perfect pools for the kids to explore. Analypsi has lovely beaches for swimming and a delightful little white and blue chapel named Agia Marina sitting out on the point. In the western part of the beach of Analipsi there is the river mouth of Aposelemis. The river of “Aposelemis” is a natural border dividing the Municipality of Hersonissos and the Municipality of Gouves. In its delta there is an important wetland, integrated in the National Center of Biotopes and Wetlands.Sarantaris or Sarandaris beach is located 25 km east of Heraklion town and 1 km west of Hersonissos.Sarantaris beaches are consecutive bays starting from Akrotiri Sarantaris and continue east as the port of Hersonissos were is the first beach of Hersonisos. The main beach Sarantaris which is the most beautiful is organized with umbrellas, shower chairs with beautiful exotic sandy bottom ideal for children. Next to this beach there are restaurants and mini markets canteen.Last but not least Limanakia is a compilation of tiny, sandy beaches affected by the north winds. These beaches are not organized but you can easily find food and drink nearby. With no facilities at all, except for some umbrellas here and there, you will be able to enjoy the natural environment and the crystal clear sea.