Heraklion Travel Guide
Shopping Heraklion is Crete's commercial centre and has a great many shops with top designer labels and original jewellery for reasonable prices. Antiques, leather goods, folk art, olive oil and a variety of interesting cheeses are on offer as well. Some shops may have reduced operating hours during the winter off-season.
Restaurants Crete offers traditional Greek food in its cafes, local tavernas and elegant restaurants. The island is also home to many ouzeri bars that specialise in the aniseed-flavoured liqueur called ouzo. Many of the destinations fast-food outlets and restaurants serve international favourites such as pasta, pizza, Indian and Mexican food.
Nightlife People-watching from a sidewalk cafe is a favourite evening pastime among locals in Heraklion. The city also has many clubs and bars.
Activities Heraklion has many historic and archaeological attractions, including its world-famous museum and the nearby Knossos, which was the heart of the ancient Minoan civilisation. Sporty visitors will find a number of beaches and opportunities to enjoy rock climbing and horse riding, while the CretAquarium Thalassocosmos is worth a stop for the entire family.
Negatives Heraklion is a busy, overcrowded city that can be claustrophobic and noisy. Hotel standards do not always live up to expectations and visitors are often harassed by touts outside the restaurants and cafes, particularly in Fountain Square.
GortynaGortyna is both a municipality in Greece and an archaeological site on Crete which was once the Roman capital of the island. The two are unrelated. The remains of the ancient city of Gortyna, to the south of Heraklion, tell a later tale... see full details
Heraklion Archaeological MuseumA visit to the Minoan palace at Knossos should be complemented with a visit to the wonderful Archaeological Museum in Heraklion. This is one of the largest and most renowned museums in Greece, and even in Europe, and the Minoan collection is the... see full details
Historical Museum of CreteThis museum deals with Crete's more modern history and highlights the islanders' long battle for independence from early Christian times to the present day. The museum is housed in a two-storey neoclassical building constructed in 1903 on the site of an earlier mansion. The... see full details
PhaistosSouth of Heraklion lies Crete's second most important Minoan archaeological site, the Palace complex of Phaistos, considered by many to be a finer example of Minoan architecture than Knossos. The west propylon, the monumental entranceway to the palace, is particularly impressive, and the ceremonial... see full details
The Palace of KnossosThe Minoan palace at Knossos, covering an area of 215,278 square feet (20,000 sq metres), is one of the world's greatest sightseeing experiences and a must for visitors in the area. It consists of four wings, arranged around a rectangular, central court. The palace... see full details
The Samaria GorgeThe Samaria Gorge National Park, in the White Mountains of western Crete, is said to be one of the most splendid scenic parks in Europe and the hike through the gorge is breathtaking. It is an arduous trip but well worth it to... see full details