Heraklion is a Greek city located in Crete. It is considered the administrative center of the same name Dima (community) and the periphery of Crete. Other historical names are known: Heraklion, Handak, Heraclea, Candia. Historians believe that Heraklion was built on the shore of the Cretan Sea harbor near the city of Knossos, the former heart of the Minoan civilization. Later (in the ninth century) Crete was captured by the Arabs, who turned Heraklion into a fortified fort. Further, in the tenth century, the city was conquered by the Byzantines, and in the XIII century, Crete was transferred to the Venetians. In the XVII century Heraklion captured the Turks. At the end of the XIX century, Crete achieved independence, and later joined the territory of Greece.
How to get to Heraklion?
The easiest and fastest way is to fly to the city by plane. Just a few kilometers from the center is a major international Greek airport, considered the second largest in the country. In the summer, direct flights from Moscow are available, but you can also make flights with transfers in Europe. Another option is to fly to the Greek capital of Athens, and from there get to Heraklion itself.
The climate of Heraklion belongs to the Mediterranean type, but the peculiarities of the island's location of the city make it softer, minimizing temperature differences. Summer here is not as hot as in other Greek regions, while winter, on the contrary, is warmer.
The temperature in the middle of summer varies from 25 to 28-29 degrees. In the off-season here is 16-20 degrees, and in the winter - about 15-17. The greatest amount of precipitation falls in the middle-end of winter and the beginning of spring. Summer is dry. The swimming season usually begins in May, because at this time the water warms up to 22 degrees. In summer, its temperature rises to 25 degrees Celsius.
Where to stay tourist?
Since Heraklion is a popular resort and one of the most visited places in Greece, hotels here are numerous and very diverse. Among them are both five-star and offering guests a full range of services, and more budget. But in any case, the tourist will receive comfortable living conditions and everything you need to relax.
What's so interesting?
What to see a tourist on vacation in Heraklion? There are incredibly many interesting and noteworthy places. The main attractions are listed below:
- The city has many luxurious fountains belonging to the Venetian era, but Bembo and Morosini are considered to be among the most famous.
- Knossos Palace, or rather, the remains of it ruins. Tourists and locals are very fond of this place, because it is associated with numerous legends and myths about the Minotaur, Ariadne and Theseus. Noteworthy are the numerous frescoes and forms of ruins, resembling a maze.
- Heraklion museums: Archaeological, Historical, Nikos Kazantzakis and others. By visiting one of them, you can get aesthetic pleasure, culturally enlightened and get to know Greece closer.
- There are many cathedrals and churches in Heraklion with incredible beauty. All buildings are majestic, attract the eye and seem to fascinate. It is worth paying attention to the Cathedral of St. Titus, the Church of St. Catherine, the Cathedral of St. Mark, the Cathedral of St. Ming.
Tip: if you went around all the sights of Heraklion, then switch to its surroundings, which also have a lot of interesting things. So, it is worth visiting the ruins of ancient Phaistos, in the fortress of Kules, the monastery of St. Peter and some other places.
What can you do?
Any visitor will definitely find something to do, as there are a lot of entertainment options:
- Relaxing beach holiday. Many come here just to lie on the warm white sand, soak up the gentle rays of the Greek sun, swim in the clear warm water, in general, fully enjoy your vacation.
- The city has stunning nature with lush olive trees, vineyards, gardens filled with incredible aromas, slopes rising above the sea ... Therefore, having come here, you will certainly walk on this beautiful town to enjoy the local scenery.
- You can culturally enlighten and learn more about the two thousand year history of Heraklion by visiting one of their local museums.
- If you want not just to walk around the city, but to do it with benefit, then sign up for a tour. Here, most likely, there will be English or even Russian-speaking guides.
- You will certainly want to buy something truly Greek and buy souvenirs for relatives and friends. Go shopping! You can find a lot of interesting and useful things in numerous souvenir shops, in the central market or in the Laika bazaar.
- Some sports are available in Heraklion. So, you can ride on a yacht, go diving and see the amazing underwater world or even go fishing.
Where to enjoy a beach holiday?
We should also write about the beaches of Heraklion. The best are the following:
- Karteros is considered mainly a youth beach and is famous for its cozy bays. It has everything you need for a comfortable and active stay, including bars, water activities and so on.
- Ammoudara is a sandy clean beach that is fully equipped and ideal for a comfortable stay. There are sun loungers, umbrellas, showers, restaurants and much more.
- Agiofarago is suitable for ecotourism lovers. The beach is practically not equipped, but here you can find a drinking source, rocks and the most beautiful Greek church.
- Malia is an ideal place to conquer surf waves. But other extreme sports are available.
- Stalis - a two-kilometer sandy beach, fully equipped. And here you can play beach volleyball.
Colorful Greek Cuisine
Greek cuisine is popular and famous all over the world: what is the only Greek salad worth. But this is not the only culinary masterpiece that you can try in Heraklion. In local restaurants you will enjoy seafood dishes: various types of fish and seafood. And local chefs are real masters, so you can enjoy the taste and amazing aroma.
Meat lovers will also be satisfied: Heraklion is amazingly preparing pork and lamb on charcoal. The main dishes are complemented by fresh vegetables and olives, which Greece is famous for. Be sure to try cheese and other dairy products. Traditional fragrant spices, savory sauces and seasonings will turn the head and present true gastronomic pleasure. And you can enhance it with the help of local amazing wine. Do not forget about the Greek desserts, such as yogurt with honey, a variety of pastries.
If you are lucky enough to visit Heraklion, then let the trip bring the most pleasant emotions and be remembered for a lifetime!
The surroundings of Heraklion (Crete) hide just heavenly places for a beach holiday in Greece, but few people know about it. Only those who have thoroughly explored this area of the island can tell what and where should be visited, where to go to the beach, and where - for impressions.
If you want to be among them, feel free to start exploring the surroundings of glorious Heraklion!
What to see around Heraklion
The village of Fodele (Fodele) is known among connoisseurs of Crete as the birthplace of the great painter El Greco. It is located at a distance of 26 km north-west from Heraklion, in the mountainous part of Crete. Fodele is one of the greenest places of the island, it is famous for its excellent oranges, the ancient Byzantine church Panagia and the house-museum of the painter El Greco, widely known outside of Crete.
Details - on the page "Museums of Crete."
Malia or Malia (eng. Malia) - a small youth and family beach resort, which is located just a few kilometers from Hersonissos.
In addition to the beaches, tourists are invited to historical sites in Malia - 2 km to the west of the city are the ruins of the ancient city of the Minoan period, in which archaeologists discovered a magnificent palace, not inferior to the famous Knossos and the Phaistos palaces.
Agia Pelagia is a comfortable resort city located in the north of Crete. In addition to the beaches, in Agia Pelagia tourists are attracted by a Christian shrine - a miniature chapel of St. Pelagia, the patron saint of the town. You can see it near the main city beach, on a rocky hill. They say that on the place where the chapel is now located, they once found the miraculous icon of Saint Pelagia.
In Agia Pelagia tourists prefer to relax, who love an unhurried and relaxed atmosphere, but at the same time the service should be at a high enough level.
People come to Hersonissos for a fun and carefree holiday - to have fun in nightclubs and discos, enjoy food in excellent restaurants and taverns by the sea, and also for a collection of impressions and emotions.
Impressions and emotions can give those who want the unusual sights of Chersonissos. In its vicinity there are two monasteries - the monastery of Kera Cardiotissa and the monastery of Panagia Goveriniotis, one of them is active, the other is a monument of architecture.
Chersonissos is also interesting for museums - there is an open-air museum Lichnostatis in the town, and in the vicinity of the town is the Menlaos Parlamas Museum (1.5 km from Hersonissos, in the village of Piskopiano), which represents the pre-industrial era of Crete.
Of the fun attractions, the municipality of Hersonissos offers a choice of three water parks! Read more about the sights of Hersonissos.
Resorts near Heraklion
Amudara (Amudara) is a small resort village near Heraklion, in which those who are not used to moving away from the airport into the interior like to rest. Amoudara beaches are the main advantage of the resort. This is a five-kilometer-long sandy territory, which is washed by a clear azure sea and is blown by unusually cool for these latitudes northern winds.
People go to Amoudara for an excellent beach holiday, and for the opportunity to do amazing windsurfing.
Anissaras resort in the vicinity of Heraklion (24 km from the capital of Crete) is known for its friendliness towards family tourists. There is a rather calm and measured atmosphere, excellent sandy beaches and a very favorable climate for recuperation. If you want to have fun - near, just 2 km to the east, bright Chersonissos, where you can look at any moment.
From the sights Anissaras offers to look into the small church of St. George on Cape Saradari, look for it in the eastern part of the resort.
Gouves, a typical resort of authentic Crete, is located 18 km east of Heraklion, near the village of Gournes, which once housed a naval base. Gouves is a whole residential tourist area, it has a beautiful sea coast, and directly in the development area, tourists like pretty, cozy streets, decorated with picturesque and well-kept houses.
Gouves is an absolutely autonomous beach resort of Crete, everything is here for a perfect holiday: clean, well-groomed beaches, hotels for every taste and budget, a very developed infrastructure of restaurants and taverns, supermarkets, a pharmacy, mini golf courses, car rental and motorcycle services, marinas for boats and one of the most beautiful embankments on the island - Kato Gouves.
or Analipsis (Analipsis) - an excellent beach resort on the coast of the Libyan Sea, in the south of Crete in the vicinity of Heraklion. There are all conditions for a high-quality family vacation with children and spa recovery. On the territory of Analipsi there is a whole network of spa hotels of the European level, which especially attracts tourists from Germany and Scandinavian countries.
A provincial town in which only about 400 people live. the indigenous population is surrounded by picturesque olive and fruit groves, beautiful beaches open up on the coast, and in the town itself there is an atmosphere of regularity and enjoying life.
The main historical site of Analipsi is the Kapsa Monastery, located 12 km to the east. It is very revered by local residents, because the monastery is more than 500 years old!
Stalis or Stalis (Stalis) - a beach resort of the European level of service. It is located 30 km from Heraklion. Regular beach clients of the resort are people of decent age and couples. The beaches around the resort have a fairly smooth entrance to the sea, so it is very convenient for bathing children.
Infrastructure of the resort is well developed, very close, near Heraklion, there is an international airport, which is very convenient for European tourists. They say that those times are not far off when the three most popular resorts in the vicinity of Heraklion - Stalida, Chersonissos and Malia - will become one whole, huge comfortable beach resort of world level.
Kokkini Hani is a beach resort in the vicinity of Heraklion, which will be appreciated by travelers who prefer a measured and relaxing holiday. The small town offers clean and warm sea, luxurious beaches, quiet and calm comfort during a long-awaited vacation.
In addition to the resorts listed above, you should not forget about Hersonissos, Agia Pelagia and Malia, which we described at the beginning of the post. These resorts in the vicinity of Heraklion are interesting not only for their attractions, they are recommended for recreation in Crete by tourists with experience who have visited the island more than once.
The most convenient, fast, and, perhaps, economical way. From Moscow direct flights are carried out only in the summer time. It is worth noting that they coincide with the tourist season, which lasts from April to October. Companies operating flights –Transaero, Aeroflot, AegeanAir, S7 Airlines.
Travel time varies from 3 hours 50 minutes to 4 hours 5 minutes without taking into account delays on the way. Flights are operated almost daily, on some days several times. The cost of one economy class ticket is 10-20 thousand rubles. During the rest of the year, airlines offer flights with transfers that are carried out in Athens, Paris, St. Petersburg or Prague. At the same time, the travel time increases from 8 hours 40 minutes to 13 hours 40 minutes. The cost of a transfer ticket is from 20 to 30 thousand rubles for economy class tickets.
Air flight + sea transport
With careful planning, this method may be cheaper, but time consuming. From Moscow you can fly to more than 10 companies, the prices are quite favorable - from 5 to 10 thousand rubles. From Athens, ferry rides, travels at night, travel time is about 8 hours, cost from 70 to 100 euros. For 70 euros you can buy a seat on the deck, for 100 - a cozy place in the cabin.
Greece Visa Centers
Here they check the correctness of filling out the documents and send them to the Consulate. Visa centers of Greece are in the cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Murmansk, Nizhny Novgorod, Novorossiysk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Perm, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Saratov, Ufa and Khabarovsk.
The cost of a Schengen visa is 35 euros, equivalently paid in rubles or euros, depending on the rules of the visa center. In case of urgent paperwork, the cost may increase to 70 euros. Additionally, you must pay a service fee if you are applying through the visa application center.
Documents for obtaining a visa
- full copy of all pages of the national passport
- a copy of an international passport issued during the past ten years and is valid for another three months after the planned return
- visa application
- health insurance valid for the entire trip in the entire Schengen zone, the equivalent of the sum insured is at least 30 thousand euros
- two photos (color), size 3,5x4,5 cm, must be taken in the last 6 months
- paid visa fee
- proof of hotel reservation
- proof of booking tickets
- certificate of employment or proof of ownership of real estate, the presence of bank accounts
- certificate from the tax service of official sources of income
To obtain a visa, the certificate of the amount of wages must contain an amount of at least 12 thousand rubles. The Greek Embassy is considered loyal, with the least number of failures. In the summer time, a visa can be issued within a week, but in order not to worry, it is better to do everything in advance.
Where to stay in Heraklion
In the high season to find accommodation, and even more cheap will not be easy. When choosing an economy class apartment, pay attention to the accommodation along Handakos Street, as well as the streets near the Venetian harbor. Heraklion has only two hostels - Pension Castello and Avra. The cheapest hostels are Heraklion Youth Youth Hostel, Manos Studios. Budget hotels: Castro Hotel, Park Hotel, Sun Hotel.
The cost of the most economical room is from 550 rubles per day for early booking. In stock Wi-Fi zone, swimming pools, beaches, in some cases breakfast is included in the price. If you are not used to saving on amenities, then we recommend to pay attention to hotels: Aquila Atlantis Hotel, Galaxy Iraklio Hotel.
Ираклион богат на пляжи для любого туриста и кошелька.
Северное побережье Ираклиона насчитывает более десяти пляжей. На пляже Агия Пелагея находятся разнообразные таверны и рестораны, море чаще всего спокойное. Пляж Лигария порадует отдыхающих, уставших от людей и суеты, здесь наиболее тихо и спокойно. Крутой спуск в воду характерен для пляжа Палиокастро, идеально подойдет для сноркелинга. На пляже Аммудара производится обучение виндсерфингу.
Пляжей на южном побережье также достаточно. The beaches of Lentas, Vathi and Kaloi Limenes are used by local residents, which means they have free access and a small number of visitors. In general, the beaches of the southern coast are more free from tourists, while the beaches of the northern coast have a gently sloping bottom and pleasant water temperatures.
Food and Fun
For the budget traveler, the taverns and cafes, which are visited by the local population, will be an acceptable option for lunch. Orient yourself on this principle, then get a combination of low prices and good quality. In general, in Heraklion, next to all the institutions, there is an institution menu with prices, very convenient for the tourist to find his way around. Do not neglect the local markets, here you can buy local dishes at competitive prices.
Entertainment Heraklion a variety. Fans of sports and outdoor activities will be able to enjoy water parks, diving, parachuting, fishing, sailing. Fans of shopping will also be satisfied - Daedalou Street is famous for the presence of brand shops, 1866 Street will delight connoisseurs of handmade products, works of art, souvenirs.
What to see in Heraklion
The first day is to start from the main tourist street of Heraklion. We begin our journey from the Venetian fortress - the memory of the time of the Venetian rule in Crete, a structure that is well preserved. Further along the way you will meet the Catholic Church, the city council building, Lviv Square, the Fountain of Sky.
The final point of the route will be the archaeological museum. The museum should pay special attention, because He belongs to the best museums not only in Greece, but also in the world, if we talk about Minoan art. The cost of visiting the museum will cost 4 euros in the summer time period, from November to March - admission is free. This trip will take about 3 hours. Along the way there will be parks, cafes, snack bars on the street. Stop and rest is where.
On the first day there will be plenty of time for another small route. From the archaeological museum, walk a few minutes towards the Yenikar Aga fountain, near which you will definitely see living statues. Passing through the narrow musical streets of the city, by all means take a look at the main square, the main attraction of which is the Gate of St. George.
Not so long ago, this shrine of the city became available for visits by tourists, this is where art exhibitions are held. Further, following along Pediados Street, do not miss the Bastion of Jesus and Stoa Makasi. Along the street Romanou are the Holy Mosque, the Church of St. Catherine. These architectural structures date back to the XVI century.
The program of the first day was quite intense. That is quite enough.
On the second day, we recommend visiting the palaces and fortresses of Heraklion. One of the most famous sights of all of Crete is the Palace of Knossos. Let's start with it. The palace is located in the suburbs of Heraklion, you can get to the place by bus, which goes from the Lviv Square, the time between the departures of the bus is short. The museum is open daily from 8 am to 7 pm in the summer, from 8 am to 3 in the winter. The cost of attendance - 6 euros.
Knossos Palace - a monument to the architecture of civilization that lived before our era. At the same time, the structure is well preserved. The layout of the palace is complex, it was completed in different eras, it has more than 100 rooms, 4 floors high. At the entrance to the palace, it is recommended to take a brochure with the scheme for better orientation. The palace will not leave indifferent visitors!
You can not ignore the fortress Kules. In order to visit this facility, it is not necessary to go, because the facility is located on the main harbor of the city. The cost of the visit is 3 euros, but entry to some internal premises is prohibited. The fortress is a fortification of the XV century, the walls of which reach 9 meters. It is striking the imagination of visiting tourists with its scale, historical integrity and beauty.
We offer to diversify the rest by boat trips on the third day. The eight-hour voyage on a comfortable yacht can be ordered both individually and in group order. The cost of an individual tour will be much higher, it should be taken into account when planning costs. In general, renting a boat will cost 350 euros, the price also includes seafood, drinks and fruits.
A day trip includes up to 10 people, only 4 people can go on a night tour. During the tour you can swim in the crystal clear warm sea, go diving, try your hand at the art of fishing.
The guide will surely offer to come to the bay of St. George, do not miss this opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the deserted sea coast, it is recommended to see the sunset in this place. Back in the city far after sunset, visit one of the local restaurants or cafes. This day will surely be remembered by the traveler!
The fourth day is recommended to spend within the city, visit several museums, architectural and historical attractions. However, all in order! We recommend starting the journey from the residence of Chronakis.
Heading towards the harbor, take a look at the Frioli Fountain. Further advisable to visit the museum of nature. Moving along the sea coast, do not miss the gates of Dermatas. Following in the same direction, visit the historical museum. Here are collections of the Byzantine era. Significant exhibits of the museum are decorations of the Byzantine period, gold coins dated from the first centuries of our era.
If you follow the above tips, do not have to spend time searching for attractions. The places described in the article are designed for budget travelers, while breathtaking, enrich the horizons and delight the visitor.
Heraklion - a place rich in natural and architectural beauty! Visit it only once and want to visit here again and again! Have a good trip!
Brief historical background
Heraklion is the administrative center, the capital of Crete, named after Hercules, who accomplished here one of his exploits. Its Greek name is Heraklion. The city was also known as Khandak, Kandiya, Herakleia, Khandakas. The city originally originated as a harbor. Then, in 824, the Arabs who captured Crete rebuilt the fortified fort Handak. In the future, the city was rebuilt, captured, plundered various nations - Byzantines, Venetians, Turks. Only in 1913 the city became part of Greece, and in 1971 became the capital of Crete.
Not surprisingly, such a rich history has left a big mark in the development of the city and its architectural appearance. Today Heraklion is a modern city in Greece, keeping the memory of its history and offering all travelers a lot of entertainment and leisure. Do not overlook this city of Crete when planning a holiday in 2018.
Brief geographical information and climate
The city is located on the island of Crete on the Aegean coast, 334 kilometers from Athens. In Heraklion, an area of 120 square kilometers, there are 175 thousand local residents. Administratively, the city is divided into 5 districts.
The climate here, as well as throughout the Mediterranean, is temperate, mild and dry. The hottest months are July and August. The air warms up to an average of 28 degrees Celsius. At the same time, the water temperature rarely drops below 16 degrees, even in winter periods. The best time for rest is June-September. Spring is well suited for hiking, but not for swimming - the sea is not heated enough at this time of year.
How to get there
How to get there
Due to the fact that Crete is very popular among tourists, it is very easy to get to Heraklion from Russia on almost any type of transport. It remains only to decide how much time you are ready to spend on the road.
In my opinion, the plane - the most convenient form of transport for such hasty travelers, like me. When a trip is allocated only 10–12 days, you have to hurry.
The largest number of flights depart from St. Petersburg and Moscow. It is better to buy tickets for 5-6 months, while the price is still low. In the summer, direct charters fly to Crete from all Moscow airports, however, when departing from Sheremetyevo, tickets are more expensive. Their cost varies from 15 to 25,000 rubles. on one person in both directions.
From St. Petersburg charter flights depart from Pulkovo. Prices for 2-3 thousand rubles. more expensive than from Moscow. Those who decide to first visit the capital of Greece - Athens - or another European city, it is better to choose flights with a transfer, but that between them was at least 10 hours. In winter, when direct flights become less, this option becomes more popular.
The most profitable plane tickets to Heraklion are offered by Aegean Airlines. But if you follow the stocks and prices on special sites, you can find good offers from Russian carriers, such as Ural Airlines or Pobeda.
Risk and go to Crete on their own car, not everyone decides. For this, you will have to move across several borders with customs clearance. To quickly get to the port near Athens and transfer to the ferry, it is better to take turns, without stopping for the night. Then the travel time will be about 2-3 days from Moscow.
Now driving a car even over long distances has become much easier. The route will help pave Google. The interactive map shows all the borders, areas where there is a toll road or repairs. The most convenient way is the one that passes from Moscow through Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria. There is another route, 350 km longer, via Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia and Macedonia.
To calculate the cost of gasoline, you can use one of the Internet services. It is enough to specify the starting and ending point of the route, the approximate consumption of the car and the price of fuel. It turns out that gasoline will have to spend about 15-18 thousand rubles in one direction. However, keep in mind that in Europe the price of fuel is more expensive.
Having reached Athens, you will have to change along with the car to the cargo ferry that will take you to the port of Heraklion. The cost of crossing two passengers with a vehicle will cost 130–147 EUR.
The most convenient way is to go to Crete from the port of Piraeus, which is located near Athens. By the time the sea trip takes about 9 hours and costs 35-50 EUR. Now it is possible to book a ticket online at ferriesingreece.com, but you still need to arrive at the port in advance to receive your boarding pass. In addition, due to weather, the ferry timetable may vary slightly.
When is the season. When is it better to go
When is the season. When is it better to go
In my opinion, the time of visiting Heraklion should not be limited to the seasons. At any time of the year here you can find a lesson for interesting spending time. After all, Crete still attracts researchers with its ancient history, and in our time new archaeological finds are taking place. Therefore, once in the city named after Hercules in any period of the year, you can find something for everyone.
Traditionally, the tourist season is the period from the beginning of June to the beginning of October. The air temperature does not fall below +28 degrees, and the water warms up to + 23–27. The airport of Heraklion at this time is working in an emergency mode, since you have to take a lot of tourists. But in the winter there is the opposite of a lull - hotel owners have a rest after intense summer work. From late autumn to March, there are often storms at sea, strong winds and temperatures appropriate, not higher than + 8–15 degrees.
Heraklion in summer
Beginning of June is suitable for tourists who are not afraid of cool water. At this time on the beaches of Heraklion, it warms up to no more than + 21–23 degrees. The sun is warming with might and main, but not tiring.
In July and especially in August, on the contrary, not everyone will endure a whole day on the beach in the heat of + 38–43 degrees. Even the locals close their souvenir shops for a period from 12 to 15-16 hours and try to relax in the shade. This time is suitable for visiting museums and churches - inside the stone buildings are cool and there are not so many visitors. Most of all I loved to wander through the quiet rooms, where it was almost inaudible of a human voice on an August afternoon. Therefore, I liked most of all to be in Heraklion at the end of August.
Heraklion in the fall
If we take into account all the autumn months, then from the beginning of September to mid-October is one season, and the end of October and the whole of November is completely different.
In autumn Heraklion has the opportunity to try a variety of fruits: pomegranates, persimmon, oranges, figs, grapes, tangerines. Their taste is very different from the usual. Many tourists consider autumn to be the most successful for traveling, because average temperatures gradually decrease and the water remains warm. At this time, you can stay longer on the beach. In November, the weather on the beaches of Heraklion becomes colder - the water warms up to an average of +19 degrees, and the air reaches +20–23. It is dangerous to swim at sea at this time, as strong storm waves often rise
Heraklion in spring
The first spring month of March, as well as all winter months, can be excluded from the list for those tourists who have gathered in the capital of Crete for warmth and beach holidays. But in April, floral aromas and leaves and flowers begin to soar in the air. At this time it is good to walk along the streets of the city and consider the sights. Fans of swimming can book a good hotel, which has a heated swimming pool and sea water. May is the opening month of the beach season. True, few people decide to swim in the sea at a water temperature of about + 18–20 degrees.
Heraklion in winter
In winter, I would not plan a trip to Heraklion, but I know a married couple who prefers to hold a baptism festival here. In the winter months, especially in January and February, it is often rainy weather with gusty winds. The temperature rarely rises above +15 degrees, and in the last two years there has been an abnormally cold winter. The thermometer often dropped below zero and snowed.
Areas. Where better to live
Heraklion is not only the main city of Crete, but also the capital of the island’s prefecture of the same name. About 180 thousand people live here permanently. But seasoned tourists know that the entire city is geographically divided into two parts - Old and New.
- The Old Town includes the port, the old fortress walls, the center of Heraklion with landmarks. The most convenient way is to settle down in the historical part, especially since this is where the east bus station is located, many cafes and shops. For those who prefer to travel around the island by public transport, such a neighborhood will be an advantage. Lucky and those travelers who decide to settle near the coast. There are a lot of shops, you can see the old Venetian port and plying ferries and yachts.
- Most of the buildings in the "New" Heraklion built after the Great Patriotic War. Of course, they are different from the houses in the Old Town, but they are not similar to the usual high-rises. In this part, I would not advise to settle, even though it is more in territory. This will be inconvenient for several reasons. Firstly, far from the sights, auto skate, concentrated in the center. Secondly, all the charm of the resort town is lost. Many houses have a dilapidated appearance, they are decorated with inscriptions, and rubbish is lying on the sidewalks. If you want exotic, then you can just walk here, but not in the evening.
On housing prices I will discuss below.
What are the prices for rest
Tourists rarely stay in hotels in Heraklion, for the reason that there are no beaches within the city. Therefore, in hotels of Heraklion always reasonable prices. They are directly dependent on the season. Already in May, the cost per room begins to rise. The most "expensive" months - July-September. But if you constantly monitor Booking or other sites for booking, you can find and buy a room with a big discount, but you need to consider that it’s better to do it in 5-6 months. Some adventurous travelers book an apartment immediately after arriving from a vacation for the next year. True, in this case it is necessary to separately buy a ticket, but this is not difficult to do. How to get to Heraklion in different ways, I wrote in a separate article.
Going to a new place for the first time, we did not dare to live in rented apartments and chose the Astoria Capsis 4 * hotel, with a large pool and bar. It is located near the Archaeological Museum. Breakfast could not care - it was already included in the price. The room had air conditioning and a safe, but we refused to use them - a breeze from the sea did not let us get tired of the heat, and we put all valuables in a suitcase and locked them. Hotels of this level cost about 41–80 EUR or 2500–5000 rubles per day. Compare prices for rooms in the current date can be the link.
For those who are accustomed to the resorts of Egypt and Turkey, food is suitable all-inclusive, in Greece it is also common everywhere. It is well served even in three-star hotels, taking care of their reputation. The cost of AI and UAI institutions varies between 56–120 EUR (3,500–7500 rubles) per day. Единственный недостаток таких отелей – здесь не удастся попробовать традиционные греческие блюда и местные фрукты. Зато овощи и мясо подают в избытке.
Есть возможность забронировать квартиру или комнату в одном из многоэтажных домов города. Ради интереса я побродила по сайту, там есть много интересных вариантов, но они больше подходят для молодых пар или семей, которые много путешествуют без маленьких детей. Некоторые расположены вдалеке от культурного центра и мало похожи на курортный город. Цены на них значительно ниже – 17–40 EUR (1100–2500 руб).
Основные достопримечательности. What to see
Major attractions. What to see
Where, where, and in Heraklion and its environs there are definitely more than a dozen places of interest, which you definitely need to go to. Coming here for the umpteenth time, I still cannot visit them all. Mostly they are located in the center and near the port, but there are several places near Heraklion, which can be reached by bus or as part of an excursion. It is not difficult to find them, they are all marked with special signs with names in Greek and English.
- Crthe clown cooles. For a long time here was the fort of the Venetians, who protected Heraklion from the raids of Turkish soldiers. Fortifications are located on a small isthmus near the roadway. It's nice to walk on foot, look at the sea. The fort has long been closed for restoration work. Now tourists can go upstairs and watch the ships and ferries. The entrance is open from 9 am to 3 pm.
- Venetian Shipyards or Arsenals. They are located near the fortress Koules. It is a structure with arched vaults. Once here, the Venetians repaired their vessels here, equipped them before long journeys. Some premises performed a more important function - they stored war projectiles in them, to protect the city from enemies who attacked from the sea. Now only 6 shipyards are preserved; tourists can visit them freely at any time.
- Venetian Loggia. A beautiful building in medieval style can be viewed near Lion's Square. The Italian nobility once hosted balls and fancy tricks here. Now only the external facade remained near former greatness, near which tourists are photographed. Inside the building is very neglected, but you should still visit it and feel the spirit of history.
- Lion Square. The real name is the platinum of Eleftherios Venizelos, but the locals, and then the visitors, decided to rename this place. In the center is the most prominent place - the fountain Morosini, built in the 17th century. It looks like a big bowl held by four lions. Water pours from their mouths and flows into the pool in the form of a flower. Near the square there are cafes and snack bars, this makes the place even more attractive.
- Kornaru Square. Another popular place for exploring the city. The sight got its name in honor of the famous poet Crete Kornaros. It also installed a sculptural composition depicting a scene from his poem "Erotokrit". On this square there is a beautiful old marble fountain. The numerous taverns surrounding the square further contribute to the popularity of the place.
The beaches. Which is better
The beaches of Heraklion mean not only recreation areas near the city, but also those that belong geographically to the prefecture of Heraklion. The distance to them can be from 5 to 90 km, so it is better to talk about those beaches that are located near the city.
- Karteros. You can get here, driving 7 km east of Heraklion. It is a coastal strip several kilometers long with clean sand, umbrellas and deck chairs. Their cost is 4 EUR per day. Unlike other beaches, after swimming, tourists will be able to wash themselves from salt water in free showers and dine at coastal taverns. It is always crowded here, cars are left in the parking lot and near the road. Log into the sea is shallow, so travelers with children can spend here almost all day.
- Amnisos. Not far from Carteros, near the mountain of Paleochora is Amnisos beach. He is considered semi-savage. This place is interesting because there are found the ruins of the eponymous ancient city. Here, of course, they will not offer to take a chaise lounge with an umbrella, but the sand here is soft and clean, you can sunbathe directly on a towel or a mat. Nearby there are several small taverns where they cook delicious Greek salad. Another attraction of the beach is a small island near the shore.
- Arena. Located in the same direction as the previous beaches, only 15 km from Heraklion. The reference point is the village Vatyanos Kampos. Entrance to the beach as well as everywhere free, you only need to pay for umbrellas and sun beds, although we, as always, are located on the purchase of mats. There is plenty of water here, so the beach is popular among young people. Beach bars and cafes also help brighten the rest. The approximate cost of lunch is 18 EUR for two. Fresh orange juice for 2 EUR is very tasty here.
- Ammoudara. A small village 4 km from Heraklion to the west. In the village there is everything that a demanding tourist needs - car rental, pharmacy, souvenir shops. You can immediately book an apartment here, in the village there are several hotels. There are also disadvantages to this place - there is a power station nearby, but in my opinion, this is not the most significant drawback. I was more strained by airplanes flying overhead, although the airport is 10 km away. The beach itself is very clean, but in the evening strong waves were rising that prevented swimming. In one of the cafes we tried delicious grilled fish with a side dish of potatoes in a country style for 12 EUR.
- Gouves is located 18 km east of Heraklion. It is worth coming here for the sake of pure sand with small children. There are many such families here, the children play together, making paski from the sand. Nearby are two villages on both sides of the beach - Pano Gouves and Kato Gouves. In them you can eat and spend the night. Especially developed tourist infrastructure in Kato Gouves, there are hotels with stars and private apartments.
Churches and temples. What are worth visiting
- St. Titus Cathedral located near the Museum of Archeology. According to the style of the building, you can guess that it was built during the reign of the Byzantines. According to historical evidence this happened in the 10th century. When several centuries later Crete was conquered by the Turks, the cathedral was rebuilt into a mosque. In the early 19th century, a strong earthquake destroyed most of the building, but was later restored. Now the entrance to the cathedral is free, but you can leave a few coins in the donation box. Believers come to worship the relics of St. Titus, which are located on the right side near the entrance. According to local residents, this patron saint of the island can fulfill any desire.
- Cathedral of St. Minus or Minas - The main Christian church of Heraklion. In addition, it is one of the largest temples in the whole of Greece, it accommodates about 8,000 worshipers. The saint, in whose honor the cathedral was founded, is the patron saint of the island. The Cathedral of St. Mina is located on Venizelos Square, next to the lion fountain. Visitors are free to come here, only women should wear a skirt below the knees and have a headdress, a shawl is better.
- St. Catherine's Church. The building houses the Museum of Religious Art. Getting here is easy - you need to go to the north from the Cathedral of Saint Minas. The square on which the museum stands is also called St. Catherine. There are many playgrounds for children and snack bars around. The exhibition presents attributes related to religion. These are paintings, icons, manuscripts, frescoes, furniture, vestments of church attendants, utensils, books. The pride of the museum are the works of icon painter Mikhail Damascus, the most famous of which is The Adoration of the Magi.
- St. Mark's Church. To visit this church, you need to go a little further city hall. The building was destroyed and rebuilt several times, as many Christian churches in Crete were transformed into a mosque. Now it is one of the most visited churches of Heraklion, because St. Mark is the patron saint of Venice. Candles can be borrowed for free, leaving a few euro cents for donations.
Museums. What are worth visiting
- Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. The museum building was located not far from our hotel and in the center of the historical district of the city. Ticket for adults and teenagers from 12 years old - 10 EUR. After reading a lot of reviews about this place, we decided to visit it. I wrote about this in a separate article. The museum struck with its collection, which contains jewelry, household items, sculptures found in Crete. So that tourists are not confused in the exhibits, they are all arranged in chronological order. Often, travel agencies offer to visit this museum along with the Knossos Palace, in this case, the ticket is sold at a discount - 16 EUR for two attractions.
- Natural History Museum of Crete located near the Koules Fortress at Sophocles Veniselu Avenue. This exhibition will be interesting for small inquisitive tourists from 5 to 15 years. There are collected stuffed animals and skeletons of animals that lived on the island in different periods. The most notable exhibit of the museum that will surely attract attention is the dinotur dinosaur skeleton. On other shelves reproduced scenes from the life of animals. I liked the Seismic Hall, where you can feel what a real earthquake is about 3–6 points. Opening hours - from 9 to 15 hours, ticket price - 8 EUR for adults and 4 EUR for teenagers from 12 years.
- Museum of Defense of Crete. Still there, in the old part of Heraklion, this interesting museum is located. It is worth a visit, if only because the entrance here is free. In addition, the exhibition is actually very interesting. It allows you to look at the life of the Cretans during the Great Patriotic War. Particularly interesting are photographs, sketches and paintings telling about Cretan resistance, there are also many military objects, weapons, mannequins everywhere in military uniform. But all this will have to be considered independently, the guide speaks only in English.
In Heraklion, there is a park that bears the name of the great artist Domenikos Theotokopoulos or El Greco, who was born in this city. It is easy to find this place, it is also located in the center, not far from the historical sights - the Venetian Loggia and the fountain with lions.
The park is not very big, it is not decorated with statues or fountains, but it is nice to walk in the shade of trees in the hot summer or autumn afternoon. One monument is still there - it is a bust of a famous artist.
The entire historic center of the city can easily get around on foot. After trips to the surrounding beaches and villages all the time after dinner, we dedicated ourselves to walking the streets of Heraklion. The most important street, to the will of which are concentrated almost all the attractions - August 25.
The rest either cross it or go in parallel, although you can easily get lost in Heraklion. We were rescued by the navigator in the phone, on which we were guided during trips, and sometimes hiking. Near the street on August 25 and near the Archaeological Museum is the Eleftherias Square, and a little further to the right is Venizelu Square.
I advise you to definitely visit the street 1866, there is the largest market in Heraklion. Many souvenir shops and cozy cafes are located on Dedalu Street. It is very convenient to walk here, this is a pedestrian zone and cars do not drive here.
What to see in 1 day
If you are in Heraklion for just one day, then you definitely will not be bored. With so many attractions like here, you have to paint all the time by the minute to be everywhere. I would spend my day, starting at 9 am, like this:
- 9.00–10.30 - walked through the streets of Heraklion, taking pictures near beautiful buildings and fountains.
- 10.30–11.30 - I would definitely visit Fort Koules to watch boats and boats from the height of the fortress walls.
- 11.30-13.30 - the next point of my route is the beach of Amoudara, it is only 5 km from Heraklion, you can reach it by bus number 5.
- 13.30–15.00 - I would definitely have lunch at one of the cafes of Heraklion, ordering some seafood with the famous Cretan wine.
- 15.00-17.00 - I would visit the Palace of Knossos to walk around the dilapidated halls that remember the steps of the ancient rulers.
- 17.00–19.00 - I would continue an informative tour in the archaeological museum of Heraklion.
- 19.00–21.00 - in conclusion, I would have walked through the market on the street of 1866 and souvenir shops on the street of Daedalus.
On the map, I marked the next island.
- Santorini is the most famous and largest of the islands near Crete. You can reach it from Heraklion by boarding a ferry in the port. A ticket for a high-speed ferry that goes to the place for only 1.5 hours costs 65 EUR. Having been there only once, I really want to repeat this trip again. We were on Santorini with a guided tour just one day. The group was recruited from several different hotels, and some tourists were brought to send the ferry from other settlements. On this island, it seems that he got on a time machine in another era - there are only ancient buildings around as on advertising booklets, many churches. The cultural program changes every time, so it will be interesting even to those who were here. In addition to visiting the two most beautiful cities on Santorini - Ii and Firi - we managed to swim on the beach with black sand. This tour costs 170 EUR with lunch, but we decided to go for two days next time to learn more about this beautiful island.
- Spinalonga. This is a very small island, which is located near Mirabello Bay. From Heraklion here you need to go first towards the city of Agios Nikolaos from the bus station "A". From there, buses go to the resort of Elounda, and there you can always buy a boat trip to the destination. I preferred to go on a trip with a group from Heraklion. At the same time, along with lunch on the ship and a brief sightseeing tour of Agios Nikolaos, it cost me 80 EUR for two. The entrance to the fortress, where prisoners were previously kept, and then staged a leper colony, cost 8 EUR.
- Diya is a small island, just 12 km from the port of Heraklion. From the shore it can be seen with the naked eye. Once upon a time, sailors navigated to Crete. Not so long ago, the remains of an ancient settlement were found on it. Suitable for tourists who want to be in nature away from the city noise. Small boats for 10 EUR will bring you here and arrive in the evening, although water and food will need to be brought along. Do not forget about the cream of sunburn - the surface of the island is rocky, there are few trees. The beaches are also not suitable for swimming with young children, mostly they are pebbly or covered with stone slabs. But here is a real paradise for divers, you can dive and swim with equipment and admire the beauty of the sea.
Food. What to try
Food. What to try
Those who settled in the hotel with food, lose a lot. Mostly with the "all inclusive" serves European dishes, and traditional Greek cuisine is not necessary to try. Therefore, we stayed in a hotel with breakfast to dine and dine in different cafes and taverns. Be sure to try the local fruits - tangerines, pomegranates, figs, you can buy them at the market.
They differ significantly from those we ate in Russia. Grapes are especially tasty there, we were treated to the Greeks working several times in the vineyards near Heraklion, when we were just passing by. Often there are wild grape thickets along the roads, the taste of the berries is juicy, as if soaked in the sun.
As for the dishes, there was a place for fish and meat restaurants in the menu of restaurants of Heraklion. Unlike Turkey, where pork is not respected, it is cooked here, as well as chicken, turkey, beef and lamb. Often, meat and sea foods are cooked on charcoal or deep-fried from olive oil. As a side dish they are served boiled vegetables or french fries. Instead of bread it is customary to order cakes - pita. When ordering, please note that the portions are very large. We had one for two to eat. I recommend to try the following dishes:
- Kleftiko is a traditional Cretan dish of lamb baked in an oven or wood-burning stove. The meat is rubbed with special spices, which, after cooking, give it an unusual savory taste.
- Dorada - fried fish. It looks like a simple dish, but at the same time very tasty. It is fried only a few minutes after the customer orders.
- Moussaka - a dish in the form of baked vegetables with minced meat. Ingredients are laid in layers in a deep pan and poured over bechamel sauce.
- Spanakopita - salty pie from filo dough and spinach to cottage cheese toppings. Spread the stuffing on several layers of dough and bake in the oven. It turns out very tasty!
- Kataifi - sweet type of cakes. It looks like a ball of thread with nuts and honey inside. For it use a special dough cataph in the form of fibers.
Of the drinks you should definitely try the freshly squeezed fruit juice, in the hotel it is not at all tasty. Tea in Heraklion is not among the traditional drinks. It is customary to brew herbal teas and drink them without milk. In many places frappe is served - iced cold coffee, but I did not like it.
So, how to leave Crete without trying the local wine? It is served in all, even the smallest cafes, but I do not advise you to drink it in the middle of the day - it is harder to endure the heat. We did not dare to try crayfish or moonshine with an anise smell, although neighbors in the hotel praised it a lot.
Recently, the service in Crete and in Heraklion itself has noticeably improved, with healthy competition between establishments. Less and less you can read bad reviews about some cafe. Yes, and I have not met such. Everywhere we were treated with genuine Greek hospitality. Меню пишут на греческом и английском, иногда на русском, к тому же во многих местах напротив названия блюда расположено красочное фото. Без знания английского, конечно, сложновато, но выручает язык жестов.
Маршрут прогулки по Ираклиону на карте города
Для ориентирования на местности вы можете воспользоваться или этой картой, или установить приложение на телефон и проложить маршрут самостоятельно. Сейчас я пользуюсь приложениями Maps.me и Sygic Travel. If you do not want to bother with self-guided tours - you can buy a ready-made day tour and walk around Heraklion with a guide.
Where to park a car in Heraklion
If you rented a car and travel around Crete on it, you will inevitably run into parking problems in the major cities of the island. Free parking in the center is practically unrealistic, so we were advised to leave the car in paid parking lots in the port - there are a lot of available places and not far from the center.
But in Heraklion there is a secret maneuver. Marina cafe customers (on the map) can leave the car in the free parking. To do this, you need to drive up to the barrier, say that you are in a cafe - and you will be let through completely free of charge. No one will check whether you ended up at Marina or not (although you can go in - drink coffee).
We will start from the most beautiful part of the city - the Venetian harbor. In the port you can see not only private yachts and huge cruise ships. Venetian docks are still partially preserved here, built in the 17th century, in which ships were serviced. In combination with modern marine vessels, they look very exotic. The harbor gradually goes to the Koules fortress, and immediately behind it begins a long pedestrian pier, an artificial dam protecting the harbor from strong sea disturbances. If time allows, take a bottle of wine (or a glass of popular cold coffee in Greece) and sit on the stones, watching the waves break on the pier.
I have already written more than once that I am an eerie fan of medieval fortresses and castles, therefore, I also traveled to Heraklion mainly for the sake of Kules fortress. I can't say that this is the most impressive fortress I have ever seen, but it was interesting to walk. It is felt that Kules fortress is monitored and regularly restored. It seems as if you are not in an old building, in some modern decorations. Perhaps, lovers of ancient architecture will not like it, but I happily climbed wherever possible, and took pictures of the Venetian harbor from the height of the fortress. Ideally, of course, you need to go to such places accompanied by a professional guide who is interested in telling about all the rooms and events that took place here during the last centuries. I am not such a guide, so I’ll just show photos.
Entrance to the fortress: 2 euro
Is free: March 6, April 18, May 18, the last weekend of September, October 28 and every Sunday in the winter
Operation mode: from 8 to 19 (in winter they close earlier)
Official site: koules.efah.gr
Pedestrian street August 25
After an active tour of the fortress, I recommend lunch at a wonderful tavern, the name of which, according to tradition, ask me in the comments. And already on a full stomach, you can continue a leisurely inspection of Heraklion along the pedestrian street on August 25. In my case, this street is simply associated with Istiklal Street in Istanbul, as if I was again walking through my beloved Turkish capital and soon the Blue Mosque will appear on the horizon. The feeling of this, however, quickly disappears, but pleasant nostalgia remains.
On the street on August 25 there are many brand shops, small souvenir shops and cafes with varied cuisine. Looking at the magnets, do not miss one of the local attractions - St. Titus Church. The architectural structure refers, for a minute, to 961! It captures the spirit when you wonder how much this building has seen in the last thousand years.
Another attraction on the main street of Heraklion - Venetian Loggia. This building dates back to the 17th century, although it is said that it was restored after the war, not caring too much about historical conformity, so now we can see not quite the same loggia. Opposite the loggia there is a nice park with a fountain, where you can make a walking pause.
A pause can also be made at another fountain, much more famous, - Lion's fountain Morosini. When we walked, the medieval fountain was just on the restoration.
Cathedral of St. Mina and the Church of St. Catherine
The next point on the route is two religious sites located on the same square. To your left is a small stone church of St. Catherine, which dates back to the XVI century.
And before you is the main cathedral of Crete and one of the largest Greek temples - the Cathedral of St. Mina. It was built a couple of centuries later than the church of Catherine, and the final appearance was already in the XIX century. Be sure to go inside, even if you, like me, are non-regional. The cathedral is very beautiful, quiet and cozy.
Bembo Fountain and 1866 Street
We quickly photograph the Bembo fountain (the first public fountain in Crete) and along the street in 1866 we go straight to the old city market. Here we buy snacks, souvenirs and very carefully choose jewelry (many imitations of gold).
We leave to another pedestrian shopping street - Dedalou. She is far from being as ceremonial as the street on August 25, but shopaholics will definitely like it. Here (as well as on the next street Dileosinis) you and Gap, and Mac, and Zara, and a bunch of branded and local stores. In the alleys you can find a nice and inexpensive Greek tavern, and, of course, buy souvenirs.
Daedalu Street will inevitably lead you to the main city square - Freedom Square. To be honest, I was not very impressed by this square, so we quickly ran through it and moved towards the harbor.
But before leaving hospitable Heraklion, you can catch another important attraction - the Archaeological Museum. If you have an extra 10 euros, a few hours of free time and an irresistible craving for archeological artifacts, then do not miss. In our case, one of these three points did not converge. And maybe all at once) Keep in mind that you can buy a combi ticket to the museum and the Palace of Knossos, and save a few euros.
A natural question should appear here: where is the Palace of Knossos? Is not he the main attraction of Heraklion? That's right, arriving in Heraklion, in no case should not miss the most famous ruins of Crete. But what have we done? We arrived, looked at the cost of the ticket, looked at Max shilopopogo and decided that it was not this time.
Do not repeat our mistakes - if you got to Heraklion, take everything from him!)
Cost: 15 euros (or 16 euros kombobilet palace + museum)
Nevertheless, Greece is a beach holiday, which means that a day cannot pass without sea and sand in principle. We spent half a day on the amazing beach near Heraklion airport. Every 15 minutes airplanes landed past us, the sea was warm and gentle, and the beach was wide and deserted. We came to the conclusion that for us it is just the perfect beach. On the map, I noted it, called the beach Karteros. Do not miss)
Another beach was suggested to us by the locals, but it was never possible to get to it. It is located near two stadiums (google Pancritio Stadium) and the photos are also very beautiful, wide and deserted. But most importantly, here is one of the most popular taverns among the local (according to the local). I think you yourself will guess what kind of a tavern, but if you have not guessed it - write in the comments, I will send all the information.
That's all for now, catch other routes of inspection of Crete through these links:
Where to stay?
The capital of Crete offers many comfortable hotels (mostly 3-5 stars) with European service, as well as apartments and hostels. Here are some examples of placement:
- A nice apartment in the city center, furnished with modern furniture, or a two-star unpretentious hotel will cost two tourists about 3 thousand rubles per day.
- An institution of the middle category with a pool can cost two travelers about 5-6 thousand rubles per day.
- One of the luxury hotels - Galaxy Iraklio 5 * - offers its guests rooms of different comfort classes from standard to business rooms. The hotel has a spa, restaurant and wireless internet. The hotel is a 15 minute walk from the city center. Price per day for two guests - around 9 thousand rubles.
Beach holidays and water sports in Heraklion
For lovers of passive recreation, there are wonderful picturesque beaches with clear water. Heraklion and its surroundings are full of sandy and pebble zones, where all tourists will find a cozy place to sunbathe and swim.
There are equipped, as well as surrounding and wild beaches, hidden in the bays. In general, all of them are marked by a good entrance to the sea, which is convenient for those who rest with their families, with children, and many are marked with the prestigious Blue Flag. Here are some of the beaches in this resort area:
- Amoudara. Located 4 kilometers from Heraklion. Beach with excellent infrastructure, as well as the presence of a large number of taverns, cafes, restaurants. Covered with dark sand.
- Vatheianos Kambos. Very popular among locals, so if you want to look at cheerful sociable Cypriots and relax in a fun atmosphere - you are here.
- Linoperomata. Love outdoor activities? Go to this beach. There is often windy weather here and you can enjoy windsurfing.
By the way, diving (in the village of Agia Pelagia there is a large center), water skiing, snorkeling, and canoeing are also available from water entertainment in Heraklion and around the city.
All the best beaches are located 4-15 kilometers from the city, this is their feature. Despite the fact that Heraklion itself lies off the coast, all the beaches will have to go by taxi or public transport.
Do not forget that in addition to the sea and beaches, there are grape and olive gardens, cliffs, large waves and spectacular scenic views, which are also worthy of attention.
Inquisitive tourists are waiting for stories about the history of Greece and the island of Crete. Fans of excursion walks in Heraklion just will not be bored. A walk through the city (you should pay attention to Augustus Street - “Illusion Street”) can already become an impressive excursion. Also, be sure to visit the main local attractions.
The Palace of Knossos was built over 2 thousand years ago and is associated with the myth of the Minotaur and the brave Theseus. The most visited of the palaces of Crete. It is more interesting to visit it with a guided tour, however, if you don’t want to invest in finances, it’s easy to find a palace - the road is accompanied by signs. Many details of the ancient architecture: columns, gallery, frescoes, stairs can be viewed on the territory of Knossos Palace.
It is worth visiting the Archaeological Museum, which contains artifacts from different eras from the Neolithic to the Roman Empire. This is the most extensive museum dedicated to the Minoan era. Ceramics, jewelry, objects of worship and life - you can devote to the museum at least half a day.
The Historical Museum of Crete covers the period from the Byzantine era to the Second World War. Everything about the life, customs and culture of the locals can be found by going to this place. In addition, there are also masterpieces of Cretan artists and even a couple of paintings by El Greco.
Also in Heraklion is the Museum of Natural History, which is devoted to the flora and fauna of the Mediterranean, and the Museum of Fine Arts, the exhibition which focuses on the modern art of local artists.
You can enjoy the spirit of history, even just going to the borders of the city. It is surrounded by the Venetian walls of the 16th century built with several skillful gates. And in the center of Heraklion there is a Venetian fountain.
You can also explore a couple of local temple buildings. The Cathedral of St. Titus is the cathedral church of the city, it houses the relics of the apostle, who is the patron saint of Heraklion. The Cathedral of Saint Mina is an impressive, monumental building, miraculously escaped from bombing during World War II. And the small church of St. Catherine of Sinai currently houses a collection of works of church art.
From Heraklion you can go on excursions to other amazing places. So, there is an opportunity to go to the island of Santorini, visit the picturesque bay of Balos, enjoy the famous Athens and much more. The abundance of offers of guides in Crete will allow everyone to choose a tour of the soul. In addition, you can explore the surroundings of Heraklion. For example, 70 kilometers from the city lie the ruins of the ancient settlement of Festos, founded by Minos.
Entertainment in Heraklion
Not one sights rich city. Those who rest with the whole family may need to entertain their child in a simple and uncomplicated way.
Travelers with children can go to the WaterCity amusement park, where there are children's areas and attractions for brave teens. This place is located in a mountainous area, so at the same time enjoy the views. You can go to another water park - AquaPlus, the largest on the island. In the summer, Heraklion often has a Katerina amusement park, most of its rides are designed for kids.
You should definitely go to the village of Kato Gouves, where the Cretaquarium Thalassocosmos marine aquarium is located. Sharks, jellyfish and many other animals are waiting for all visitors, by the way, there are audio guides in Russian, so even kids will understand everything they need. In addition, it should be said that some hotels in Heraklion provide services for nannies, animators, they have children's clubs, so just carefully choose the place where you will live - so you will make the rest comfortable for the whole family.
Fans of urban recreation and shopping will be delighted with the large number of boutiques, cafes, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Among the latter, tourists especially note Paradise Club, which organizes stormy beach parties and invites famous and experienced DJs.
Cretan cuisine is a real pleasure for the body. Fish and seafood, salads, flavored with olive oil, an abundance of homemade cheeses will appeal to all travelers. You should definitely try the local snack of tomatoes, as well as ice cream with goat's milk and other dairy products. The approximate price for local fast food is about 4 euros, lunch at an average tavern will cost around 20 euros, dinner will cost around 25 euros.
Be sure to visit local shops and shops, buy souvenirs and gifts. What should I take with me on my trip to Heraklion? These can be Cretan goods such as:
- pottery with a Greek ornament,
- Metax brandy,
- textiles from natural fabrics,
- citrus honey
- olive oil.
Do you want to enjoy the local flavor to its fullest? Go to Heraklion during the summer art festival. From July to September, the city organizes performances, dances, concerts. You can admire both modern art forms and shows with a national touch.
Market in Heraklion - on video:
Numerous agencies offer other entertainment for the guests of Heraklion. Jeep safari, fishing from a yacht, a trip on a pirate ship stylized - there is a way to spend a day for any traveler.
Heraklion is a true recreation center in Crete. Going on a trip to this city, get ready to get acquainted with the local color, enjoy a variety of dishes, sightseeing trips to the mysterious Cretan places. You can competently combine rest on comfortable and clean beaches and knowledge of the secrets of the island. Old and young - everyone will appreciate this safe, interesting, comfortable holiday in 2018.
One of the most visited places in Greece, the city of Heraklion offers tourists luxury hotels with restaurants and spa-salons, business centers for congresses and low-cost hotels. The exquisite Galaxy Iraklio 5 is one of the best in Crete, awarded in 2010 with an award for high quality service and good value for money. Located in an elegant area of the city, just a 15-minute walk from the center, the hotel offers luxurious, newly renovated rooms and suites, business rooms equipped with a work area and wireless internet access.
No less attractive is the Atrion 3 *, located in the heart of Heraklion, near the waterfront. All hotel rooms are thought out to the smallest detail and offer their guests a pleasant stay.