Heraklion, an ancient city once thought to be the home of the legendary Minotaur, now stands an incredible urban fortress, offering visitors a unique experience steeped in myth and history. The largest city on the island of Crete, Heraklion is a perfect blend of ancient culture and contemporary city life. Hidden beneath its tough cosmopolitan exterior lies a selection of hidden gems, including excellent architecture, delicious culinary delights and some of the most famous sites in antiquity.
In just a day, you can stroll through the old city towards the Venetian Koules Fortress, a formidable structure overlooking a beautiful harbour, before lunching at a seafront restaurant to sample some of the region's local cuisine. The Historical Museum of Crete, and the nearby Archaeological Museum, are also just a short walk along the coast offering visitors a once in a lifetime glimpse at a wonderful collection of Crete's historical treasures. If it's ancient life you seek, take a quick drive to one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, the Palace of Knossos.
As night falls around Lions Square, home to the famous Morosini Fountain, you'll enter a central hub for night-time activity. The fountain leads to a street full of picturesque gift shops, markets and boutiques, perfect for spending an afternoon browsing in before heading to the surrounding bars and cafes for a relaxing evening under the stars.
When to fly to Greece
Heraklion's high season falls within July and August when the weather is warmest and the number of visitors rapidly increases. Many flock here to enjoy the various beaches and outdoor excursions, but expect prices to be much higher during this busy season. The months of May and June, as well as September and October, are ideal for visiting Heraklion, not only because the weather is pleasant without being overbearing, but because the region is much quieter. Also, as most of these months fall within school term times, flights will be much more affordable.
Getting around Greece
A large and heavily populated city, Heraklion has a good public transport system. For a small fee the local bus route offers trips as far as Knossos. Whilst most attractions can be reached on foot, taxis can easily be hired for a pre-agreed price. You'll find these stands near to squares, such as Lion Square. If you prefer, there are also a number of rental companies within the airport.
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