The prefecture of Heraklion is the most significant one in Crete, due to its historical importance. It combines natural beauty, incredible monuments, incomparable cultural heritage, endless beaches, delicious local cuisine, warm hospitality, mountainous villages, hiking trails and vibrant nightlife. Read your travel guide to Heraklion and explore amazing travel tips.
Your Heraklion travel guide
Heraklion is the birthplace of many internationally renowned artists, such as the painter Domenico Theotokopoulos; El Greco. It is said that he was born in Fodele, about 29 km from the city of Heraklion, where there is a museum that has copies of some of his amazing paintings. The prefecture has two major mountain ranges: Idi and Dikti. Also, Knossos, Phaistos and Malia are the places with the most important archaeological sites, attracting thousands of visitors every year. Heraklion is the “Legend of the Cretan land”.
The city of Heraklion is the commercial, industrial, administrative and agricultural center of the prefecture. Venetian Walls and old Venetian Fortresses are there to remind you of the city’s past.
Heraklion is connected by boat to the port of Piraeus and Thessaloniki and some of the Cyclades islands. It is also connected by air with Athens and Thessaloniki.
This important archaeological site could not miss from your travel guide to Heraklion. Knossos was the center of the Minoan Civilization and the seat of King Minos. It is located on the top of the Kephala hill, 5 km southeast of Heraklion. The fascinating legends of Daedalus, Icarus and of the mythical Labyrinth are associated with the Knossos Palace.
Phaistos is built on a hill, on the western part of the Messara plain. It was another important center of the Minoan Civilization, while it also was the wealthiest and most powerful city of southern Crete; one of the three most important cities King Minos founded, inhabited since the Neolithic Era.
Start your day at the well-organized beach of Limenas. Early in the afternoon, you can enjoy your coffee at one of the seaside cafés and later on you can dance the night away in one of the numerous clubs and bars of the area.
Cheese, olives, oil, handmade dough, meat and poultry compose the perfect example of the Mediterranean healthy cuisine. Don’t forget to try the Cretan salad, with cucumber, tomato, peppers, olives, lettuce, barley rusk and myzithra cheese. Also try the Dako, Cretan barley rusk moistened with oil, tomato julienne, myzithra cheese and oregano!
Matala became widely popular during the 70s, where thousands of hippies used to live in the caves of the famous Matala beach. Nowadays, a great number of tourists visit this beautiful town thanks to the long, sandy beach and the excellent tourism infrastructure.
Located 20 km away from Heraklion, Agia Pelagia is an organized sandy beach with a variety of taverns and cafes along the beachfront.
A wonderful pebbly beach 15 km west of Heraklion, with turquoise waters and protected by the winds.
Ammoudara is a long sandy beach awarded with a Blue flag. It is ideal for sports and it offers a variety of dining and nightlife options.
Buddha-Bar beach in Heraklion offers a unique dining and lifestyle summer experience on a breathtaking beachfront location.
Themistokleous Ave., Hersonissos, Heraklion
Tel: +30 28970 26410
A breath away from Lions Square in the center of Heraklion, Amalia’s Kitchen is a family restaurant serving traditional Cretan dishes as well as American cuisine.
Arkoleon 3, Iraklio
Tel: +30 281 600 7600
Authentic Indian food in Hersonissos, Heraklion.
Petraki 14, Hersonissos
Tel: +30 2897 023711