Heraklion is the largest city and the administrative capital of the island of Crete. This is also a major cruise destination.
As a matter of fact, the island of Crete is the largest and one of the most popular of the Greek islands.
Indeed, there is so much to do and plenty of things worth seeing in Heraklion. The following list is the top rated attractions in the capital of Crete:
1. Venetian Fortress of Koules in Heraklion
The Fortress of Koules is the emblem of the city of Heraklion. It is an impressive fortress that surrounds the harbor of the city.
This fortress was constructed by the Venetians in the early 13th century when they conquered the city in order to protect the city from raids.
2. The Palace of Knossos
This is located 5km south of the city of Heraklion.
It was the centre of Minoan civilisation in the island of Crete.
The Palace of Knossos is a must see while in the island of Crete.
The restoration of this palace was done by Arthur Evans who spent much of his life to make it what it is today.
3. Heraklion Archaeological Museum
The combination of the visit to the Palace of Knossos and the visit to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum would be a great option.
This is becuse the numerous findings from the Palace of Knossos such as art, pottery, vessels, figurines, and the original wall paintings, are all housed in Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.
This museum contains the most important Minoan collection.
This is located in Gournes, 13 kilometers east of Heraklion.
At the Cretaquarium, you can experience the underwater life of the Mediterranean.
It has vast glass tanks displaying everything from hunter sharks to miniscule seahorses, jellyfish, turtles, lobsters, and octopus, all in turquoise sea water against a backdrop of rocks, sand, and seaweed.
It is located next to the former American military base.
5. Agios Minas Cathedral
Agios Minas Cathedral is a Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the city of Heraklion. Ιt is dedicated to Saint Menas the martyr (285-309 A.D.), who was the patron saint of Heraklion.
The church is of the cruciform type with a dome based on a high spandrel. Internally there are elements of a three aisle basilica.
It has two bell towers, one in the northeastern corner and the other in the southeastern one.
The right aisle is dedicated to Apostle Titos and the left one to St. Ten Martyrs of Crete.
Without a doubt, the inside of the church has gone through many changes with new additions.
6. The Venetian Harbour of Heraklion
It is located at the end of 25th of August Street in Heraklion. The 25th of August street is a pedestrian street that leads from the town centre to the Fortress of Koules.
This is the old harbour of Heraklion, which is now used by fishing boats and yachts.
Certainly, the history of the Venetian harbour of Heraklion is as ancient as that of the city itself.
This was a just natural bay in Heraklion, which grew into an important harbour of the Eastern Mediterranean over the centuries.
7. Explore the old town
You can enjoy taking a stroll in this historical city facing the Mediterranean.
The city has opened up in so many ways, making the city a place of discovery. These changes bring a harmony between people of Heraklion, and the fine buildings, and the open public spaces and views.
You can spot the endless beautiful architecture, old churches and Turkish fountains, just to mention but a few.
Many of these landmarks tell their story about the city of Heraklion and the island of Crete. Another reason for you to add this into your bucket list!
- Hire a car so that you can explore a little more
- Just be aware that you may see feral cats
- Wear comfortable shoes
- You can’t flush the toilet paper in the island of Crete
A Travel Quote…
“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination with reality, and instead of thinking of how things may be, see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson
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Thank you for stopping by and stay positive!
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