City of Heraklion / Ηράκλειο

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Heraklion (map) or Iraklio is the major city and capital of Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. Its Archaeological Museum holds the remains of the 4000-year-old Minoan civilization, which centred around the nearby palace of Knossos, with its Minotaur legend.

The city has several Venetian and Byzantine churches and the biggest in East Mediterranean well-preserved Venetian wall and harbour fortress from the 15th century.

The must-see sights are the Archaeological Museum (map) downtown, and the Palace of Knossos 5 km south (map). Their combined ticket is the best buy. Take a stroll along the city’s Venetian wall. It’s 7.5 km long, with seven bastions jutting out.

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Official tourism website

Heraklion Archaeological Museum (map). Houses the most important and representative finds from Minoan civilisation and excavations across the island of Crete. Highlights include statues of the Snake Goddess, the Bull-Leaping Fresco, the Phaistos Disk, and Minoan seals and jewellery. Also includes a number of finds from Classical Greek and Roman periods.

*Palace of Knossos (map). If you see just one ruin on Crete, see Knossos. The site is fairly compact, and much of it is accessible with restricted mobility. But 30 minutes will do it.

Within reach of a day-trip, but worth longer, are Rethymno (map), *Chania (the most charming old town on the island, map), and *Agios Nikolaos (map). Chania is the best base for exploring the *Samaria Gorge (map), and *Agios Nikolaos  is your base for seeing Spinalonga (map).

Public transport

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 BUS >   Heraklion City BusesKTEL HERAKLION-LASITHI (interurban coaches) •

The state train company is Trainose (Τραινοσέ). Trains are a better way to get around, but the national rail system is extremely limited. You can get almost anywhere in Greece by bus, but some isolated villages may only have one or two buses per day >> KTEL BUS.

How to travel by bus around Greece | + Ktel Buses in Greece & the islands |


 AIRPORTS >   Athens’ Elefthérios Venizélos International Airport, near the Athens suburb of Spáta, is the country’s largest, busiest airport and main hub.


The frequency, reliability and availability of Greek ferries are largely dependent upon the time of year. For instance, during the winter off-season (January to March), the weather on the Aegean can be extremely rough and boats are often kept in port for days at a time. >

ferryhopper.comGTP Ferry Connections + • Ferryhopper • • >> *Ferries in the Mediterranean

::: Source: Zameer Pactyan

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