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.
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.
FERRY: MINOAN LINES • ΑΝΕΚ LINES • SUPERFAST. 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. ⇒ nisea.co.
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