Heraklion is the capital of Crete, the island's largest city and the fifth largest in Greece. On first impressions Heraklion can appear a little too busy and dusty, yet the town has a wealth of attractions on offer. There's important architecture and museums, great shopping and superb beaches conveniently close.
The town lies on Crete's sun-kissed northern coast near the main airport, so is easy to get to from the UK. On the Beach can arrange cheap flights and the best rooms in town to give you the perfect Heraklion holidays.
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Things to do
Heraklion enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with glorious hot summers characterised by blue skies and blazing sun. The summer months are the best for getting on the beach, while spring is fresher with bursts of wild flowers in the countryside. The autumn is pleasant, and it is only in the winter that the weather turns grey, wet and sometimes cold.
Heraklion is situated on Crete's beautiful north coast; there are many excellent beaches nearby including well-developed resorts and peaceful coves. To the west are the white sands of Amnissos, the long beaches at Kokkini Hani and the vibrant resort of Hersonissos. Why not explore the island on your holidays to Heraklion? The pretty town of Amoudara lies to the east, with great watersports, swimming and sunbathing facilities. Heraklion is a great base to explore central Crete's mountainous interior, and a good excursion is a visit to the resort and village of Fodele, which claims to be the birthplace of the painter El Greco.
Things To Do on Heraklion Holidays
Heraklion is a bustling, cosmopolitan town - the perfect place for soaking up some Greek culture on your holidays. The rich history is evident in the city's architecture including the Venetian harbour and city walls. The heart of the town is the Plateis Eleftheriou Venizelou, a square with shops, cafes and the ornamental Morosini fountain. The Archaeological Museum is a must see for any visitor to the town, and houses the world's finest collection of Minoan treasures along with some Greek and Roman finds. Artefacts from the Byzantine, Venetian and Turkish eras can be seen at The Historical Museum.
The city provides easy access to the Minoan Palace of Knossos, one of the world's most important archaeological sites. Heraklion is home to several churches that are well worth a visit including the impressive Cathedral of St Minas. The Museum of Religious Art is housed in the Venetian Aghia Ekaterini and has many Cretan icons on show.
The old harbour is overlooked by the imposing bulk of the Venetian fortress, known by its Turkish name of Kules. The interior is evocative of the fort's history, and there are stunning views from the ramparts. One thing is for sure, you'll come home from your Heraklion holidays with some amazing photos!
A very ancient town, Heraklion was probably a port to the Minoan settlement at Knossos as far back as 2,000 BC. After Roman rule the Saracens established the city, which in turn was invaded by the Byzantines. The Venetians, who ruled from the 13th Century, named the town Candia and built fine architecture, much of which can still be seen today.
After the Venetian period came Ottoman rule, and the town was finally unified with the rest of Greece in the early 20th Century. With a rich and sometimes turbulent history, today Heraklion is an extremely happy and welcoming town.
The highlight of the cultural calendar is the annual Heraklion Summer Festival that runs from July to September, which coincides with the peak time for holidays to Heraklion. A wide range of international and local art, music and theatre is on offer at venues throughout the city, including the open air theatres of Nikos Kazantzakis and Manos Hatzidakis. Holy Week is central to religious festivals, and the town marks Epiphany on January 6th with special ceremonies where the sea is blessed.
Crete's capital has a variety of ways to spend an evening, something for every taste. There's an amazing choice of places to eat including many pavement cafes. Watching the world go by from these street-side cafes appears to be a favourite pastime of the locals. Luculos is an upmarket restaurant with a lime tree-filled courtyard, and a reputation as being the best in town. The cheerful square of Platia Korai has many good bars to enjoy an evening drink in a relaxed cosmopolitan atmosphere.
In the centre are many bustling bars playing loud music, while the nightclubs are mainly based on the city's outskirts, such Disco Athina located on the way to the airport. Whether you want a relaxing Greek evening, or a night of music and dancing, Heraklion has something for you on your Heraklion holidays.
Book a Heraklion Holiday now!
Heraklion is a fantastic city, great for shopping and museums, with charming historic architecture. It is also a perfect base for exploring the beaches and countryside of Heraklion prefecture, and so easy to reach from the UK. On the Beach has amazing deals on flights and accommodation in Heraklion, so book now for an idyllic holiday in the sun!