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Heraklion

The island of Crete is packed with popular holiday towns, from pretty Chania to picturesque Malia, which is a world-famous haven for beach bums. Spend some time exploring the busy streets of Heraklion, though, and you’ll discover a place that ticks every box when it comes to city holidays. Museums and sightseeing spots abound, but it’s the excellent food and authentic urban vibe that make Heraklion a truly special destination.

From Heraklion Airport, the city centre is just a 10-minute drive. Here you’ll find the oft-photographed Morosini Fountain, the expansive Archaeological Museum and a pedestrian area known as Korai Street, renowned for its run of cafés and bars. Head out towards the water and you can tour Heraklion’s fortress, which perches at the entrance of the old port. This fortress had a stern defence since it was once equipped with more than 40 cannons.

Heraklion holidays are steeped in history. To experience the historic side of Heraklion take a walk along the remains of the Venetian city walls, stopping to visit the grave of Greek writer Nikos Kazantzákis. History buffs should also make time for a trip to Knossos, a Bronze Age archaeological site and the main centre of Minoan Crete. For the best experience of this magical place, arrive early in the morning and leave several hours to tour the Palace of Knossos and its surrounding buildings and grounds.

When sightseeing has tired you out, it’s time to hit the beach. Heraklion’s centre is short on sand, but if you head west to the Pankritio Stadium you’ll come to Ammoudara Beach. This long stretch of golden sand is perfect for lazy days in the sun but is also well-suited to water sports enthusiasts. To the east, Karteros offers a Blue Flag beach with plenty of nearby taverns and bars.

Lastly, for nature lovers seeking secluded walks, there’s the uninhabited island of Dia, which is accessible by boat from Heraklion harbour. The main island, meanwhile, boasts beautiful Rouvas Forest, just an hour’s drive southwest from Heraklion.

Crete is full to the brim with great beach destinations. Check out all our cheap beach holidays to Crete. If you like Crete then you're sure to love the popular beach destinations on mainland Greece. Check out our all inclusive holidays to HeraklionMykonos beach holidays and other top Greek beach destinations.


Guide to Exploring Heraklion


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See all 755 Hotels in Heraklion
£57
Atrion Hotel

Atrion Hotel

9 Chronaki Street, Heraklion
4.1
of 5, from 70 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Heraklion, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul and Natural History Museum of Crete. Heraklion Archaeological Museum is 0.6 mi (0.9 km) away.

£75
GDM Megaron

GDM Megaron

9, D. Beaufort Street, Heraklion
4.9
of 5, from 140 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Heraklion, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Museum of the Battle for Crete and National Resistance and Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Natural History Museum of Crete is 0.8 mi (1.2 km) away.

£41
Lyda Club Hotel - All Inclusive

Lyda Club Hotel - All Inclusive

Kato Gouves, Gouves
3.2
of 5, from 26 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Gouves resort is located near the airport, within 3 mi (5 km) of Dinosauria Park and Cretaquarium. Aquaworld Aquarium and Sarandaris Beach are also within 6 mi (10 km).

£59
Capsis Astoria Heraklion Hotel

Capsis Astoria Heraklion Hotel

11 Eleftherias square, Heraklion
4.1
of 5, from 126 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Heraklion, this hotel is steps from Eleftherias Square and Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Natural History Museum of Crete is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) away.

£76
Galaxy Hotel Iraklio

Galaxy Hotel Iraklio

75 Dimokratias Ave, Heraklion
4.6
of 5, from 362 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Heraklion hotel is located near the airport, within a 15-minute walk of Manos Hatzidakis Theatre and Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Natural History Museum of Crete is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) away.

£39
El Greco Hotel

El Greco Hotel

4, Street 1821, Heraklion
3.3
of 5, from 94 reviews
2.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Heraklion, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Heraklion Municipal Art Gallery, Heraklion Archaeological Museum, and Natural History Museum of Crete. St. Mark's Basilica and Morosini Fountain are also within 5 minutes.

£70
Aquila Atlantis Hotel

Aquila Atlantis Hotel

2 Ygias Street, Heraklion
4.3
of 5, from 110 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Heraklion hotel is located near the airport, within a 10-minute walk of Museum of the Battle for Crete and National Resistance and Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Natural History Museum of Crete is 0.8 mi (1.2 km) away.

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