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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


Top Hotel Deals

See all 825 Hotels in Heraklion
Creta Maris Beach Resort - All Inclusive £90
Creta Maris Beach Resort - All Inclusive

Creta Maris Beach Resort - All Inclusive

Hersonissou, Hersonissos
     
    4.6
    of 5, from 192 reviews
    5.0 out of 5.0

    Located in Hersonissos, this beachfront resort is next to a golf course and within a 10-minute walk of Port of Hersonissos, Convention Centre Creta Maris and St. Paraskevi Church. Sarakino and Aquaworld Aquarium are also within 15 minutes.

    GDM Megaron £87
    GDM Megaron

    GDM Megaron

    9, D. Beaufort Street, Heraklion
       
      4.8
      of 5, from 473 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.

      Galaxy Hotel Iraklio £79
      Galaxy Hotel Iraklio

      Galaxy Hotel Iraklio

      75 Dimokratias Ave, Heraklion
         
        4.6
        of 5, from 798 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.

        Aquila Atlantis Hotel £81
        Aquila Atlantis Hotel

        Aquila Atlantis Hotel

        2 Ygias Street, Heraklion
           
          4.4
          of 5, from 293 reviews
          5.0 out of 5.0

          This family-friendly Heraklion hotel is located near the airport, just steps away from 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.

          Lato Boutique Hotel £71
          Lato Boutique Hotel

          Lato Boutique Hotel

          15 Epimenidou Street, Heraklion
             
            4.4
            of 5, from 698 reviews
            3.0 out of 5.0

            Located in the heart of Heraklion, this boutique 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 0.6 mi (1 km) away.

            Stella Palace Resort & Spa £95
            Stella Palace Resort & Spa

            Stella Palace Resort & Spa

            Analipsi, Hersonissos
               
              4.4
              of 5, from 90 reviews
              5.0 out of 5.0

              Located in Analipsi, this beachfront hotel is connected to a shopping centre and within 6 mi (10 km) of Sarandaris Beach, Port of Hersonissos and Dinosauria Park. Labyrinth Park and Convention Centre Creta Maris are also within 6 miles (10 km).

              Stella Island Luxury resort & Spa - Adults Only £144
              Stella Island Luxury resort & Spa - Adults Only

              Stella Island Luxury resort & Spa - Adults Only

              Analipsi, Analipsi, Hersonissos
                 
                4.7
                of 5, from 12 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                Situated near the beach, this spa resort is within 6 miles (10 km) of Convention Centre Creta Maris, Dinosauria Park and Labyrinth Park. Aquaworld Aquarium and Port of Hersonissos are also within 6 miles (10 km).

                Mitsis Laguna Resort & Spa - All Inclusive £85
                Mitsis Laguna Resort & Spa - All Inclusive

                Mitsis Laguna Resort & Spa - All Inclusive

                Anissaras, Hersonissos
                   
                  4.3
                  of 5, from 152 reviews
                  5.0 out of 5.0

                  Nestled on the beach, this Hersonissos resort is within 3 mi (5 km) of Sarandaris Beach, Port of Hersonissos and Convention Centre Creta Maris. St. Paraskevi Church and Sarakino are also within 3 miles (5 km).

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