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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 1,087 properties in Heraklion
GDM Megaron Historical Monument Hotel £57
GDM Megaron Historical Monument Hotel

GDM Megaron Historical Monument Hotel

9, D. Beaufort Street, Heraklion
     
    4.8
    of 5, from 700 reviews
    5.0 out of 5.0

    Located in the heart of Heraklion, this luxury hotel is within 6 miles (10 km) of Koules Fortress, Heraklion Port and Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Palace of Knossos and 18 Anglon Square are also within 6 miles (10 km).

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

    Stella Island Luxury resort & Spa - Adults Only

    Analipsi, Analipsi, Hersonissos
       
      4.8
      of 5, from 57 reviews
      5.0 out of 5.0

      Situated near the beach, this luxury hotel is within 6 miles (10 km) of Ekklisia Agios Konstantinos, Crete Golf Club and Convention Centre Creta Maris. Aquaworld Aquarium and Port of Hersonissos are also within 6 miles (10 km).

      Galaxy Hotel Iraklio £54
      Galaxy Hotel Iraklio

      Galaxy Hotel Iraklio

      75 Dimokratias Ave, Heraklion
         
        4.6
        of 5, from 939 reviews
        5.0 out of 5.0

        Located near the airport, this family-friendly hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Manos Hatzidakis Theatre, Ammoudara Beach, and Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Geoponikos Kipos and Public Gardens of Iraklion are also within 6 miles (10 km).

        Capsis Astoria Heraklion Hotel £43
        Capsis Astoria Heraklion Hotel

        Capsis Astoria Heraklion Hotel

        11 Eleftherias square, Heraklion
           
          4.0
          of 5, from 463 reviews
          4.0 out of 5.0

          This family-friendly Heraklion hotel is located in the historical district, just steps away from Eleftherias Square and Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Ammoudara Beach and Geoponikos Kipos are also within 6 miles (10 km).

          Creta Maris Beach Resort - All Inclusive
          Creta Maris Beach Resort - All Inclusive

          Creta Maris Beach Resort - All Inclusive

          Hersonissou, Hersonissos
             
            4.5
            of 5, from 349 reviews
            5.0 out of 5.0

            Located in Hersonissos, this beachfront resort is next to a golf course and within 6 mi (10 km) of Convention Centre Creta Maris, Stalis Beach and Crete Golf Club. Sarandaris Beach and Port of Hersonissos are also within 6 miles (10 km).

            Lato Boutique Hotel £34
            Lato Boutique Hotel

            Lato Boutique Hotel

            15 Epimenidou Street, Heraklion
               
              4.4
              of 5, from 852 reviews
              3.0 out of 5.0

              Situated in Heraklion, this boutique hotel is within 6 miles (10 km) of 18 Anglon Square, Heraklion Port and Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Palace of Knossos and St. Titus Church (Agios Titos Cathedral) are also within 6 miles (10 km).

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

              Mitsis Laguna Resort & Spa - All Inclusive

              Anissaras, Hersonissos
                 
                4.5
                of 5, from 320 reviews
                5.0 out of 5.0

                Situated in Hersonissos, this all-inclusive resort is within 6 miles (10 km) of Sarandaris Beach, Crete Golf Club and Convention Centre Creta Maris. Port of Hersonissos and Aquaworld Aquarium are also within 6 miles (10 km).

                Infinity City Boutique Hotel £31
                Infinity City Boutique Hotel

                Infinity City Boutique Hotel

                Ariadnis 9, Heraklion
                   
                  4.5
                  of 5, from 122 reviews
                  3.5 out of 5.0

                  Located in the heart of Heraklion, this hotel is within 6 miles (10 km) of 18 Anglon Square, Heraklion Port and Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Palace of Knossos and Koules Fortress are also within 6 miles (10 km).

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