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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 791 Hotels in Heraklion
£58
GDM Megaron

GDM Megaron

9, D. Beaufort Street, Heraklion
4.8
of 5, from 459 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.

Stella Island Luxury resort & Spa - Adults Only

Stella Island Luxury resort & Spa - Adults Only

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

Located in Analipsi, 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).

£45
Lato Boutique Hotel

Lato Boutique Hotel

15 Epimenidou Street, Heraklion
4.4
of 5, from 688 reviews
3.5 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.

Mitsis Rinela Beach Resort & Spa - All Inclusive

Mitsis Rinela Beach Resort & Spa - All Inclusive

Kokini Hani, Gouves
4.1
of 5, from 76 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Nestled on the beach, this Kokkini Chani resort is within 3 mi (5 km) of Dinosauria Park, Cretaquarium and Watercity Waterpark. Port of Hersonissos and Heraklion Port are also within 9 miles (15 km).

Amazones Village Suites

Amazones Village Suites

Lyktou Road, Hersonissos
4.1
of 5, from 215 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Hersonissos hotel is located by the sea, within 1 mi (2 km) of Aquaworld Aquarium and Sarakino. Star Beach Water Park and Lychnostatis are also within 2 miles (3 km).

Mitsis Laguna Resort & Spa - All Inclusive

Mitsis Laguna Resort & Spa - All Inclusive

Anissaras, Hersonissos
4.3
of 5, from 147 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

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

Marin Dream

Marin Dream

46, Epimenidou str, Heraklion
4.1
of 5, from 435 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Heraklion, this 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 0.7 mi (1.1 km) away.

Atrion Hotel

Atrion Hotel

9 Chronaki Street, Heraklion
4.2
of 5, from 253 reviews
3.5 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.

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