Heraklio

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The Unrevealed Land

The Mysterious Beauty of Minoans hidden in the Hinterland of Psiloritis Mountain

“…Crete’s mystery is extremely deep… Whoever sets foot on this island senses a mysterious force branching warmly and beneficently through his veins, sensing his soul begin to grow…”

Report of Greco, Nikos Kazantzakis

Crete is the largest island of Greece, one of the biggest of the Mediterranean and a crossroad of the continents of Africa, Europe and Asia lying at the southernmost part of Europe. An island of legendary kings, powerful deities and mythical monsters renowned for its glorious history and its civilizations, its exceptional gastronomy, its distinctive musical tradition and its unique culture and heritage, will go beyond your expectations. The city of Heraklio is the beautiful capital city of Crete home to the renowned Palace of Knossos and the myth of the Minotaur. Having experienced rich historical momentums of great glory, Heraklio entails a barren landscape with fertile plains and golden sandy beaches. The lovely countryside is blessed with verdant vineyards and lush valleys while the charming villages have managed to retain their customs and traditions. Majestic archaeological sites with glorious history, stunning caves and interesting gorges are waiting to be discovered. Explore the natural beauty of Heraklio from the point of the colour pallete of Crete, the place where the water of the sea is the last frontier of an entire continent.

Discover Heraklio

Best of Heraklio

The Capital of Heraklio

The City of Heraklio is the capital and the biggest town of Crete Crete located on the central part of the northern coast of the island. The town of Heraklio is the administrative, commercial and industrial center of the island. One of the most interesting monuments of Crete, the Palace of Knossos, lies in a close distance from the town. As the town has experienced rapid development, it has nothing in common with the beautiful towns of Agios Nikolaos, Chania and Rethymno. However, the hinterland of the prefecture is blessed with charming villages, natural monuments and archaeological sites worth visiting. Heraklio is the birthplace of the famous novelist Nikos Kazantzakis, the great painter Dominicos Theotokopoulos and the renowned poet Odysseus Elytis. Some of the most important monument of the city include the Venetian Fortress of Koules, the Venetian Loggia, the Morosini Fountains at the Square of Venizelos, the Lion Square and the Church of Agios Titos.

The Archaeological Site of Knossos

The Archaeological Site of Knossos is one of the most important archaeological sites of Greece located on a close distance from the town of Heraklio.   The Palace of Knossos was the seat of the legendary King Minos and the largest palatial structure of the Minoan Civilization spreading over an area of twenty thousands square meters. The old palace was constructed around 2.000 BC until it was destroyed from an earthquake while the newer palatial structure was destroyed in the middle of the 14th century BC.  Four wings are arranged around a central courtyard comprising from the royal quarters, workshops, storerooms, repositories, and the throne room and banquet halls. Sir Arthur Evans completed the excavations and the restoration of the archaeological site of Knossos. Findings from the excavations are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklio.

The Archaeological Museum of Heraklio

The Archaeological Museum of Heraklio is one of the most important museums in Greece located in the city of Heraklio. The museum exhibits representative samples of all the historical periods of the island from the Neolithic until the Roman times. The most important exhibits of the archaeological museum includes the masterpieces of the Minoan Civilization. The permanent exhibition of the Archaeological Museum of Heraklio includes pottery pieces, jewelry, marble statues, stone statuettes amongst other that were excavated in cemeteries, palaces and public buildings. The Disc of Phaestos and the Minoan Statues of Knossos are amongst the most impreesive exhibits.

The Castle of Candia 

The Castle of Candia is considered to be one of the best preserved Venetian monuments in Europe. The castle is located in the city of Heraklio. From the Byzantine period, the city of Heraklio was known as Kastro meaning Castle owing to the surrounding defensive walls. When the city was conquered from the Arab Saracens, they fortified the city with defensive walls made from unfired mud bricks while the fortress of Rocca al Mare reinforced the fortifications of the city under the Byzantine domination. The Genovese also fortified the castle of Candia while the Venetians and the Turks repaired the existing walls. The current defensive walls of the city were constructed in a period of one century and it is an exemplary sample of the fortifications of the Venetians.

The Cave of Ideon Andron 

The Cave of Ideon Andron is the legendary birthplace of Zeus located on the eastern mountain slopes of Psiloritis in Nida Plateau. Although the cave has not special geological value, the cultural value is priceless as it is considered to be the birthplace of the greatest god of Ancient Greece. The cave of Ideon Andron has an area of eight hundred square meters that is divided into three chambers along with the sanctuary. The stalactites near the entrance are worth seeing. The cave is accessible through a stone paved trail from the village of Psihros.

The Beach of Matala 

The Beach of Matala is one of the most beautiful beaches of Crete located on the southwest side of Heraklio.  It is a golden sandy beach with turquoise waters and imposing cliffs. The beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches of the country. The cliffs of Matala were used as a shelter from the hippies in the 1960s. The beach is well organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, water sport facilities, cafeterias, taverns and beach bars. The Beach Festival of Matala is held at the beach on an annual basis.

The Natural Park of Psiloritis

The Natural Park of Psiloritis is located on the central part of the island. The park is a member of Unesco Global Geoparks Network and the European Geoparks Network. The aim of the park is to conserve the cultural and natural heritage of Psiloritis as well as the sustainable development of the area. The mountain is different from the other mountains of the island with the highest peak of all reaching the 2.456 meters. Snow covers the main mountain chain all year long. Numerous interesting caves and gorges spread between the peaks of the mountain. The north and west part of the mountain is full of large settlements and cultivations while the southern and eastern sides are wilder owing to the vertical cliffs and the steep rocks. The shelters of the shepherds, known as Mitata, are the typical constructions found in the wild landscape of the park. The rich nature of Psiloritis is ideal for agrotourism, hiking and mountaineering activities. Some of the most interesting locations include the Cave of Ideon Andron, the Forest of Rouvas, the Plateau of Nida and the Villages of Anogia and Zoniana. If you plan to explore the mountains and caves of Psiloritis, it is advisable to seek guidance and local guidance from the climbing, hiking and walking clubs of the island. The headquarters of the park are located at the village of Anogia.

The Plateau of Nida 

The Plateau of Nida is one of the largest plateaus of the island lying in the heart of Psiloritis Mountain. The peaks of the surrounding mountains form spectacular sceneries especially in late spring and early summer. The shelters of the shepherds, known as Mitata, are the typical constructions found in the wild landscape of the plateau. The plateau is accessible through a dirt road starting from the village of Anogia. Inside the plateau, one can visit the birthplace of legendary Zeus, the Cave of Ideon Andron, and the observatory of Skinakas at an altitude of 1.750 meters. Hiking lovers can cross the Gorge of Voriza.

The Village of Archanes 

The Village of Archanes is a mountainous village located on the south side of the town of Heraklio. Archanes has an authentic atmosphere with traditional houses, cobblestone streets and old wine and olive presses. The settlement is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages of Crete. Actually, Archanes has been awarded as an archetypal traditional village from the European Union. It is worth mentioning that visitors can participate at the harvesting of grapes during the Feast of Archaniotis held in the summer. Archanes is also an ideal destination for hiking lovers, as the surrounding area is blessed with verdant vegetation and running springs. The Gorge of Silamiano is an ideal route.

 

Archaeological Sites

The Archaeological Site of Knossos is one of the most important archaeological sites of Greece located on a close distance from the town of Heraklio.   The Palace of Knossos was the seat of the legendary King Minos and the largest palatial structure of the Minoan Civilization spreading over an area of twenty thousands square meters. The old palace was constructed around 2.000 BC until it was destroyed from an earthquake while the newer palatial structure was destroyed in the middle of the 14th century BC.  Four wings are arranged around a central courtyard comprising from the royal quarters, workshops, storerooms, repositories, and the throne room and banquet halls. Sir Arthur Evans completed the excavations and the restoration of the archaeological site of Knossos. Findings from the excavations are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklio.

The Archaeological Site of Kommos was the harbor of Phaestos located on the south side of the prefecture. Although the town was probably destroyed from an earthquake, it survived up to the Hellenistic years. Archaeological excavations brought to light traces of the ancient settlement including houses, public buildings, olive presses, warehouses along with the first shipyards of the island. Findings from the exhibitions are displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklio.

The Archaeological Site of Levena is located on the south side of the prefecture. The ancient settlement served as the Harbour of Gortys, the most powerful city of the island in the Hellenistic and Roman times. Archaeological excavations brought to light traces of the ancient settlement and numerous Minoan graves. On the east side, one will have the opportunity to visit the spring of Levena that is considered to have healing properties since antiquity. Actually, this spring was the reason for the constriction of a huge temple dedicated to Asclepius, as the temple was famous as a center of hydrotherapy and physiotherapy.

The Archaeological Site of Malia is located on the south side of the prefecture. The Palace of Malia was the third largest palatial construction of the Minoan Civilization that that served as the palace of the legendary King Sarpedon, the brother of King Minos. Although the palace was destroyed from an earthquake, it was rebuilt until its final destruction in 1450 BC. Archaeological excavations brought to light traces of the palace. Findings from the exhibitions are displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklio and the Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos.

The Archaeological Site of Phaestos is located on the south side of the prefecture. It was one of the most important centers of Minoan Civilization and the most powerful city of southern Crete. The palace was inhabited from the Neolithic times until the foundation of the Minoan palaces in the 15th century BC.  Phaestos served as the palace of the legendary King Rhadamanthus, the brother of King Minos, who drafted the Cretan Code, a first kind of legislation that was adopted also from other cultures. Archaeological excavations brought to light traces of the palace. The most remarkable finding is the Disc of Phaestos, a disk of fired clay with stamped symbols. The Disc of Phaestos still remains one of the most famous unsolved mysteries of archaeology. Findings from the excavations are displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklio.

The Archaeological Site of Roman Gortyna is located on the south side of the prefecture. Gortyna was developed into one of the largest cities of the island in the Minoan times while it reached its peak when the Romans moved the capital of Crete in Gortyna. However, the town was totally destroyed from the Arabs in 828 AD. The most important monuments of Gortyna include the Praetorium, the Roman Odeum and the Roman Baths along with the Temple of Agios Titos, the Inscription of Gortyna, the Temple of Apollo, the Acropolis and the Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods. The Roman Gortyna is one of the most important archaeological sites of the country where the archaeological excavation projects started in 1884 and continue till today. The archaeological site lies located close to the village of Agioi Deka.

The Archaeological Site of Tylissos is located on the north side of the prefecture. It is worth mentioning that Tylissos was one of the first cities of the Minoan civilization that were excavated. Apparently, Ancient Tylisos had an excellent city construction plan as revealed from the sanitation and water systems of the area. According to archaeologists, the architecture of the ancient settlement was one of the most impressive in Minoan Crete.

Castles and Fortresses

The Fortress “Rocca al Mare” /Koules dominated the edge of the harbor of the city of Heraklio. The massive fortress was constructed from the Venetians in the 13th century in order to guard the entrance to the harbor. Although the castle was destroyed from a devastating earthquake, it was gradually rebuild from the Genoese while it was reconstructed from the Ottomans. Today, the Castle of Koules has been restored and it constitutes the trademark of the city of Heraklio. Numerous cultural events are held in the fortress in the summer.

The Castle of Candia is considered to be one of the best preserved Venetian monuments in Europe. The castle is located in the city of Heraklio. From the Byzantine period, the city of Heraklio was known as Kastro meaning Castle owing to the surrounding defensive walls. When the city was conquered from the Arab Saracens, they fortified the city with defensive walls made from unfired mud bricks while the fortress of Rocca al Mare reinforced the fortifications of the city under the Byzantine domination. The Genovese also fortified the castle of Candia while the Venetians and the Turks repaired the existing walls. The current defensive walls of the city were constructed in a period of one century and it is an exemplary sample of the fortifications of the Venetians.

Churches and Monasteries

The Church of Agios Minas is the cathedral of the city of Heraklio located in the heart of the city. The church serves as the seat of the Archibishop of Crete. It was constructed in the period of 1862 to 1895, as the construction was interrupted from the Cretan Revolution. The church of Agios Minas is one of the largest cathedrals of Greece.

The Church of Agios Titos is one of the most important monuments of the island located in the city of Heraklio. The church was firstly built from the Byzantine Emperor Nikiforos Fokas in 961 AD. Nikiforos Fokas liberated the island from the Arabs and made it again part of the Byzantine Empire. As the Christian faith was weakened from the Arabs, Fokas constructed this Orthodox Church. However, the first church dedicated to Agios Titos was built in Roman Gortyna, the first capital of the island, until it was destroyed from an earthquake.

The Monastery of Agarathos is one of the oldest monasteries of the island located in the village of Thrapsano. The monastery was constructed with an outstanding fortified architecture in the 16th century. Although it played an important place for clergymen in the Venetian Empire, the monastery lost its glory during the Ottoman Empire, as the monks were slaughtered from the Ottomans and the buildings were set to fire. Inside the monastery, one can admire an interesting collection of rare manuscripts. The cells of the monastery can accommodate guests wishing to stay overnight.

The Monastery of Agios Georgios Gorgolainis is one of the oldest monasteries of the island located in the village of Kato Asites. The monastery was established from Archpriest Sylvester in the 13th century. The main church of the monastery is dedicated to Agios Georgios and it was erected in 1627. The monastery served as a base of the Cretan rebels during the Turkish occupation and it was partially destroyed from the invasions of the Ottomans. It is worth mentioning that the Holy Liturgy takes place without electricity, giving a beautiful sense to the visitor.

The Monastery of Panagia Paliani is considered to be one of the oldest monasteries of Crete located close to the village of Venerato. The nunnery hosts an interesting ecclesiastical collection of great archaeological and historical value. The monastery celebrates in honor of Panagia Myrtidiotissa takes place at the monastery on September 24. If you visit the monastery, don’t hesitate to light a candle next to the holy myrtle as the holy icon of Virgin Mary was found here and it is considered miraculous.

The Monastery of Panagia Odigitria is an important religious monument located on the western edge of the bay of Chania. The monastery was founded in the 17th century and it flourished as a rich monastic tradition was developed in Spatha, who transferred in the monastery of Odigitria. The monastery played an important role in the history of the island due to its participation against the conquerors. The monastery has a fortified architecture and the main church is located on the main courtyard. Today, one can admire an interesting ecclesiastical collection with rare religious treasures from the Byzantine period. Also, the Orthodox Academy of Crete is located inside the monastery complex.

The Monastery of Valsamonero is an abandoned monastery located on the southern slopes of Psiloritis Mountain. It is one of the oldest monasteries of the island that served as an important center of education and literature. Today, only the church of Agios Fanourios still survives where one can admire numerous wall paintings from the 14th and 15th century. The frescoes of the monastery have been classified as the most important samples of Venetian Crete.

Monuments

The Cretaquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the Mediterranean located in the village of Gouves. The aquarium of Crete depicts the marine life with impressive representations of natural landscapes. In Cretaquarium, there are more than two thousands Mediterranean creatures and species.

The Tomb of Nikos Kazantzakis is located at the highest point of the city of Heraklio above the Venetian Walls of Martinengo. Nikos Kazantzakis was buried at this specific location in accordance with his wishes as he was excommunicated from the church by the end of his last novel namely The Last Temptation of Christ, which was considered as an Anti-Christian book. The tomb has a simple construction with his desired inscription “I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free.”

Museums

The Archaeological Museum of Heraklio is one of the most important museums in Greece located in the city of Heraklio. The museum exhibits representative samples of all the historical periods of the island from the Neolithic until the Roman times. The most important exhibits of the archaeological museum includes the masterpieces of the Minoan Civilization. The permanent exhibition of the Archaeological Museum of Heraklio includes pottery pieces, jewelry, marble statues, stone statuettes amongst other that were excavated in cemeteries, palaces and public buildings. The Disc of Phaestos and the Minoan Statues of Knossos are amongst the most impressive exhibits.

The Cretan Ethnology Museum is located close to the settlement of Vori. The aim of the museum is to preserve and promote the culture and tradition of Crete. The exhibition is divided into seven ethnological sections concerned with the evolution of human activities. Exhibits are related to architecture, handicrafts, production, transportation, traditions, social organizations and food.

The Folklore Museum of Lychnostatis is an open-air museum located in the village of Hersonissos. It is an autonomous private foundation that was established in order to promote the understanding of the awareness of the cultural and folklore heritage of Crete.  The museum also holds numerous activities including grape festivals, wine tasting sessions, dancing performances and Cretan cooking workshops.

The Historical Museum of Crete is located in the city of Heraklio. The aim of the museum is to preserve and promote the history of the island through archaeological, ethnographic and historical objects from the medieval times.

The Natural History Museum of Crete is located in the city of Heraklio. The museum operates under the framework of the University of Crete. The main activities of the museum is the study and management of the natural environment of Crete, the creation of a network of ecological museum in the country and to raise public awareness for the natural environment of the country.

The Museum of the Battle of Crete and National Resistance is one of the most important museums of the island located in the city of Heraklio. The museum was established from the Municipally of Heraklio in 1994 in order to collect and preserve important objects and information from the struggle of Crete.

The Museum of Nikos Kazantzakis is located in the village of Myrtia. Nikos Kazantzakis was one of the most important writers of the 20th century. The museum pays tribute to the important intellectual, author, thinker, philosopher, politician and traveller Nikos Kazantzakis. Exhibits include a rich collection of his manuscripts, his books and documents, portraits of the novelist along with first Greek editions of his books.

Natural Beauties

The Cave of Ideon Andron is the legendary birthplace of Zeus located on the eastern mountain slopes of Psiloritis in Nida Plateau. Although the cave has not special geological value, the cultural value is priceless as it is considered to be the birthplace of the greatest god of Ancient Greece. The cave of Ideon Andron has an area of eight hundred square meters that is divided into three chambers along with the sanctuary. The stalactites near the entrance are worth seeing. The cave is accessible through a stone paved trail from the village of Psihros.

The Gorge of Agios Nikolaos is the most beautiful gorge of the Natural Park of Psiloritis. The gorge hosts an ecosystem with rich flora and fauna and interesting geological formations. The total length of the gorge is four kilometers. Lovers of hiking and mountaineering can follow the sign posted trail that has been shaped from the Forest Service.

The Lake of Zaros is one of the most important forested areas of Crete located on the north side of the village of Zaros. Around the lake, there is a recreational area with tables and benches. Zaros Lake is the ideal place for those looking for relaxing moments in nature. If you like walking, you can follow a sign posted path to the forest of Rouvas.

The Mountains of Asterousia are the southernmost mountain range of the country located on the south side of the prefecture. The bare mountains, the steep cliffs and the sharp rocks are a true specimen of wild nature. The highest peak is Mount Kofinas (1.231 m). Although the average altitude of the mountain range is 1.250 meters, access is quite difficult due to the rugged terrain. The rugged terrain of Asterousia is ideal for lovers of off road driving, hiking, mountaineering and rock climbing.

The Natural Park of Psiloritis is located on the central part of the island. The park is a member of Unesco Global Geoparks Network and the European Geoparks Network. The aim of the park is to conserve the cultural and natural heritage of Psiloritis as well as the sustainable development of the area. The mountain is different from the other mountains of the island with the highest peak of all reaching the 2.456 meters. Snow covers the main mountain chain all year long. Numerous interesting caves and gorges spread between the peaks of the mountain. The north and west part of the mountain is full of large settlements and cultivations while the southern and eastern sides are wilder owing to the vertical cliffs and the steep rocks. The shelters of the shepherds, known as Mitata, are the typical constructions found in the wild landscape of the park. The rich nature of Psiloritis is ideal for agrotourism, hiking and mountaineering activities. Some of the most interesting locations include the Cave of Ideon Andron, the Forest of Rouvas, the Plateau of Nida and the Villages of Anogia and Zoniana. If you plan to explore the mountains and caves of Psiloritis, it is advisable to seek guidance and local guidance from the climbing, hiking and walking clubs of the island. The headquarters of the park are located at the village of Anogia.

The Mount of Jiouchtas is one of the smallest mountains of Crete located on the central part of the island. It should be mentioned that the geomorphological shape of the mountain resembles a human face looking to the sky. According to mythology, this is the face of Zeus and the mountain is the tomb of Zeus while some believe that Jiouchtas is a corruption of Jupiter, the Latin word of Zeus. Blessed with verdant vegetation, the natural sceneries of Jiouchtas is blessed with fertile valleys, olive groves, vineyards, verdant gorges and water springs. The vertical cliffs of the mountain are a shelter for eagles and vultures. The church of Christ stands on one of the highest points of the Jiouchtas. One can reach the church by ascending the trail starting from the village of Archanes.

The Oak Forest of Rouvas is one of the most important natural ecosystems of the prefecture located on the southeastern side of the Natural Park of Psiloritis. Rouvas forest has an enormous aesthetic and ecological value with numerous microenvironments.  The forest is distinguished for the diversity of the landscapes, the presence of endemic animal and plant species, the high biodiversity and the endangered animal species. One can visit the forest either by car from dirt road from the Gergeri Village, the dirt road from Nida Plateau or by hiking from the gorge of Agios Nikolaos. You can enjoy beautiful views from the church of Agios Ioannis.

The Plateau of Nida is one of the largest plateaus of the island lying in the heart of Psiloritis Mountain. The peaks of the surrounding mountains form spectacular sceneries especially in late spring and early summer. The shelters of the shepherds, known as Mitata, are the typical constructions found in the wild landscape of the plateau. The plateau is accessible through a dirt road starting from the village of Anogia. Inside the plateau, one can visit the birthplace of legendary Zeus, the Cave of Ideon Andron, and the observatory of Skinakas at an altitude of 1.750 meters. Hiking lovers can cross the Gorge of Voriza.

Promenades & Villages

Agioi Deka is a mountainous village located on the south side of the prefecture. Characterized as one of the most beautiful villages of Crete, the settlement is built on a hillside with panoramic views over the Plain of Messara. The name of the village namely Ten Saints refers to the ten martyrs of Crete who martyred in 250 Ad during the religious prosecutions of the Roman Emperor of Decius. The inhabitants of Agioi Deka are engaged mostly in agriculture. It is worth mentioning that the oldest olive grove of Crete is located in the area. The most important monument of the wider region is the archaeological site of Roman Gortyna, the first capital of the island.

Archanes is a mountainous village located on the south side of the town of Heraklio. Archanes has an authentic atmosphere with traditional houses, cobblestone streets and old wine and olive presses. The settlement is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages of Crete. Actually, Archanes has been awarded as an archetypal traditional village from the European Union. It is worth mentioning that visitors can participate at the harvesting of grapes during the Feast of Archaniotis held in the summer. Archanes is also an ideal destination for hiking lovers, as the surrounding area is blessed with verdant vegetation and running springs. The Gorge of Silamiano is an ideal route.
Dafnes is a mountainous village located on the north side of the prefecture. Dafnes has one of the largest villages of the prefecture of Heraklio.  Characterized as the wine capital of Crete, the village is famous for the ten day wine festival held in July. The excellent wine of Dafnes has been known since 1271 and has been declared as a protected product with a Protected Designation of Origin from the European Union. The heart of the village life is the central square with many traditional cafeterias that are shaded from large eucalyptus trees. In a close distance from the village, you can visit the small village of Kerasia that is renowned for its grape and olive oil production.

Heraklio is the capital and the biggest town of Crete Crete located on the central part of the northern coast of the island. The town of Heraklio is the administrative, commercial and industrial center of the island. One of the most interesting monuments of Crete, the Palace of Knossos, lies in a close distance from the town. As the town has experienced rapid development, it has nothing in common with the beautiful towns of Agios Nikolaos, Chania and Rethymno. However, the hinterland of the prefecture is blessed with charming villages, natural monuments and archaeological sites worth visiting. Heraklio is the birthplace of the famous novelist Nikos Kazantzakis, the great painter Dominicos Theotokopoulos and the renowned poet Odysseus Elytis. Some of the most important monument of the city include the Venetian Fortress of Koules, the Venetian Loggia, the Morosini Fountains at the Square of Venizelos, the Lion Square and the Church of Agios Titos.

Kastelli is a mountainous village located on north side of the prefecture. The charming settlement is built on a fertile plain with olive trees and vineyards. One of the most interesting events of Kastelli is the bazaar held every Wednesday, where all the products produced in the village are sold. Another notable events is the Feast of Xenitemenos that includes numerous cultural and folklore events. It is worth visiting also the neighboring village of Smari. It is a traditional village with an authentic character renowned for the preservation of their traditions and customs.

Myrtia is a mountainous village located on the north side of the prefecture. The village is the birthplace of Nikos Kazantzakis, one of the most important writers of the 20th century. The homonymous museum was established to pay tribute to the important novelist. Exhibits include a rich collection of his manuscripts, his books and documents, portraits of the novelist along with first Greek editions of his books. The surrounding area is ideal for lovers of hiking. Recommended areas include the gorges of Astrakiano and Kounaviano.

Peza is a mountainous village located on the southeast side of the prefecture. Although it is a rather small settlement, the village is an important agricultural center due to the extended products of olive oil and wine. Numerous agricultural cooperatives and wine factories continue the long tradition of Crete in viniculture and olive oil production. It is worth visiting the Winery of Minos, the first wine factory that bottled the delicious wine of Crete. The winery also works as a museum giving the visitors the opportunity to discover equipment of wine making. One can also visit the Museum of Nikos Kazantzakis in the village of Myrtia and the Monastery of Agarathos in the village of Thrapsano.

Prinias is a mountainous village located on the south side of the prefecture. The village is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages of the prefecture of Heraklio. It is an authentic and traditional settlement with stone houses, narrow streets and beautiful churches. Under the foothills of Psiloritis, the village is surrounded from tall mountain peaks and verdant vegetation and water springs. The area has been characterized as an area of exceptional natural beauty, an ideal destination for hiking and walking lovers. The peak of Perdikokoryfi is worth visiting to admire the views over the entire prefecture of Heraklio. Prinias is renowned for its delicious olive oil and wine.

Sivas is a mountainous village located on the south side of the prefecture. It is an authentic and traditional village, listed as a protected settlement from the Ministry of Culture with beautiful old houses and arched doorways preserved through the centuries. It is worth sitting at the traditional cafeteria in the village square. Sivas has a long tradition in cultivating high quality olive oil. During the last ten days of August, the Cultural Association of Sivas organizes numerous cultural and musical events. Close to the village, one can visit the archaeological sites of Gortys and Phaestos along with the beaches of Matala and Kommos.

Sunset Spots

Spot: Archaeological Site of Phaestos, South Heraklio

Spot: Beach of Kommos, South Heraklio

Spot: Beach of Matala, South Heraklio

Spot: Peak of Mount Jiouchtas, South Heraklio

Spot: Tomb of Nikos Kazantzakis, Heraklio Town

Excursions

Excursion: The Prefecture of Chania is the westernmost prefecture of Crete. The capital of the prefecture is the city of Chania, a city of culture and beauty with an exceptional identity, history and tradition blessed with the finest of Crete. Worshiped by beauty, Chania is encompassed from an endless coastline of sandy beaches of exotic beauty, impressive gorges and secret caves, verdant valleys and flowing rivers covered with olive and citrus trees amongst the green oasis of the mountainous and coastal villages.

Excursion: The Prefecture of Lasithi is the easternmost prefecture of Crete. The capital of the prefecture is the city of Agios Nikolaos that spreads around the bay of Mirambello. Agios Nikolaos is an irresistible city where nature, history and tradition blend together in harmony. The natural beauty of Lasithi features landscapes of untouched nature with fertile valleys, numerous caves and gorges and an impressive coastline scattered from archaeological sites, castles, fortresses, churches and monasteries.

Excursion: The Prefecture of Rethymno is the central western prefecture of Crete. The capital of the prefecture is the city of Rethymno, one of the best-preserved medieval towns of Greece. The countryside reveals the impressive and wildest side of the region where nature is the absolute master. Deep gorges and flowing streams tilling on the foot of the Mountain of Psiloritis, palm trees lying in a landscape looking like an African oasis, lush greenery vineyards and forest hiding behildthe verdant ravines and endless sandy seashores in the cold waters of the Libyan Sea makes you think that you live in a paralleled universe.

Activities

Agrotourism: The interest for agrotourism is constantly growing, as many travellers want to discover the urban lifestyle and rhythm of Crete. Are you one of the travellers who want to come close to nature through activities in the agricultural sector of the island? You will find agrotourism facilities in the villages of Archanes, Achlada, Kofinas and Zaros.

Alpine Ski: Ski in Crete? Yes it is! Someone who wishes to go skiing in Crete, can really do it! The massif of Psiloritis with its higher peak Timios Stavros is located in the central part of the island between Heraklio and Rethymno prefectures. However, the sole parts suitable for ski mountaineering is the one above the villages of Anogia and Zoniana in the north side and the villages of Kamares, Lohria and Kouroutes in the south. The best season is January up until April. There are numerous refuges on Psiloritis. Discover more information from the Mountaineering Club of Heraklio.

Bird Watching: Heraklio has the perfect environment for thousands native and migratory birds. Bird watching locations include the lakes of Zaros and Votomos, the Gorge of Rouvas, the Village of Thrapsano and the Lagoons of Gouves.

Caving: The Cave of Ideon Andron is the legendary birthplace of Zeus located on the eastern mountain slopes of Psiloritis in Nida Plateau. Although the cave has not special geological value, the cultural value is priceless as it is considered to be the birthplace of the greatest god of Ancient Greece. The cave of Ideon Andron has an area of eight hundred square meters that is divided into three chambers along with the sanctuary. The stalactites near the entrance are worth seeing. The cave is accessible through a stone paved trail from the village of Psihros.

Diving: The varied coastline of Heraklio offers numerous exciting explorations for diving enthusiasts. The northern coastline of the prefecture is one of the most renowned areas for scuba divers. Cape Tripiti, Saint George Cave, Messerschmitt Shipwreck, Dia Isle and Skaros Reef are amongst the most renowned diving sites. One can find diving centers in the villages of Agia Pelagia, Gouves, Hersonissos and the beach of Lygaria.

Golf Courses: The  Golf Club of Crete is a championship golf course and one of the most impressive golf courses of the Mediterranean. It is easily accessible from Heraklio Airport within thirty minutes.

Hiking: Heraklio hosts numerous paths ideal for lovers of hiking. (1) One of the most beautiful routes is the one that starts from the Lake of Zaros that leads to the Gorge of Agios Nikolaos through the Oak Forest of Rouvas. (2) Another interesting trail includes the one that crosses the Gorge of Agiofarago. The route starts in a close distance from the village of Kali Limenes on the south side from the Monastery of Odigitria and ends to a pristine beach of the Libyan Sea. Discover more information from the Naturalist Club of Heraklio and the Mountaineering Association of Heraklio.

Paragliding: Do you love adventure sports? Chania offers numerous tracks for beginners and advanced users of paragliding in order to admire the high view of the nature of Crete. Hold on tight and the direction of the wind wills always blowing on the right way! Recommended areas include the archaeological site of Falasarna, the plateau of Askifou and the lake of Kournas. Discover more information from the Paragliding Center of Crete!

Sailing: Crete is a paradise for sailing enthusiasts. Sailing around the beautiful coasts of the island is fully recommended. Crete has a favorable climate with stronger winds only on its southern side. One can hire a boat with experienced captains and experience the true beauty of Crete from the Venetian Harbour of Chania. Ideal anchorage points include the marina of Agios Nikolaos that is protected from all weather conditions. The marina of Heraklio can accommodate sailboats and yachts up to thirteen meters with mooring berths from the Yacht Club of Heraklio. Must visit spots include the isle of Spinalonga and gulf of Mirabello on the northeast side of Crete and the isle of Gramvousa on the northwest side of Crete. Discover more information from the Sailing Club of Heraklio.

Off Road: Lovers of off road driving can follow the dirt roads leading to the mountains of Asterousia in order to explore the mysterious beauties of Heraklio. Make sure you always check the maps of the destination before you get into your car! Discover more information from the Offroad Association of Crete!

Windsurfing: Heraklio is known for its ideal conditions for lovers of windsurfing, as the island gets really windy especially in the summer. The beach of Ammoudara is one of the most renowned spots of Crete for windsurfing. Discover more information from the Windsurfing Club of Heraklio.

Yoga: Are you a yoga enthusiast? Destination offers the opportunity to enhance your stay by joining one of the regular yoga classes at the beach of Triopetra.

Beaches

Ammoudara is a long sandy beach with crystal clear waters located on the north side of the prefecture. Renowned as one of the best spots for windsurfing, Ammoudara has been awarded with a blue flag from the European Union. The beach is well organized with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas and taverns.

Agia Pelagia is a long golden sandy beach with crystal clear waters located on the north side of the prefecture. The beach is well organized with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas and taverns.  Close to the beach, one can also visit the beautiful sandy coves of Fylakes.

Agios Ioannis Kapetaniana is a long pebbled beach with turquoise waters located on the south side of the prefecture. The beach is renowned for its rocky seabed and its wild sceneries. Agios Ioannis is an ideal place for those looking for tranquility and seclusion.

Agiofarago is a sandy beach with turquoise waters located at the exit of the gorge of Agiofarago. The beach is isolated and has unimaginable sceneries of beauty. Agiofarago is accessible either by boat or by crossing the gorge of Agiofarago.

Amnissos is a sandy beach with blue waters located on the north side of the prefecture. Due to its close distance from the city of Heraklio, it is one of the most popular beaches of the area. Amnissos beach is well organized with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrella, water sports facilities and taverns.

Aspi is an isolated beach with turquoise waters located on the eastern side of Tris Eklisies. The seashore is covered with thick black sand while the clear waters are ideal for snorkeling. The easiest way to access the beach is by boat from Tris Eklisies.

Hersonissos is one of the most famous tourist resorts of the island located on the eastern side of the city of Heraklio. The long sandy beach of Hersonissos is golden sandy with turquoise waters while the surrounding area has wild beauty landscapes. Hersonissos is one of the best organized beaches of the island with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrella, water sports facilities and taverns.

Kali Limenes are three consecutive beaches located on the south side of the prefecture.  The longest beach is Makria Ammos with grey pebbles and dark blue waters while the beach of Psili Ammos is well organized with numerous amenities including sunbeds and umbrellas. The area is well organized with several taverns and mini markets.

Kokkini Hani is a sandy beach with crystal clear waters located on the north side of the prefecture. Due to its close distance from the city of Heraklio, it is one of the most popular beaches of the area. Kokkini Hani beach is well organized with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrella, water sports facilities and taverns.  The beach is also ideal for windsurfing.

Kommos is a long sandy beach with turquoise waters located on the south side of the prefecture. It is one of the most pristine beaches of the prefecture of Heraklio. The northern part of Kommos, namely Potamos, is one of the favorite beaches for nature lovers. Wherever you are, the views to the isles of Paximadia are truly stunning.

Listis is a sandy beach with turquoise waters located on the south side of the prefecture. It is an isolated beach ideal for those looking for secluded and tranquility. Listis has been characterized as one of the most beautiful beaches of Heraklio. The surrounding area has a series of interesting caves to explore. You can access the beach by descending a steep slope.

Matala is a golden sandy beach with turquoise waters and imposing cliffs located on the south side of the prefecture. The beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches of the country. The cliffs of Matala were used as a shelter from the hippies in the 1960s. Matala beach is well organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, water sport facilities, cafeterias, taverns and beach bars. The Beach Festival of Matala is held at the beach on an annual basis.

Malia is a sandy beach with crystal clear waters located on the north side of the prefecture. Renowned as one of the most popular summer resorts of the island, Malia hosts a long sandy beach with turquoise waters. The beach is well organized with numerous amenities including sunbeds and umbrellas, water sport facilities, cafeterias, taverns and beach bars.

Paleokastro is a pebbled beach with dark blue waters located on the north side of the prefecture. The beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches of the northern coast of the island. Paleokastro is a well organized beach with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas and fish taverns. The beach is also ideal for snorkeling due to the underwater rocks.

Stalida is a sandy beach with crystal clear waters located on the north side of the prefecture. Renowned as one of the most popular summer resorts of the island, Stalida hosts a long sandy beach with turquoise waters. The beach is well organized with numerous amenities including sunbeds and umbrellas, water sport facilities, cafeterias, taverns and beach bars.

Tris Eklisies is a secluded seaside village located on the south side of the prefecture. The beach has fine sand and turquoise waters dominated from the wild landscapes of Asterousia Mountains. The region boasts a series of isolated beautiful beaches ideal for those looking for total privacy.

Voidomatis is a secluded cove with turquoise waters located on the south side of the prefecture. The beach emerges from two big rocks home to the big cave of Voidomatis. The beach is ideal for those looking total privacy and it is accessible through a three kilometers dirt road from Tris Eklisies.

Coffee Corners, Gastronomic Delights and Cocktails Inspirations

Coffee Corners 

Barolo: Coffee, Heraklio Town

Central Park: Coffee, Heraklio Town

Il Baretto: Coffee, Heraklio Town

Iridanos: Coffee, Heraklio Town

Utopia: Coffee and Chocolate, Heraklio Town

Gastronomic Delights

Agora 1866: Greek Cuisine, Heraklio Town

Agrikies: Cretan Cuisine, Agios Thomas

Avli Defkaliona: Cretan Cuisine, Heraklio Town

Earinos : Cretan Cuisine, Kato Asites

Erganos: Mediterranean Cuisine, Heraklio Town

Ippokambos: Ouzo and Meze, Heraklio Town

Kritamon: Greek Cuisine, Archanes Village

Kymata: Seafood, Hersonissos

Ladokolla: Greek Cuisine, Heraklio Tow

Peri Orexeos: Greek Cuisine, Heraklio Town

Peskesi: Greek Cuisine, Heraklio Town

Siga siga: Greek Cuisine, Heraklio Town

Cocktails Inspirations

Blow Up: Cocktails and Drinks, Heraklio Town

Eucalyptus: Cocktails and Drinks, Heraklio Town

Envy: Cocktails and Drinks, Heraklio Town

Guernica: Cocktails and Drinks, Heraklio Town

Veneto: Cocktails and Drinks, Heraklio Town

Villa Mercedes: Club, Heraklio Town

Local Products & Specialties

Taste the local products of graviera cheese, wine, raki or tsikoudia, olive oil,  and honey.

The local specialties of the island include dakos, a traditional bread with tomatoes, mizithra cheese and virgin oil, boureki, a vegetable specialty, gamopilafo, a dish of risotto boiled with cock and goat, apaki, a dish made of pork meat marinated in vinegar and various herbs, siglino, a dish made of pork meat cut in stripes boiled in a fireplace with various herbs, tsigiaristo, a dish made of lamb meat cooked with oil in a casserole, courgette flowers with rice, hohlioi, a dish of snails cooked in a casserole, squids cooked in wine, myzithropita, a cheese pie made with myzithra cheese served with honey, kalitsounia, a sweet cheese pie, and kserotigana, a pastry with honey.

Events & Festivals

Every June, the International Trail Race of Psiloritis takes place at the National Park of Psiloritis.

Every June, the Matala Festival takes place at the beach of Matala.

Every June, the Tsikoudia Festival takes place in the village of Agia Varvara. The festival hosts numerous Cretan cultural events followed from the local specialties of the Cretan cuisine and the local distilled drink of Tsikoudia.

Every June, the Cherry Festival takes place in the village of Karanou. The festival hosts numerous Cretan cultural events followed from fresh cherries at the courtyard of the primary school of the village.

Every 23rd of June, the Klidonas Custom takes place in the various villages of Heraklio including Asites, Agia Varvara and Arolithos. Klidonas is is an old Cretan custom where unmarried youths future spouses are revealed to them through a divining procedure.

Every July, the Wine Festival of Dafnes takes place in the village of Dafnes. It is one of the most renowned festivals of the island that hosts a ten-day event dedicated to the wine of Crete.

Every August, the Heraklio Summer Festival takes place in the city of Heraklio. The festival hosts numerous cultural and musical events for a period of one month.

Every August, the Houdetsi Festival takes place in the village of Houdetsi. The festival hosts numerous cultural and musical events.

Every August, the Feast of Grape takes place in the village of Archanes. Visitors will have the opportunity to discover the traditional procedure of grape harvesting.

Every August, the Pancretan Agricultural Exhibition takes place in the village of Arkalochori. This is the largest exhibition of Cretan products.

History & Mythology

Mythology

According to mythology, Daedalus was one of the finest architects, craftsman, inventors and sculptors of Ancient Greece. When he murdered his nephew Talos, who envied his ingenuity, was exiled from the city and King Minos welcomed him to Crete in order to build the Palace of Knossos, a huge building with more than 1200 rooms with courtyards and a large labyrinth. The Minotaur was the son of Pasiphae, wife of King Minos of Crete, who slept with a bull sent from Zeus and gave birth to Minotaur, a creature of half man and half bull. As King Minos was embarrassed, he hid the Minotaur in the Labyrinth, where he was imprisoning his enemies so that Minotaur could eat them. As the labyrinth was a complicated construction, no one could ever find the way out alive. Androgeus, the son of Minos, went to Athens in order to participate to the Panathenaic Games where he was killed during the Marathon from the bull that impregnate Pasiphae. Minos was enraged and he demanded from the king of Athens, Aegeus, to send seven men and women to the Minotaur every year in return for the death of his son. In the third year, the son of Aegeus, Theseus, was one of the seven men who went to Crete in order to kill the Minotaur although his father did not agree. Theseus promised to Aegeus to put up white sails when he would come back from Crete, to let him know in advance that he is alive. The daughter of Minos, Princess Ariadne, fell in love with Theseus and she helped him by giving him a thread in order to unravel it, as he would penetrate into the Labyrinth so he would find his way out after the death of the Minotaur. Theseus managed to kill the Minotaur and find his way out with the thread of Ariadne, and he took Ariadne with him back to Athens. After a stop at the island of Naxos to celebrate the victory of Theseus, Ariadne fall asleep on the shore and she did not enter to the boat, while Theseus forgot to put up the white sails. As King Aegeus was waiting to see the sails of the boat from Cape Sounio, he saw the black sails and he though that his son was dead. Aegeus suicide by dropping himself to the sea, and since then the sea is called Aegean Sea.

History

During the Minoan and Mycenaean periods, Knossos was one of the most important and cultural centers of Crete while Heraklio was settled since the Neolithic times serving as a port of Knossos at the time. Crete was conquered from the Arab Saracens pirates in 824 BC, Heraklio was renamed to El Khandak and the residents of the island suffered from a long period of slavery. Nevertheless, the Byzantines, who tried to reinstate their power and authority on the island, ousted the Arabs from Crete until the Venetians managed to establish their sovereignty in the region of Heraklio in 961 AD. After the siege of Constantinople in 1204, Crete was given to the Marquis de Monfera, Bonifacio, who sold Crete to the Venetians who rebuilt the city, and flourished as a cultural and educational center.  Heraklio was surrendered to the Turks after 21 years of siege in 1669 and the name of the city was changed to Megalo Kastro (Big Castle). During the Turkish occupation, the Cretans organized a series of revolutionary movements leading to the reactions of Turks into massacres. The city of Heraklio fell into and darkness until it became a part of the Greek State on December of 1913. For many decades, Crete suffered from other battles of Greece including against the dictator of Ioannis Metaxas and the Germans. Today, Heraklio is the capital of Crete, a great city with a unique and exceptional identity, history and tradition.

Travel & Transport

By Air: Heraklio has an international airport with scheduled flights on an annual basis.  From April to October, there are charter flights from numerous countries of Europe. The journey from Athens usually lasts forty five minutes to one hour. Book your tickets with AirTickets.com!

By Boat (199 Nautical Miles): Heraklio is accessible by boat from the harbor of Piraeus. The journey usually lasts from nine to ten hours. Heraklio is also connected with the islands of Karpathos, Kasos, Rhodes and Santorini amongst others. Book your tickets with FerriesinGreece.com !

Mysterious Greece Tips

Agrotourism in Crete

Simplicity, harmony, clean air, warm hospitality and relaxed atmosphere. Is that what you are looking for? If yes, you should definitely visit the forgotten private village of Arolithos. It is an authentic mountainous village blessed with a glorious location in the wild Cretan landscape. The goal of the village is to bring the Cretan tradition, the customs and habits of the region, the architecture and the values of Cretan people into relief

Aquatic Creatures and Marine Species: The Cretaquarium

The Cretaquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the Mediterranean located in the village of Gouves. The aquarium of Crete depicts the marine life with impressive representations of natural landscapes. In Cretaquarium, there are more than two thousands Mediterranean creatures and species.

Discover the Products of Crete

The largest Agricultural and Trade Exhibition of Cretan Products is held in the town of Arkalochori every end of August. The exhibition takes place at the Municipal Exhibition Center.

Do it Like Hippies Do: Matala Beach Festival

The Beach of Matala is one of the most beautiful beaches of Crete located on the southwest side of Heraklio.  It is a golden sandy beach with turquoise waters and imposing cliffs. The beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches of the country. The cliffs of Matala were used as a shelter from the hippies in the 1960s.To this extend, the Beach Festival of Matala is held every August.

Explore the Hinterland of Heraklio

It is advisable to travel outside the borders of the city in order to discover the beautiful villages of Heraklio!

Find More Information about Crete

If you want to discover the entire island of Crete, it is highly recommended to be advised from the website of Mr. Alexandros Roniotis. He created a wonderful website with information for his beloved island. His main idea was to present a website with information about Crete! The website is CretanBeaches.com.

Grapes and Wines I: The Long Tradition of Crete

The island is known for its long tradition in wine production since antiquity. The climate and the soil of Crete are the main determinants of the fine quality of the wines of Crete. So, are you interested in discovering the deep roots of wine production of Crete? There are numerous wineries in Heraklio! Minos Winery was the first winery that bottled the delicious wine of Crete. Its premises in Peza village, also operates as a museum where visitors can discover the procedure of the wine production. Wine tasting tours are offered from Paterianakis Winery and Tamiolakis Winery. Discover more information from the Wine Roads of Crete.

Grapes and Wine II: Dafnes Wine Festival

Characterized as the wine capital of Crete, the village of Dafnes is famous for the ten day wine festival held in July. The excellent wine of Dafnes has been known since 1271 and has been declared as a protected product with a Designation of Origin from the European Union. The heart of the village life is the central square with many traditional cafeterias that are shaded from large eucalyptus trees.

Hiking at Its Best: The Highest Mountain of Crete

The Natural Park of Psiloritis is located on the central part of the island. The park is a member of Unesco Global Geoparks Network and the European Geoparks Network. The aim of the park is to conserve the cultural and natural heritage of Psiloritis as well as the sustainable development of the area. The mountain is different from the other mountains of the island with the highest peak of all reaching the 2.456 meters. Snow covers the main mountain chain all year long. Numerous interesting caves and gorges spread between the peaks of the mountain. The north and west part of the mountain is full of large settlements and cultivations while the southern and eastern sides are wilder owing to the vertical cliffs and the steep rocks. The shelters of the shepherds, known as Mitata, are the typical constructions found in the wild landscape of the park. The rich nature of Psiloritis is ideal for agrotourism, hiking and mountaineering activities. Some of the most interesting locations include the Cave of Ideon Andron, the Forest of Rouvas, the Plateau of Nida and the Villages of Anogia and Zoniana. If you plan to explore the mountains and caves of Psiloritis, it is advisable to seek guidance and local guidance from the climbing, hiking and walking clubs of the island. The headquarters of the park are located at the village of Anogia.

Hospitable Crete

The inhabitants of Crete are known for their hospitality all over Greece. If you happen to be in a place where locals invite you for a glass of the traditional alcoholic drink of raki, do not reject as they usually take it very personal, and it is kind of an insult! Just say cheers and smile!

Off Road Driving at Its Best: The Highest Point of Jiouchtas Mount

The monastery of Afendis Christos was built on the second highest peak of the sacred mount of the Minoans, namely Jiouchtas Mountain. Today, the abandoned monastery offers panoramic views over the bay of Heraklio. Access to the monastery is possible through a dirt road from the village of Archanes.

Pitharia and Pottery: Thrapsano Village

The village of Thrapsano is located thirty kilometers southeast of the city of Heraklio. The settlement has been identified with a long tradition in pottery; more particularly the crafting of large ceramic storage jars known as pithari. Pithari is the main storage facility of Crete from the Minoan Era. It is really interesting that the name of the village also relates to pottery as it derives from the words thravo (break) and psino (bake), as probably many pitharia broke during the baking process. The art of pottery has been continuously developed since then. One can visit the numerous pottery workshops of the village! It is worth visiting the village in July, when the festival in honor of the potters is held for three days. The exact days of the festival are July 17 to July 19.

Southern Crete: Endless Sandy Seashores

The southern coast of the island of Crete is well known for its beautiful pristine beaches. The beaches border with the Libyan sea and it is also an ideal place for lovers of scuba diving and snorkeling!

Splish Splash in the Waterpark of Heraklio

Watercity Waterpark is the best amusement park of Crete!

Stunning Views from the Tomb of Kazantzakis: “… I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free…”

The Tomb of Nikos Kazantzakis is located at the highest point of the city of Heraklio above the Venetian Walls of Martinengo. Nikos Kazantzakis was buried at this specific location in accordance with his wishes as he was excommunicated from the church by the end of his last novel namely The Last Temptation of Christ, which was considered as an Anti-Christian book. The tomb has a simple construction with his desired inscription “I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free.” The views from there are surely astonishing!

Visual Arts Enthusiasts Allowed

The Heraklio Museum of Visual Arts was founded with the intention of supporting the artistic and cultural activity of the city with particular regard to the promotion of the work from Cretan artists. The museum serves as a venue where art lovers can meet and exchange their artistic views and a place for aesthetic and intellectual cultivation.  Discover more information from the Official Website of the Heraklio Museum of Visual Arts .

Worth Visiting Beaches and Villages

As Crete is the biggest island of Greece, the prefecture of Chania has an endless coastline of beaches. Some of the most beautiful beaches include Agiofarago, Listis, Matala and Voidomatis. As for villages, Heraklio is covered with “millions of worlds”. The villages of Crete are many and time is limited to discover them all. Some of the most interesting villages and natural beauties include the villages of Archanes, Kastelli, Mires, Peza and Prophet Elias and the natural beauties of the Lake of Zaros, the Gorge of Agiofarango, the Mountain of Jiouchtas and the Plain of Messara. However, as everybody has his own tastes, the best way to explore the island is to rent a car and get a map. Drive in the places that captured your attention, and discover new worlds!

Photo Credits

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Note: All the images are copyrighted from their owners. Please see Terms & Conditions. You can find the original images at the following links:

Agiofarago beach: Matala-Nikos.com

Archanes village: High School of Archanes 

Asterousia Mountains: Ioannis Froudarakis

Ideon Andron Cave: Ian Stotesbury by Panoramio

Knossos Palace: Mysteriousgreece

Kofinas Mountain: Stavros Kekakis by Panoramio

Kommos beach: David Niederhuber by Panoramio

Koules Fortress: Kostas Tavernarakis by Flickr 

Maridaki beach: Komanolis by Panoramio

Matala beach: John and Melanie Illingworth Kotsopoulos by Flickr

Nida Plateau: George Messaritakis by Panoramio

Peak of Mountain Yiouchta: Alstar by Dpgr.gr

Prophet Elias village: Ch-georg by Panoramio

Psiloritis Mountain: Jerzy Strzelecki by Wikimedia

Roman Gorthyna: Marc Ryckaert by Wikimedia

Zaros Lake: Zaroslake.gr