An interesting land with mountain villages and beautiful coasts, Crete offers visitors a destination rich in character and history. The island's largest city is Heraklion, one of the Greece's largest urban centres. Founded in the ninth century, the city has come under the control of Arabs, Venetians and Ottomans over the centuries. The influences of these cultures remain, including Venetian and Turkish fountains alongside magnificent churches. Yet, many visitors come here to experience the land of King Minos and the ancient Minoan civilisation.
When to Go
Heraklion summers are hot with plenty of sunshine and warm waters. Relief often comes with cooling seasonal breezes during the day. You will find busy beaches during July and August, Crete's peak season. Early and late summer have milder temperatures, making it a great time to hike and explore ancient ruins. There are also smaller crowds and lower rates. Even during the winter months, the city is mild and relatively dry. At the same time, many resorts, restaurants and attractions scale back hours between November and March.
Where to Stay
From cheap hotels to luxury resorts, there are a range of accommodation options in and around Heraklion. West of the city centre is the Pela Mare Hotel in Agia Pelagia, a beautiful property with stunning sea views. Another affordable option is the friendly Mirabello Hotel, which is located in a quiet neighbourhood in the city. Modern with minimalist style, the Atrion Hotel is right next to the city's lively centre and a short walk from the beach. You will find luxury at the Lato Boutique Hotel overlooking the city's Venetian fort or the Aquila Atlantis Hotel. The five-star Galazy Hotel Iraklio is one of Heraklion's top hotels. Elegant design dominates this 127-room property, which boasts a large pool, a pair of gourmet restaurants and free modern amenities including Wi-Fi and gym.
Attractions & Events
A blend of ancient and modern, Heraklion's top attractions include the imposing Koule fort and the old Venetian port. Close to the nineteenth century Metropolis of Agios Minas church at Agia Ekaterini Square is is the sixteen century Agia Ekaterini, now a museum on the Cretan Renaissance. The Archaeological Museum is one of Greece's best with treasures from the Minoan civilisation. Another of the city's must-see sights is the fortified walls that embrace the old city. Just outside of Heraklion is Knossos, one of the most important archeological sites in Europe and the centre of the Minoan civilisation. There are also ancient Minoan palaces in Malia and Phaestos are also worth visits.
The city's Amoudara beach offers three kilometres of sand to relax and unwind. The strip is lined with cafes, bars and hotels as well as a modern cinema and open-air theatre. Some of the best ways to enjoy the sun and sea is by horseback along the Mediterranean or from the deck of a sailboat. Through the summer, the Heraklion Summer Arts Festival features more than 50 free plays, concerts and traditional events between June and September. The Matala Beach Festival in June evokes a time when hippies lived in the area's beaches and caves during the 1960s and 1970s. The weekend festival offers free music and art events for all ages.
Home to spectacular architecture and ancient ruins, the modern city is at the doorstep of one of the world's most important civilisations. Every corner offers a stunning landscape to discover and experience. Some of Greece's finest beaches also overlook the island's turquoise waters. A1 Travel is your source for the best deals on holidays to Heraklion. We have great offers on last minute holiday packages including cheap hotels and flights. Whether you are travelling with friends or family, we have a range of accommodation and package options to suit any budget. Book your cheap holiday with A1 Travel today and save!