Heraklion, the capital of Crete

There are four different regions in Crete, each of them with its own unique characteristics, fantastic landscape, and a collection for great things to do. Heraklion is the most important, developed, and populated of all four. It also hosts the capital of the island and this page is dedicated to everything there’s to know about it.

About Heraklion

Heraklion

Heraklion is the most vibrant region all over Crete. It’s home to the capital of the island, also known as Heraklion, as well as of one of the most visited landmarks in Crete, the Knossos Palace.

The northern coastal area of the region is overpopulated with hotels and resorts. Yet, moving a few kilometers south is enough to discover the magnificent vineyard of Heraklion.

Coming across villages such as Zaros and Krasi, or the seaside town of Matala are worth a drive through the mountains and gorges of the region.

HERAKLION IN YOUR POCKET

Embark on a digital adventure through the vibrant streets of Heraklion with our meticulously crafted guide tailored for those eager to explore the beating heart of Crete!

Crafted for convenience, our digital guide is budget-friendly and easily accessible on your favorite device. No more carrying around bulky maps or guidebooks – carry the spirit of Heraklion in your pocket. Rest assured, continuous updates will keep you in the loop with the latest information, ensuring you’re always one step ahead.

  • Navigate Heraklion Like a Local, Anytime, Anywhere

  • Unlock Insider Insights Regular Guides Won’t Provide

  • Affordable, Portable, and Always Up-to-Date

  • Tailored for Every Traveler, Every Schedule

download it now!

Get it now to unlock the secretes of crete's capital!
Heraklion
Heraklion

Also on Apple Store!

EAST CRETE TRAVEL BUNDLE

Visiting East Crete? Get the East Travel Bundle and enjoy the digital city guide of Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos at a more convenient price!

AGIOS NIKOLAOS DIGITAL GUIDE AND HERAKLION TRAVEL GUIDE

Save and Explore Crete!

  • More than 100 pages with extremely detailed information to explore Crete’s capital, Heraklion, and the charming Agios Nikolaos town!
Get the bundle and save!

When to visit heraklion

One of the best things to do in Heraklion is to discover all the cultural centers, museums, and archaeological sites in the region. To do so comfortably, it’s better to visit during Spring, when the temperatures are lower and the number of tourists too. This way, you will avoid waiting in line and will also take advantage of more convenient fees.

Summer is probably the best moment in the year to visit Heraklion (and the whole of Crete!) if you don’t mind the crowds. Archanes, in the center of the wine region, celebrates the upcoming harvesting season. Other than that, the city hosts an important Art Festival that includes local dances, music, open air cinema, and theater plays.

Wine lovers will enjoy the busy months of Fall, when local wineries bottle the stunning wines produced on the island. During November, instead, you can be lucky enough to witness the joyful moment of raki distillation.

The capital of Crete and the fourth important city in Greece doesn’t close for Winter. Life goes on as usual in Heraklion. Lots of students from all over Greece move to town to attend the university. Shops, several hotels, restaurants, bars, cinemas, and museums remain open for business all year long.

How to get to Heraklion

Heraklion

By boat

The port of Heraklion is in the center of the city. It’s quite simple to get to Heraklion from Athens by ferry with the year-round daily connections from Piraeus. The navigation time is about 6 hours.

The companies reaching the port of Heraklion are ANEK Lines and Minoan Lines.

From Heraklion depart daily ferries to Santorini, and weekly services to Mykonos, Naxos, Ios, and Paros during Summer. Three times a week, there’s a connection to Rhodes, Karpathos and other Dodecanese islands.

AIRPLANE. SKY - SUNSET

By plane

The international airport of Heraklion “Nikos Kazantzakis” (HER) is the second busiest airport in Greece. It receives flights from Greece’s most important cities all year round.

In Summer, many flights arrive directly from other European countries. People traveling from outside of Europe can fly to Athens and take a connecting flight. The flight time from Athens to Heraklion is less than 45 minutes.

The airport is about 5 km from the city center which can be reached easily with a taxi or public bus.

How to move around in Heraklion

The capital has an extensive, advanced bus service that takes you around town and small villages outside the city center. Therefore, a bus will be your best friend if you wish to enjoy sightseeing while traveling around town. Being government-regulated, the fares are reasonable by European standards.

The fast northern highway connects Heraklion to all the other regions. Driving along the National Road is necessary to reach the different coastal villages. From Heraklion, a road connects the city to the Messara Plain in the south. Another vital road passes right opposite Knossos Palace and through Heraklion’s wine region. Heraklion has an extensive public bus network connecting towns and villages all year round, with increased frequencies during the high season.

The new KTEL bus terminal in town, Bus Station B, is at 102 Efessou Street. From here depart most long-distance buses. The station has comfortable facilities, including a restaurant and a luggage storage service. You can take the bus to Chania, Rethymnon, and Agios Nikolaos from here.

The old bus station is opposite the Megaro Hotel (63 Efessou Street). From here, the buses depart to Knossos Palace. To reach the airport by bus, you have to walk to the back of this new station, the stop is correct at the Shell gas station.

If you travel to Heraklion with kids, changing buses and taxis to go sightseeing might be irritating. With so much to explore in town, hiring a car offers ease of mobility and also allows one to explore lesser-known locations where public transport does not stop. Waiting for public transport is another issue which can be solved with a car hire. 

What to see and do in Heraklion

Best Hotels in Amoudara: Where to Stay Near Heraklion in Crete

Discover the best hotels in Amoudara Crete - [...]

Agia Pelagia, Crete: Complete Guide by a Local

Agia Pelagia Crete: Explore this fantastic coastal resort [...]

Top Agia Pelagia Hotels: Where to Stay in Agia Pelagia, Crete

Agia Pelagia Hotels: Discover the best hotels, resorts, [...]

Rogdia, Crete: Complete Guide by a Local

Rogdia Crete: Discover this beautiful mountain settlement facing [...]

Where to Stay in Heraklion: Insanely Helpful Accommodation Guide For Crete’s Capital

Where to stay in Heraklion, Crete: Budget, luxury, [...]

How to Get from Heraklion to Knossos Palace: All You Need to Know

Discover how to get from Heraklion to Knossos [...]

5 Days in Heraklion, Crete: A Top 5-Day Itinerary!

Discover the best things to do with 5 [...]

52 Spectacular Things to Do in Heraklion (Region) for a Great Vacation in Crete!

Best things to do in Heraklion (region) Crete: [...]

Unmissable Things to Do in Hersonissos: A Complete Guide by a Local

Things to do in Hersonissos: Discover this fun [...]

Fodele, Crete: Complete Guide by a Local

Fodele Crete: Discover the Byzantine Church of the [...]

Where to Have the Best Breakfast in Heraklion

Breakfast in Heraklion? Early wake-up call in the [...]

Fantastic Villas in Heraklion Crete for your Next Time on the Island

This article is great to find the best [...]

How to Get from Heraklion to Naxos: All you Need to Know in This Comprehensive Guide

You’re wondering how to get from Heraklion to [...]

Eating in Crete: Where to Find the Best Pizza in Heraklion

Visiting the capital of Crete this summer and [...]

The Best Beaches in Heraklion to Check When You Visit Crete!

The region of Heraklion has a colorful pallet [...]

Best Party Hotels in Malia, Crete: Top Accommodation Near the Malia Strip

Discover the best hotels for fun in Malia, [...]

Fun Festivals in Heraklion: Events in Crete that You Shouldn’t Miss!

Don't miss the most entertaining events and festivals [...]

Unique Stays in Crete: Why You’ll Adore Blossom Living Residence Heraklion

Right in the heart of Heraklion town, we’ve [...]

Wine Tasting Crete: The Most Exhilarating Wineries in Heraklion

Heraklion is arguably the most important wine region [...]

Heraklion or Chania: Which Cretan City You Should Visit

Heading to Crete and can't decide between Chania [...]

What to See in the Minoan Palace of Phaistos, Crete

Are you about to visit the Archaeological Site [...]

Archaeological Museum of Heraklion: Insanely Helpful Visit Guide

Check this Visit Guide to discover the treasures [...]

Best Hotels in Matala, Crete For a Top Stay in South Heraklion!

Planning to explore the South of Heraklion? Check [...]

Best Hotels in Hersonissos For Your Fun Crete Holiday!

Hotels Hersonissos, Crete: In this guide find a [...]

Best Knossos Tours for Every Budget and Travel Style!

Check this article and book the most convenient [...]

The Most Interesting Museums in Heraklion (Plus Bonus Tips To Visit Them!)

Heraklion, the capital of Crete, features dozens of [...]

Amazing Free Things to Do in Heraklion on Your Crete Vacation!

In this article, you can check the best [...]

The Most Incredible Things to Do in Heraklion at Night!

Crete's capital is a wonderful place to have [...]

Nightlife in Crete: Pubs & Bars in Heraklion That You Will Love!

The capital of Crete, Heraklion has all that [...]

Top Heraklion Tours: The Best Day Trips from Heraklion For Your Crete Vacation!

Are you spending your next vacation in Crete? [...]

Airbnbs in Heraklion: Comfy and Convenient Vacation Homes in Crete

Use this list of amazing Airbnbs in Heraklion [...]

What to Wear to Visit Knossos (And Any Other Archaeological Site!)

What to wear in Knossos: Planning a visit [...]

Unique Stays in Crete: Why You Should Stay at Olive Green Hotel in Heraklion, Crete

Olive Green Hotel (Review): A fantastic eco-friendly experience [...]

2 Days in Heraklion: Enjoy an Amazing City Break in Crete

2 days in Heraklion: City landmarks, the market [...]

Outstanding Things to See in the Knossos Palace During Your Crete Vacation!

Super detailed Self-Guided tour of Knossos, Crete's Minoan [...]

The Most Exciting Things to Do in Matala, Crete’s Last Hippie Beach!

Matala, Faistos, Kalamaki. Three stops that are a [...]

Day Visit to Fragospito Winery, A Gorgeous Domain in Heraklion, Crete

A Gift from the Earth: Cretan Wines. Crete [...]

Lyrarakis Winery Crete: Wine Tasting in Heraklion

Lyrarakis Winery Crete - Heraklion. The winery offers [...]

Labyrinth Park Heraklion: Top Things to Do in Heraklion, Crete with Kids

The Labyrinth Park in Heraklion is a day [...]

Crete: Discover the Fantastic Wines from the Island

Discover everything about the wines from Crete: Crete's [...]

Things to do in Heraklion with Kids: Dinosauria Park!

Are you in need for a break from [...]

Are you coming to Crete any time soon?

Discover Crete with The Tiny Book!