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

Things to do in Hersonissos

If you plan to visit Hersonissos Crete or are already there, prepare to get spoiled. You can enjoy plenty of activities and experiences thanks to its size and popularity.

Here are some of the best things to do in Hersonissos to give you an idea.

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Hersonissos Crete: Top Things to Do

things to do in Hersonissos

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In no particular order, these are some of the best things to do when visiting this vibrant coastal city on Crete!

Feel the Lively Vibes of Cosmopolitan Hersonissos Harbor

things to do in hersonissos

One of the first sites you’ll notice in Hersonissos is none other than its harbor. It’s the epicenter of everything that’s happening in town.

Lively beach bars, modern cafes, traditional restaurants, and many other stores will make your visit memorable. 

Best things to do in Hersonissos.

The only caveat is that it can get pretty busy sometimes, but that’s just part of the experience. After all, you are in the world-renowned Hersonissos!

And if at any moment you feel like getting away from the crowds, you don’t have to drive far. The traditional settlements of Piskopiano and Koutouloufari are perfect getaways only a few minutes away.

Dance the Night Away

New York Beach Club Hersonissos
New York Beach Club, Hersonissos.

As you might have heard, Hersonissos (also known as Chersonissos) is Crete’s nightlife summer capital.

So, do yourself a favor and prepare for a night you will long remember or quickly forget – it all depends on the number of cocktails you’ll try out. Regardless, you’ll have a ton of fun and be able to meet new friends.

things to do in hersonissos
Hersonissos at night.

The best news is that you’re good to go, no matter your appetite for music. Whether it is techno, nineties, house, trance, or pop, it won’t be long before you come across the perfect bar or club for your taste. Nightlife is king in Hersonissos, and you’ll realize it from the first moment. 

Explore the Beaches In and Around Hersonissos

things to do in hersonissos

Although the area is known for its nightlife, there are plenty of things to do in Hersonissos during the day. The most obvious and popular activity is, of course, beach hopping. 

Start by exploring the narrow yet long beach of Hersonissos; you’ll appreciate how organized it is and how close it is to the harbor.

Then, visit the sandy beach of Analipsi, just east of Hersonissos. A walk on its remote western side will give you much-needed time away from the crowds.

things to do in hersonissos

Finally, get to Drapano Beach, popular among locals and tourists for its natural Mediterranean beauty.

Imagine water so clear that you’ll be able to see the rocky sea bottom as if you’re looking through a crystal. Plus, the unique rock arch on the beach makes an excellent background for a perfect Instagram story!

Play with Water in Acqua Plus Park

things to do in hersonissos

For a fun day of adventure, visit the Acqua Plus Water Park in Hersonissos. Hope on extreme rides, or if you prefer something calmer, grab a rubber ring and float like there is no tomorrow. 

Especially if you have kids, you’ll both love it. They can play and have the best time in their holidays while you are relaxing on a sunbed worry-free, and several lifeguards are watching over your kids.

Plus, they will likely be exhausted later and get to bed early. And you know what that means? A chance for a peaceful dinner with your spouse; it’s like killing two birds with one stone!

>> More info is available on the official website.

Walk around Koutouloufari

things to do in hersonissos
Koutouloufari, Hersonissos.

If there’s one activity that you cannot miss in Hersonissos, it would be strolling around the traditional village up the hill known as Koutouloufari.

The gorgeous place is only a few minutes from the cosmopolitan harbor, but its peaceful and charming atmosphere will make you fall in love as you walk through its narrow streets.

things to do in hersonissos

Of course, make no mistake and try one of the local tavernas. The food is so fresh and delicious that you’ll definitely plan a second visit before your holidays end.

Unwind in the Wild Coves of Sarandari 

things to do in hersonissos
Sarandari Beach.

One beach near Hersonissos that deserves special mention is Sarandari. Also known as Sarandari Coves, this secluded white-sand enclave will fascinate you with its clear, shallow waters and vivid blue colors. 

Although one part of the beach has umbrellas and sunbeds, the other is empty of organized tourism and welcomes guests of every type, including nudism enthusiasts.

Explore the Depths of Cretan Waters

things to do in hersonissos
Underwater activities are popular in Hersonissos.

Not far from the central area of Hersonissos, you’ll find several diving centers and instructors eager to show you the beauty of the Cretan waters. There is nothing like being at the bottom of the sea exploring endless reefs, caves, sponges, and shipwrecks!

If you call the diving center, they can pick you up from your hotel. Then, you’ll undergo training to prepare for a day full of adventure and fun. 

Some of the places I recommend include:

If you prefer to explore the sea’s surface and fall in love with Heraklion’s skyline at sunset, check out this Sunset Cruise to St George Bay that includes finger food, drinks, and leaves from Hersonissos.

Go Cave Hunting 

things to do in hersonissos
Milatos Cave.

The Cretan mountains offer a great alternative to beach life if you ever want to change scenery. And I think there is no better way to experience the terrain and learn local tales than visiting nearby caves. 

For example, visiting the Milatos Cave will reveal how Greek rebels used it as a refuge during the Cretan War for Independence against the Turks.

If you want to go back in time, the famous Cave of Zeus will reveal the story of the Greek god Zeus and how he hid from his vengeful father. It’s almost an hour’s drive from Hersonissos, but it’s worth every minute you need to get there.

Discover the Wonders of Cretan Folklore

CRETE - HERAKLION - stone mill
The stone mill is one of the many traditional objects used on the island features in this museum.

No matter your holiday type, you’ll love spending time in the Lychnostatis Museum, where you can learn almost everything about the island. Whether it is Crete’s history, nature, or environment, the museum has it covered. It is one of the best museums in the region.

If you love culture and want to explore the depths of Cretan folklore, you are in the perfect place. The museum is an exemplary example of self-motivated conduct regarding the tradition, culture, and environment of the island.

You’ll learn about local customs, traditional occupations, Cretan art, famed legends, and more. In short, there is no better way to explore the beauty of the local way of life in a matter of a few hours. 

The entrance fee is €8 (€2 more for the audio guide). If you come for the second time, admission is free! The museum is open daily (9 a.m. – 2 p.m.) and is closed on Saturdays.

Book your entry ticket to the Lychnostatis Open Air Museum to learn about Cretan heritage and culture.

Travel Back in Time to the Malia Palace

things to do in hersonissos
Malia Archaeological Site.

If you are still wondering what to do in Hersonissos, you cannot miss a visit to the 3000-year-old palace of Malia. Only fifteen minutes from the cosmopolitan Hersonissos harbor, the Malia archaeological site will fascinate you with its thrilling history and mysterious vibes.

The site, now in ruins, is still the third-largest Minoan Palace. If you want to know more, read this complete guide on the Malia Palace and prepare to be amazed!

Check Out the Charming Village of Piskopiano

things to do in hersonissos

Piskopiano is a charming, tiny settlement just a few kilometers from Hersonissos. It blends traditional Cretan landscapes with a peaceful vibe.

Piskopiano is known for its traditional Cretan architecture, narrow winding streets, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. One of the highlights of Piskopiano is its relaxed and authentic atmosphere.

things to do in hersonissos

Unlike the bustling Hersonissos, here you will experience the slower pace of Cretan village life, savor local delicacies in small family-run taverns, and have the chance to meet friendly locals who welcome visitors with warmth and hospitality.

Along the narrow streets of Piskopiano, you’ll discover charming little shops selling souvenirs and locally produced products such as olive oil and honey.

Piskopiano is also an excellent base for exploring the surrounding area, within easy reach of some of Crete’s beautiful beaches.

Piskopiano church
Piskopiano Church near Hersonissos.

As you can see, the options are plentiful and fun. Follow this list of things to do in Hersonissos, and you’ll love every minute of your stay!

In short, the nightlife will only be part of the town’s appeal; culture, food, sports, and exploring will make the top five. 
So, are you ready to experience the magic of Hersonissos? Let me know in the comments below!

Where to Stay in Hersonissos

Hotels Hersonissos, Crete: In this guide find a curated list of the best hotels in Hersonissos, a popular seaside resort near Heraklion.

I’ve already written a complete article featuring the best hotels in Hersonissos. Alternatively, you can also pick one of the following hotels for your stay in Hersonissos:

  • Skipper Beachfront Suites: Located opposite the port of Hersonissos, this apartment complex has every comfort you might need. It features air-conditioned units offering a desk, a kettle, a fridge, and a balcony. There is also a family-friendly restaurant open for dinner and lunch that serves Greek cuisine. A car rental service is available too.
  • Charm Hotel: This is a well-rated hotel in the Limenas Hersonissou area. It offers a terrace with mountain views, a modern setting, and a convenient on-site snack bar.
  • Sunshine Village Hotel: Located only meters from a local waterpark and 250 m from the sand beach, this hotel offers a restaurant and a bar with an alfresco terrace. It features well-appointed rooms, a swimming pool, and a kids’ pool. Guests can use the multifunctional sports area, and younger guests can use the playground or arcades. The village lies within walking distance of shops, restaurants, and the tiny settlement of Koutouloufari.

I publish new content about Crete almost every day! Bookmark my Crete and Practical Guides pages to learn more before your trip.

Are you dreaming of a getaway to Crete but feeling overwhelmed with planning?

  • You can join my Facebook Group, Things to Do in Crete, a friendly gathering of Crete enthusiasts.
  • My personalized consultation calls assisted countless travelers in crafting the perfect Crete experience. Please email me your anticipated travel dates to turn your Crete dreams into reality!

Don’t forget travel insurance!

Although Crete is a safe destination, getting travel insurance is like having a safety net for your adventures. Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself and your loved ones from unexpected situations.

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More resources to enhance your Crete adventure

Start by checking out my ultimate guide to planning your trip to Crete, packed with helpful essential information. Explore the articles on prices in Crete, common mistakes to avoid, and insider secrets for an unforgettable experience.

Use this comprehensive Crete packing list to ensure you have everything you need. Explore the best places to visit on Crete Island, discover my tours and activities, be amazed at Crete’s incredible beaches, and check out the best times to experience its beauty.

If you are exploring specific areas like Heraklion or Rethymnon, I’ve got detailed guides to help you make the most of your time.

Suggested accommodation in Heraklion

No time to read all my accommodation guides? Check out these hotels in the city:

More useful travel resources

  • Check out all the digital travel guides I’ve specifically written about Crete. They are affordable and practical to check from your mobile.
  • Find convenient ferry tickets with Ferryhopper.
  • Welcome Pickups offers a convenient pre-paid airport transfer service, while Discover Cars is the engine I use to find a rental car on the island.
  • To book adventures, tours, and cultural experiences, I recommend Get Your Guide.
things to do in hersonissos

Written by Dimitrios Tsevremes
Passionate about travel, spirituality, and sports, Dimi divides his time between Chania (Crete) and other countries. Writing is a way for him to express himself and his creativity. You can find out more about him and his work here.

Pin This Helpful Guide to Explore Hersonissos, Crete!


About me:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I have lived in Chania, Crete, since 2016. As a local, I have an intimate knowledge of the Crete. I host culinary and concierge tours and experiences in Crete and write about the island for several travel media. During the last five years, I have helped many travelers plan the perfect holiday in Crete. I co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

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