Heraklion holidays have it all. We're talking bevies of beaches and a selection box of historical big-hitters, as well as some famous after-sundown spots.

Crete’s capital

You’ll find the Heraklion area on Crete’s north coast. The city itself is Crete’s capital, and it’s packed with giveaways that Heraklion was once under Venetian rule, like the city-centre Lions Square – the statue-featuring fountain gives it its name. Aghios Minas Cathedral’s another pic-friendly place. The Heraklion area’s got its own international airport, too. It’s named after Nikos Kazantzakis, a famous Greek author who was born in the city. By night, bar-spangled spots like Hersonissos have you covered, and the bright lights of Malia are 30 minutes away by taxi.

Natural sights

Once you’ve had your fill of urban adventures, you can explore Heraklion’s wild side. If you’re up for a challenge, strap on your boots and hike the 16-kilometre Samaria Gorge – one of Europe’s longest canyons. If you’re a more chilled-out type, you’ve got plenty of beaches to hit up, too. Amoudara’s white sand swirls out for three miles, Hersonissos has a necklace of bustling beaches, and laidback Kokkini Hani boasts a 400-metre, perfect-for-paddling swathe.

Historical haven

Big helpings of history are on the holiday menu in Heraklion. In the city itself, the Archaeological Museum is a must-visit. Some of the artefacts hosted here have been around for over five thousand years. The Palace of Knossos is the biggest hitter of the bunch, though. This Bronze-Age beauty has been branded Europe’s oldest city, and the complex spills out over 10 kilometres. This ancient spot was said to be the haunt of the legendary half man, half-bull minotaur.

At a Glance

  • Tuck in to a platter of meze in an open-air Hersonissos eatery
  • Visit the famous Archaeological Museum
  • Choose between a bunch of beaches

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