Crete’s capital is a bustling modern city with historic undertones. While the volume of people and whizzing motorbikes can be overwhelming, there is plenty of charm right beneath the surface. If you find yourself visiting Heraklion, here are the top 7 things you should do before you leave.
1. Heraklion Archaeological Museum
This is one of the most historically significant sites on the entire island. In fact, the site is home to the most significant finds and excavations from the Minoan civilization.
While visiting, make sure to get a look at the Minoan jewelry and seals, the statue of the Snake Goddess, Phaistos Disk, and Bull-leaping frog.
While it’s packed with culture and history from Minoan civilization, guests can also see artifacts from the Roman and classical Greek periods.
2. Palace of Knossos
While you’re learning about Minoan culture, the next best place to visit is the palace of Knossos. It’s the most important Minoan palace on the island and is only three miles from Heraklion.
The history books say that this palace was the seat of King Minos of Crete. Knossos palace is the center of plenty of myths too. The stories that surround it are sprinkled with lore of the Minotaur, the Labyrinth, the story of Ikaros and Daidalos.
And, according to the excavations, the site has been inhabited from the Neolithic Period to the Roman times.
3. Historical Museum of Crete
Before you even get inside, this museum offers you some of the best in neoclassical architecture. Once through the doors, guests can look at the permanent collection, which features the history and art of Crete from the 4th Century AD up until the second World War.
Make sure to take a peek at the coins, jewelry, cameras, heirlooms, sculptures, and weavings.
4. Fortifications of Heraklion
The city was once surrounded by a series of walls that acted as a defense system. Now, the ancient fortifications can still be visited. While the original walls were built during the Middle Ages, they were rebuilt during the Republic of Venice.
In fact, the Heraklion fortifications have made it the best protected city in the entire Mediterranean.
5. Georgiadi Park
Spend a little time outside enjoying a much greener side of Crete. You’ll find both tourists and locals getting some exercise or just lounging under the trees for shade.
Parents love to bring their kids to the playground, and shoppers get a kick out of the organic market that sometimes pops up on the grounds. No matter what you’re doing, a stroll through this park is a great way to break from the traffic of the city.
6. Nikos Kazantzakis Museum
This is one of the few museums in Greece that focuses on literature. It is entirely dedicated to the great Cretan writer, Nikos Kazantzakis.
You can roam through the buildings and learn all about his life, his works, and his career. Start off with the 20-minute documentary and then continue to explore what has become an epicenter of intelligence in Heraklion.
7. Church of St. Titus
This church is considered one of the most important structures in the center of the town. It’s history goes all the way back to 961 when the Arabs were driven away from Crete.
Now you can tour the church by day or sit at a nearby café as you watch it light up at night.
Heraklion has the history, the culture, and all of the fixings of a modern-day city. If you’re visiting Crete, spending a few days in this city is a must! You can book your airport transfer here.