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Heraklion

Culture & history

Our most recommended Heraklion Culture & History

Crete: Palace of Knossos Archaeological Site Entrance Ticket

1. Crete: Palace of Knossos Archaeological Site Entrance Ticket

Benefit from skip-the-line access to the Palace of Knossos. Once inside, you are free to explore this Minoan archaeological site at your own pace, including the Grand Palace which dates back to the year 2000 B.C. As you wander through the site, discover what remains of living quarters, workspaces, and storerooms that have stood for centuries. Learn more about the city which is thought to have been the capital and political center of Minoan civilization and culture. Get a sense of what the building was like originally from the extensive restorations that have taken place throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. See colorful restored murals, which were typical of the time, and the throne room of the legendary King Minos, which is still intact.

Heraklion: Archaeological Museum & Knossos Ticket with Audio

2. Heraklion: Archaeological Museum & Knossos Ticket with Audio

Experience Ancient Crete at your own pace with a combined e-ticket for the island's top two archaeological attractions, the Palace of Knossos and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Experience two captivating self-guided audio tours on your smartphone. Receive your ticket in a separate email from our local partner, and download the app and audio tours onto your phone prior to your visit. Then travel back in time to experience the grandeur of Crete from the Minoan period to Roman times. Put on your headphones and discover the Palace of Knossos and the exquisite artifacts exhibited in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Through the power of storytelling, learn interesting facts and hear little-known stories from ancient times. The content of the tours is the result of in-depth research, squeezed into brief original stories that will make your visit both engaging and informative. The audio tours can be used repeatedly and anytime, before or after your visit. This is an unmissable opportunity to gain valuable insights into ancient Crete and the Minoan civilization, and to engage with your surroundings in an entirely original way.

Crete: Palace of Knossos Ticket with Audio Tour

3. Crete: Palace of Knossos Ticket with Audio Tour

Enjoy an exciting visit to Knossos Palace, Crete’s most famous historical attraction, with a skip-the-line e-ticket, including a compelling audio tour downloadable on your phone and a detailed map of the site. Lose yourself in the audio tour's storytelling and immerse yourself in history as you walk around this iconic site. Visit the grand capital of Minoan Crete, located just south of Heraklion, and see the evocative setting, complete with impressive ruins and brightly-colored frescoes, come alive through an engaging narrative that sheds light on various elements of Minoan culture. The cupbearers and procession frescoes at the South Propylaeum, which depict scenes from everyday life and the ceremonial activities in Minoan Crete, provide a great insight into the aesthetic ideals of the time. Follow the evolution of Minoan fashion, learn about the popular hairstyles of the people, and discover the beauty products locals used to touch up their look. At the West Magazines, where the storage facilities of the palace are located, gain an understanding of the well-organized bureaucracy that supported the palace organization, the earliest forms of linear writing, as well as the Minoan economy and trade networks. Discover the copy of the “Prince of the Lilies” at the South Entrance Corridor and gaze out on Mount Juktas, perfectly framed by the eroded walls of the palace. Visit the Queen’s Megaron, embellished with famous blue dolphins fresco and equipped with a bathroom and a toilet room, where you can find out everything about the bath habits in the Minoan era.

Heraklion: Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Guided Walking Tour

4. Heraklion: Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Guided Walking Tour

Join a guided tour of Knossos, a complex of more than 1500 interlocking rooms, once an astonishing palace built for a mighty king of the Bronze Age. Knossos is considered Europe’s oldest city. As you wander through the labyrinthine ruins, get the chance to see the original throne of ‘’Minos”, the mystifying sanctuaries, the luxurious domestic quarters of the royal family, Crete’s treasures pantries, and the water-management systems. The first palace of Knossos was erected soon after 2000 BC. In 1700 BC, a catastrophic earthquake destroyed the Palace. A new palace was built immediately, the most monumental of all, and for over 300 years it represented the pre-eminent center of power in Bronze Age Crete. The new palace was an imposing complex with important architectural innovations, splendid frescoes adorning the walls, hundreds of rooms distributed in four storeys, impressive storage areas, specialized workshops, and spacious courts hosting ceremonies and feasts. Learn how during the last decades of the 14th century BC, a series of earthquakes led to the final destruction of the palace. 

Crete: Day Trip to Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island

5. Crete: Day Trip to Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island

Travel to northeastern Crete, visit Agios Nikolaos and see its beautiful scenery, and take a boat trip to Spinalonga Island on this exciting day tour of some of Crete's most interesting sites. Begin the day with the visit to Agios Nikolaos, and see the shore of Mirabello Bay. Explore the town, famous for the lake at its center and its shopping and cafes. Take your time for a walk to enjoy the views, enjoy some shopping or have a drink in one of the numerous cafes around the lake. Explore an open-air market on Wednesdays. Move on to see Elounda village, a former fishing village on the northern coast of the island. Depart from Elounda for the cruise to Spinalonga Island. Learn about the island's vibrant history, from a home for the Venetians and Turks to a place of isolation for those suffering from leprosy. Experience the island, more popular after the 2005 historical novel “The Island” about how lepers lived in Spinalonga. Join the hundreds of people who come to the island every day to visit and learn its history.

From Heraklion Port: Full-Day Trip to Santorini

6. From Heraklion Port: Full-Day Trip to Santorini

Explore Santorini by boat on this day trip from Crete. Take part in a guided bus tour of the island, walk through charming villages, and witness stunning views. Your experience starts off from Crete on the luxurious high-speed catamaran "Champion Jet 2." On arrival at Thiras port, you'll board a comfortable, air-conditioned bus with your experienced guides who will provide information about the island and its history. Your first stop is the unique village of Oia. Built on the northern part of the Caldera rim, Oia offers magnificent views of houses studded along the volcanic rock hillside overlooking both the Mediterranean and Aegean sea. Next, visit the island’s capital Fira, where you will have plenty of free time to explore the picturesque alleys, admire the incomparable Aegean architecture, shop, or simply enjoy a drink. Then, you have the choice of spending more time in Fira, visiting the magnificent black beach of Perivolos, or taking a boat tour of the Caldera (subject to availability). Finally, you'll return to the port for the trip back to Crete.

Heraklion: Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Bus Sightseeing Tour

7. Heraklion: Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Bus Sightseeing Tour

Explore Heraklion on an open bus tour with a 48-hour ticket. See city’s famous landmarks and visit the famous beach of Ammoudara. Use the ticket for 2 days and board the bus at various points around the city.  Familiarize yourself with the Cretan civilization, history, and architecture and learn all about the old and modern city of Heraklion in your own language with the commentary on board, available in 8 languages.  Admire the view of the streets and the landmarks from a safe distance, Hop on and off at all the bus stops to visit major attractions such as Knossos Palace, the Archaeological Museum, Ammoudara Beach, the Venetian Port, the Market, and many others.  The 8 bus stops along the route are: • Old port square • Historical Museum of Crete • Knossos Palace • Heraklion Archaeological Museum • Grave of Nikos Kazantzakis • Venetian Walls • Port bus station • Jesus Gate

Heraklion: CRETAquarium Admission Ticket

8. Heraklion: CRETAquarium Admission Ticket

Venture into the ocean’s depth with a 1-day admission ticket to the CRETAquarium. One of Europe’s largest aquariums, over 2,000 sea creatures lice the CRETAquarium's 60 diverse habitats. Delve into the caves and crevices of the Mediterranean, where stingrays and rock-like scorpionfish slither about. Pop out into the open ocean, where menacing sharks circle, waiting to be fed. Get up close and personal with jellyfish and schools of vibrant tropical clownfish through shallow, open-topped tanks, which allow a new viewing perspective of well known species.  Above all, gain a new appreciation for the unending diversity of the world’s most mystifying environment. When you’ve had your fill of looking at the ocean’s residents, why not pop in for a dip? The CRETAquarium is, fittingly, right on the beach.

Agia Pelagia: Quad Safari-Family Tour

9. Agia Pelagia: Quad Safari-Family Tour

Begin the tour at the Peninsula Resort and Spa with a short theoretical introduction and a quad driving lesson before the adventure begins. Follow a beautiful off-road cliff path along the sea and into the heights of Achlada away from traffic and in the midst of the most beautiful nature the area has to offer. Enjoy breathtaking views over Agia Pelagia until reaching Heraklion, then continue to the ancient and abruptly abandoned ghost village of Achlada.  Find out more about the background of the village and the traditional Cretan way of life and share a special personal moment with the last two remaining inhabitants of the village. Stroll through this otherwise inaccessible village at leisure. From the heights of Achlada, pass in between the mountains surrounded by breathtaking nature before continuing to Fodele, a traditional Cretan village, also called the village of the oranges and birthplace of the famous painter El Greco.  Explore Crete’s culture and marvel at its local handicrafts. Take some time for shopping and a visit to the museum or to the village’s orthodox churches. Sit back and enjoy a famous freshly squeezed orange juice made from the local orange trees for a more relaxing experience. Return to the hotel at 1.00 p.m., just in time for lunch.

Heraklion: Lasithi Plateau, Cave of Zeus, & Knossos Day Trip

10. Heraklion: Lasithi Plateau, Cave of Zeus, & Knossos Day Trip

Discover Lasithi Plateau and its important landmarks on a guided day trip from Heraklion, with hotel transfers included. Visit Krasi village, the Kera Kardiotissa Monastery, and the Psychro Cave. Participate in a ceramics workshop and end your day exploring the traditional village of Knossos Palace. After a hotel pickup, head to the traditional mountain village of Krasi known for its quaint central square with stone fountains and an enormous plane tree thought to be 2,400 years old. See intimate tavernas and cafes scattered among the streets, small stone churches, and freshwater springs. Next, explore the Eastern Orthodox Keras Monastery, dedicated to Virgin Mary. Then, visit the Vidiani Monastery located at the foothills of Louloudaki Mountain. Learn how it was built in the 19th century by the monk Methodius Peraki, probably on the ruins of an older monastery. Continue to Psychro Cave, the mythical birth place of Zeus. Admire the ancient Minoan sacred cave and its stalactites and stalagmites. Next up is a ceramics workshop led by a local potter to see how traditional ceramics are made and try your hands at making one. Afterward, stop at a traditional tavern for lunch. Choose from a variety of local dishes made from local products of the Lassithi plateau, homemade wine, and products from the surrounding mountains. Leaving the beautiful region of Lasithi behind, end the tour at the Historical Site of Knossos, Europe's oldest city. Join a 1-hour guided tour and take photos of this Bronze Age archaeological site. Then, hop back on the bus to return to your hotel.

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What people are saying about Heraklion

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 590 reviews

The day trip was lovely. We got picked up in front of a hotel 2 minutes from our apartment, which was convenient. Traveloling from Heraklion, be ready for a pretty long commute and pick up in various different spots along the coast- we were picked up in a van, switched to a larger one in Heraklion and to a double decker bus somewhere along the coast. All these changes notwithstanding, the pick up was efficient and we were not made to wait at all, pretty much, which is impressive. The boat tour was relaxing, the beach lovely, the food good, and the tour of Spinalonga very informative and lively. All in all, a very nice day discovering areas of Crete we would not have accessed otherwise. Recommended!

A wonderful excursion. -Super organized! In Knossos (2h) and Heraklion (3h) you have enough free time to visit everything, to go shopping and to eat out. Anastasia has a lot of interesting facts about Crete ready and charms with her open mindedness, friendliness and laughter. Costas chauffeured us to all program points. The value for money is excellent. The excursion with this provider can therefore only be recommended. 1a!

Our tour guide was very nice and she was super knowledgeable. Only problem was it was very hot on the afternoon tour and if i were to go on this tour again I would go in the morning before it gets hot. Tour was very expensive

It was extremely busy the day we went. Having someone meet us, skip the line, help with buying tickets, and wonderful guide made our experience so nice. Such an amazing site!

Thorough and informative tour of Knossos. Vangelis came across as very learned and passionate, he was happy to answer questions and discuss all things Minoan.