Heraklion, Crete

 

Heraklion is the largest city of Crete and one of Greece’s major urban centres. The city flourished under a multicultural influence throughout the centuries; that’s why there is a plethora of Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman structures to look out for!
The city’s landmark is the 16th c. Koules fortress in the westernmost side of the old Venetian port, which along with the fortification walls (dating back to the same period) are among the most significant and imposing sights.

There are many chances for alternative things to do Heraklion, apart from beach holidays. Diving is a popular activity in Heraklion, particularly in resorts on the northern side of the island, like Hersonissos, Malia, Agia Pelagia, and Gouves. The seabed of Heraklion has interesting flora and fauna and many ancient wrecks.

Also, the strong winds that blow frequently in summer provide great chances for windsurfing. There are some windsurfing centers in Heraklion that rent equipment and offer courses for all levels. Another popular activity is hiking, particularly in spring and autumn when the weather is not so hot. Hiking trails in Heraklion cross impressive gorges, villages, and ancient sites and end in secluded beaches.

Heraklion Town is actually the largest town in Crete and serves as the main transportation hub for the island, with a busy port and an international airport. The region of Heraklion has many interesting sites to visit, including the archaeological sites of Knossos, Gortyn, and Phaestos, the Fortress of Heraklion Town and various monasteries. Cretaquarium is also a very fun place to visit, especially for children.