Things to do in
Heraklion Regional Unit

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Our most recommended things to do in Heraklion Regional Unit

From Heraklion: Afternoon Sailing Trip to Dia Island

1. From Heraklion: Afternoon Sailing Trip to Dia Island

Benefit from optional pick-up from your hotel or cruise ship, or meet at the Venetian harbor at Heraklion Port at 14:30, and then relax on a 1-hour cruise to Dia Island on an intimate boat with space for no more than 8 passengers. Relax aboard the elegant sailing boat before dropping anchor in the romantic Gulf of Saint George at 15:30. Discover an idyllic location with a great history as an ancient Minoan port and one of the favorite destinations of the underwater explorer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau.  Enjoy 2.5 hours at leisure to fish, swim in the crystal clear water, take a walk among the island's cedar trees or just relax in the quiet bay overlooking Heraklion. Snorkeling and fishing equipment is provided for your comfort and convenience by the attentive crew, along with unlimited refreshments and seasonal fruits. Feast from a delicious Mediterranean menu of roasted chicken fillets, rice with vegetables, Greek salad and wine. Depart Dia Island at 18:00 and journey back to Heraklion for an estimated arrival time of 19:00, where a transfer to your hotel or cruise ship is provided if requested.

Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Entry with Guided Walking Tour

2. Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Entry with 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: Palace of Knossos Ticket with Audio Tour

3. Crete: Palace of Knossos Ticket with Audio Tour

Enjoy an exciting visit to Knossos, Crete’s most famous historical attraction with a skip-the-line e-ticket, which includes a compelling audio tour downloadable on your phone and a detailed map of the 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: Archaeological Museum & Knossos Ticket with Audio

4. 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.

From Heraklion Port: Full-Day Trip to Santorini

5. 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.

Crete: Day Trip to Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island

6. 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.

Heraklion: Hop-on Hop-off Bus Sightseeing Tour

7. Heraklion: Hop-on Hop-off 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

From Heraklion or Agios Nikolaos: Full-Day Santorini Trip

8. From Heraklion or Agios Nikolaos: Full-Day Santorini Trip

Climb aboard a luxury high-speed catamaran in Heraklion harbor for the 2.5-hour crossing to Santorini. Upon arrival, take a tour of the beautiful island by air-conditioned bus and get an informative commentary about the history of one of the most romantic destinations in Greece. Travel to the village of Oia at the northernmost tip for magnificent views of the typical blue and white houses across the hillside. Continue to the capital at Fira and get some free time to browse the shops or enjoy a drink at a bar with views of the volcano. Go for a stroll along a black sand beach at Perissa or Perivolos before the return boat departure at 5:45 PM.

Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Ticket & Private Guided Tour

9. Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Ticket & Private Guided Tour

Settlements in Knossos date as far back as the Neolithic period. Neolithic remains from around 7000 BC are found throughout Crete. Explore the ruins of the ancient Minoan civilization and enjoy a skip-the-line tour of the Knossos Palace. The Knossos Palace was built from 1700 to 1400 BC. Advanced architectural techniques were used in its construction, and sections of the palace stood up to 5 stories high. It featured 1,300 rooms connected by corridors, and a theater and extensive storerooms, which held large clay containers of oil, grains, dried fish, beans and olives – often with gold hidden beneath.

Heraklion: Full-Day Catamaran Cruise With Meal and Drinks

10. Heraklion: Full-Day Catamaran Cruise With Meal and Drinks

Enjoy an incredible catamaran day tour to Dia island. See the awe-inspiring beauty of the bay and take lots of photos, enjoy a full breakfast and Mediterranean lunch, relax, snorkel or fish, and more, on this all-inclusive trip. Start at Heraklion harbor and board the luxury catamaran, to enjoy a welcoming breakfast. Meet the team, receive thorough safety instructions from the captain, then it’s time to depart for Dia Island. Be amazed by the surrounding beauty of the picturesque bay. Enjoy the waters of Dia island to the full – the boat is equipped with full-face masks and fins for snorkeling, fishing gear and tackle, a stand-up paddleboard, and all the equipment you could need for a leisure-filled day at sea. For lunch, enjoy a delicious Mediterranean meal with fresh vegetables, homemade lasagna with spinach, grilled fish, and Banoffee and seasonal fruits for dessert. Finally, head back to Heraklion harbor revitalized from an unforgettable day.

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What people are saying about Heraklion Regional Unit

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 4,180 reviews

We had a great time on our tour with Alex. I would definitely recommend this tour to others. To start out with we were a little skeptical with the size of the bikes but soon learned it was better that way biking through the small crowded streets of the city. No pedaling allowed or required on these bikes, they were really easy to use as long as you know how to ride a bike ;-) Alex brought us to a tavern where he fed us some great food. Go on this tour if you arrive in the city and need to know where you have to go.

We had such a great time with Marcos and Christina. Very attentive and many fun things to do. We had time to relax as well as do some swimming and snorkeling. Highly recommend. Dia island is beautiful.

Absolutely amazing experience! The staff are so lovely and can’t do enough for you. The island you visit is a hidden paradise, and the food was absolutely Gorgeous.

Great Sailingtour to Dia Island! The crew was very nice, the food, the boat, the crystalclear water and everything. We enjoyed it a lot.

Brilliant experience of the ancient seat of Minoan power and the shockingly advanced technology of the period.