Things to do in
Heraklion Regional Unit

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Our most recommended things to do in Heraklion Regional Unit

Crete: Palace of Knossos Ticket with Audio Tour

1. 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: 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.

From Heraklion: Afternoon Sailing Trip to Dia Island

3. From Heraklion: Afternoon Sailing Trip to Dia Island

Embark on a half-day cruise to Dia Island from Heraklion and explore this rugged island with plenty of time to swim, snorkel, or relax on its pristine shores. Enjoy a Mediterranean lunch with a glass of wine. 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 are 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.

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. 

From Heraklion Area: Koufonisi Island Boat Cruise

5. From Heraklion Area: Koufonisi Island Boat Cruise

Start with pickup from your hotel in the morning. Drive along the beautiful coast of Crete and the southernmost town of Europe, Lerapetra, before reaching Makrigialos, a picturesque village in the South-East of Crete. Here, hop on the boat and start the cruise to Koufonisi. Cruise around the island of Koufonisi, a totally uninhabited island, away from any kind of human activity. The boat sails around the whole island so you can admire the beautiful coastline and caves surrounding it. Make a stop at Koufonisi Bay for 1 hour. Enjoy some time for swimming in crystal clear, turquoise waters. You can then choose to enjoy lunch on board, at an additional cost. The boat then approaches the caves of Koufonisiso so you can take photos of the unique scenery. Stop at the beach of Koufonisi for 2 hours and 30 minutes. Umbrellas can be rented on board. Finally, head back on the return leg of your journey to Heraklion.

From Heraklion: Land Rover Safari to Tripiti Gorge & Beach

6. From Heraklion: Land Rover Safari to Tripiti Gorge & Beach

Our day is the perfect way to explore the central part of Crete from mountains to gorges to a beautiful beach. Our journey starts as we make our way to Mount Juktas with breathtaking views of the blue infinity of the Aegean Sea. God Zeus knew what he was doing by choosing Mount Juktas as his final resting place. From here we take the road through extensive vineyards where the Minoans built a wine press which is the oldest one in the world, to our next stop Charakas, a little mountain village where we join the locals for a coffee break in the traditional cafeneion. We continue on through dirt tracks, bumpy roads over the olive tree dotted hills to our next stop the top of Tripitis Gorge where you have a magnificent view over the Gorge with its different layers of rocks, Cretan wild herbs and the Libyan Sea. Driving down towards one of the most beautiful and pictures Gorges of Crete we stop to give you the possibility to walk thru the Gorge to the narrows place where you find the little church of Panagia which is built into the rocks. Building up an appetite, we drive down to Tripitis beach where we have a BBQ Lunch next to the beach with unlimited wine and water. Now you can enjoy some free time for a refreshing swim in the Libyan Sea where you have crystal clear blue water and the temperature of the water is always higher than in the Aegean Sea. Than we head back towards the South Coast passing through some small traditional villages full of character and interest until we stop for some refreshment and to try our local drink, Raki. This is a day full of many surprises and the excitement is second to none, you certainly won’t forget your fun day out with Safari Club Crete.

From Heraklion Port: Full-Day Trip to Santorini

7. 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.

Agia Pelagia: Quad Safari-Family Tour

8. 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, or alternatively, there is the possibility to have lunch in a local restaurant and try Greek Meze – a variety of Greek delicacies served on small plates.

Crete: Palace of Knossos Archaeological Site Entrance Ticket

9. 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.

From Heraklion: Morning Sailing Trip to Dia Island

10. From Heraklion: Morning Sailing Trip to Dia Island

Enjoy a cruise, snorkeling and fishing in crystal clear waters on this relaxing and fun trip to Dia Island. Relax on the 1-hour trip to the island, taking in the scenery and enjoying the comfort of your boat, which will have a maximum of 8 passengers onboard. Next, visit the romantic gulf and ancient Minoan port of St. George. Spend 2.5 hours swimming in the turquoise water, walking on the beautiful trails, fishing or just relaxing on the beach. Relax and let the crew take care of you by providing you with any snorkeling and fishing equipment you need. Enjoy unlimited refreshments, seasonal fruits and a delicious Mediterranean lunch served by the crew.

Other Sightseeing Options in Heraklion Regional Unit

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What people are saying about Heraklion Regional Unit

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 4,180 reviews

A great time for experienced and beginner riders. pre arranged travel is a must though,and it being a farm bug repellent is a good choice. The staff were very friendly and their instructions were helpful,and they accompanied us in case there was any issues. The horses themselves were extremely patient with us (special thank you to Angela Merkel) with many of us making mistakes riding them but they did not mind. A break at the top for a light snack and photos with the view was amazing. Great hospitality all round, especially when we had a travel issue, couldn't thank them enough for the extra mile they went to help us :)

The entire sailing trip was very successful and relaxed. At the island of Dia you could snorkel and dive in the turquoise blue water. Dinner was on deck, all in all very harmonious. Very nice skipper Elias and his co-pilot Janis. Thumbs up!

What a lovely family! Irene and her father Gregory are so welcoming. Nothing was too much trouble. I’d definitely recommend a visit to this place.

He was an amazing guide! Very knowledgeable, answered all our questions, just overall great. I definitely recommend!!

Really interesting history of Cretan civilization. Museum is well organized and the audio tour was easy to follow.