Heraklion Regional Unit
National Parks

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Our most recommended Heraklion Regional Unit National Parks

From North Crete: Samaria Gorge Mountains & Waterways Trek

1. From North Crete: Samaria Gorge Mountains & Waterways Trek

Your full-day excursion to Samaria Gorge begins with pickup in Heraklion and a drive to Omalos, in the heart of the White Mountains, where you can enjoy breakfast before you begin your hike. The trek will take you over rocks and stones, through a forest of thousand-year-old trees and along a river by fresh-water springs. Along the way, you’ll have spectacular views of Crete’s most beautiful mountain range, and you are also likely to see mountain goats roaming in the wild. You will be accompanied by a professional mountain escort who speaks English, German and Greek. Your escort will be there to explain all the necessary information about your hike and provide you with the tickets for the entrance and ferry. After your breakfast you will enter the Samaria Gorge, where you can walk at your own pace as your guide waits at the end of the group to help you out if you need them. At the end of the trek you’ll visit the village of Agia Roumeli, where you’ll find a number of taverns, bars, and shops. You can enjoy some free time to take a swim or have some lunch. Late in the afternoon you’ll board a boat that will take you from Agia Roumeli to Sfakia, where your bus will be waiting to transfer you back to the starting point.

Heraklion: Gramvousa & Balos Day Trip Without Boat Ticket

2. Heraklion: Gramvousa & Balos Day Trip Without Boat Ticket

Start your day with pick-up from the nearest point to your hotel. Drive towards the west side of Crete in a bus to reach the port of Kissamos Kasteli. After your escort gives you all the necessary information about the cruise, arrive at the port to board the ferry boat to Gramvousa. Your escort will collect the money for the boat tickets from you so you can skip the lines at the ticket offices. At about 10:30 AM, set off for the island of Gramvousa on the ferry, which has a restaurant with self-service meals and snacks. Sit back on a deck chair or in the lounge for the journey of approximately 45 minutes. During the cruise, marvel at the cliff edges of the wildest part of Crete and learn about the history of the island with the onboard commentary played through the speakers in various languages. Upon arrival in Gramvousa, either have a swim or take a hike to the top of the island to the Venetian fortress. Enjoy 2.5 hours on Gramvousa before you continue to the lagoon of Balos, which is 20 minutes away. As soon as you arrive at the lagoon, you'll have a little less than 3 hours to enjoy the area. You may go back to the boat at any time for food or also hire umbrellas if the heat is too intense. In the early evening, board the boat to head back to the port of Kissamos, where a bus will be waiting to return you to your hotel area.

From Heraklion: Day Trip to Knossos and the Lasithi Plateau

3. From Heraklion: Day Trip to Knossos and the Lasithi Plateau

Discover the breathtaking beauty of the Lasithi Plateau on a day trip from Heraklion. Admire the remaining windmills and the drainage system that dates back to the Venetian Empire. Pass through traditional villages such as Psychro. Visit the Dikteon Cave, where Zeus is said to have been born. Continue to the village of Tzermiado and enjoy lunch in an authentic tavern before going to the Keras Kardiotissas Monastery, known for its remarkable murals. Next, visit the Minoan Palace of Knossos and learn the legend of the settlement at sites such as the Throne Room and Royal Chambers.

From Heraklion: Day Trip to Imbros Gorge and Fragokastello

4. From Heraklion: Day Trip to Imbros Gorge and Fragokastello

Kick off your Cretan adventure when you’re picked up from your pickup point and driven by bus to the village of Skaleta, the farthest western point of the beachfront. Sip on some coffee before discovering the beauty of the second-most visited gorge on the island, Imbros Gorge.  Easier to navigate than the renowned Samaria Gorge, Imbros is just as captivating with several narrow stony passages, steep slopes and cliffs, and grand shady trees that will protect you from the hot Greek sun. Enjoy a route that mostly descends but is never steep over 2.5 hours, a trek ideal for families with children. At the end of your walk, find yourself at one of the most stunning beaches in Crete, Fragokastello. Discover the impressive Venetian castle of Fragokastello on golden shores with its own unique history, closely related to the legend of Drosoulites. Sit back and relax on the beach, enjoying breathtaking views of lofty mountains, wide plains, and the surrounding deep blue sea. Refresh yourself floating in shallow turquoise waters. After swimming, enjoy a delicious meal in one of the nearby taverns before heading back to your pickup point with unforgettable memories.

Crete: Samaria Gorge Day Trip

5. Crete: Samaria Gorge Day Trip

After pickup from your hotel in Agios Nikolaos or Elounda, you’ll head straight to the Omalos plateau, followed by Xyloskalo, the northernmost entrance to the Samaria Gorge. The walk begins with a descent into the bottom of the gorge, changing altitude by over 600 meters. Gaze up at the stark, lush cliffs that line the narrow canyon, keeping your eyes peeled for the rare kri-kri goat, a species endemic to Crete and known for its massive, curled horns. About halfway into the walk, you’ll find the ruins of the Samaria Village, whose inhabitants were relocated after the region was designated as a national park. After a small rest, you’ll continue through the Gorge, passing the church of Osia Maria, from which the gorge takes its name. Shortly thereafter, reach the most famous portion of gorge—the Gates, where the path narrows to less than 10 feet, while cliffs rise over 1,000 feet in the air. With the majority of the path behind you, you’ll soon enter the Agia Roumeli village, set against the stunning Aegean Sea, where you’ll hop on a boat bound for a bus to take you back to your accommodation.

From Lasithi Area: Richtis Gorge Experience

6. From Lasithi Area: Richtis Gorge Experience

Your experience starts from Agios Nikolaos, heading east with the Gulf of Mirabello on your left side. You will then drive to Istron and the stunning beaches of Karavostasi, as wel as Agios Panteleimonasm Golden Beach Voulisma and the village of Kavousi. Following that, you will visit the Minoan settlement of Azoria where the oldest olive tree in the world is located. You will then explore the mouth of the mind boggling Richtis Gorge, where you will explore an amazing trail within the gorge see the falls of Richtis. The falls. will prove to be a provider of wonderful images, and will be well worth the effort of walking along the trail, which leads to a pebbled beach. The hike is very easy, even for young children, and on the way back you can stroll around the alleys of the picturesque village of Tourloti

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What people are saying about Heraklion Regional Unit

So big ❤ Thanks to the tour guide Viola, everything told and lived with heart! The only thing, you have to know, after the early meeting we rattled off many hotels for 1.45 hours to collect them all ... nervous. Trip highly recommended. 1 stop monastery 2 stop Zeus cave (scho bisl exhausting) a worthwhile 3 stop Knossos .... there is not much left, a is ok ... just history of Greece. Have fun after traveling

You pay just for the guide + bus, the gorge entry & boat tickets need to be payed additionally in the bus (which btw had some problems that day and we had to switch to the other one). The experience in Samaria was excellent tho and would recommend it to anyone!

Paradise islands turquoise waters a real moment of happiness we were amazed Departing from heraklion Trip by bus of almost 3 hours tiring but it was worth it

Everything was perfect and if anything was unclear, they helped you. And we had an entertaining and reliable tour guide and a safe, helpful bus driver.

Very good experience, thanks to the guide who also spoke French which helped us a lot