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Venetian Fortress, Fishing Boats, Visit Heraklion

Venetian Fortress, © Can Stock / Arsty

Visit Heraklion – Palace of Knossos

Heraklion is the most popular attraction for those who visit Heraklion  The ruins of the Palace of Knossos are about 15 minutes south of Heraklion.  The palace is a Late Bronze Age Minoan fortification that was abandoned around 1200 BC.  The site lends some support to the myth of King Minos and the legend of the Minotaur.  The Minotaur was a human body with a bulls head.  The Minotaur supposedly attacked individuals in the Labyrinth at this location.  The ruins at the Palace of Knossos have been under excavation for decades.

Palace of Knossos, Visit Heraklion

Palace of Knossos

Heraklion Weather

July and August are the warmest months for Heraklion weather.  Average temperatures peak in July and August at around 84 F (29 C), while lows are about 72 F (22 C).  Heraklion weather makes it popular in summer, because you can expect no rainfall on the island of Crete from June through August.  From December to February average highs are 60 F (15 C) and average lows are 48 F (9 C).  Rainfall peaks in the months of December and January.  June through September are all excellent months to visit Heraklion.

St Titus Cathedral, Visit Heraklion, Crete

St Titus Cathedral, © Can Stock / Neirfy

Visit Heraklion – Hotels

Agios Minas Cathedral, St Minas, Visit Heraklion

Agios Minas Cathedral

Visit Heraklion – Old Town

One of the popular things to do when you visit Heraklion is to take a self guided walking tour of the Old Town.  Check our our Heraklion Old Town Walking Tour Map.  Enjoy the pedestrian only streets near the port.  Start at Eleftherias Venizelou Square beside the Heraklion Archaeological Museum and see St George’s Gate underneath the south end of the square.  Then head down Daidalou Street to the Lions Fountain.  Next walk down 1866 St through the Heraklion Market until you reach the Bamboo Fountain in Kornarou Square.  From there continue west to St Minas Cathedral (Agios Minas).  Beside the cathedral is Hagia Ekatherini church.

Old Town, 25th August St, Visit Heraklion

Old Town, 25th August St

Now take Kalokairinou Avenue back to the heart of downtown and the Lion Fountain again.  Walk north past St Mark’s (the Municipal Art Gallery) and the Venetian Loggia, which was a public meeting hall.  Beside the Venetian Loggia is St Titus Cathedral.  Follow the 25th of August Street, which is a highlight of Heraklion.  Arrive at the old Venetian Shipyard, also called the arsenal.  The new port is directly behind this.  Finally, walk out to the Venetian Fortress (Castello a Mare or Rocca a Mare), which used to guard the harbor.

Heraklion Port, Venetian Shipyard, Visit Heraklion

Venetian Shipyard, © Can Stock / grauzikas

Get to Heraklion

Heraklion’s Nikos Kazantzakis Airport is the main access point to the island of Crete.  The airport is about 5 minutes east of downtown.  You can also get to Heraklion by daily ferry to Athens.  For further ferry information, check out Blue Star Ferries and ANEK Lines.  Ferry service also connects to a number of other Greek islands, so you can get to Heraklion from Mykonos, Santorini or Rhodes.

Visit Heraklion – Background

Heraklion is the largest city and capital of the island of Crete.  Crete became part of Greece  in 1913.  In its early history, Heraklion was controlled by the Minoans and then the Byzantines.  In the 1200s the Republic of Venice bought Herklion .  You can still see the Venetian influence in the architecture.  The Ottomans ruled the city in the 1600s.  Today Heraklion is an industrial city of nearly 200,000 people and it is the gateway for summer tourism on Crete.

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