Fact: Heraklion is not only the capital of Crete but also one of the island’s most beautiful towns.
But is it just its size that it makes it a top destination?
You bet it isn’t!
Heraklion may be a modern town with a cosmopolitan profile, but it hasn’t lost its traditional identity. In its bustling city center, you won’t find just tall buildings, fashion boutiques and all kinds of restaurants and bars, but also many ancient monuments and interesting sights. In Heraklion, old meets new, to create a unique cultural mixture, praised by travelers from all around the world!
Keep reading to be one of them!
Heraklion city center
Heraklion is a beautiful seaside town with a busy city center, where old meets new and traditional meets modern, to create a unique architectural mixture. In Heraklion, you’ll find a great selection of shops, cafes, restaurants, Crete hotels and all kinds of amenities.
Meandering around the old town, you’ll have the chance to discover many historical monuments, such as the town hall, Saint Titus church, the grave of Nikos Kazantzakis and Morozini fountain. The center of activity in Heraklion, though, is the bustling seafront promenade, which is also perfect for sunset strolls!
Tip: If you want to make the most out of the exploration in Heraklion, consider joining a group tour around the Old Town!
The Venetian wall, in Heraklion port
Well, this is, hands down, the trademark of Heraklion!
The Venetian wall, as its name indicates, was built by the Venetians, during their rule. Although its construction started in 1462, it was completed more than 100 (!) years later, after lots of hard work was done by the Cretans.
The Venetian wall was 3 km long, while it had four gates and seven bastions. Although it was attacked several times, its structure was so stable that it never failed to protect Heraklion town!
Today, the Venetian wall is the perfect place for exploration and strolls, as well as an ideal spot to marvel at a panoramic view to Heraklion town!
Koules fortress Heraklion
In the entrance of the Venetian fortress in Heraklion, stands the imposing square-shaped Koules fortress! Called “Ricca” or “Castello a mare” by the Venetians, Koules is one of the most famous and visited monuments in Heraklion town. It’s the symbol of the town’s strength.
Koules was constructed by the Venetians in 1523, in order to protect the town from invasions. The two-floor fortress is 3,600 square meters big and has 26 compartments, barracks, a water reservoir, storage rooms, and a prison, while it boasts a wonderful view of the Aegean sea!
Tip: After your exploration, sit on a bench inside the fortress to regain some strength and take in the wonderful view!
Natural History Museum of Crete
Founded in 1980, the Natural History Museum of Crete in Heraklion is one of the most interesting museums in Crete!
In this museum, you’ll have the chance to explore every aspect of the natural environment of Crete as well as animals that existed way before humans.
In the main area of the museum, you’ll discover all the different ecosystems of Greece, while on the seismic table, an earthquake simulator, you’ll have the chance to feel the sensation of an earthquake. How cool is this?
A visit to the Natural History Museum of Crete is a unique experience for both adults and kids!
Venetian Loggia in Heraklion, in which the town hall is housed, is another vestige of the Venetian rule. A mixture of Ionic and Doric architectures, Venetian Loggia is a truly impressive Crete monument in the center of Heraklion Town. Located on the square of Saint Titus, along 25th August street, it was built in 1626-1628 by the Venetian architect Francesco Morozini.
Venetian Loggia boasts a beautiful structure, having a rectangular shape and a columned exterior, which is softly lighted at night. Its interior is equally beautiful, with a Doric groundfloor and an Ionic upper floor!
Minoan Palace of Knossos
Visiting Knossos Palace is one of the best things to do in Crete!
Knossos palace is one of the most important archaeological sites not only in Heraklion but in whole Greece. Located 5 km from Heraklion town, Knossos palace receives thousands of visitors, who come to marvel the remains of the Minoan time, every year.
Wandering around Knossos you’ll be transported to another era. Inside the palace, you’ll find areas such as an open-air theater, a sanctuary, storage rooms, and the throne room.
Τhe most impressive feature of Knossos palace, though, is the colorful murals that decorate its walls, depicting scenes of the Ancient Cretans’ everyday life!
To sum up, there’s a whole heap of amazing places to visit in Heraklion. This town literally breaths history as it, itself, is a historical monument, full of treasures!
Are you ready to explore them?
Book your holidays in Crete and let the beautiful town of Heraklion bewitch you!
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