The capital city of Crete, Heraklion is a fascinating fusion of ancient and modern. In recent years, walking around the city’s historic centre would’ve been almost impossible, due to the sheer volume of traffic passing through. Today, most of main historic areas have been pedestrianized, giving you the chance to soak up early Cretan architecture or go shopping in sleek, contemporary malls.
While you’re away on holiday, make sure you visit Liondaria. The name translates as ‘Lion Square’, in reference to the four stone lions that guard a beautiful fountain featuring detailed carvings and statues of sea-nymphs, mythical monsters, and other creatures from Greek legend. Liondaria is a hub for everyone and anyone: you’ll see impromptu business meetings being held in cafés, groups of locals arguing animatedly about this and that, and tourists just soaking up the scenery. There are plenty of places to grab a bite and don’t forget to try the bougastsas: a Greek pastry filled with vanilla cream.
Market Street is a must for bargain-hunters taking looking for all sorts of fresh produce. Here you’ll find fresh herbs, meat and fish, sold alongside clothing, honey, cheese and the local spirit, raki.
Whatever you’re looking from your time in the sun, this superb city is sure to deliver.
If you want to make the most of the sunshine, book your getaway between June and August, when the temperatures hover in the mid-to-late twenties.
3 and a half to 4 hours
Between three and a half and four hours, depending on where you fly from.
Flights land at Heraklion Airport, which is about 3km from the resort.
Book a Thomas Cook holiday to Heraklion to experience some of the wonders of ancient Greece, walk around the city’s famous walls and enjoy nights out on the harbour.
What is included ?
While holidays to Heraklion feature the vibrant, buzzing city, its position close to the sea gives you plenty of opportunities for some lazy days on the beach. If you prefer city life, it really comes into its own after the sun goes down, when many of its ancient monuments are lit by night and the clubs and pubs fill the backstreets with the sounds of music and laughter. There’s a huge variety of restaurants to enjoy, from contemporary eateries, to traditional tavernas, serving genuine Cretan cuisine.
The area surrounding the city is a goldmine for beach lovers. Hop on a bus or hire a car and you could find yourself catching some rays on beautiful beaches such as those found at Malia, Hersonissos, and Amoudara. With beach bars and restaurants on hand, you can easily spend a day at the seaside. However, if you think there’s more fun to be had on or under the water, you’ll find plenty of water sports on offer and some superb scuba-diving opportunities, particularly at Gouves and Agia Pelagia.
Good wine is an integral part of Cretan life and Heraklion holidays! Be sure to take some time to visit some of the vineyards that surround the city. The Lyrarakis Winery allows you to see how the glorious grapes are grown, before being turned into the island’s favourite tipple. Once you’ve seen how everything works, there’s the chance to please your palate with a little wine-tasting, and the opportunity to buy directly from the vineyard. The Nostos Winery offers a guided tour from the vineyard’s sommelier. Surrounded by orange and lemon groves, your guide will talk you through tasting notes as you sample wines that are 100% organic.