Crete - Heraklion Area
The largest island in Greece, Crete is a feast for the senses: wild natural beauty and thousands of years of culture, history and exquisite cuisine
Meanwhile, endless kilometres of golden coastline surround Ierapetra, in the Lassithi prefecture to the east. And the celebrated palm forest in Vai is one of the most spectacular sights in Crete, where palm trees embrace the golden sand, while the beaches of Elounda and those around Agios Nikolaos are not to be missed.
On Crete, you’ll find some of the most significant attractions in Greece: famous archaeological sites such as the Minoan palaces of Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and Kato Zakros. You’ll also visit important monasteries, some built in the 15th century or even earlier, including the Preveli Monastery in southern Rethymno, the monasteries in southern Heraklion and the historic Arkadi and Toplous monasteries.
A paradise for thrill-seekers, hikers and nature lovers
Crete is the ideal destination for all kinds of sports and activities in nature. For canyoning and hiking, the gorges offer unparalleled beauty. The largest and most famous is Samaria, with its world-renowned Portes (Iron Gates). Other noteworthy canyons are Amba, Tripiti, Kourtaliotiko, Kamaraiko (the longest), Ha (the so-called ‘king of Cretan gorges’), and Ethias and Eligas. You’ll hike across these landscapes of sublime beauty and diversity and, for off-road and 4x4, you’ll zig and zag along Crete’s dirt roads. Meanwhile, the cosmopolitan resorts in both the north and south of the island are ideal for water sports and scuba diving.
The Venetian port of Heraklion is a lively city filled with sights, museums, restaurants, bars and hotels. Walk along the walls of the old city and explore Morosini (Leondaria) Square, the Loggia (City Hall), Agios Titos and Armeria (the armoury).
Ierapetra: The old town with its narrow alleyways, little harbour and famous Fortress of Kales is one of the most significant sights in Crete.
Agios Nikolaos: A cosmopolitan summer resort, with the mystical allure of Lake Vouliagmeni (which, legend has it, is bottomless), lined with numerous cafes and restaurants.
Sitia: The historic Kazarma Fortress (Casa di arma) and its animated waterfront, with cafes, shops and restaurants, should definitely be on your list of destinations to visit.
Elounda: A cosmopolitan paradise of sophisticated resorts and hotels, with private beaches, pools and piers. It has the highest concentration of Greece’s five-star resorts.
Lassithi: Visit the palm forest at Vai but make sure you also find time for the caves of Diktean Antro and Milatos, the island fortress of Spinalonga and the Lassithi Plateau.
Mount Ida (Psiloritis): Ambitious hikers will climb to the top of the tallest mountain in Crete and be rewarded with an unforgettable view.
THINGS TO DO & SEE
Palace of Knossos
In a Nutshell
Eastern Crete is home to upscale Elounda...dramatic scenery and mountainous villages and several beaches..a good fly drive option in early & late season
Fly to Heraklion - Approx. 60-90min transfer time to resort
Direct flights from London Gatwick with British Airways
Daily Direct flights from London Gatwick with Easyjet
Direct flights from Manchester with Easyjet
Direct flights from Stansted with Jet2
Direct flights from Manchester with Jet2
Direct flights from Birmingham with Jet2
Direct flights from Bristol with Jet2
Direct flights from East Midlands with Jet2
Direct flights from Newcastle with Jet2
Direct flights from Leeds Bradford with Jet2
Direct flights from Belfast with Jet2
Direct flights from Edinburgh with Jet2
Direct flights from Glasgow with Jet2
Our location maps are intended as a helpful guide but are by no means definitive.