Heraklion has all the advantages of the capital: proximity to the resorts, excellent shopping, many historical monuments and an active nightlife. And those who initially planned to visit here only in transit may linger and not regret this decision. What to do in Heraklion and where to go?


Heraklion is a city with a long history. Therefore, the first thing to do is to explore its sights. To do this, you will need comfortable shoes and a couple of days - all the interesting monuments of the Cretan capital are located compactly. Your Heraklion itinerary should include:

  • The fortress of Koules is the heritage of the Venetians and the symbol of the harbor of Heraklion. The building is decorated with coats of arms and bas-reliefs, exhibitions are held inside, and views of the entire city open from a height;
  • Cathedral of Saint Mina, named after the patron saint of Heraklion. Inside it is painted with Byzantine frescoes;
  • Venetian Loggia - a building of amazing beauty, built at the beginning of the 17th century;
  • Morosini fountain with lion statues. It has been decorating the city center since the 17th century, and life is in full swing around: cafes, taverns, shops;
  • The Archaeological Museum is the main museum of Crete. The most important finds from the Palace of Knossos are stored there, including frescoes and figurines. The time span is wide: from the Neolithic to the Roman era. But at the core of the collection are Minoan artifacts;
  • The Gate of St. George of 1565 is the surviving part of the once powerful Venetian wall.

Please note: Open Tour Hop-On Hop-Off Buses operate in Heraklion from May to October. They pass through the entire historical center of the city and its environs, and also follow to Knossos. You can get off at any stop, and then get back on the bus and continue on your way. The starting point is the port.


You won’t be able to swim in Heraklion, but you can get to the nearest beaches in a few minutes by taxi or bus. Many of them rightfully received the Blue Flag. Just 5 km from the center of Heraklion is the sandy beach of Amoudara with excellent infrastructure (showers, entertainment, taverns). There are always many vacationers here, but due to the length of the Amudara you will always find a place there.

A little further (7 km) is Crateros beach. It is open to all winds, so surfers will like it. Part of the beach is equipped: there are taverns, apartments, sun loungers. The other part remains wild. 15 km from Heraklion is one of the most popular beaches in this area - Kokkini Hani. Its coast is divided into several sandy and wind-sheltered bays. Here you can stay for a few days to enjoy the leisurely atmosphere of the resort town.

The shops

Heraklion is a shopping paradise: fashion boutiques, fur and cosmetics stores, and souvenir shops are concentrated in the capital of Crete. The main shopping street here is 1866 street. It houses the central market of Heraklion, selling traditional Cretan crafts, jewelry and clothing. 1866 Street is the best place to look for souvenirs. The choice is amazing: from ceramic products of different shapes and colors to cosmetics, honey, spices and drinks.

Branded items should be looked for on Daedalou Street. There are boutiques of both Greek and well-known international brands. Good shopping awaits at the Talos Plaza shopping center. By the standards of European cities, it is quite modest. Peacocks, OVS, Yamamay, Bata brands are represented in Talos Plaza.

Additional information: Talos Plaza is located at Sofokli Venizelou Minoos Iraklio 713 03

Night life

You won’t have to think long about the question “where to go in Heraklion in the evening”. It is enough to visit the Korai street to get into the epicenter of the nightlife of Crete. During the day, life is in full swing in coffee houses, and after sunset - in numerous clubs and bars that lined up in an even row. Korai has some of the best restaurants in Heraklion. Some attract with terraces that offer a view of the lights of the night city.

Good cafe-bars work on Khandakos street . And next to the central market, traditional Uzerias are concentrated - this is where you can touch the atmosphere of real Greece, enjoy drinks and snacks.


In summer, the Heraklion Festival is traditionally held in the city. Its events include theatrical, musical, dance and film events featuring international artists. The main venues are usually the garden theaters "Manos Hadzidakis" and "Nikos Kazantzakis". In October, the Gastronomic Festival of Heraklion takes over. Guests will have the opportunity to taste the best wines, fruits, olive oil and dishes prepared by the festival participants. 

In the nearby villages there is also something to visit. For example, the annual Khudetsi Festival in the village of the same name (23 km from Heraklion). It takes place in June and July and brings together music, art and excellent Cretan gastronomy.