The largest city in Crete, Heraklion doesn’t usually enjoy the popularity of neighboring Chania or Rethymno. Yet this doesn’t mean that it lacks equally stunning treasures.
- Visit the Archaeological Site of Knossos
Among its other wonders, Crete is home to one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece: The Palace of Knossos. The ancient city of Knossos was a powerful political and financial centre of antiquity and the very heart of the renowned Minoan Civilisation. Nowadays, Knossos is home to some of the most impressive remnants of Ancient Greece’s glorious past. The palace features unique frescoes with vivid colours which have surprisingly endured the relentless test of time.
Knossos Palace lies about 6km south of Heraklion. Since you will most probably visit during the hot summer months, don’t forget your hat and sunscreen and carry a bottle of water at all times, especially at noon. For a hassle-free experience, a great idea is to visit Knossos on a guided tour from Heraklion.
- Channel your Inner Hippie at Matala
Who hasn’t heard stories of the legendary hippies that roamed the world in the 60s and 70s in search of the most pristine places where they could be free to lead a life of communal values in total harmony with nature? In Greece, hippies found their heaven on earth at Matala and, more specifically, at the village’s iconic natural caves.
Nowadays, the caves in Matala are not inhabited by nature lovers with long hair and colourful clothes but the village itself is really worth a visit in its own right. Matala enjoys a laid-back ambience that is unique and not to be missed. If you don’t feel like driving all the way to Matala from Heraklion (about 75km to the south) nor do you want to rely on public transport, you can visit Matala and learn all about their former glory on a full day trip from Heraklion.
- Experience a Traditional Cretan Feast
Cretan people are famous for their hospitality. This is why you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to spend a night among locals drinking wine, dancing and eating exquisite local food. The best place to experience a traditional Cretan feast is at one of the villages in the mountains around Heraklion. Embark on a cultural journey that you won’t easily forget as you fall in love with the song of the traditional lyra and the taste of local tsikoudia.