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Things to do in Heraklion

Experiences and Things to do in Heraklion

Things to do in Heraklion offer a captivating journey through Crete’s largest city, where ancient history and modern vibrancy meet. Situated near world-renowned archaeological treasures like the Palace of Knossos, Heraklion invites visitors to immerse themselves in the legends of the Minoan civilization.

Complementing the historical exploration is the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, a treasure trove of artefacts from Neolithic to Roman times, including the famed Disc of Phaistos. For a taste of the city’s vibrant life, a stroll through the Old Town reveals pedestrian streets, defensive walls, and the Cathedral of St. Minas with its intricate frescoes. Not to be missed is the Central Market on 1866 Street, offering a plethora of souvenirs, and the waterfront Koules Fortress, where history meets the sea.

Heraklion is also home to fascinating modern attractions like the Natural History Museum, ideal for family visits with interactive exhibits like the earthquake simulator. The city’s Venetian Walls, still standing from the Middle Ages, and the restored Morosini Fountain in the Old Town are historical landmarks, while the Venetian Loggia serves as a respite from the summer heat and a glimpse into Heraklion’s past.

Discover Archaeological Sites near Heraklion

Among the things to do in Heraklion, exploring the nearby archaeological sites offers a unique journey into Crete’s ancient history and heritage.

Near Heraklion, the past comes alive through an impressive array of archaeological sites that beckon history enthusiasts. The illustrious Knossos Palace stands as a centerpiece, a testament to the sophistication of the Minoan civilization. A short distance away, Ancient Amnisos invites exploration of its storied ruins, while the Fourni Minoan Cemetery offers a solemn yet enlightening glimpse into ancient funerary practices.

For a comprehensive journey into antiquity, see below the list of archaeological sites near Heraklion.

  • 11.1 km
  • Archaeological Sites
  • 13.2 km
  • Archaeological Sites
  • 12.6 km
  • Archaeological Sites

Discover Monasteries near Heraklion

  • 12.9 km
  • 11.1 km
  • 1.2 km
  • 4.4 km

Dine at the Best Restaurants in Heraklion

Heraklion, much like the rest of Crete, is a culinary haven, catering to gourmets and casual diners alike. Things to do in Heraklion certainly include indulging in the local food scene. Whether your travels are driven by a passion for delectable discoveries or you’re simply looking to satisfy your hunger, Heraklion’s eateries offer a taste of the renowned Cretan cuisine.

In 2023, the city earned accolades as one of the seven global locales honoured as Creative Cities of Gastronomy by UNESCO. For those eager to explore this gastronomic landscape, see below for a list of the top-rated restaurants in Heraklion.

  • 910 m
  • Restaurants
  • ( 4.6 ) / 5
  • 2.9 km
  • ( 4.6 ) / 5
  • 3.0 km
  • Bars, Restaurants
  • ( 4.6 ) / 5
  • 2.5 km
  • Restaurants
  • ( 4.5 ) / 5

Have a Drink at the Best Bars in Heraklion

Things to do in Heraklion extend beyond its vibrant nightlife, yet it’s undeniably a haven for those who love a lively evening scene. As the bustling capital of Crete, Heraklion is renowned for its dynamic array of bars and pubs, each with a unique ambiance that caters to every taste. From the hidden allure of speakeasy bars to the rhythmic pulse of music bars and the laid-back ambiance of beachside spots, there’s something for every taste.

The city’s list of bars encompasses everything from sophisticated wine bars and vibrant shisha lounges to the welcoming charm of local pubs. Below, discover the curated selection of Heraklion’s finest bars, where the island’s famed hospitality comes to life.

  • 2.6 km
  • ( 4.7 ) / 5
  • 2.3 km
  • Bars
  • ( 4.8 ) / 5
  • 2.3 km
  • Bars
  • ( 4.9 ) / 5
  • 3.0 km
  • Bars, Restaurants
  • ( 4.6 ) / 5
  • 2.4 km
  • ( 4.6 ) / 5
  • 2.9 km
  • ( 4.9 ) / 5

Grab a Cup of Coffee at one of the Best Cafes in Heraklion

Things to do in Heraklion include immersing yourself in its unique coffee culture, a tasteful blend of tradition and modernity. As the city awakens, locals step into their favorite cafes, fueling their day with robust traditional Greek coffee, often accompanied by views of the city’s historical landmarks.

Midday or evening, trendy espresso bars and classic kafeneios serve as communal living rooms, where friends meet, business is discussed, and the city’s pulse is truly felt. In Heraklion, a cup of coffee is the perfect companion for both reflection and celebration. Below, you will find our top picks for cafes in Heraklion, where the depth of Greek coffee culture can be savored in every sip.

  • 2.7 km
  • Cafes
  • ( 4.8 ) / 5
  • 2.6 km
  • ( 4.8 ) / 5
  • 2.9 km
  • ( 4.8 ) / 5
  • 2.6 km
  • ( 5 ) / 5
  • 780 m
  • ( 4.8 ) / 5
  • 2.3 km
  • Cafes
  • ( 4.5 ) / 5

Discover Museums in Heraklion

One of the key things to do in Heraklion is to delve into its treasure trove of museums. Heraklion, a city steeped in history, is dotted with museums that narrate tales of its rich past. 

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum, a jewel among Greek museums, showcases the vast history of Cretan civilization with artifacts spanning from the Neolithic to the Roman periods. Here, visitors can marvel at the world-renowned exhibits such as the Phaistos Disc and the exquisite Minoan frescoes.

The Historical Museum of Crete, providing insights into the island’s more recent past, including the Byzantine, Venetian, and Ottoman eras.

The Natural History Museum offers an interactive journey through the island’s flora and fauna, featuring engaging exhibits like the earthquake simulator. To delve deeper into the city’s cultural heritage, see the list of museums in Heraklion.

  • 1.7 km
  • ( 5 ) / 5
  • 1.8 km
  • Museums
  • ( 4.4 ) / 5
  • 2.1 km
  • ( 4.9 ) / 5
  • 2.2 km
  • ( 4.7 ) / 5
  • 2.2 km
  • ( 4.8 ) / 5
  • 2.2 km
  • ( 4.6 ) / 5

Visit stunning Beaches near Heraklion

The beaches near Heraklion are a testament to Crete’s celebrated shoreline, and delving into their beauty is among the top things to do in Heraklion. Just a short drive from the city’s buzz, Karteros Beach offers a tranquil retreat with its fine sand and shallow, azure waters, boasting facilities like accommodation, food and water stations, and plenty of water sports for the adventurous. Similarly inviting is Ammoudara Beach, another sandy paradise with a Blue Flag status, ensuring clean, crystal-clear waters ideal for families and sun-seekers alike. For those who enjoy a vibrant atmosphere, the Ellinoperamata Beach is a haven of activity with its family-friendly vibe and comprehensive beach amenities.

All these beaches represent the perfect blend of relaxation and recreation, each providing a unique beach experience just moments away from the historical city. See below the list of beaches near Heraklion to plan your sun-soaked escape.

  • 5.3 km
  • Heraklion
  • 5.4 km
  • 8.0 km
  • Heraklion
  • 8.9 km
  • 9.9 km
  • Heraklion
  • 10.4 km
  • Heraklion

Go hiking to the nearby Gorges

Among the many things to do in Heraklion, exploring the majestic gorges nearby offers an unparalleled adventure into Crete’s natural beauty.

Venture just beyond the urban pulse of Heraklion and you’ll find yourself amidst the wild beauty of Crete’s gorges. These natural wonders offer trails that promise adventure and serenity, from the imposing walls of the Rouvas Gorge to the lush pathways of Aposelemis Canyon.

Each gorge tells its own ancient story, etched into the landscape over millennia. For those drawn to the call of the wild, find below the list of nearby gorges, gateways to exploration and discovery.

  • 8.2 km
  • Heraklion
  • 11 km
  • 9.1 km
  • Heraklion
  • 4 km
  • 9.3 km
  • Heraklion
  • 3 km
  • 12.2 km
  • Heraklion
  • 1.5 km
  • 12.3 km
  • Heraklion
  • 4 km
  • 14.4 km
  • Heraklion
  • 1 km

Other Things to do in Heraklion

  • 2.4 km
  • Amusement parks
  • ( 4 ) / 5
  • 2.4 km
  • ( 4.5 ) / 5
  • 2.9 km
  • Cinemas
  • ( 4.2 ) / 5

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