Heraklion is the capital of Crete and its largest city in size and population. Heraklion Port is the largest in the island and the Heraklion airport, “Nikos Kazantzakis“, is one of the largest airports in the country.
Originally Heraklion was called “Handax” (Chandakas) and later, after being purchased by the Venetians, it was renamed “Kandia“. The Venetians were the ones who built walls around the city of Heraklion called “Venetian Walls“. Venetian Walls are till now around the town. Several years later it was besieged by Turkey and became known as the “Castle” and after many years, after being liberated, it was given its current name “Heraklion“.
At Heraklion is the largest landmark in Crete, the attraction of Crete, the Knossos Palace, and Phaistos, the second most important archaeological site in Crete after Knossos, belongs to the prefecture of Heraklion. In the prefecture of Heraklion is also Gortyna, an equally important archaeological site, which was also the capital of Crete during the Roman era.
The city of Heraklion, besides the Venetian walls that one can walk on through magnificent gardens, adorn other attractions such as the Venetian Loggia (today’s Town Hall), the Basilica of San Marco, the Lions Square with Morosini Fountain etc.
Walking through the port of Heraklion you will meet the Venetian Fortress “Koules”, a marine fortress built to protect the port from foreign invaders. Starting from the port of Heraklion and heading to the center, you will find the most important museums of the island, such as the Archaeological Museum, the History Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Crete and National Resistance, the Museum of Fine Arts. .a. Only a few minutes outside the city of Heraklion is the archaeological site of Knossos.
In the prefecture of Heraklion belongs also a large part of the highest mountain of Crete, Psiloritis with a height of 2456 meters. Most of it belongs to the prefecture of Rethymnon.
In the prefecture of Heraklion there are also beautiful picturesque villages. Others with endless views of Heraklion such as Rodia, others with natural beauty and cultural heritage such as Fodele, the village of painter Dominique Theotokopoulos (El Greco) as well as award-winning villages such as Archanes (European Village Restoration Award). You will definitely want to visit the village of Zaros, with its water fountains and the homonymous water bottling plant. In Zaros you will find both the artificial lake and the forest of Rouva, places of wonderful natural beauty.
Heraklion is a city with wonderful and numerous churches and monasteries. The most famous are the church of Agios Minas, Agios Titos, the Savathiana Monastery in the village of Rodia, etc.
Heraklion is thriving 24 hours a day throughout the year. In the morning the cafes on the city streets are always full and in the evening many of them have loud music and become bars for every age. Here you will find all kinds of music that satisfies all tastes.
From noon until late at night, delicious “ouzeri“, taverns, restaurants are in every corner of the city of Heraklion and serve every kind of cuisine.
Unique beauty beaches also exist in the prefecture of Heraklion. Few of them are the beach of Agia Pelagia, Lentas, Tsoutsouras, Kaloi Limenes, Agiofarango and Black Beach. Also worth mentioning is Matala Beach, the infamous Hippies beach where in recent years a Festival has been established every June to bring hippies from all over the world back together.