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Places to visit in Crete

Agia Pelagia

The coastal resort village of Agia Pelagia is built along a wonderful sandy bay, where the sea is calm and the water is crystal clear even during the windy days. The bay of Agia Pelagia is ideal for combining sea sports with relaxation. Guests will find well trained instructors that offer lessons for water sports such as water-ski, windsurfing , canoe, and SCUBA diving aboard small boat trips that take you around the beautiful area. Agia Pelagia is very popular with tourists, since it provides all the amenities expected of a modern resort, but on the other hand it is ideal for a more quiet accommodation in Crete away from crowded and busy areas of Malia and Hersonnisos, and is perfect for families, couples and romantic holidays in Crete.


A must see while in Crete. The archaeological site of Knossos is located just 5 km southeast of the city of Heraklion On the ruins that you now see of the neolithic settlement, the first Minoan palace was built in 1900 B.C. where the dynasty of Minos ruled. It was destroyed in 1700 B.C and a new palace built in its place. The palace covered an area of 22,000 sq.m, it was multistorey and had an intricate layout plan. Due to this fact the Palace is connected to thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur. Between 1.700-1.450 BC, the Minoan civilization was at its peak and Knossos was the one of most important city. During these years the city was destroyed twice by earthquakes in 1.600 BC and 1.450 BC.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Heraklion Archaeological Museum is one of the most important museums in Greece if not in Europe. Visitors will see objects from the everyday life of the Minoans, artifacts of extraordinary art, like worship items, ceramics, lithography works and stamps. In addition, the famous double headed labrys, sarcophagus and many more. Of course, the collection includes the ‘stars’ of the museum and emblems of Minoan Civilization: the mysterious disk of Phaistos Crete, the snake Goddess, the bee and the ring of King Minos.

Morozini Fountain

The fountain of Morozini (known as Lions) is one of the nicest Venetian monuments of Candia (current Heraklion). The fountain was watered by the spring of Karidaki and the watered traveled about 15km in a gigantic aqueduct. The fountain takes its name after the Capitan Generale Francesco Morozini. During his rule, the aqueduct was constructed to water the thursty town of Candia. Till then, most water came from wells and rain-storage tanks. The aqueduct was inaugurated on April 25th, 1628, i.e. on the feast day o Saint Mark, the protector of Venice. The tank of the fountain has an octalobe (eight lobes) shape so as to enable about 40 people to getting water at the same time. It was decorated with relief scenes from the Greek mythology, particularly marine figures such as newts and dolphins, and several coats of arms of the Venetians. Above the tank there are four lions, from the mouths of which the water flows. The top of the fountain was dominated by a big statue of Neptune, which collapsed, probably by an earthquake or by the Ottomans who generally destroyed the statues due to being offensive to their religion. In 1847 the Ottomans changed the appearance of the fountain by adding marble columns and an inscription that read “Fountain of Abdul Medjit”. Also they pierced the lobes and placed taps, destroying the reliefs.

Cretaquarium – Thalassocosmos

Cretaquarium – Thalassocosmos is one of the most important aquariums in Europe. It started its operation in December 2005 in the former American Base of Gournes and immediately became a pole of attraction for thousands of visitors. Thalassocosmos was an idea and is maintained by the Greek Centre for Marine Research located next to it. Visitors can wander through the long corridors of the aquarium, observe with microscopes and readinformational texts accompanying the sixty tanks with 2500 species of marine life. In the tanksthe visitor will see from big sharks to tiny seahorses and jellyfish.

Historical Museums

The Historical Museum of Crete offers an overall picture of the history and culture of Crete from the early Christian times to the 20th century, while seasonal exhibitions include subjects of Byzantine or modern art, important personalities of Greece and presentation of historical events. Chania city is home to the Historical Archive of Crete with more than 170 archival collections and the second largest Nautical Museum in Greece, which aims to preserve the great maritime tradition of Crete. The Byzantine Museums of Heraklion, Chania and Rethymnon are also very special venues dedicated mainly to ecclesiastical art. The war collections and archives intend to commemorate the resistance and struggle of the Cretans against the various occupiers of Crete. The most important of these are the War Museum of Rethymnon at Chromonastiri, the Historical Museum of Vorizia, the Museums of National Resistance at Therisso and Heraklion, the Historical Museum of Keramia, the Museum of Skalidis at Pervolia, the War Museum at Askyfou and the Military Collection of Argyrakis at Episkopi. Additionally, the German Tunnels at Platanias and Makasi Gate at Heraklion Walls are important historical sites.

El Greco Museum

The museum of the painter Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco) is located opposite the Byzantine Church of Panagia at position Theotokiana, by Fodele. The building that houses the museum is believed to have been the house of the greatest Cretan painter (1541-1614)as he mentioned that he was born 25km northwest of Heraklion and next to a Byzantine Church. The building operates since 1998 with an exhibition of replicas of works of El Greco. Also there is information about his family and a room has been transformed into a painting workshop.

Activities in Heraklion

Water Sports

In the crystal clear waters of Agia Pelagia, guests can enjoy more than just the sun and surf. These wonderful beaches provide, among other things, the appropriate water sports infrastructure. Professionals and beginners who want to test their strengths, limits and spend enjoyable hours can be accomodated. Guests can enjoy water skiing, canoe-kayaking, scuba diving, wind surfing and various other water games such as pedalo, ring or banana. If you already have the equipment and you are familiar with the sea, you can simply choose the beach that suits you and suit yourself! Due to the summer winds that blow on the northern beaches of the island, there are many suitable beaches for surfing which are easy to discover. If you are a beginner there are many organized businesses with professionals who provide the right equipment for any water game or sport.


The best way for a visitor to explore Crete is to walk beyond the point that a car can reach, follow paths from the Minoan era, smell the herbs in the numerous Cretan canyons, climb the bare peaks of the tallest mountains, and be rewarded for the hard work with the serenity of the soul that will be offered to him by the veneration of the deep blue of the Cretan and the Libyan Sea. In the region of Heraklion there are plenty of choices among excellent mapped routes with varying levels of difficulty.

Scuba Diving

If you love the sea then during your stay on the island you will have the chance to try the experience of diving in the wonderful undersea world of Crete. Even if you are a beginner there are many diving centers throughout the prefecture of Heraklion that will initiate you into the secrets of safe diving and will accompany you in incredible beauty landscapes at the seabed, providing you with the right equipment. The numerous shipwrecks and crashed airplanes that indicate the history of the island, the scattered flooded cities such as the Roman settlement of Lefkas and the Sanctuary of Viena in Lake Krios are some of the unique places the visitor can explore either using only a mask or using the proper diving equipment.

Sailing Trip to Dia island

Take a cool dive into the crystal waters of Dia island, go on a romantic sailing at sunset, enjoy a fun-fishing experience with your children, walk along the beautiful trail of cedars, relax in the quiet small bay of Snt George overlooking Heraklion! Dia, the small island opposite Heraklion. Environmentally protected, with a shape like a giant lizard, with turquoise, extremely clean sea water and a magic seabed, with a long history as a minoan ancient port, Dia is surely one of the top attractions in Crete and a sailing day trip is the only way to enjoy it!

Horse Riding

The Riding Academy of Crete is an official sports club, member of the Hellenic Equestrian Federation which has been running since 1979 in order to achieve and cultivate love towards horses. The facilities of the Academy are open for the public and form a multiplace of various activities. The main activity is the horse-riding school but the visitor can also walk through the green gardens and have a beverage or a snack at the Ippikos Café and if it is wanted even try to ride one of our horses or ponies. The horse-riding school is only 5 min. from the city center of Heraklion, very close to N. Kazantzakis airport, and it is the perfect destination for an afternoon or a Sunday walk. In the facilities you can watch the horse riding classes & training of riders and horses. If you like you could take a taste of horse riding and get into their world through our classes. A unique place which offers you the opportunity to get connected with nature.

Golf Course

A Cretan sanctuary for golfers awaits you to play, relax, and find yourself. A Cretan haven for golfers and golf enthusiasts has been created at The Crete Golf Club. A state-of-the-art, exceptional 18-hole course sanctioned by the PGA in an unrivalled eco-friendly, natural setting awaits visitors from all over the world to explore its lush grounds and invigorating surroundings, across all four seasons.

Let us take you there…

A Cretan haven for Golfers

The Golf Club benefits from Crete’s endemic climatic advantage especially during the months of autumn, winter and spring, when the temperatures are quite mild and the outdoors are surprisingly pleasant, allowing for a great game or two or three! In Crete, you can enjoy golfing, all year round.

Experience the beaches

Agia Pelagia

About 20 km easternly of Heraklion. One of the biggest resorts of northern coast of Crete, Agia Pelagia is enough popular and allocates two smaller splendid sandy beaches. Here you will find all the goods of hotels and all the facilities and services are provided for a pleasant stay.


65 km southly-western of HERAKLION, in a good state. The beach of Matala is opened as an embracement in Livyko Sea. The golden sand, the clean waters, and the mystic rocks bring a lot of visitors here. The village is prone in each commercialisation and there are shops with souvenirs, cafeterias, etc Today Matala tries to restore the picture of unconcern of the sixties for which it was famous and it is worth visiting. The beach is beautiful and it has been maintained relatively well and it deserves a bypass here for coffee and perhaps a plunge and afterwards you may visit the also special beaches of Komou or Kalamakiou. There are also camping, restaurants, taverns.


About 2 km from Matala. It not so much crowded as the neighbouring Matala, Kalamaki is a small fishing village built on a big sandy beach that usually quietness prevails and is not as busy as Matala. There are certain small taverns, cafes and other essential for the visitor services. You will find also certain rented rooms


Between Matala and Kalamaki. A deserted coast with grey sand, a little northern from Matala, this beach is a splendid landscape well hidden behind bustling Matala. If you pass from here, it is even worth a small bypass if you seek for natural beauty and peacefulness. Be careful in the way the turn for the earth-road that leads to the beach, above the street north from Matala.


It is found easternly in a distance of 7 kilometres from the city of Heraklion. The Coast is very big in length and organised. Deck chairs, beach bars, cafes and taverns are widely available in the region. In order to go to the Coast you can take a bus or taxi from Heraklion.


Ideal beach for good swimmers. Instead of sand it has small pebbles and the waters are particularly deep.


A long, sandy beach, 5 kilometres western from Heraklion. The waters are really boiling hot and there are a lot of comforts available in the beach. There is also a windsurfing instructor school. You can reach the beach either by taxi or by bus from Heraklion.


If you want to swim in the Livyko Sea, without a lot of people and trouble, Keratokampos is the most suitable choice. Calm, clean waters, sand and pebbles are the elements that compose the landscape.


One quieter sandy beach, without activities and crowds of people. It is clean and particularly popular with the locals. In a near distance there is also the homonym Monastery, precisely behind the beach.

Hidden gems of Heraklion

The Museum of Natural History: interactive fun for all ages

Under the auspices of the University of Crete, it consists of five departments – Zoological, Botanical, Anthropological, Geological-Paleontological and Mineralogical. The collections include samples from Greece and the Mediterranean in general.

Historical Museum: Crete ‘preserved in amber’

This impressive modern museum is housed in an elegant, 20th-century building. It has a diverse number of permanent exhibitions, including the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection, the Numismatic Collection, the Ceramics and Sculpture section, the Nikos Kazantzakis rooms and the Ethnographic Collection.

In the heart of the city

The pedestrian Daedalus shopping street, full of designer stores, connects Lionadarakia and Eleftherias squares. Walking west from the lion fountain, you enter the wide pedestrian Handakos Street, overflowing with even more shops and cafes.


What to do in Heraklion

Heraklion: a seaside city, full of life and history

The historic Candia, the city of Heraklion with its Venetian port is a modern capital with dozens of options in culture, accommodation, dining and entertainment. It is a city where you can enjoy the pleasures of today and the beauty of yesterday. Walk and savour the sights, like the impressive church of Agios Titos in the square, originally built by Byzantine emperor Nikephorus Phocas in 961.

Admire the Armeria (armory) next to St Titus, and The Loggia (City Hall) with its 82 metopes and beautiful arcades. Directly opposite you’ll find the lively Morosini (Leondaria) square with its lions’ head fountain. Moving on to Eleftherias Square, the striking feature here is an impressive building housing the Prefecture of Heraklion and the Law Courts.

The Venetians on the pier

At the entrance of Heraklion’s Venetian harbour, the Koules Fortress (also known as Castello Del Molo or Rocca al Mare) gazes proudly out to sea. It was built by the Venetians and took its final form between the years of 1523-1540. It has been repaired several times and during the Ottoman rule it served as a prison. Across the harbour the Venetian shipyards make for a romantic backdrop.

The walls of the old city: the threshold between past and present

Walking along the walls, you will see how beautiful this city looks from this vantage point. You’ll pause in small shady parks and admire the genius of the famous Venetian architect, Michele Sanmicheli, who designed the walls and bastions more than 400 years ago. The Venetian walls demarcating today’s old town were indeed an impressive feat of engineering for the time, making Heraklion the best-fortified city in the Mediterranean.

‘Mythical’ Knossos

The master craftsman Daedalus built the labyrinth for the mythical King Minos in order to isolate the Minotaur, a creature that was half man, half bull. Theseus, the son of the King of Athens, slew him and found his way out of the labyrinth with the help of Minos’ daughter, Ariadne. The most important centre of the Minoan civilisation and one of the most popular archaeological sites in Greece, it is just 5km from Heraklion.

It was the headquarters of King Minos and its complex architecture gave birth to the myth of the labyrinth. Thanks to the archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans’ excavation and sensitive restoration, it is now one of the most fascinating sites in Greece, where you can experience exactly what life was like inside the palace.

Admire the throne room, the heart of the palatial complex, which consists of the central court and the main chamber; the Processional Way decorated with frescoes, including the “Prince with the Lilies”; the Propylaea and the famous Bull’s Horns, one of the sacred symbols of Minoan religion, and the royal apartments that consist of the hall of “Double Axes” and the “Apartments of the Queen” with its ‘’Dolphins’’ mural. The Palace of Knossos flourished during the Minoan period (2000-1350 BC) and was the most important socioeconomic and religious centre of Crete.

Archaeological Museum: a ‘panorama’ of Minoan Crete

This famous museum is considered one of the most important museums in Europe. The exhibits include representative samples from all periods of Cretan history, covering a span of 5,500 years. You will admire the frescoes of “the Bull Leaper”, the “Prince with the Lilies”, the “Monkey Saffron Collector”, the “Blue Ladies” and especially “La Parisienne’’. The new wing of the museum opened in August 2013, with exhibits ranging from the Geometric, Archaic and Classical periods as well as the Roman era.


Agia Pelagia beach

Agia Pelagia (Santa Pelagia) is located 21km west of Heraklion, on the south side of the small Cape Souda, surrounded by several coves with beautiful beaches. Agia Pelagia, was initially a small and picturesque settlement used by the residents of Achlada village for growing their crops; today it has transformed into a bustling tourist resort with many hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, internet cafés etc. and is connected with regular bus services to Heraklion.

The main beach of the settlement is a long and narrow beach with sand and greenish water. The Turks named this beach of Agia Pelagia as Tsanak Limani, because the round shape of it reminded them of a plate (tsanak = plate). Indeed, the water is almost always calm here and the bay forms a natural quiet harbor. The beach offers many options for watersports, diving,umbrellas, food and accommodation. The beach in some places is very narrow and the sunbeds have occupied almost the entire width of the beach, leaving little room to put someone’s towel.

The main beach of Agia Pelagia is well protected from the north winds by the Cape of Souda, on which several ruins of the ancient port town Apollonia have been identified. Today on Souda there is a deluxe hotel, but you can visit the antiquities. Just south of the hotel, in the north of the beach, there is the cavity of Evresi with a small shrine commemorating the place where the icon of Santa Pelagia was found some centuries ago. The former monastery of Agia Pelagia was built some meters to the west of the beach; during the Venetian era it was famous throughout the island and its feast was a bank holiday. Thousands of worshippers came to the beach during the feast of the monastery and they put their feet or naked bodies in the sand, to cure their illnesses.