Heraklion Castle & palace tours

Our most recommended Heraklion Castle & palace tours

Heraklion: Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Guided Walking Tour

1. Heraklion: Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Guided Walking Tour

Join a guided tour of Knossos, a complex of more than 1500 interlocking rooms, once an astonishing palace built for a mighty king of the Bronze Age. Knossos is considered Europe’s oldest city. As you wander through the labyrinthine ruins, get the chance to see the original throne of ‘’Minos”, the mystifying sanctuaries, the luxurious domestic quarters of the royal family, Crete’s treasures pantries, and the water-management systems. The first palace of Knossos was erected soon after 2000 BC. In 1700 BC, a catastrophic earthquake destroyed the Palace. A new palace was built immediately, the most monumental of all, and for over 300 years it represented the pre-eminent center of power in Bronze Age Crete. The new palace was an imposing complex with important architectural innovations, splendid frescoes adorning the walls, hundreds of rooms distributed in four storeys, impressive storage areas, specialized workshops, and spacious courts hosting ceremonies and feasts. Learn how during the last decades of the 14th century BC, a series of earthquakes led to the final destruction of the palace. 

Heraklion: Archaeological Museum & Knossos Ticket with Audio

2. Heraklion: Archaeological Museum & Knossos Ticket with Audio

Experience Ancient Crete at your own pace with a combined e-ticket for the island's top two archaeological attractions, the Palace of Knossos and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Experience two captivating self-guided audio tours on your smartphone. Receive your ticket in a separate email from our local partner, and download the app and audio tours onto your phone prior to your visit. Then travel back in time to experience the grandeur of Crete from the Minoan period to Roman times. Put on your headphones and discover the Palace of Knossos and the exquisite artifacts exhibited in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Through the power of storytelling, learn interesting facts and hear little-known stories from ancient times. The content of the tours is the result of in-depth research, squeezed into brief original stories that will make your visit both engaging and informative. The audio tours can be used repeatedly and anytime, before or after your visit. This is an unmissable opportunity to gain valuable insights into ancient Crete and the Minoan civilization, and to engage with your surroundings in an entirely original way.

Crete: Palace of Knossos Archaeological Site Entrance Ticket

3. Crete: Palace of Knossos Archaeological Site Entrance Ticket

Benefit from skip-the-line access to the Palace of Knossos. Once inside, you are free to explore this Minoan archaeological site at your own pace, including the Grand Palace which dates back to the year 2000 B.C. As you wander through the site, discover what remains of living quarters, workspaces, and storerooms that have stood for centuries. Learn more about the city which is thought to have been the capital and political center of Minoan civilization and culture. Get a sense of what the building was like originally from the extensive restorations that have taken place throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. See colorful restored murals, which were typical of the time, and the throne room of the legendary King Minos, which is still intact.

Crete: Palace of Knossos Ticket with Audio Tour

4. Crete: Palace of Knossos Ticket with Audio Tour

Enjoy an exciting visit to Knossos Palace, Crete’s most famous historical attraction, with a skip-the-line e-ticket, including a compelling audio tour downloadable on your phone and a detailed map of the site. Lose yourself in the audio tour's storytelling and immerse yourself in history as you walk around this iconic site. Visit the grand capital of Minoan Crete, located just south of Heraklion, and see the evocative setting, complete with impressive ruins and brightly-colored frescoes, come alive through an engaging narrative that sheds light on various elements of Minoan culture. The cupbearers and procession frescoes at the South Propylaeum, which depict scenes from everyday life and the ceremonial activities in Minoan Crete, provide a great insight into the aesthetic ideals of the time. Follow the evolution of Minoan fashion, learn about the popular hairstyles of the people, and discover the beauty products locals used to touch up their look. At the West Magazines, where the storage facilities of the palace are located, gain an understanding of the well-organized bureaucracy that supported the palace organization, the earliest forms of linear writing, as well as the Minoan economy and trade networks. Discover the copy of the “Prince of the Lilies” at the South Entrance Corridor and gaze out on Mount Juktas, perfectly framed by the eroded walls of the palace. Visit the Queen’s Megaron, embellished with famous blue dolphins fresco and equipped with a bathroom and a toilet room, where you can find out everything about the bath habits in the Minoan era.

Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Ticket & Private Guided Tour

5. Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Ticket & Private Guided Tour

Settlements in Knossos date as far back as the Neolithic period. Neolithic remains from around 7000 BC are found throughout Crete. Explore the ruins of the ancient Minoan civilization and enjoy a skip-the-line tour of the Knossos Palace. The Knossos Palace was built from 1700 to 1400 BC. Advanced architectural techniques were used in its construction, and sections of the palace stood up to 5 stories high. It featured 1,300 rooms connected by corridors, and a theater and extensive storerooms, which held large clay containers of oil, grains, dried fish, beans and olives – often with gold hidden beneath.

Crete: Knossos Palace & Heraklion Guided Tour

6. Crete: Knossos Palace & Heraklion Guided Tour

Start your day with pickup from selected regions in Crete and first head to Heraklion for a guided tour of Knossos Palace. Walk through this Minoan palace with your guide and find out how people lived here 4,000 years ago. The Throne Room, the frescoes, and the Minoan columns will allow you to imagine how the Minoans once lived. Continue towards the city center of Heraklion where you can visit the Archaeological Museum and the town itself. The Archaeological Museum brings together findings from all over Crete, covering over 5,500 years of the island's history.   Head to the Heraklion town center and walk through Daidalou Street to Lion Square and the famous Morosini Fountain of the Venetian era. Explore the permanent outdoor market of the town and the Valide Mosque, a remnant of Turkish influences. Explore the Venetian Loggia and head to the sea and the Koules Fortress before being dropped back off at your hotel.  

From Rethymno: Knossos & Heraklion Archaeological Museum

7. From Rethymno: Knossos & Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Following pick-up from your hotel in Rethymno, travel along the northern coast of Crete by comfortable bus. Make your way to the archaeological site of Knossos, where King Minos built his palace. Get a 2-hour guided tour of the monument, designed by Daedalus in such an intriguing way that no visitor was said to find their way out without the help of a guide! Journey through the incredible history of King Minos and the Minoan civilization, and hear about some of the legends of Crete at what was once the island's largest palace. Then, drive to the ancient city of Heraklion to take a guided tour of the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Learn more about the island at what is considered to be one of the finest museums in the world dedicated to Minoan art with its many galleries of historic frescoes, jewelry, statues and more. Get some free time for coffee or lunch, and shop for souvenirs in the city center before the return journey to Rethymno. 

From Heraklion: Cave of Zeus & Knossos Palace Private Tour

8. From Heraklion: Cave of Zeus & Knossos Palace Private Tour

Embark on a private day trip and leave Heraklion to explore the archeological site of the Palace of Knossos. Learn more about Cretan history at the site, take in the art and architecture, and relax while absorbing the local atmosphere and admiring the local villages. Journey through East Crete and admire the sights of the Lassithi Plateau and its forests and fertile land. Discover quaint villages, learn more about the local lifestyle, and see Cretan art and the remnants of the Byzantine Empire. Tuck in to delicious local food at an eatery recommended by your guide, and enjoy authentic Cretan food while on the tour. Amble in the footsteps of gods to the Cave of Zeus. Plunge into the mythical birthplace of the god Zeus sense the sanctity of this ancient site. Luxuriate in the eternal magnificence of the Minoan ruins and frescoes while in Knossos Palace. Succumb to the personalized service of a top history-archaeology guide and be stimulated by eclectic information and a stress-free pace in all archaeological areas.

From Chania: Private Local Highlights & Knossos Palace Tour

9. From Chania: Private Local Highlights & Knossos Palace Tour

We have designed this unforgettable trip to submerge you into an authentic way of life in one of the island's most beautiful regions while gaining a deeper understanding of the relationship between history, stunning escapes, gastronomy, and the authentic Cretan local lifestyle. You will also visit the world-famous Palace of Knossos, where your expert guide will ensure skip-the-line access to all archaeological areas, key pieces of information, and extra-personalized attention. Then, from the history and cultural experience, you will be immersed in another time wandering the unspoiled Cretan landscape along with authentic layers of flavors, wines, and village life of the island of Crete. Enjoy personal pick-up and drop-off with a premium vehicle at your full-day disposal, like a true VIP

Heraklion: Knossos & Archaeology Museum Self-Guided Tours

10. Heraklion: Knossos & Archaeology Museum Self-Guided Tours

Experience Ancient Crete at your own pace with two tickets for the top archaeological attractions, the Palace of Knossos and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, and two captivating self-guided audio tours on your smartphone. Receive your e-tickets by email, download the app and the audio tours on your phone, prior to your visit, and travel back in time to experience the grandeur of Ancient Crete. Put on your headphones and discover the most well known archaeological attractions of Crete through the power of storytelling and learn historical information and uncommon stories and anecdotes from the ancient times. The content of the tours is the result of in-depth research, squeezed into brief original stories that will make your visit both engaging and informative. The audio tours can be used repeatedly and anytime, before or after your visit. This is an unmissable opportunity to gain valuable insights into ancient Crete and the Minoan civilization and relate to your surroundings in an entirely original way.

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Frequently asked questions about Heraklion

What are the best day trips and excursions from Heraklion?

The best day trips and excursions from Heraklion are:

Chania

Other Sightseeing Options in Heraklion

Want to discover all there is to do in Heraklion? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Heraklion

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 10 reviews

Absolutely brilliant tour around Knossos Palace. Would absolutely recommend this. Katerina the guide was incredibly knowledgeable and funny. Really brought the history to life. The group size was a total of 5 so we could always here and move about without getting separated. The instructions for meeting were spot on and informative with contact info if you ever needed help.

Chatzigeogiou was our excellent English speaking guide at Knossos. She was knowledgeable and she answered all of our group’s questions clearly. The group size was small, but she took care ensure everyone in the group was keeping up and learning together. She was lovely with our children too. Highly recommended. And thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

The audio guide was great and so helpful compared to just walking around on our own. There were a few closed viewpoints in the audio which made some of the directions confusing, but overall we had a great experience and it was super interesting and informative.

Altough you don't have to much time, the tour was enough to see the important stuff in Heraklion. The guide was constantly giving us information and the bus driver also was very friendly

10/10 very knowledgeable. you need a tour guide to understand Knossos.