Heraklion Nature & adventure

Our most recommended Heraklion Nature & adventure

Crete: Day Trip to Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island

1. Crete: Day Trip to Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island

Embark on a full-day guided trip to northeastern Crete and take a boat trip to Spinalonga Island. Visit Agios Nikolaos with its famous lake, and explore the picturesque village of Elounda. Begin the day with the visit to Agios Nikolaos, and see the shore of Mirabello Bay. Explore the town, famous for the lake at its center and its shopping and cafes. Take your time for a walk to enjoy the views, enjoy some shopping or have a drink in one of the numerous cafes around the lake. Explore an open-air market on Wednesdays. Move on to see Elounda village, a former fishing village on the northern coast of the island. Depart from Elounda for the cruise to Spinalonga Island. Learn about the island's vibrant history, from a home for the Venetians and Turks to a place of isolation for those suffering from leprosy. Experience the island, more popular after the 2005 historical novel “The Island” about how lepers lived in Spinalonga. Join the hundreds of people who come to the island every day to visit and learn its history.

Agia Pelagia: Quad Safari-Family Tour

2. Agia Pelagia: Quad Safari-Family Tour

Begin the tour at the Peninsula Resort and Spa with a short theoretical introduction and a quad driving lesson before the adventure begins. Follow a beautiful off-road cliff path along the sea and into the heights of Achlada away from traffic and in the midst of the most beautiful nature the area has to offer. Enjoy breathtaking views over Agia Pelagia until reaching Heraklion, then continue to the ancient and abruptly abandoned ghost village of Achlada.  Find out more about the background of the village and the traditional Cretan way of life and share a special personal moment with the last two remaining inhabitants of the village. Stroll through this otherwise inaccessible village at leisure. From the heights of Achlada, pass in between the mountains surrounded by breathtaking nature before continuing to Fodele, a traditional Cretan village, also called the village of the oranges and birthplace of the famous painter El Greco.  Explore Crete’s culture and marvel at its local handicrafts. Take some time for shopping and a visit to the museum or to the village’s orthodox churches. Sit back and enjoy a famous freshly squeezed orange juice made from the local orange trees for a more relaxing experience. Return to the hotel at 1.00 p.m., just in time for lunch.

Crete: Scuba Experience with Certified Instructor

3. Crete: Scuba Experience with Certified Instructor

This is the ideal diving course for those who want to try scuba diving but do not have a diving certificate. Enjoy a pre-dive lesson and always be accompanied by a certified instructor. Begin your day with the basic theory on diving and the skills necessary to do so. You will then move on to real-life diving under the supervision of a certified instructor. During the dive, you will have the opportunity to explore the bottom of the sea in Agia Pelagia, learn the basic commands, and get the chance to observe up-close the fish and sea creatures living near the seabed.

Heraklion: CRETAquarium Admission Ticket

4. Heraklion: CRETAquarium Admission Ticket

Venture into the ocean’s depth with a 1-day admission ticket to the CRETAquarium. One of Europe’s largest aquariums, over 2,000 sea creatures lice the CRETAquarium's 60 diverse habitats. Delve into the caves and crevices of the Mediterranean, where stingrays and rock-like scorpionfish slither about. Pop out into the open ocean, where menacing sharks circle, waiting to be fed. Get up close and personal with jellyfish and schools of vibrant tropical clownfish through shallow, open-topped tanks, which allow a new viewing perspective of well known species.  Above all, gain a new appreciation for the unending diversity of the world’s most mystifying environment. When you’ve had your fill of looking at the ocean’s residents, why not pop in for a dip? The CRETAquarium is, fittingly, right on the beach.

Crete: Land Rover Safari on Minoan Route

5. Crete: Land Rover Safari on Minoan Route

Explore Crete by Land Rover on a full-day adventure along the Minoan Path, and experience a blend of ancient myths, spectacular landscapes, and a barbecue lunch on the Lassithi Plateau. Following a pick-up from your hotel, drive through spectacular mountains en route to the Aposelemis Basin Reservoir, and see an ancient aqueduct of the Roman Empire. Continue to the village of Kastamonitsa in the foothills of the Afendi Mountains. Stop for a Cretan-style breakfast and raki tasting. Next, brace yourself for the dirt tracks of the Minoan Path. Drive through a stunning mountain landscape to see wildlife and the unbelievable scenery. Learn the myths and legends of Crete on the way to a shepherd's mitato (mountain shelter). Feed the animals as you watch the shepherds produce cheese according to traditional methods. Taste some of the fresh, rich cheese. Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the Lassithi Plateau and north coast. Continue to Dikteon Cave to marvel at the birthplace of Zeus. Work up an appetite before your lunch at a local taverna. Try a selection of traditional dishes (vegetarian option available) and a glass or two of wine. Then, go to Lassinthos Eco Park to admire traditional handicrafts. Back on the Lassithi Plateau, experience a wilderness and farming land where time has stood still. See donkeys put to work to help farm the land. Then, go to Seli to take photos of the unique scenery. Drive to the village of Krassi, famous for its 2,000-year-old tree and natural spring water source. Continue down the mountain roads, passing ancient olive groves before you reach the spectacular coastline and deep blue sea.

Samaria Gorge: Day Trip from Agia Pelagia, Heraklion & Malia

6. Samaria Gorge: Day Trip from Agia Pelagia, Heraklion & Malia

Stop to purchase a hearty breakfast in Rethymno on this full-day Samaria Gorge excursion. Begin your trek at Xiloskalo, where you'll enter the vast, 18-kilometer canyon. Hike along a path that follows the route of the ancient Taras River. Admire the caves that formed a natural shelter for the Cretans in war times and now are home to wild goats. See the abandoned village of Samaria before reaching the Iron Gates, 3 kilometers before the end of the gorge. Rest and enjoy lunch (at your own expense) at the small fishing village of Agia Roumeli. Cool off with a refreshing swim in the Libyan Sea before boarding the ship that takes you back to the village of Sfakia.

From Crete: Santorini Full-Day Tour by Boat

7. From Crete: Santorini Full-Day Tour by Boat

Visit Santorini on this full day-trip from the island of Crete. After pick-up from your hotel, head to the harbor and begin your sightseeing boat tour on the Cretan Sea. Upon arrival, see the white houses of Fira that lie high above the edge of the crater, and decide whether you would like to spend more time on this volcanic island. Wander the small town of Fira or visit the picturesque town of Oia. Enjoy the leisurely Greek lifestyle and visit a taverna or two. Relax on the beach, enjoy the day by the sea, and simply leave your cares behind.

Crete: Rethimno, Chania, and Kournas Lake Day Trip

8. Crete: Rethimno, Chania, and Kournas Lake Day Trip

The first stop is the town of Rethimno, the third biggest town in Crete west of Heraklion on the north coast of Crete. Here, archeological monuments of the Ottoman and Venetian eras co-exist. Enjoy a stroll in the alleys of the old town, a visit to the Turkish minarets and the Venetian fortresses, or a coffee at the magnificent harbor. The next stop is Chania town, the second largest town of Crete on the north coast west of Rethymno. The city of Chania is divided into the Old City, with the gorgeous harbor, and the New City, beyond its Venetian fortifications. The Old City is one of the most beautiful cities in the Mediterranean and is called “Venice of the East”. You can find Turkish minarets and mosques, Muslim neighborhoods, Venetian fortresses, dockyards, fountains, squares, arches, mansions, Loggia and the Lighthouse. Visit the famous Agora (market), which houses traditional little shops and taverns. The last stop of the day is Kournas lake, a beautiful habitat with natural freshwater, one of a kind in Crete. The whole area of Kournas is protected under 'Natura 2000', as it's a designated wetland. Vast greenery, steep cavities between hills, and rare species of fish and birds make Kournas the ideal place to enjoy an early afternoon walk.

Heraklion: Morning Cruise to Dia with Snorkeling and Lunch

9. Heraklion: Morning Cruise to Dia with Snorkeling and Lunch

Join a city cruise from Heraklion to the protected island of Dia. Snorkel in crystal-clear water, enjoy a Mediterranean meal with drinks, snorkel or fish with the gear provided, and watch goats skedaddle across the wild hillside.  Begin the tour at Heraklion harbor in the morning and be greeted by a healthy Mediterranean breakfast on board. Meet the captain and crew and undergo a safety briefing before setting sail for Dia. Upon arrival at the uninhabited island off the northern coast of Crete, choose from an array of activities such as snorkeling, SUP paddling, fishing, and sunbathing, with all gear and swimming accessories available on board. If you're traveling with kids, head to the special entertainment area with board games. If your little one needs a nap, the boat's comfortable cabins are fully equipped for it.

Heraklion: Preveli Tropical Beach and Palm Forest Day Trip

10. Heraklion: Preveli Tropical Beach and Palm Forest Day Trip

Enjoy a full-day excursion from Heraklion to Preveli Beach on a bus trip with a local guide. Discover South Crete's Grand River, Kourtaliotikos Gorge, and a colony of Theophrastus palm trees. Sunbathe on the sandy beaches, swim in the turquoise waters, watch for wildlife, or hike regional trails.  Begin your tour with a bus ride from the north coast to Preveli Beach, where you can swim in the turquoise Mediterranean water or stroll the sandy beaches. Look for a rock shaped like a heart, known as The Stone of Lovers, and marvel at the steep cliffs and misty hilltops of nearby Kourtaliotikos Gorge.  Continue your tour by hiking along the banks of the Grand River to discover the Forest full of Theophrastus palm trees. Hike further up the river trail to a canyon and beach where you can further swim, hike, or sunbathe, before heading back down the path to the bus and returning to Heraklion.

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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

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What people are saying about Heraklion

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 798 reviews

Great day out! Michael, our tour guide, was brilliant and knew a lot about the local areas. As it was the national Independence Day of Greece , we had our schedule moved around a little so we were able to experience the parades that were happening - a really lovely consideration for the team to have made! Our pick up was very smooth and the bus journey was a beautiful route that allowed us to see the Cretan scenery. Elounda and Agios Nikolaos are stunning places and definitely worth a visit!! We had a good amount of free time in each place - the best part, jumping off our boat into the sea on our way back from Spinalonga Island! Bucket list check! Highly recommend this day out to everyone!

staff were lovely- the stable is owned by a father and daughter who are both very hospitable they can speak many languages including English, greek, german transportation wasn't included but they specifically came to pick us up as it was pretty far for us to go by bus/expensive by taxi they also provide orange juice and watermelon up in the mountains there is always a group of staff walking up with you if your horses start acting up or you need help- it's about 4 horses with 1 staff member

Great scenery and great hosts. The horses are very gentle and well behaved so it was a lovely gentle ride up and down the mountains. We took our 5 year old and he loved it. The guide was with him the whole time so he was completely at ease.

This was amazing! These guys know their horses and the mountains! Always felt safe because they walked close by and understood each horse and how to tell us to react to them! Highly recommend!

The instructors were "on the ball" -responding well to the issues that arose for me in my first dive. I felt very safe.