Heraklion Small group activities

Our most recommended Heraklion Small group activities

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. 

Crete: Land Rover Safari on Minoan Route

2. 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.

Crete: Scuba Diving Experience with Certified Instructor

3. Crete: Scuba Diving 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: Food Tastings Walking Tour

4. Heraklion: Food Tastings Walking Tour

Get an introduction to the best food that Heraklion has to offer by treating your palate to traditional Cretan dishes and exceptional local wines! Go on an unforgettable tasty journey through Heraklion’s local neighbourhoods. After meeting your local guide, start off with a traditional Greek coffee also known as ellinikós kafés. Learn why Greeks love coffee and see it brewed the traditional way in sand and be taught “cup reading”, a centuries-old tradition that reads your future. Enjoy Heraklion’s well-known bougatsa in a family-owned business that has mastered its bougatsa technique since 1922. Consisting of semolina custard, cheese, or minced meat filling between layers of phyllo, bougatsa is a must-taste pastry that you shouldn’t miss while being in the city. Continue to a local market where you’ll meet the local vendors and learn about their products. Sample some of the basic elements of Cretan cuisine such as olives, rusks, and cheese. Become a cheese-tasting expert by receiving local hints and learn how to spot the best local cheeses. Taste the island’s famous olive oil and find out why organic Cretan olive oil is one of the best oils in the world. Sit down for a local organic meat dish or if you want to show yourself how brave you are, sample a dish that is loved by most Cretans: fried snails. Move on to your last stop and taste some local Cretan wines in a family-run shop. Keep in mind that winemaking in Crete has a long history that dates back to the Bronze Age. Before you go, don’t forget to ask your local guide for more tips on what else to see, do and eat during your stay.

Heraklion: Cretan Cooking Lesson with Lunch in Arolithos

5. Heraklion: Cretan Cooking Lesson with Lunch in Arolithos

Receive a short 30-minute tour on your arrival at the museum of rural history and folk craft in the Arolithos Traditional Cretan Village. Traditional Cretan cuisine is considered to be one of the healthiest in the world. Here you can learn from the masters while they create famous Cretan dishes which you can participate in before making your very own. You can create stuffed vine leaves, stuffed vegetables, pork with wine sauce, lamb with green beans, traditional Cretan ntakos, tzatziki and sarikopites, and coiled cheese pies. Afterwards, you can sit down to enjoy the dishes you have prepared with local wine and mineral water. Participants will also receive a cooking certification document, which has been authorized by the Arolithos Traditional Cretan Village.

Heraklion: Full-Day Catamaran Cruise With Meal and Drinks

6. Heraklion: Full-Day Catamaran Cruise With Meal and Drinks

Enjoy an incredible catamaran day tour to Dia island. See the awe-inspiring beauty of the bay and take lots of photos, enjoy a full breakfast and Mediterranean lunch, relax, snorkel or fish, and more, on this all-inclusive trip. Start at Heraklion harbor and board the luxury catamaran, to enjoy a welcoming breakfast. Meet the team, receive thorough safety instructions from the captain, then it’s time to depart for Dia Island. Be amazed by the surrounding beauty of the picturesque bay. Enjoy the waters of Dia island to the full – the boat is equipped with full-face masks and fins for snorkeling, fishing gear and tackle, a stand-up paddleboard, and all the equipment you could need for a leisure-filled day at sea. For lunch, enjoy a delicious Mediterranean meal with fresh vegetables, homemade lasagna with spinach, grilled fish, and Banoffee and seasonal fruits for dessert. Finally, head back to Heraklion harbor revitalized from an unforgettable day.

Crete: Full-Day Land Rover Safari at Sunset w/ Dinner & Wine

7. Crete: Full-Day Land Rover Safari at Sunset w/ Dinner & Wine

Explore the Cretan mountains outside of Heraklion from the seat of a Land Rover during a guided day tour. Witness a stunning sunset over the Lassithi Plateau before stopping off for a local-style BBQ dinner with wine. Begin your journey with hotel pickup and make your way through the magnificent mountains of Crete. Visit the Aposelemis Dam and an ancient Roman aqueduct as your guide shares interesting insight. Next, stop off in the picturesque village of Kastamonitsa, nestled in the foothills of the Afendi Mountains. Enjoy the chance to sample local products such as olive oil and raki, a distilled alcoholic drink made with grapes and anise. Back in the vehicle, brace yourself as you venture down dirt tracks and follow the Minoan path through mountain passes. Catch spectacular views of wildlife and unbelievable scenery, learning about mythology and history along the way. Take a break to relax over a glass of prosecco and fresh fruit salad while admiring the sunset. Be sure to take plenty of photos to share of the amazing backdrop. After building up an appetite, head to a local tavern for a delicious Cretan-style meal that will include appetizers and main courses as well as vegetarian options. Wash down the food with unlimited wine served with dinner. Make your way back down the mountain roads as you head toward your hotel, marveling at the views of the moonlit coastline and illuminated towns along the way.

Heraklion: Cretan Wine Tasting Tour & Gourmet Lunch

8. Heraklion: Cretan Wine Tasting Tour & Gourmet Lunch

Journey through the authentic flavors of Crete at a private wine tasting with professionals from the industry, and sample 15 different wines. Join a small and friendly group of no more than 8 people and learn more about the vines, terroir and gastronomy of Crete. Hear about local produce, such as olive oil and cheese. Benefit from the services of a guide who is a former journalist and restaurant chef, and speaks both English and French. Meet some of the best producers of the island's wines from the central regions of Archanes and Peza, where wine was first made in Crete. Take a tour of 2 of their wineries and vineyards, and then experience the flavors of the wines at a private tasting of 15 wines following a wine presentation. Enjoy a sensational tasting of olive oil and other traditional products from Crete, such as honey, marmalade, wine vinegar and more. Then, meet a selection of chefs at a gourmet lunch in one of the best restaurants in the wine making region; and get ready to be dazzled by their creative talents in the kitchen! 

From Chania: Full-Day Heraklion Highlights Tour

9. From Chania: Full-Day Heraklion Highlights Tour

Explore the oldest civilization in Europe on a full-day tour from Chania. Enjoy a guided tour of the Minoan Palace of Knossos, visit the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, and wander through Heraklion Town. Begin your tour from your accommodation in Chania, and as your drive, learn about the myths of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur or the story of Daidalos and Ikaros. In Heraklion, head to the Palace of Knossos and explore the ruins. Next, visit the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion and admire over 15,000 ancient Greek artifacts. Afterward, enjoy a walking tour of the town of Heraklion. Discover a Venetian fortress at the entrance of the harbor, gorgeous Neoclassical buildings and Byzantine churches.

Heraklion: Private Sailing Boat Trip to Dia Island

10. Heraklion: Private Sailing Boat Trip to Dia Island

Charter a sailing vessel privately and escape to the seas. From Heraklion, sail to unique and beautiful Dia Island, where you will have plenty of free time to swim, fish, and snorkel. Several hours later, continue on to another bay, where you will swim in crystal blue waters or take some time to relax in the shade. If you're lucky, you might even spot some dolphins and sea turtles. Relax and spend the day enjoying life while setting sail on the Sea of Crete.

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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

5.0 / 5

based on 6 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.

My wife and I had a wonderful afternoon with Evie. We toured the rustic village, prepared some food and dined outdoors in the courtyard overlooking the valley and could see Heraklion off in the distance. There were just the two of us and it was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Akrivi was an amazing guide! Very knowledgeable and did a great job tying together the history and mythology of Knossos.

This was a major highlight of our trip to Crete, highly recommend