Things to do in
Heraklion Regional Unit

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Our most recommended things to do in Heraklion Regional Unit

From Heraklion, Agios or Nikolaos: Full-Day Santorini Trip

1. From Heraklion, Agios or Nikolaos: Full-Day Santorini Trip

Climb aboard a luxury high-speed catamaran in Heraklion harbor for the 2.5-hour crossing to Santorini. Upon arrival, take a tour of the beautiful island by air-conditioned bus and get an informative commentary about the history of one of the most romantic destinations in Greece. Travel to the village of Oia at the northernmost tip for magnificent views of the typical blue and white houses across the hillside. Continue to the capital at Fira and get some free time to browse the shops or enjoy a drink at a bar with views of the volcano. Go for a stroll along a black sand beach at Perissa or Perivolos before the return boat departure at 5:45 PM.

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Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Entry with Guided Walking Tour

2. Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Entry with 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. 

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Knossos Palace: Pre-Booked E-Ticket & Smartphone Audio Tour

3. Knossos Palace: Pre-Booked E-Ticket & Smartphone Audio Tour

Enjoy an exciting visit to Knossos, Crete’s most famous historical attraction with a skip-the-line e-ticket, which includes a compelling audio tour downloadable on your phone and a detailed map of the 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.

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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.

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From Crete: 4-Hour Boat Tour to Santorini

5. From Crete: 4-Hour Boat Tour to Santorini

Visit Santorini, the island neighboring Crete, and enjoy a short cruise in just 1 day. After pick-up from your hotel, head to the harbor and begin your 4-hour 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.

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Zeus Cave and Lassithi Plateau Day Tour

6. Zeus Cave and Lassithi Plateau Day Tour

Start your tour with pick up in an air-conditioned Land Rover from your accommodations at 10 AM and head into the Dikti Mountain Range. You'll pass through several traditional and very picturesque mountain villages. There will be plenty of opportunities to stop for photos or to have a coffee at a real taverna. At the Lassithi Plateau, you might see eagles and vultures, as both nest around this area. Next, you’ll reach the base of Mount Spathi. The Psychro Cave, the birth place of the Greek god Zeus, is located on the north face of Spathi. You’ll walk 15 minutes up the steep hill to the entrance of the cave and from there follow the path down into the spectacular cave.   Next, enjoy a traditional Cretan meze lunch with local wine. After lunch, you'll continue around the plateau and then descend taking in views of the north coast and the impressive Aposelemis Dam. You will then visit a 2400 year-old plane tree, the oldest on the island, as well as the Selinari Monestary.

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Heraklion: E-Bike Historical Sightseeing Tour & Greek Meze

7. Heraklion: E-Bike Historical Sightseeing Tour & Greek Meze

Head to the meeting point and get kitted out with the necessary bike gear while listening to a safety briefing. When you’re ready, hit the road with your local guide and set off on your sightseeing adventure. Glide alongside the city’s imposing Venetian Walls as you make your way to Koules Fortress. Hop off your bike to take some photos of this impressive landmark and learn about its history. From here, ride into the Old Town district to see monuments of the Second World War as well as some of the city’s more modern sights. Pass by the city’s Orthodox church and mosque next, and learn about the influence of religion in Heraklion. You’ll also get a better insight into the city’s history with the Ottoman Empire. Later, cycle thorough the narrow streets of Iakkos and soak up views of this picturesque neighborhood. Once you've worked up a bit of an appetite, enjoy some delicious Greek meze and learn about traditional cuisine. Finally, stop at one of the city’s ancient markets before heading back to the meeting point where the tour ends.

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From Heraklion: Full-Day Gramvousa and Balos Tour

8. From Heraklion: Full-Day Gramvousa and Balos Tour

Travel by air-conditioned coach to the west of Crete. Enjoy a cup of coffee or breakfast at the small village of Skaleta and then continue to Kissamos to board a boat and start your cruise. Admire a vast cave that was most likely an ancient shipyard. See sea turtles and dolphins playing in the water. Disembark on the island of Gramvousa, also known as "Pirates' Island". Here, you can encounter over 100 bird and 400 plant species. Enjoy plenty of free time to swim at a gorgeous beach. Alternatively, feast from an (optional) lunch on board. Continue your cruise to the lagoon of Balos and discover one of the loveliest sites in Greece. Get a breathtaking view of the lagoon, before the return journey to the meeting point.   

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Richtis Waterfall and North Coast Tour

9. Richtis Waterfall and North Coast Tour

Take a tour to Richtis beach on the far side of Mirabello Bay and trek through the forest to the stunning Richtis waterfall. After pickup from your accommodation, enjoy the beautiful scenery on the 1-hour drive to the bay of Mirabello. Leave the asphalt and travel off road down to Richtis beach, hugging the mountainside.  Park at the bottom and enter Richtis gorge to start the 30-minute walk to reach the falls. Follow a trail through the forest, listening to the sounds of birds and running water. Stop to admire the incredible waterfalls, with time to climb up the stairs to the top of the falls, take photos, or swim in the cool waters.  When you are ready to leave, head back to the beach along the same trail. During the tour you’ll enjoy a traditional lunch at a local tavern, with wine and water included. At the end of your tour, you’ll be dropped off back at your hotel in the Elounda area.

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Heraklion: Finikia Horse Riding Day Tour with Lunch

10. Heraklion: Finikia Horse Riding Day Tour with Lunch

Start your day by meeting your guide at the stables, where you will have a relaxed cup of coffee before taking a basic training session to make sure you feel safe and comfortable while riding a horse. Then, hop on your horse and wagon to begin your ride out into the mountains. After riding for about an hour, you'll arrive at the top of the Finikia mountains, where you'll stop for a break. Help yourself to a soft drink, or fruit, and take a moment to admire the amazing views and snap a picture or two. In the distance, you can spot the nearby mountain of Archanes, the place where the Greek God Zeus is said to be sleeping. Then get back on your horses and wagon and make your way back to the starting point. After riding for another hour, you'll arrive at the stables and then sit down for a delicious traditional Cretan lunch, including homemade wine. After lunch, have a seat out in the garden of the stables, help yourself to some more wine, or enjoy a few more minutes of riding. At about 1:15 PM, you will head back to your hotel or apartment.

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What people are saying about Heraklion Regional Unit

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 3,373 reviews

Amazing time at this tasting. Very well organized and prepared. Our host Yiorgos (sp?) is very knowledgeable about olive oil, taught us how to properly taste it, and answered all our questions kindly. Experience is divided into 2 parts: a 'pure' tasting of the different oils, then pairing them with different foods to see how the taste changes. Took place in a beautiful private space right next to the restaurant meeting point. Highly recommend!!

Very useful to have access to two different venues. Really worth the price. Interesting audio stories and easy to use the map of the app. I would recommend it!

This combo activity, saves up time and makes you enjoy visiting both sites. Just using my own headphones, I got all these interesting info.

Really enjoyed all the experience. Very interesting info and helpful to have the audio guides on your phone.

Fascinating site, really helpful stories and easy app.