Things to do in Heraklion | Traveler by Unique

Interesting architecture, a variety of archaeological sites, picturesque beaches and a long culinary tradition are some of the reasons that constitute Heraklion one of the most vibrant cities in Crete. Holiday makers can find the perfect balance between antiquity and modernism as the city provides a vast variety of things to do. The list of things to do in Heraklion can be long, however, there are some important and interesting things not to be missed.


Visit the fortress

fortress Heraklion

One of the basic things that visitors should do in Heraklion is to visit the city’s fortress. Located at the entrance of the city’s old port, the fortress has an imposing and interesting structure. It was built during the 16th century by the Venetians in an effort to serve as a defensive structure against foreign invasions. During the summer season, the fortress hosts some cultural events such as concerts and art exhibitions.

From the top of the fortress, visitors can enjoy spectacular panoramic views over the city of Heraklion and over the harbour. The fortress is definitely a not to be missed activity when in Heraklion, as it combines history and an imposing atmosphere. It has to be noted that, the fortress is open and accessible throughout the year.


Explore the markets

markets Heraklion

Heraklion has a variety of markets where visitors can walk around and experience from first-hand the impeccable beauty of Cretan production and the variety of handcrafts that local people produce. One of the most famous markets is the Peletes open market. Within the market, people can find almost everything. From fruits to books, and from leather products to spices, Peletes open air market is a vibrant and sometimes chaotic experience. Holidaymakers can discover hidden gems within the markets of Heraklion and this is one of the reasons of why one should explore these markets.

Markets can be found all over the city and some of them are focusing on just one product. For example, on the 1866 street, there is an interesting fish markets. There, visitors can observe the variety of fishes that the Cretan sea hosts. In addition, people can buy fresh and tasty fishes and enjoy a mouth-watering meal accompanied by a glass of wine, ouzo or raki.


Exceptional beaches

beach Heraklion

The city of Heraklion hosts some thrilling beaches on the east side of the city. Visitors can enjoy their time by relaxing under the sun in one of the beautiful beaches. Swimming in the crystal clear and emerald waters of Heraklion, will be a memorable experience like no other. On the east coast, the most notable beaches are the Kateros, the Amnissos and the Florida beaches. Clean waters, water sports, beach bars and fine restaurants are some of the many facilities that visitors can find there. For those who wish to experience a more alternative and atmospheric beach experience, the infamous Matala beach is the ideal option. Matala beach is located on the south of the city and it is famous due to the caves that used to host the hippie movement during the 1960’s.


Unfold the history

history Heraklion

Sightseeing in Heraklion is a must activity, as the city hosts a variety of museums and places of interest. These sites provide the perfect opportunity to unfold the history of the city and of Crete. The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion showcases an interesting and important exhibition of Minoan art and items of everyday life. This collection offers to the visitors a better and an in-depth understanding of the Minoan civilization. For a broader exploration of the Cretan history, holidaymakers can visit the Historical Museum of Crete. The museum hosts various collections from different periods of history in an effort to present how civilization evolved in the Island of Crete.

One of the most important reasons for choosing Heraklion for holidays is of course the famous Palace of Knossos. The Palace is a great representation of the Minoan architecture and art and visitors are often impressed by the interesting structure and the importance of this civilization. In a close distance, visitors can explore the Palace of Phaestos which is also a famous attraction of the Minoan civilization. Finally, it has to be noted that, Heraklion hosts a variety of other attractions such as art galleries and open air museums.


Water sports and excursions

windsurf Heraklion

Heraklion can be characterized as the paradise for water sports lovers. For those who wish to experience some adrenaline boosts and enjoy the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Heraklion has to offer a variety of activities. Windsurfing, kayaking and snorkelling are some of the water sports that can offer unique experiences to visitors. In addition, the coastal line of Heraklion is ideal for some boat trips where you can observe the beauty of the sea and enjoy swimming in secluded beaches.


Explore the Cretan culinary tradition

Cretan diet

As the capital city of Crete, Heraklion is the ideal location where visitors can immerse themselves into an astonishing culinary experience. The Cretan diet is famous around the world due to the simplicity of recipes that include fresh ingredients. Visitors of Heraklion can enjoy traditional recipes in restaurants and small tavernas around the city. The mouth-watering flavours along with the excellent service, is definitely an amazing experience not to be missed.