Knossos is one of the oldest archaeological sites in whole Europe. The site dates back more than 4000 years! It is one of the best Crete ruins you will see. Knossos, located at Heraklion which is the biggest city on the island of Crete. Trust yourself and walk all over to the Knossos archaeological site. You will have a lot of things to learn, do and of course see.

The Minoan palace was constructed in 1900 BC in the Neolithic settlement and it was inhabited by 100.000 citizens. The discoverer of the site was Minos Kalokairinos in 1878 and the excavations started in 1900 AD by the English archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans and of course his team. Palace of Knossos is situated 5km away from the city of Heraklion and you may reach the Archaeological Site of Knossos by taxi or by taking the bus from the bus station located close to the port.

The throne room is behind an antechamber and is separated by a pillar from a sunken basin that may have been used for purification rituals preceding ceremonies held in the presence of the king. The ruler may have been seated on the alabaster chair (“throne”) to the right with followers squatting on the stone benches lining the walls that are decorated with frescoes of plants and griffins, mythical beasts regarded as sacred by the Minoans. You can’t describe the amazing view of the throne and the awe you will see.

The palace of Phaistos was built around 2000 AD and it’s the second largest palace in Crete after Knossos. The palace was excavated by the Italian archaeologist Halbherr at the beginning of the 20th century. At the palace of Phaistos you will find six entrances into the palace from the west court. Getting from room to room was not easy. Also, twice it was severally damaged by earthquakes and rebuilt so three distinct phases are visible to archaeologists. Many finds at this site are able to see by the tourists as some seal impressions and also some tablets. The old palace was finally destroyed by an earthquake and after that, a new one palace rebuilt which is more straightforward than the old palace. Of course the new palace covers a smaller area than the old. However, excavators were surprised by the lack of finds that one would expect at a Minoan Palace.

At the heart of the palace, the central court was hemmed in by high walls during Minoan times. Rooms facing the western side of the courtyard had official and religious purposes, while the residential quarters were on the opposite side.

At the Knossos palace, you will see also the Queen’s Apartments which are smaller than the King’s but equally luxurious. The Queen’s Apartments contained windows, benches, a corridor and secondary rooms in which were found a bathroom with running water, and sarcophagi. On the back wall is a copy of the “Dolphin Fresco”. On the upper floor, in a small shrine, was found the ivory treasure. The truth is that the Queen’s apartments are amazing!

If you already read about the Greek mythology, you already know about the Labyrinth which was a structure built by the famed craftsman Daedalus in order to hold a creature known as the Minotaur. The Minotaur was said to be creature that was half-man and half-bull. This creature was believed to be the son of Queen Pasiphae of Crete and a bull. As the beast became more and more ferocious, it developed a taste for human flesh. Thus, the king of Crete, Minos, wanted to have it contained, and upon received advice from the Oracle at Delphi, had the Labyrinth built near his palace in Knossos. Although the story of the Minotaur is taken by many today as just a myth, there is a real Labyrinth Cave on the island of Crete. Perhaps this cave was the inspiration for the story of Minos’ Labyrinth and the fearsome creature that resided within it? The labyrinth Cave is an ancient quarry-cave located near the town of Gortyn, in the southern part of Crete. In the past, there were three different places speculated to be the “true” Labyrinth. For many of the island’s locals, it was the Labyrinth Cave near Gortyn that was the Labyrinth of the Minotaur myth.

Tips for Knossos:


  • Arrive early. Knossos opens at 08:00 and be there before 08:30 as that is when the tour busses start to arrive.
  • Wear very comfortable walking shoes. There are many uneven steps and rocks.
  • Bring water, and if you are sun sensitive make sure you have it on with a hat. There is shade in the trees, but when you are crawling about the ruins, be prepared as the sun is direct. Don’t forget your sunglasses.
  • Bring a snack - fruit and nuts are good to keep you going. It’s about 1-2 hours and in the summer the snack will keep your energy level up.
  • Go for a frappe or iced coffee on your way to Heraklion afterwards. There are a number of amazing cafes and bakeries on the main road back to the city!