Amazing Crete accommodations, selfcatering, villas & apartments

Heraklion

The administrative capital of Crete, it offers a truly unique insight to authentic Cretan life like hardly any other city in the island. Named after the nearby Roman port of Heracleum (literally, “city of Hercules”), whose exact location is unkown, Heraklion is very close to the archaeological site of Knossos. It is this site which used to be the most important urban enclave in Minoan times.

Ancient Knossos is located 5km from Heraklion. It is in Knossos where the famous King Minos used to reign, in a palace beneath which the Minotaur used to hunt its victims. Myth and reality, history and legend are blurred in Crete, and very particularly in Knossos, where the mythical character of Daedalus is said to have built the labyrinth that the Minotaur inhabited. Heraklion is thus a privileged location for those eager to get to know Knossos, an obliged location when it comes to understanding the history of the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, and of Greece as a whole.

That said, Heraklion also offers entertainment galore for those who decide to explore the city to the full. Being the administrative capital of Crete, Heraklion has an unparalleled cultural offer which includes the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, the Historical Museum of Crete, the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Visual Arts, among many others. The mighty medieval fortress can still be seen from the harbour, and the Venetial Arsenal is another of the remnants of the Venetian culture that the Republic of Venice left on Crete. One of the highlights of Heraklion is its daily market – it is recommended to arrive early, when the stalls are still full of herbs, spices and olive.

All of these and many more of Heraklion’s attractions are easy to access if staying at the luxurious Lato Boutique Hotel, brought to you by Amazing Crete. Lato is one of the most popular hotels in Heraklion due to the exquisite location of the property just opposite the old city harbour. Lato Boutique Hotel offers spectacular views of the aforementioned Venetian fortress, as well as the harbour. From Lato, all the must-see shopping streets of Heraklion are also at a stone’s throw: wander along Odos Daedalou if jewellery and linen clothes is what you are after, stroll up and down Odos 1866 shopping for Cretan tisanes, or venture into the stalls selling live snails if you are feeling brave enough.

Snails are not the only Cretan speciality that you can get to try in Heraklion: make sure you do not miss other local specialities by staying at our paramount hospitable option, Sofia Hotel Heraklion, located 5km from the harbour, where you will have the opportunity to try Loukanika (spiced pork sausages), Karpousi (pink cubes of chilled watermelon), Spanakopites (tiny spinach filo pastry pies), or Melitzanosalata (puréed grilled aubergines with herbs). However, Heraklion offers many more accommodation options, including suites and villas. If willing to visit Hersonissos, the Paradise Island Villas are an excellent choice, as they are located between Heraklion and Hersonissos.

The largest airport in Crete, and second busiest airport in Greece due to the sheer number of visitors that Crete receives every year, is Heraklion International Airport, which offers frequent low-cost and charter flights to the main airports of mainland Europe and the United Kingdom. Heraklion International airport is located only 5km east of the city. Heraklion is very well-connected to the rest of the island, for it is the most important city. A motorway connects Heraklion with other beautiful holiday locations throghout the island where Amazing Crete also has chosen selected accommodation options, such as Agios Nikolaos, Chania or Rethymnon.

Heraklion is also an important port city; ferries and boats travel daily from Heraklion to destinations such as Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini Island and even the Piraeus, the port of Athens. One of the best connected cities in the Mediterranean paradise of Crete, its multiple tavernas, cafés and restaurants, as well as its broad and varied cultural offer, make it one not to be missed when it comes to getting a grasp of the contemporary life of Cretans.