Heraklion, Crete: Cosmopolitan Town With Glorious Past

Heraklion city is the capital of the prefecture of the same name and also the capital and economic center of Crete.

This dynamic and cosmopolitan town is the main port of entry to visitors and commodities to this fascinating island. It is full of wonderful beaches, ancient archaeological sites, enchanting landscapes, beautiful villages and amazing gorges. Just like many Greek cities, history is very much alive in this port city.

A Little Bit of History

The city has been inhabited since the Neolithic times and it has been the access port of Knossos city during Minoan and Roman times.

Port of Heraklion (or Iraklion), Crete, Greece - This dynamic town is the capital and main port of entry to the island of Crete. You will not regret discovering beautiful beaches and landscapes, ancient archaeological sites and true Greek atmosphere.Port of Heraklion

The Saracens captured it in 824 AD, and built strong walls surrounded by a deep moat. The Byzantines took over in 961 AD and then the Venetians came in 1204.

It was under the Venetian rule the city flourished, and it became a center of art and learning. They built the port, many splendid buildings, churches, squares and fountains.

In 1669 the town surrendered to the Turks after 21 years of close siege. The Cretans resented the Turk rule and organized continuous revolutionary movements.

The Church of Saint Titus in Heraklion, Crete, Greece - It is one of the main attraction of the town. Saint Titus was the Bishop of Crete and disciple of Paul the Apostle. This beautiful old church is in the city center and is a must-see for travelers to this lovely island.The church of Saint Titus in Heraklion

The prosperity of the town vanished and it fell into the darkness of slavery.

In 1913, Heraklion was united with the independent Greek state and it grew in size.

During WWII the city was occupied by the Germans and during the Battle of Crete, the city was heavily damaged by German bombings. It was rebuilt and developed rapidly during the last decades.

The Summer Festival, the Winter Cultural Events and the Feast of Saint Titus are some of the famous celebrations of this port city.

Heraklion (Iraklion) Port, Crete, Greece - This is the largest city of Crete and one of the most dynamic in Greece. It's a place of rich history, unique cultural scene and ideal to soak up the sun and relax on its amazing beaches.Heraklion Port

Here you can shop for jewelry, antiques or high quality leather goods as the island is famous for its crafts.

Where is Heraklion?

  • 205.6 miles/ 331 km from Piraeus, Athens, Greece
  • 90 miles/ 145 km from Santorini, Greece
  • 88.2 miles/ 142 km from Chania, Crete, Greece
  • 283.9 miles/ 457 km from Kalamata, Greece
  • 49 miles/ 79 km from Rethymnon, Crete, Greece
  • 39.7/ 64 km from Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece
  • 80.7 miles/ 130 km from Sitia, Crete, Greece
  • 1.7 miles/ 2.8 km from Heraklion International Airport, Crete, Greece

Things to See

  • The Old Port
  • Minoan Palace
  • Caves
  • The Venetian Fort
  • The Venetian Walls
  • Saint Minas Cathedral
  • The Loggia
  • The Museum
  • The Morosini Fountain
  • Cretaquarium


  • Amoudara Beach
  • Karteros Beach
  • Amnissos Beach
  • Linoperamata Beach
  • Matala Beach


  • Knossos
  • Arhanes
  • Santorini
  • Samaria Gorge
  • Arolithos

Even though Heraklion has been rebuilt recently, it has preserved some fine corners and buildings, which create a pleasant atmosphere and bring back memories of the glorious past of the town.

The port city is also a convenient hub for exploring all the wonders that Crete has to offer.

We wish you a fantastic Mediterranean cruise!