Many people marvel at Heraklion upon arrival. The city is the capital of Crete which is one of Europe’s first civilizations. First time travelers often expect to see a village with ancient buildings instead of a cosmopolitan city. The best part is that the city’s modern amenities are mixed peacefully with its ancient treasures. This creates a vibrant town with an eye to the future.
The new shops and luxury hotel may be the first thing that catches your eyes. However under the surface the town’s magnificent history comes through. The city is surrounded by walls built in the 1500s. Throughout the city, you can see relics of fountains, ornate architecture that date back many centuries.
The past creates a fascinating backdrop, but Heraklion's real beauty lies in everyday Greek life. Unexpected surprises are what make the city worth visiting time and again. For example you will see old men sitting by themselves and strum their bouzouki, a Greek instrument that is like the mandolin. The taverns are popular, but ones experience is not complete without walking along the shoreline or visiting the old harbor.
Heraklion is easy to explore on foot. However if you want to travel to other places on the ilsand you will need to take a taxi or bus. Heraklion offers a unique mixture of the modern and ancient civilization. Most cruise passengers opt for an excursion to Knossos which is located about 6km out of town. Count at least a couple of hours to explore the site.
Popular ports for an excursion to Heraklion are: