Useful Information

Travel to Heraklion

By Boat:

Visit www.greekferries.gr for itineraries all over Greece
Piraeus - Heraklion - Piraeus:
Minoan Lines, 78, 25th August st, tel. +302810-229602
ANEK, 33, 25th August st, tel. +302810-223067
GA Ferries, PALAIOLOGOS SA, 5, 25th August st, tel. +302810-346185
Heraklion - Cyclades- Heraklion
Hellenic Seaways, PALAIOLOGOS SA, 5, 25th August st, tel. +302810-346185
GA Ferries, PALAIOLOGOS SA, 5, 25th August st, tel. +302810-346185
Heraklion - Kasos - Karpathos - Rhodes
LANE, ANEK, 33, 25th August st, tel. +302810-346440-1

By Plane:

Heraklion - Athens - Thessalonika - Santorini - Rhodes - Larnaka
Olympic Airways, 27-29, 25th August st, tel. +302810-244846, 244824, 244868
Aegean Airlines, 11 Dimokratias st, tel. +302810-344321, 344761
Cyprian Airlines, AEROCANDIA TRAVEL SERVICES, 9 Ch.Trikoupis str., tel. +302810-342776
Sky Express, Heraklion Airport, tel. +302810-223500, 282828
Itineraries from/to all over Europe via Athens or charter flights directly from Heraklion.

By Bus

City Buses (blue) serving the city of Heraklion from early morning until late evening. Starting from the port city services operated in the archaeological site of Knossos. Information: tel. +302810-226065 and 220795. Web: http://astiko-irakleiou.gr/
Intercity Buses (green) connecting Heraklion with all the counties of Crete for easy movement of residents and visitors. Web: http://www.ktelherlas.gr and http://www.bus-service-crete-ktel.com/timetables.html .

Local Information & Useful Links

Municipality of Hersonissos
Information on the area of Hersonissos and the broader area: http://www.hersonissos.gr/en/

Municipality of Heraklion
Information on Heraklion city and what to do in the region: http://www.heraklion.gr/en/

Information on Crete: Discover & Explore!
• Incredible CRETE: http://www.incrediblecrete.gr/
• CRETAZINE: http://cretazine.com/en

A Tour of the City

Coming to Heraklion for the first time, the visitor nowadays may be somewhat surprised by the changes that are taking place in Crete's capital city; Heraklion is celebrating its rich history and moving onwards to a future full of potential.

Where, at one time, the number of cars in the city centre would have made walking difficult, you will now find large city-centre spaces cleared of traffic. You can enjoy walking in one of the most historically and socially fascinating cities facing the Mediterranean, on streets free from traffic noise and rush. The city has opened up in so many ways, making the city a place of discovery. These changes bring a harmony too; between the traditionally warm, considerate people of Heraklion, and the fine buildings that surround us, the open public spaces and views over the ocean. Many landmarks tell their story about the city and the island that gave birth to gods, to rebellion, and to a place that inspires everyone who feels the spirit of Crete.

Heraklion today is living between the fast moving currents of regeneration and a deep desire to maintain links with a past. Both these strands define its character. In the last hundred years alone, we have seen huge changes, which can be quite easily followed, in buildings and streets that reflect the changing fortunes of Crete. The ‘old town' areas of the city, established from mediaeval times, now offer visitors some fantastic walks in the heart of the city.

If you begin a walk around Heraklion, starting at the fishing harbour close to the modern port, what will strike you first is the Venetian fortress at the harbour gate. The fortess was originally built by the Venetians and called Rocca al Mare, but is now known by its Turkish name, Koules. It has a mixed history; for centuries it was used as protection against invaders, as were the great city walls and ditches. These are among the longest city walls in Europe.

With its huge dark hallways and cells, the fortress was also a prison to many Cretan rebels and those who broke the rules imposed by successive occupiers of Crete. Koules is built on two tiers and offers a commanding view of Heraklion from the battlements. Nowadays, the harbour itself is home to brightly coloured fishing boats and busy tavernas selling fresh fish.

Looking back towards the city you will see the strong arches which housed boats under repair and were used as an arsenal for storing guns and gunpowder. The greatest threat to the Venetian stronghold of Heraklion, or Candia, as it was named, was thought to come from the seaward side of the city, and indeed, many naval skirmishes were fought off this coast. The view northward takes in the uninhabited island of Dia, where evidence of ancient Minoan settlement (approx 2700-1450 BC) was found by the diver, Jacques Cousteau. Boat trips can be booked from travel shops throughout central Heraklion, as can excursions to various places of interest.

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