Heraklion is the largest city in Crete and the fifth largest city in Greece. It is the island's administrative, commercial and industrial capital. East of Heraklion is the largest airport in Crete and from Heraklion port, you can get to Piraeus, Thessaloniki and the Aegean islands.


Eleftherios Venizelos Square is the city's traditional downtown. The site is dominated by the 'lion fountain' from the 17th century. Around the square are the city's commercial streets with shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. The town hall is located in the old Venetian loggia. One of the most well-preserved Venetian monuments in the city. The Venetian port has old arsenal buildings (shipyards) preserved, but are not as well preserved as the ports of Chania and Rethymnon. However, you can still follow the impressive city walls around the old part of town. The walls ends at the Koules fortress at the old port.

Heraklion is worth a visit because of its museums and if you want to experience a modern, vibrant Greek city. Not least is the Archaeological Museum with its collection of Minoan objects worth visiting. East of Heraklion lies some of Crete's largest and oldest tourist areas such as Hersonissos and Malia and approx. 5 km to the south is Knossos, Crete's largest tourist attraction and the old center of the Minoan culture.

Museums in Heraklion

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum
Address: Xanthoudidou 2, 71202 Heraklion
One of Europe's most important museums and the most important collection of Minoan antiquities in the world. Houses archaeological finds from all over Crete, covering over 5500 years of the island's history.
Note: Since 2006 the museum has been closed for renovation. Only a small temporary exhibition with the museum's most important exhibits is on view for the time being.

The Historical Museum of Crete
Address: 27, Sofokli Venizelou Ave. / 7, Lysimachou Kalokerinou St.
Presents archaeological, ethnographic and historical material deriving from the medieval and modern periods in Cretan history.

The Museum of the Battle of Crete and National Resistance (1941-1945)
Address: Doukos Beaufort and Merambellou Sts.
Exhibit relics from 1941-1945 in order to document the people's struggle during the Battle of Crete and the German-Italian occupation.

St. Catherine's Museum
Address: northeast of the Cathedral of St. Minas
The church once belonged to the Monastery of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai but now serves as an exhibition of works from the Cretan Renaissance, among which icons by Michail Damaskinos.

Natural History Museum
Address: Sof. Venizelou Ave, Dermatas Bay
Exhibits representative samples of the flora and fauna of Crete.

You can read more about Heraklion on the official homepage of the city here.