The largest and most populous prefecture of the island surrounded by two mountain ranges, the Ida (Ida) to the west and the Dikti (Lassithi mountains) in the east. In Heraklion are some of the most important archaeological sites in Crete, beautiful beaches and a charming hinterland with picturesque villages, caves and gorges, plateaus and wooded valleys full of olive groves and vineyards, imposing mountain ranges and the most excellent tourist infrastructure of Crete. The unparalleled combination of urban landscape and natural wealth makes Heraklion unique destination to explore!
Discover the natural beauty of the area with the stunning gorges (Karteros, Rouvas, Almyros, Vorizia etc.), the Eco-Archaeological Park of Yukon and a number of caves (most accessible to visitors). Explore the cave of Agia Paraskevi is said that part of the Minoan labyrinth, or Faneromeni cave with a great archaeological interest. Follow ancient paths, roads past times, observe every step of the grandeur of nature and learn about the history of the region …
The most important network of trails is the E4 crosses transverse area of Psiloritis in the west to the east Dikti, meeting in the wake of the most important mountain trails and settlements in the region. From Akolyta as Zaros path E4 is relatively easy (about 6.5 hours walk). Another path, equally interesting, that leads to Zaro starts from the source of the Ascension on the plateau of Nida and passing through the forest of Rouvas and around the pond Votomos offering unique experiences for hikers. It is a walking route of about 20 km. A low-difficulty trail 18 km. Starts from Ano Archanes towards the Agarathos. In the village Myrtia will see traditional mills and wineries, while Astraki visible watermills and springs that supply water to Heraklion. One of the best trails are south of the county, that starting from the sternum and through the arched underpass leads to the Monastery Koudouma, in a small cove on the Libyan Sea. Hikers will cross the rough volume Asterousia will have the chance to see up close the Cretan bearded vulture (Gyps fulvus).
The dense network of archaeological sites of the county indicates the importance of the region in ancient times, which according to the findings of the excavations already inhabited since the Neolithic Age.
Discover the turbulent history of Crete through the ages:
- In Knossos, which flourished one of the most magnificent civilizations of human history, the Minoan. Prominently on Kefalas hill, between olive groves, vineyards and cypress trees, built the palace of Knossos, royal residence and, at the same time, administrative and religious center of a large area. The throne room discovered in the west wing. In the east wing were the royal apartments, the Hall of double axes, the Queen’s Palace with the murals of dolphins in northeast workshops of artisans in this most important of stonemason and warehouses stretching and in the west wing.
- In the area of Archanes (very near Knossos) you can visit the palace complex in the village, the largest prehistoric cemetery in the Aegean Fourni, a Minoan villa with winepress (wine press) in Vathipetro and the sanctuary of Anemospilia.
- In Pediados Kastelli is the ancient Lyttos (Lyktos or), one of the most powerful cities of Crete, was Spartan colony.
- Phaestos, the second most important administrative, economic and religious center of Minoan Crete after Knossos. The palace of Phaistos was built around 1,900 BC and has an area of 18,000 sq.m. (Second largest after that of Knossos).
- In the plain of Messara even visit the ancient Gortys, the constitution of which praised Plato refers. Equally noteworthy and Early Christian churches worth discovering them.
- The Palace of Malia, very reminiscent of those of Knossos and Festos. Work the same period the previous follows the labyrinthine plan of Minoan palaces built around a central courtyard, with warehouses, workshops, Function Rooms, sacred crypts and royal apartments etc. One of the most famous finds from the Malia is the famous gold necklace with bees masterpiece of Minoan art.
The prefecture of Heraklion boasts and numerous thematic museums which exemplary reconstruct the glorious past of the region and bear witness to the intense cultural activity of contemporary inhabitants:
- The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is considered one of the greatest museums in the world, as is also the ark of the Minoan civilization. Thousands of archaeological finds such as the Phaistos Disk, gold necklace Malia or clay dancers from Kamilari, reflecting a glorious history that is lost through the centuries.
- Heraklion Historical Museum presents the evolution of the city of Heraklion • among the exhibits stand three paintings by El Greco and manuscripts of Nikos Kazantzakis.
- The Ethnological Museum of Crete in Vori depicts with liveliness pictures from everyday life of times past, instances of popular culture of the island.
- The Natural History Museum in the bay Dermata.
Traditional settlements and villages, the history of which goes back several centuries back, are almost hidden inside the vineyards and olive groves, valleys and mountain slopes • Observe the local architecture and the Cretan spirit Archanes where the neoclassical elegance coexists with rural simplicity, Episkopi with the beautiful churches of the Byzantine period or the Upper Peninsula, a picturesque village with Byzantine chapels, old wells and stone ovens.
Beautiful sunny shores await all who love to enjoy the sea pleasures: Amnissos, Agia Pelagia, Limenes, Malia, Hani Kokkini (ideal for wind-sufring), Limenas, Matala, Ammoudara are just some of the heavenly beaches of the county, sandy and crystal clear!
Religious festivals and cultural festivals, traditional events, festivals deify local gastronomy and all kinds of artistic activities throughout the year form a unique cultural character of the area. Predominates the Heraklion Summer Festival, one of the polymorphs of Greece, organized by the municipality of the city without sparing cultural proposals during the summer!
Also every summer the lovers of water sports have a field day! The city Sailing Club organizes sailing competitions, free sailing and rowing courses and rides on sailboats for the residents of Heraklion.
The Wine Festival in Dafnes, the first half of July is dedicated to the local wine and Cretan gastronomy. Here you have the chance to taste snails with thick, rabbit with herbs, pork with celeriac, capric pork baked in the wood oven, cheese pies and xerotigana. It is understood that all dishes are accompanied by the excellent local wine. In Heraklion declared three zones V.Q.P.R.D. (Quality wines psr), in Peza, the Arhanes and Dafnes, with numerous wineries and wine museums.