Crete’s capital city, Iraklio (ee-rah-klee-oh, also called Heraklion), is Greece’s fifth-largest city and the island’s economic and administrative hub. It’s a somewhat hectic place, roaring with motorbikes throttling in unison at traffic lights and aeroplanes thrusting off into the sky over a long waterfront lined with the remnants of Venetian arsenals, fortresses and shrines.
Though not pretty in a conventional way, Iraklio can grow on you if you take the time to explore its nuances and wander its backstreets. A revitalised waterfront invites strolling and the newly pedestrianised historic centre is punctuated by bustling squares rimmed by buildings from the time when Columbus set sail.
Iraklio has a certain urban sophistication, with a thriving cafe and restaurant scene, the island’s best shopping and lively nightlife. Of course, don’t miss its blockbuster sights either, like the amazing archaeological museum and the Palace of Knossos, both fascinating windows into Minoan culture.
Iraklio destination guides
Best of Greece
When you saddle a trip with a moniker as lofty as 'Best of Greece', you’d better make sure it lives up to the hype. This one does. Compiling the top moments from our best-selling trips in the region, this comprehensive tour through the cradle of Western Civilization brings the distant past and vibrant present into sharp focus.
Ancient Palace of Knossos Tour
Explore the Minoan Palace of Knossos and the nearby city of Heraklion on a 5-hour Crete tour! With an expert local guide, walk around the ruins and excavations of the island’s vast ancient palace, and learn about the Greek mythological tales that are linked to it.