Welcome to Iraklio Province


Admittedly, the coastal stretch east of Iraklio is one continuous band of hotels and resorts. But a few kilometres inland, villages sweetly lost in time provide pleasing contrast. Taste the increasingly sophisticated tipple produced in the Iraklio Wine Country, walk in the footsteps of painter El Greco and writer Nikos Kazantzakis, and revel in the rustic grandeur of remote mountain villages such as Zaros.

On the quieter southern coast, the ex-hippie hang-out of Matala is the only developed resort, while in the charming villages the laid-back life unfolds much the way it has since time immemorial.


Top experiences in Iraklio Province

Travel guides

Starting at $32.49

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Iraklio Province activities

$83.04 Tours & Sightseeing

Full Day Tour to Samaria Gorge

Walk through the gorge, approximately 11 miles (18 kilometers) which begins at the plateau of Omalos.Cross through the White Mountains and finish at the tiny village of Aghia Roumeli on the Libyan Sea. The route is enriched with flowers, herbs and trees, little fountains, abandoned settlements and wild goats known as Kri-Kri, as well as birds of prey.From the secluded village of Aghia Roumeli, take the boat to the village of Chora Sfakion to meet the coach for return trip to Heraklion.

$75.93 Cultural & Theme Tours

Full-Day Land Rover Safari from Heraklion with Lunch

Your day-long safari adventure begins at 8:30am with a pickup from your Heraklion hotel. Join the small group in the Land Rover and make your way along the coastline to the spectacular Cretan mountains. Visit the Aposelemis Basin Reservoir and an ancient Roman aqueduct. Continue to the village of Kastamonitsa, nestled in the foothills of the Afendi mountains, where you  can sample olive oil and a local spirit called "raki", a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy. Following the Minoan path, the tour leads you through mountain passes where you can marvel at the scenery and wildlife as your guide explains the local history and mythology. High up in the mountains the tour stops at a shepherd's mitato, where you can feed the animals while observing the traditional cheese-making process.  Your next stop is a birds-eye view of the plateau of Lassithi and the north coast, which provides a spectacular photo opportunity. Continue on toward the Diction Cave (there is a a 4€ entry charge), the mythological birthplace of Zeus. There are many steps leading up to the cave, so walking shoes are recommended. There is a place to wait for those who are not inclined or able to participate in this activity. By now you will have built up an appetite, so head to a local tavern for lunch and choose from traditional local starters and main courses (vegetarian options available), accompanied by a glass or two of wine. After lunch, visit the Lassinthos Eco Park where you can observe the local way of life and traditional handicrafts. Your next stop is Lassithi Plateau, where time has virtually stood still and the local people are mainly farmers. Stop to snap some photos at the scenic village of Seli before heading to the village of Krassi, famous for its natural spring water source and 2,000-year-old plane tree. Cap the day off with a meandering driver along mountain roads back to your hotel, where the tour ends.

$76.91 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Full Day Tour to Spinalonga Island with BBQ Lunch

After a hotel pickup, travel to the pretty village of Agios Nikolaos, and board your boat to the island of Spinalonga: a former leper colony. With its well-preserved houses and churches, Spinalonga is rich in history. Learn about the Venetian occupation as your guide points out the old fortress that surrounds the abandoned village. After a walking tour, make the most of some free time to swim in the crystal blue water of the Gulf of Mirabello, and then follow it up with a barbeque lunch. On the way back, stop at the small and charming town of Aghios Nikolaos, with its quaint harbour and supposedly 'bottomless lake' for a coffee break. Your tour then finishes with a drop-off at your hotel.

$17.52 Tours & Sightseeing

Crete Heraklion Hop-On Hop-Off 1-Day Bus Tour

Crete’s capital is a vibrant mix of ancient and medieval history, outstanding museums and enticing shopping and restaurants, all topped off with the ancient Palace of Knossos, located just outside town. With all this to discover, a hop-on hop-off bus tour is one of the best ways to get to know the city.With your 1-day ticket, board the open-top bus at any of the 10 stops and spend the day hopping off and back on again at any of the stops you choose. See the Itinerary for the full list of stops. Ride the bus to Knossos and spend time exploring this fascinating site, where the palaces and courtyards of Crete’s Minoan capital stood between around 3400 and 2100 BC. Wander around the relics of the chambers of King Minos, and conjure up visions of the mythical beast, the Minotaur, that reputedly roamed a labyrinth here.Admire other top Heraklion attractions including the 16th-century Koules Venetian fortress on the harbor front, and the old city gates. Or hop off to visit Heraklion Archaeological Museum, the Natural History Museum, or the grave of Crete’s beloved 20th-century writer Nikos Kazantzakis.Enjoy unlimited use of your ticket throughout the day, hopping on and off whenever you wish, however many times you wish. Buses depart from each stop on a regular basis, so you can explore at your own pace. End your tour whenever you want at any stop — it’s up to you!

$59.77 Cultural & Theme Tours

Crete, Heraklion City and Ancient Palace of Knossos Tour

Leave your Crete hotel by air-conditioned coach and travel to the Minoan Palace of Knossos, one of the island’s showstopping historical attractions. The original site is believed to have been built around 1900 BC, but – following an earthquake – it was rebuilt on a grand scale, and lavish royal quarters, shrines, treasuries and storerooms were added around the Central Court. After paying your entrance fee, head inside to explore the reconstructed site that was brought to life from a series of 20th-century excavations by British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. As you walk, listen to tales and trivia about the palace’s glory days during the Minoan era – a Bronze Age civilization that made Knossos its capital. Greek mythology was ingrained in Minoan culture, and the Palace of Knossos featured in many popular tales such as the famous myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Hear of legends and Greek folklore while exploring areas of the palace like the Throne Room, home to frescoes of the Minoan’s sacred mythical beasts. Wander through the Central Court and gaze up at sights like the Grand Staircase. See an impressive fresco of rampaging bulls, and explore the corridors and labyrinth-like alleyways that lead to intriguing rooms such as the Theatral Area – a place that may have once existed as a theater. Then return to your coach for the short journey to Heraklion town where you can complete your knowledge with a visit to the Archaeological Museum and admire the greatest collection of Minoan treasures and priceless exhibits in the world. Follows, a short drive to a Minoan Theater in Karteros where you will be taken back in history with a Minoan dance & theatre performance Your day trip finishes with a hotel drop-off.

$157.70 Day Trips & Excursions

Off-Road Buggy Adventure in Crete

The safari trip starts heading towards the traditional village of Old Heronissos. As you pass through the square and continue towards the mountains, our route will go around the new reservoir built between the villages of Potamies and Avdoul. Just before Potamies, you will leave the tarmac and take the side roads.You will cross a dried out riverbed and pass through olive groves under the main road and continue up the mountainside where we’ll have great photo opportunities of the dam. Then, continue on towards Avdou. The route snakes through the narrow village streets of Gonies and climbs steeply up towards the Lasithi Plateau. Every 25-30 minutes, there will be stops for photographs. During this time, the guide will inform you about the places we visit, enriching the journey with curiosities about Crete.About half-way up to the Lasithi Plateau, you’ll come across the beautiful village of Kera located on the side of the mountain and overlooking the villages below. A longer stop will be made at the Kera Kardiotissa monastery, enabling you to enjoy the mesmerizing views and explore the monastery and surroundings. Following our spiritual break, the climb continues to an altitude of nearly 1000 meters where you’ll descend to the volcanic Plateau of Lasithi. The next photo stop will be made at the lakes of Havga. These two lakes are the source of the freshwater supply of the Lasithi Plateau and collect the snow melt from the surrounding mountains. The buggy safari will continue through the plateau heading west towards the village of Psychro where the longest stop will be made for lunch at a family-run, traditional tavern. Here you will enjoy the delicious taste of locally produced food and receive a genuine Cretan welcome. After eating and chatting our off-road activity in Crete will be complete but not over. As we travel on, you’ll change direction, moving towards the mountain passage leading to the village of Kastamonitas and eventually back to where our journey began. A few more photo stops will be made as we travel.

Iraklio Province in detail