Heraklion City, Crete’s capital and the birthplace of the artist El Greco, is an energetic modern destination with a historic heart. On Heraklion City holidays you’ll find handsome open spaces, lively street markets, world-class museums and more than enough ouzo to go round.
The charming old town is mostly pedestrianised, and it’s lovely to stroll along the waterfront past bobbing boats in the harbour to the imposing Venetian fortress of Koules. History fans are really spoilt for choice here.Close by is the Palace of Knossos, a sprawling ancient archaeological site based around a Minoan palace. In the old town, Byzantine churches stand among neoclassical mansions and Turkish fountains, nodding to the city’s multicultural past. For a glimpse of Greece at its most bustling and vibrant, alongside ancient sites alive with the stuff of legend, nothing beats holidays to Heraklion City.
This exceptional archaeological site is thousands of years old and many people travel to Crete just to visit it. Painstakingly restored, its palaces, baths and frescos are breathtaking.
Get a museum fix
Heraklion City’s Archaeological Museum is packed with Minoan, Roman and Hellenic artefacts. Look out in particular for the Phaistos Disc, which dates from around 1600 BC.
This impressive fortress, and former prison, has an eerie atmosphere. Its unfathomably thick walls have kept out invaders – as well as the sunlight – for centuries.