The third prefecture of Crete is Heraklion (Iraklio), located on the east part of the island. The climate is very good with sunshine most of the year. The city is a major cruise destination. Here you will find that there is much to do and plenty of things worth seeing.
The capital is also the largest town in Crete, the main port and the economical center of the island.
Heraklion is well known for the archaeological sites of the Palace of Knossos, with its labyrinth of ruins and Phaestos, consisting of the ancient town with the palace, the bi-level royal mansion and the royal tomb. It also offers many more archaeological sites, such as the ancient towns of Malia, Gortys and Tylissos.
Other monuments presenting an historic importance are many Venetian buildings in the capital, such as the Koules Fortress, Lodgia, the Morosini, Bebo and Priouli Fountains and the Venetian walls that surround the town. You can also visit many monasteries and churches, the Tomb of Nikos Kazantzakis and several archaeological, historical and ecclesiastical museums. The Archaeological Museum houses the most important and representative finds of the Minoan civilization. Visit and see the largest collection of Minoan artifacts in the world, exhibited in 20 rooms.
Heraklion also offers a varied and lively nightlife, which is particularly intense in the capital, Malia, Limenas Hersonissou and some of the beach resorts. Modern bars proposing all kinds of atmosphere and music are available as well as nightclubs, which are opened until dawn.
Other important towns and villages are Epano Arhanes, Dafnes, Aghia Varvara, Hersonissos, Malia, Stalida, Kastelli, Matala, Ag. Pelagia, Mires, Tilissos, the ancient town of Gortys, Timpaki and many more that present various sides of the prefecture, going from one period to the other while offering different surroundings to the visitor.
There are various mountains with Dikti mountain chain and Kofinas being the most important and also a few valleys. Heraklion has many breathtaking locations, ideal for nature lovers. Impressive caves such as Kamares in Zaros and villages with sandy beaches such as Kali Limenes present glorious images that nature and time have created. There are also many areas for climbing and hiking and various summer resorts, where you can enjoy the sea, while water skiing or wind surfing.
There are numerous beaches, some for all to enjoy and those just for experienced swimmers. You certainly have a good choice with options like: Fodele, Mononaftis, Agia Pelagia, Ligaria, Paliokastro, Ammoudara, Florida, Karteros, EOT (Akti Club), Amnissos, Tomprouk, Kokkini Hani, Gournes, Analipsis, Anissaras, Hersonissos, Stalis (Stalida) and Malia. Among them, you will find many various types of lodging accommodations and a plethora of cafes, restaurants, beach bars and fish taverns available to you for your convenience.
Shopping for designer clothes is offered here but there are also many small shops, which sell local products and Greek gifts. You can even see a movie at the Vincenzo Kornaros cinema with its wonderfully carved-wood-paneled interiors.
Whatever your idea of a fun-filled or romantic vacation is, you’ll be able to create it here in Heraklion. So, start planning today for your next holiday and make it the vacation of a lifetime, complete with the things sweet memories are made of, here in the land of Zorba the Greek.