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Basic information

  • Area: 109.026 km² (42 sq mi)
  • Calling Code: +302810
  • Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)
  • Population (EST): 137,711
  • Language: Greek
  • Time Zone: EET (UTC+2), EEST (UTC+3)

Heraklion – Overview

The ancient Greek city of Heraklion is the capital of the Island of Crete, which lies some 330km South of Athens. The city is positioned on the northern part of the island, and boasts an impressive harbour which overlooks the sparkling waters of the Aegean Sea. Heraklion has much to offer its visitors, including stunning historical architecture, museums, art galleries and high quality restaurants.

Heraklion’s rich heritage gives it a large selection of beautiful historical monuments and buildings that are built in Byzantine, Ottoman and Venetian styles, while the excavated town of Gourdia transports visitors back into the Early Minoan period. Information regarding the cities past can be found in the Historical Museum of Crete, and in the impressive Archaeological Museum, both of which are located in the city centre. Adventurous souls are also catered for with water sports, rock-climbing, caving and hiking all available on the island. Several exclusive spas offer traditional massages and beauty treatments to help visitors unwind and relax after a long day of sightseeing.

Greek food is both healthy and delicious and uses fresh seasonal produce, most of which is locally grown. Seafood also plays and important part in Greek cuisine, and dishes such as the tasty psarosoupa (fish soup) use fresh fish caught by local fisherman, while octopus and squid are also popular. Staple mezze dishes include the classic Greek salad, which is traditionally crowned with a large slab of feta cheese, stuffed vine leaves, grilled halloumi cheese, olives and creamy tzatziki. There are several restaurants in the city that serve up international cuisine, that includes Mexican, Italian and French dishes. Vegetarians are also catered for in most establishments, as many of the tapas dishes are meat-free.

There are a number of accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets, from luxurious 5 star resorts, to simple family run guesthouses. The high season runs from mid-May until mid-September, during which period many of the hotels get booked up, so it is advisable to book in advance to secure your chosen hotel.

Heraklion is blessed with a temperate Mediterranean climate, with dry, hot summers and relatively mild winters. Water temperatures are the highest between the months of May to September, during which time it is most pleasurable to swim in the beautiful clear waters of the Aegean Sea. Rainfall occurs most frequently in the winter months, while snowfall is extremely rare.

Heraklion has all the modern conveniences required to make any trip go smoothly. There are numerous ATM’s dotted around the city centre, while Bureau de Change booths are located inside of the airport and at several banks in downtown Heraklion. Most major hotels and restaurants accept card payments and the official currency used is the Euro (EUR). The city has its own Tourist Centre located on Papa Alexandrou Street, where helpful staff are happy to give out free maps and information.