This article is about a quick getaway to Heraklion. Heraklion is the largest city on Crete with a population of over 150,000 permanent residents. The city’s airport ranks second in terms of traffic in Greece, while at the same time daily Piraeus-Heraklion routes are operated from the port of Heraklion and in the summer many island destinations are accessible such as Milos, Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Naxos, Tinos. At the summer, there are lots of flights to and from Heraklion airport, many travelers usually stay 1 up to 2 nights in the city.
Heraklion has a wide variety of activities for all tastes. Below you will see what you can combine in a single day (without beach options) assuming you arrive very early in the city.
1. Koules Fortress
During your walk, you will see the Koule fortress in the port. In the history-filled Venetian fortress, today, you can visit the archaeological site admiring exhibits from the history of the fortress as well as research by the legendary oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
2. Archaeological Museum of Heraklion
With daily attendance and fairly flexible hours at the archaeological museum, you will see several interesting findings from a total of 5,500 years
3. Natural History Museum of Crete
You can spend several hours in this museum since it consists of various types of rooms and exhibitions. For example, in the “Living Museum,” you can find terrariums and freshwater aquariums helping visitors to observe vipers, frogs, and many other small animals. In the “NATURA 2000” room you can find all the NATURA 2000 areas of Crete and in the exhibition “Crete, a continent on an island” you will see key elements of Cretan Diversity. Of course, there are activities as well as occasional exhibitions for children, the most famous being the Dinosaur exhibition. There, you can discover quite a few dinosaurs and even walk among life-sized animated dinosaurs.
4. Morosini Fountain in Lion Square
You can not miss the fountain of Morosini or the “Lions” as the residents of Heraklion call it! This impressive sculptured fountain is a central point of the residents with shops and you can enjoy your coffee, especially in the afternoon!
5. Venetian Loggia – Heraklion City Hall
As you admire the shop, the elegant building of the Loggia will pique your interest. The Venetian Loggia is the building of the town hall of Heraklion and of course it is located in the center of Heraklion and is one of the most beautiful monuments of Venetian Crete.
6. Cathedral of St. Minas
The patron saint of Heraklion is a very beautiful church that is well hidden from the neighboring apartment buildings. You only need a 10-minute walk from the center!
The only hint for Cretaquarium is that you will see an aquarium except that the pictures speak for themselves. It is only a 20-minute drive from the city and is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in Heraklion.
Don’t forget that in the center there are dozens of options for food, coffee, and sweets!