Heraklion is the largest city of Crete and serves as the capital of the whole island, as it is the largest entry point to Crete. The international airport of Heraklion serves domestic and charter flights from abroad with visitors from all over the world, while the port of Heraklion receives most ferries that come to Crete.
The town of Heraklion is built around the port and owes its economic strength to it. From the ancient times, its strategic location as a passage point between the East and the West made many civilizations flourish in Heraklion. Many ancient sites prove this, such as the Minoan town of Knossos, close to Heraklion, which was the most important Cretan town in the Minoan times and was probably destroyed by the eruption of the Volcano of Santorini.
After the Minoan Era, the next most prosperous period for Heraklion is the Venetian Period. The Venetians conquered the town in early 13th century and their presence in shown till today with their architectural remnants. The Venetian Fortress of Heraklion, one of the strongest fortresses in Greece, stands at one side of the port and it is the most famous sight to see in the Town.
Apart from a beautiful and busy town, Heraklion also has nice beaches and villages all along the prefecture. The most busy tourism resort in Heraklion is Matala, on the southern side of Crete, which gets particularly popular among English people. Other famous resorts of this prefecture is Agia Pelagia, Amoudara, Malia, Hani Kokkini and Amnissos. These are the most tourism developed regions of Heraklion and attract thousands of visitors every year.
If you travel along the inland of Heraklion Prefecture, you will see many beautiful villages along your way. The barren and wild landscape that surrounds them protect these places from mass tourism and keep the traditional, quiet vibes.
Greek ferries to Heraklion in Crete
There are regular daily ferries from Piraeus to Heraklion (Crete) and from Heraklion to Piraeus. The trip takes about 8 hours. In summer, there are also ferries connecting Heraklion to other islands of Aegean. In summer, there are daily ferries from Santorini to Crete Heraklion. Occasionally, but not evey year, there can also be ferries from Heraklio to Mykonos, Heraklio to Paros and Heraklio to Naxos. In general, ferries from Heraklion Crete go to: Piraeus, Santorini, Paros, Ios, Mykonos, Naxos, Syros, Karpathos, Kasos, Rhodes, Halki and Sitia Crete.