Heraklion is the largest city of Crete, in Greece, and serves as the capital of the whole island, as it is the largest entry point to Crete. Apart from a beautiful and busy town, Heraklion also has nice beaches and villages all along the prefecture. There are many ancient sites to see such as the Minoan town of Knossos which was the most important Cretan town in the Minoan times.
You will find below information about how to get to Heraklion by ferry, where to buy your tickets and information about Heraklion and its ports, with many photos.
Ferries to Heraklio depart twice a day from Piraeus, the main port of Athens, all year round. A ferry ticket to Heraklio costs '30' 'EUR' (30 Euros) (standard seat) to '160' 'EUR' (160 Euros) (bed cabin). The duration of the ferry trip from Athens to Heraklio is 8-9 hours.
The port of Heraklion is connected by ferry with Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Ios, Naxos, Milos and more islands.
Ferry Schedules to Heraklio, Crete
There are 2 ferries to Heraklio, usually at night. However, in the peak season, there are also morning ferries to Heraklio.
Ferry to Heraklio Crete from Athens (Piraeus)
Ferries from Athens to Heraklio depart from Piraeus port in Athens. Discover how to get to the ports of Athens from the airport and Athens's center. There are usually 2 ferries to Heraklio every night at 21.00. In the peak season, though, there are also morning ferries. The duration of the ferry trip from Athens to Heraklio is 8-9 hours and the cost of the ferry ticket is '30' 'EUR' (30 Euros) for a regular seat and '160' 'EUR' (160 Euros) for a bed cabin. Read more about Athens - Heraklio route.
> Book your ferry tickets to Heraklio Crete from Athens
Ferry to Heraklio Crete from Santorini
Ferries from Santorini to Heraklio (commercial and high-speed) operate seasonally from April to October every year. The ferry trip from Santorini to Heraklio lasts for 2 (speed ferry to Heraklio) to 6 hours (conventional ferry to Heraklio). The cost of the ferry ticket is '30' 'EUR' (30 Euros) - '50' 'EUR' (50 Euros), depending on the type of the ferry. Read more about Santorini - Heraklio route.
> Book your ferry tickets to Heraklio Crete from Santorini
What types of ferries travel to/from Heraklio?
Because of the long duration of the trip, the only type of ferry that sails to Heraklio is a conventional ferry. Conventional ferries might be slower than high-speed, but they are equipped with modern facilities like restaurants, bars, shops, and pools. The ferry companies that sail to Heraklio are Minoan Lines, Anek Lines, and Aegeon Pelagos.
Island hopping from Crete
Crete is a good base for island-hopping to the Cyclades islands, even though it’s not very close to them. Some popular island-hopping routes from Crete are the ones from Crete to Santorini and Crete to Mykonos.
- Since the ferry trip to Heraklio is quite long and the ferries depart at night, we recommend booking a bed cabin for a more comfortable trip.
- The best way to plan your trip to Heraklio is to book your ferry tickets in advance, as Greek ferries may be fully booked, especially in July and August.
- Some ferry companies offer the option of a pet-in-cabin so that you can enjoy the trip with your pet.
HOW TO BOOK FERRY TICKETS TO HERAKLIO CRETE?
Booking your ferry tickets is one of the first and most important steps in organizing your holidays in Heraklio.
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INFORMATION ABOUT HERAKLIO IN CRETE
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.
Why visit Crete (Heraklio)?
Hop on a ferry from Athens to Crete (Heraklio) for breathtaking natural landscapes, amazing beaches, worldwide famous local cuisine, and warm hospitality!
- In Heraklio, you'll find Matala, a popular place for hippies in the 60s and 70s.
- The Venetian Fortress in Heraklio is the best preserved fortification structure in the Mediterraenean.
- The Venetian harbor in Heraklio town is one of the best spots for strolls and sunset gazing.
- In the past, Heraklio was known as "Kastro", "Handax", "Candida" and "Kandiye". It officially took its current name in 1922.
- One of the biggest aquariums in Europe, CRETAquarium, is located in Heraklio.
The best season to visit Crete
Crete is beautiful all year round! Given that it is a large island, Crete has a great diversity of landscapes. From beautiful beaches to dramatic gorges and from verdant valleys to imposing mountains, there’s always something new to explore.
Is Crete (Heraklio) for you?
Heraklio, one of the biggest towns in Crete, combines city vibes with natural beauty and archaeological sites in a unique way. It’s the perfect destination for nature lovers and history buffs!
Sightseeing in Heraklio
Heraklio is the perfect place for sightseeing, thanks to its proximity to the most important archaeological sites in Crete. Just a short drive away from Heraklio you'll find Knossos Palace and Phaistos Palace, two of the most important Minoan palaces in Crete.
More about Heraklio
Photos of Heraklio
About Heraklio Port
Connected ports to Heraklio
Athens, Piraeus - Athens, Rafina - Andros - Chalki - Anafi - Crete, Chania - Crete, Rethymno - Crete, Sitia - Ios - Karpathos, Diafani - Karpathos, Port - Kasos - Milos - Mykonos - Naxos - Paros - Rhodes - Santorini (Thira) - Skiathos - Syros - Tinos
The port of Heraklion is the busiest port of Crete, as it receives ferries from Piraeus, islands of Dodecanese and Cyclades. It is found in a walking distance from the centre of Heraklion Town and its trademark is the old Venetian fortress at the western side of the port.
There are green buses that connect Heraklion Town with the most important tourist places and large villages in the prefectures of Heraklion and Lassithi. There are also blue buses that depart from the port of Heraklion and go around the town and to the archaeological site of Knossos, about 5 km from the city centre.