HERSONISSOS – HERAKLION – CRETE
HERSONISSOS IN GENERAL
Just 25 km east of Heraklion, Hersonissos is the most cosmopolitan place on Crete. The seaside town of the port of Hersonissos is a beehive of activity all year around. Half of the shops and hotels are open throughout the year, in contrast to the rest of Crete where many hotels and restaurants are open only during the tourist season of April-October.
Hersonissos consists of several small villages and the main tourist destinations of Limenas Hersonissou (Port of Hersonissos), and Old Hersonissos. These villages are Koutouloufari, Piscopiano, Anissaras, Potamies, Avdou, Gonies and Kera.
The variety and extent of Hersonissos coastline make it possible for bathers to enjoy an infinite number of different places to swim, all of them lapped by warm, crystal clear water.
The harbor of Hersonissos is famous for its night life as there are many bars, restaurants and taverns next to the beach. Daily cruises are also organized to the neighboring island of DIA and many other small islets and beaches in the area by various travel agents.
HISTORY OF HERSONISSOS
Hersonissos was named after the ancient city that was located where the harbor of Hersonissos is today. The village of Old Hersonissos, located on the hill, was built to protect the inhabitants from the pirates who had forced them to move inland.
Even though the city was built during the Minoan times, it saw moments of glory and the amassing of great fortunes during the Roman and early Byzantine period. During the Roman period, Hersonissos had magnificent marble fountains, sculptures, etc. Remnants of this period can be seen today in the area of Kastri. The ancient city of Hersonissos was irrigated by an aqueduct, ruins of which can be found today at Xerokamares, in the village of Potamies.
Relics of the Byzantine era can be found mostly at the port and on the Acropolis (a citadel built on a dominating hill), where a Paleochristian Basilica is located. The Venetians and the Turks left their mark on the area, as well as the port that was called Porto di Tigani and gave shelter to many ships during the Middle Ages, even after the city was reduced to a handful of houses. The decline of the city was mainly due to the activity of pirates, Saracens and others, who -with their attacks and looting- forced the inhabitants to seek shelter on the slopes of the surrounding mountains, so that they could have the time to react to imminent pirate attacks. The port was almost abandoned and turned into a small fishing village, until after the 1950s when people developed an ever increasing interest in its tourist hosting capabilities.
NIGHTLIFE OF HERSONISSOS
Crete is famous for its nonstop, lively and vibrant night life. You can choose among the folk sounds of bouzouki, Greek and foreign music, a strong beat or an enchanting relaxing atmosphere. Here, you can find some of the most famous lively spots for guaranteed entertainment!
One of most famous places on Crete for its nightlife is Hersonissos, a top destination of young people. In Hersonissos you can find a lot of clubs, bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants, taverns etc. You can either go clubbing or you can go to a fancy restaurant to taste the local cuisine.
Heraklion is a blend of different and unique elements, more than any other prefecture of Crete. The capital of the Prefecture, the city of Heraklion, is located in the center of Crete, where the main economic and administrative authorities, as well as the majority of the island's population, are concentrated.
The city that gathers one third of the population of Crete is a representative sample of the Cretan culture, with all the expressions and functions of a modern urban center, since it constitutes the main commercial harbor of the island and, at the same time, it is the center of education, telecommunications, research and technology.
Nevertheless, history is still very much alive within the Venetian Walls that surround a part of the old town. Even though Heraklion is known for its architectural chaos, the truth is that, when taking a stroll in the heart of the city, a visitor will have the opportunity to admire a unique mixture of all the civilizations that have left their mark on Heraklion, which makes Heraklion an ever-appealing destination.
The city today is ideal for simple everyday pleasures. A visitor can walk around the streets and squares of the city, the daily open-air market, the Venetian port, museums and churches, shops and taverns. The city's intense nightlife is combined with quality cultural events that take place all year long and reach their peak in the summer, with the famous "Heraklion Summer Arts Festival", during which one can enjoy selected music, theatre and dance events.