VENETIAN PORT & KOULES FORTRESS
The Venetian fortress of Koules, one of the most beloved and famous monuments in Heraklion, dominates the entrance of the Venetian harbor of Heraklion. The Venetians called it Castello a Mare or Rocca a Mare (Sea Fortress), but Cretans refer to it as “Koules”, a corruption of Su Kulesi (Water Tower in Turkish).
The Lions in Heraklion is the square of Fontana Morosini, one of the most important monuments the Venetians bestowed on Heraklion. More commonly known as Lions’ Square, it dates back to the Venetian era and features four lions supporting the main basin. When it was built, it offered a solution to the problem of supplying Heraklion with water, providing 1,000 barrels of water a day.
VENETIAN CITY WALLS
The city walls of Venetian Candia, a perfect construction of defense strategy and one of the major military achievements of its time. The walls embrace the old city of Heraklion with their four main gates, located at the four points of the compass.
ST. PETER & ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL
St. Peter & St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most important and biggest Catholic monasteries in the city of Heraklion. Situated approximately in the middle of the seaside wall, it was built in the early years of the Venetian Domination and belonged to the monastic order of the Dominicans.
ST. TITUS' CATHEDRAL
The church of Saint Titus in Heraklion, is one of the most important monuments in the centre of town. It is set in a lovely square with a few cafés and bars.
ST. MARCUS' BASILICA
The Basilica of Saint Marcus is one of the most important Venetian buildings-monuments in Heraklion. It is located directly opposite the Lions’ Fountain, in Eleftheriou Venizelou Square in the centre of Heraklion. Today it houses the city’s Municipal Art Gallery.
The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is regarded as one of Europe's most important museums. It houses distinctive artifacts from all periods of the Cretan prehistory and history, covering over 5,500 years from the Neolithic period to Roman times.
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
The Natural History Museum of Crete is located near the port of Heraklion and is dedicated to the natural environment. The museum was established in 1980. It is divided in five sections: Zoological, Botanical, Anthropological, Paleontological-Geological and Mineralogical.
The Historical Museum of Crete was founded in 1953 and presents a comprehensive view of the First Byzantine period (330 AD) to World War II. It is open from Monday to Saturday, from 09.00 to 17.00, while it is closed on Sundays and holidays.
KNOSSOS & PHAISTOS PALACES
The Palace of Knossos is located in North Central Crete and, more specifically, 5km south of Heraklion in the valley of the Kairatos river. It is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and is considered to be Europe's oldest city.
The Palace of Malia is situated on the north coast of Crete, 3 km east of the town of Malia and is the third-largest Minoan palace on Crete, built in a wonderful setting near the sea. From an architectural point of view, the Palace of Malia is the third largest of the Minoan Palaces and is considered the most "provincial" of them.
Archanes is situated in central northern Crete, 14 km from Heraklion and 7 km from the Palace of Knossos. A lovely village surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, it is also the archaeological site of an ancient Minoan settlement. Archanes was an important hub in the region during the Minoan times, as ancient roads would lead from Archanes to Mount Juktas, Anemospilia, Xeri Kara and Vathypetro.
One of the largest and most modern aquariums in Europe, CretAquarium was founded by and operates as part of the HCMR. It is located on the north-western part of the former American Base of Gournes, where, together with the premises of the research institutions of HCMR, forms THALASSOKOSMOS - the largest centre for marine science and promotion of the Mediterranean Sea world.
A walk for shopping in Heraklion is usually accompanied with a coffee in one of the many modern cafés and bars in the centre of the town. The most popular street, where you will find famous brands such as the Zara Group, Hugo Boss, Folie Folie, and many others, is Daedalus Street, starting from Lions’ Square and ending at Eleftherias Square. Apart from the shops located in Daedalus Street, there are many small shops on all the main streets. Just have a look along 1866 Street and on its side streets.
There are two Waterparks in Heraklion, Acqua Plus located just outside Hersonissos, on the road to Kastelli, and WaterCity located in the Anopolis Mountains, just up a resort called Kokkini Hani. Both parks have on-site facilities for showers, locker rooms and small cafés to buy food or drinks. You pay 1 fee to get into the park for a certain amount of time or you can get all day passes.