Heraklion City Guide
VLocated on the eastern side of Crete, between Rethymno and Lassithi, Heraklion is one of the most famous regions of the island. One of the busiest city centers in Crete, it is the fourth largest city in the country.
Originally one of the most developed of all Minoan towns in Crete, Heraklion is believed to be a flourishing ancient site with a magnificent palace and a bustling cultural life. Scientists believed the civilization was destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Santorini after which the town was revived as a significant harbor of the Byzantine Empire. Trade and education were two sectors to which utmost attention was given which led to the economic development of the town. For protection from pirates and the Turkish fleet, the Koules Fortress was constructed around the port of Heraklion. Till early 20th century, the area was under the Turks’ reign hence you can find remnants of the Turkish occupation in Heraklion’s architectural structures.
With numerous layers to unravel and back streets to explore, Heraklion slowly grows on you. The area boasts of a certain level of sophistication with its charming cafes and famous restaurants. There is a great shopping scene with bustling nightlife. The romantic waterfront gives ample opportunity to have beautiful strolls and the newly pedestrianized historic centre which is decorated with bustling squares flanked by buildings invites exploration by inquisitive tourists.
Maintaining its fairytale vibe, a walk across the city centre introduces Koules fortress at the Venetian port, gorgeous Turkish and Venetian fountains, magnificent Venetian buildings, the Venetian Loggia and museums including the Archaeological Museum, the Historical Museum and the Museum of Natural History.
The idyllic beaches in the northern and southern coasts of the Heraklion region are best for sunbathing and getting away from the crowd in the city. Beaches like the former hippie’s paradise, Matala beach, Agia Pelagia, and Malia are famous all over the country.
Discover the Cretan landscape and admire the breathtaking Heraklion prefecture in a car drive. The mountainous villages surrounded with pure nature take one’s breath away.
Not behind in culture and economy, the town is home to a huge reputed university and a science and technology park with international fame. It is also considered to be the main travel hub for the island of Crete due to a large port and an international airport.
Heraklion Taxi Transfers
Travelling within Heraklion is extremely convenient while using public transportation. With an extremely organized system of buses, metro and trains, one is subjected to a completely different point of view of the city.
Public transport is extremely safe, smooth and efficient and connects every corner of the city. The city is covered with an extensive bus system operated by the public transport company KTEL. During the summers, a bus leaves toward the city centre every five to ten minutes. There are several bus lines available, all depending on the convenience of the traveler. The travel time is 20 minutes and there are less bus options available on holidays and Sundays. Different colors are allotted to different buses, the city buses are blue and the local regional buses are green. The blue bus takes you to the centre of Heraklion. Tickets can be bought from the bus driver itself, costing € 1.20 per person. There are three main bus stations, two to the east and one to the west of the Old Town. The city also offers two free bus services, bus 1 Red Line and bus 2 Blue Line which operate on Monday to Friday, from 07:00 to 22:40. Intercity buses, which are green in color, connect the city with multiple other counties of Crete. The official website of KTEL provides more information.
Ferries and boat trips are provided to travel destinations like Santorini, Ios Island, Paros, Mykonos, and Rhodes. Easy and direct transfers to Naxos, Karpathos, Kasos, Sitia, Anafi, Chalki and Diafani by ferries are available. Daily ferries to Piraeus, the port of Athens in mainland Greece operate from the port of Heraklion.
A car or a motorcycle can be rented and this gives a chance to explore the island at your own pace and gain access to the most secluded spots
Taxis can be handy when you want to avoid crowds and travel without any waiting time. Taxis are very easy to flag down, since numerous taxis can be found in every central spot. They are relatively expensive compared to buses but they definitely offer easy and fast transfer to your destination. For easy, stress-free travel, Rydeu provides private transfers in and around the city. Rydeu strives to make every journey safe and enjoyable.
Heraklion Airport Transfers and Taxis
Transfers from Heraklion Airport are extremely easy and convenient. Your journey begins at the airport itself and a lot depends on the method of airport transfers chosen. The airport is located just 5 kms from the city centre and can be reached in a drive of 10 minutes.
How to reach the city centre via bus?
Heraklion’s public transportation system is exceptional. With an extremely organized system of buses and trams one is subjected to a completely different point of view of the city and easy transfers from the airports are provided. The city is covered with an extensive bus system operated by the public transport company KTEL. Different colors are allotted to different buses, the city buses are blue and the local regional buses are green. Numerous blue buses operate from the airport frequently and they run in the direction of the centre of Heraklion. Tickets can be bought from the bus driver itself only by cash, costing € 1.20 per person. Located just outside the airport, buses arrive every 10 minutes to the bus station and run to the Heraklion KTEL terminal. Buses operate daily from 6 am to 11 pm from the airport. The whole trip to the city centre takes around 20 minutes. Despite the affordable price, taking a bus is usually not recommended since it is certainly not the most comfortable choice of airport transfers. There isn’t a bus station inside the airport so luggage has to be carried all the way to the central ring road to board a bus. It is also a problem if arrivals are scheduled after 11:15 pm, since there won’t be any bus available.
Taxi services from the Airport to the city centre
Taxis are a convenient choice from travelling from the airport especially at night when there is no public transportation and you have a lot of luggage. It costs a flat rate of €1.20 per km. There might be an increase in prices during holidays. It is advised to avoid scams and book taxis online. Be sure not to pay cash in advance and check the fares and meter. Don’t forget to make sure the tariff on the taximeter is correct and ask the driver for a receipt that includes the taxi operator’s information and the taxi number. Rydeu provides an easy solution for all your travel woes with easy airport transfers. They are cheap, affordable and leave you hassle-free to enjoy the journey to your destination.
A city full of modern designs, gorgeous architecture, atmospheric cafes, Heraklion leaves everyone dazzled. Below is a list of must-visit tourist attractions to explore to make your trip complete.
1. Heraklion Archaeological Museum
The largest and most significant museum in the country, Heraklion Archaeological Museum is a work of art in itself. Showcasing artefacts and historic structures from Neolithic to Roman times, including an invaluable and brilliant Minoan collection, the two-storey renovated building contains innumerable surprises. The rooms of the museum are color-coded and excellently discover Crete’s rich history.
2. Koules Fortress
Heraklion’s highlight, the historic Koules Fortress was reopened in august 2016 after six years of restoration. This 16th century fortress explores the city’s history and a brand-new exhibition attracts visitors from all over the world. Particularly known for its ancient artefacts including Venetian cannons and finds recovered from shipwrecks around Dia Island by Jacques Cousteau in 1976, Koules Fortress can’t be missed.