The island's capital, Heraklion, can be the starting point for your trip to Crete. The city is conveniently located - the main attractions of the island can be quickly reached by rented car. In Heraklion there will be entertainment for every taste: history buffs will appreciate the large-scale collection of artifacts from the time of the Minoan civilization in the Archaeological Museum; those who are attracted by natural species will be able to go to Rizenia; and for those who want to spend time in a relaxed atmosphere, it will be enough just to leave the hotel, go down to the neighboring beach and plunge into the cool Mediterranean Sea.
Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport ( Nikos Kasantzakis Airport then ) - download scheme
IATA code: the HER
Location: 5 km from Heraklion
official website: www.heraklion-airport.info/
Background: +30 2810 397 800
Services Rent a car at the airport of Heraklion offer the following car rental companies : Hertz, Alamo, Europcar, Thrifty, Caldera Car Rental, Avis, Enterprise Rent a Car and Green Motion. Reception desks are located at the exit of the airport building. Paid and free parking is available at the airport, where you can leave your car for several minutes or for a longer period.
In the city of Knossos (only 4 km from the center of Heraklion) is the main attraction of the city, which in the era of classical antiquity was considered the center of the Cretan god Zeus. The first palace in Knossos appeared around 2000-1700. BC, but was destroyed during a major earthquake. In its place, a new palace was built, dating back to the heyday of the Minoan civilization. However, a sad fate awaited him: between 1628 and 1500. BC. on the island of Santorini there was an eruption of a volcano that destroyed the palace. Happened in 1450 BC the fire finally turned the Palace of Knossos into ruins. Excavations at the site of the ancient settlement began at the beginning of the 20th century, when the English archaeologist Arthur Evans bought up the land of Knossos and set about restoring the buildings that existed here until 1450 BC. According to the legend,
The Archaeological Museum in Heraklion is considered one of the largest in Greece. The basis of the exposition is a collection dedicated to the Minoan civilization. The museum also presents other historical periods - from the Neolithic to Greco-Roman domination. Be sure to stay with such exhibits as the Phaistos disc (a monument to the writing of Minoan culture, III room), the statue of the Goddess with snakes (IV room) and the fresco "Parisian" (XV — XVI rooms).
Ag. Ekaterini square
Greek Orthodox Church, built in the middle of the XIX century in honor of the patron saint of Heraklion - St. Mine. The reason for the construction of the cathedral was the story that happened in Heraklion on Easter in 1826, when officer Ayan Aga dispersed a crowd of Turks who were about to plunder the church of St. Mina, which stood on the site of the modern church. The townspeople felt that it was not without the intervention of St. Mina, who saved them from robbery and violence by the Turks. The saint was declared the patron saint of Heraklion and a three-nave cathedral was erected in his honor with beautiful interior decoration, so similar to Russian Orthodox churches. It is interesting that although St. Mina is the patron saint of the city, it is rare to find people with a similar name among the locals. The fact is that in the 19th century, children abandoned on the threshold of the church were given the name Mina,
Sofokli Venizelou 27 www.historical-museum.gr/
A good addition to your excursion program in Heraklion will be a visit to the Historical Museum, the exposition of which covers a large time layer - from the early Christian times of Crete to modern times. Sculptures, ceramics, household items, ancient jewelry, ritual objects, books, prints, icons - the museum's collection is huge, it allows you to get the most complete picture of how culture was born on the island. If you are fond of numismatics, then you will be interested in a collection of coins and ancient banknotes, as well as a collection of unique archival documents that reflect the history of the development of the economy in Crete. And of course, stay in the hall with two paintings by El Greco - these are the only paintings by the artist exhibited on the island.
While walking around Heraklion, do not forget to look into the Venetian fortress of Kules, which seems to rise from the seabed. The construction of the fortress dates back to about the 15th century, when it became necessary to strengthen the city and its neighboring territories. The walls of the fortress are decorated with coats of arms and commemorative tablets, and the winged lion of St. Mark, a symbol of the Republic of Venice, is depicted on marble reliefs located above the entrances. In the evening, the fortress is beautifully illuminated, and the view of the harbor is amazing, so you will not regret it if you include this place in the plan of your walk around Heraklion.
Having rented a car, go to the ancient town of Hersonissos. The first settlement here arose during the time of the Minoan civilization in 1500 BC. From the unremarkable fishing village of Hersonissos turned into a bustling party town where tourists come to beach parties, concerts and entertainment shows. Some outstanding architectural monuments were not preserved in the city, so forget about excursions for a couple of days and come here for your portion of fun, carefree and light.
You can hide from the tourist noise and spend a couple of hours among the mountain views in Rizenia, an ancient settlement that once had the status of the most important city for Crete. The ruins of the temple dedicated to the goddess Rhea, the mother of the Olympic gods, testify to past greatness. From the highest point of Rizenia, a breathtaking view of the island opens, from the beauty created by nature, it is breathtaking, and it seems as if there is no force that can eclipse it. Come to Rizenia early in the morning to catch the sweet minutes of silence and solitude. And do not forget to wear comfortable shoes so that a walk on hilly terrain is as comfortable as possible.
About an hour's drive from Heraklion by rental car - and you will find yourself in the Vrontisiu Monastery, built in honor of St. Anthony. The exact date of the founding of the monastery is unknown, but it was first mentioned in written sources in 1400. Books were rewritten here, icons were painted, the famous master Mikhail Damaskin created six icons in the monastery, which can now be found in St. Catherine’s Church in Heraklion. Vrontisiou Monastery does not amaze the imagination with its architecture and interior decoration, which, however, does not prevent it from remaining an important place for the island’s spiritual life.
The city of Festos, which lies south of Heraklion, is famous for its palace, or rather, the ruins of the once majestic palace, built in 2000 BC. by order of King Minos and his brother Radamant. 1700 BC earthquake although it destroyed most of the palace, it retained its religious significance. Now the history of the palace can be studied only by the preserved stone blocks and fragments of bas-reliefs, in which interesting patterns are visible. Traveling to prehistoric times is quite simple: rent a car, come to Festos, leave your car in the parking lot and get ready for a long walk among the ancient ruins, each part of which is part of a fascinating history and culture.
Using a car rental service, set aside a day for a trip to Rethymnon to wander around the Old Town, see the Venetian-style churches, take a picture of yourself against the background of an old lighthouse, take a walk to Platano Square and admire the Rimondi Fountain. If you have time, we advise you to travel around the city. In the village of Argyroupoli, look at natural springs and dine in a tavern with a view of the waterfall, and in Arkadi look into the monastery, which is considered the national symbol of Crete.
Kapetan Haralampi 6-8 http://peskesicrete.gr/en/
Have a memorable dinner in a traditional Cretan style and visit the Peskesi restaurant, which conveys the atmosphere of a cozy Greek tavern. Dishes are served on large white plates or shabby wooden plates, on which grilled meat looks incredibly appetizing. If you don’t know where to start tasting the menu, then order a rabbit (meat literally melts in your mouth), a Greek salad and a couple of hot pit - how all this is delicious, you shouldn’t even say it, it's better to just try it. Visitors praise the local wine, without which Peskesi does not manage a single lunch and dinner. Ask the waiter to take a table for you in the courtyard - he is buried in greenery and will help to hide from the heat and city noise.
Eleftheriou Venizelou 31
The main dish of Kir Kor cafe is puff pastry pies with sweet cheese and custard. This is a traditional Greek dish that is served in every local restaurant, but some of the most delicious boogas is cooked in Kir Kor. The taste is an amateur, but at least once it’s worth a try to understand why the locals praise them so much.
Platia Daskalogianni 3
Hovoli is famous for gyros - an analogue of Arabic shawarma. If you want to try something else, then order souvlaki - kebabs on wooden skewers, to which Hovoli serves a mountain of potatoes, vegetables and several sauces to choose from. The institution has discounts and special offers: for example, if you order beer, then you get a side dish for your dish for free. If you do not plan to spend much on food, but want to try something typically Greek, then Hovoli will delight you with an ideal ratio of price, taste and quality.
Sof. Venizelou www.mare-cafe.gr/
The Mare restaurant is chosen not only for its excellent seafood and excellent coffee, but also for its gorgeous view of the sea, which you fall in love faster than at first glance. Tables on the terrace are dismantled instantly, so finding free is a huge fortune. As for food, Mare should order shrimps with a special lemon sauce that sets the tone for the whole dish, and waffles with honey and walnuts. Of the minuses is a slow service, which, however, can be turned into a plus: for the time that your dishes will be prepared, you will enjoy the refreshing sea breeze and take many beautiful photos of the harbor.
Kapetan charalampi 3
It is best to come to the Opus wine bar in the evening, when candles are lit in the restaurant, something soothing sounds in the background, and the sweet-spicy smell of wine is floating in the air. In addition to the extensive wine list, Opus has a decent main menu - steaks, grilled fish, salads and several light snacks that complement your chosen wine. Local people often visit the bar, and this is a good sign - it means that the restaurant is really tasty, inexpensive and atmospheric.
Andreas Papandreou 72
+30 2810 377 000 www.candiamaris.gr/ double room - from € 149
Candia Maris Resort & Spa is located five kilometers from the center of Heraklion, next to the resort town of Amoudara. The hotel has its own spacious beach with comfortable sun loungers and a bar with cocktails and snacks. Cozy, spacious rooms with a classic range of amenities, overlooking the sea or pool. The hotel has two tennis courts, a thalasso center and a spa center with a jacuzzi, a bath and a sauna. For those who rented a car, free parking is available.
D. Beaufort, 9
+30 2810 305 300 www.gdmmegaron.com/ double room - from € 124
Hotel GDM Megaron is a historic building dating back to the early 20th century. Spacious rooms with a classic design, windows overlook the old port of Heraklion - in the evening the view is especially impressive. The hotel has a rooftop pool and a pretty restaurant, which is perfect for a romantic dinner. The hotel has its own private parking, so there is a place for your rented car.
+30 2810 238 812 www.galaxy-hotel.com/ double room - from € 114
A luxurious five-star hotel close to the city center and the main attractions of Heraklion. Pleasant rooms in beige tones, some with spa baths. It offers guests a gym, Turkish bath, spa and several restaurants and bars with a large menu and a good wine list. Those who use the car rental service will be able to park their car in the free parking lot at the hotel.
+30 2810 229 103 www.theatlantishotel.gr double room - from € 112
Five-star hotel 200 meters from Heraklion Archaeological Museum. The rooms are minimalist in design and most have a beautiful harbor view. The hotel's main restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine - we recommend that you stop by for lunch or dinner. At the reception you can book a tour of the city and its environs, as well as book a table in any restaurant. A nice bonus is the large parking lot next door.
+30 2810 228 103 www.lato.gr/ double room - from € 87
Boutique hotel near the city port of Heraklion. Spacious stylish rooms with bright design, rooms with sea views are equipped with small cozy balconies where you can have coffee in the morning and enjoy the scenery. Guests at the hotel can make use of the fitness center and spa, which has a hot tub and Turkish bath. We advise you to go for a cocktail in the rooftop bar, from where you can see the Venetian fortress of Kules. If you are traveling by rental car, you will be pleased to have free public parking near the Lato Boutique Hotel.
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© Ellina Rudenko, 2016