4 star rating: Recommended 55 Reviews

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  • Hours: Open: Nov - May 8am - 3pm; Jun - Oct 8am - 7pm
  • Admission: Adults: € 6

Heraklion ATTRACTIONS See all

Palace of Knossos

The best place to capture the mystery and magic of Crete’s ancient Minoan civilization is the ruins of Knossos, just outside Heraklion.
The secrets of this enigmatic civilization were only unraveled in the 20th century, by the man who would go on to restore the palace ruins, Sir Arthur Evans.

The Palace of Knossos was built at the height of the Minoans’ glory, in around 3400 to 2100 BC, reflecting their wealth and sophistication. Best known for their incredibly naturalistic frescos and exquisite ceramics, the Minoans traded with other contemporary great powers in Egypt and Asia Minor.

The original palace was destroyed by an earthquake in around 1700 BC, and a more sophisticated complex was built over the ruins. Knossos was eventually destroyed by fire in 1400 BC.

Minoan pottery, jewelry, frescos and sarcophagi from Knossos are displayed in Heraklion at its fabulous archaeological museum. Standout frescos include depictions of a procession, a griffin, dolphins, bull-leaping acrobats and the much-copied fresco of a saffron-gatherer. Bull statues, flower paintings, vases, gilt ornaments and bare-breasted snake goddesses were also unearthed from the site.

You have to visit the site to really appreciate the ruins and the majesty of their original ornamentation. The original site was huge, and so interconnected that it was rumored to have been the original labyrinth of King Minos and the legendary Minotaur.

You can see the original royal roadways and aqueducts, storerooms and theater, burial grounds, throne room and ritual bathing area. Reconstructions also reveal the site’s original red columns and lovely restored frescos.

Practical Info

The Palace of Knossos lies just 5km (3 miles) southeast of the capital, Heraklion. Buses leave for Knossos several times an hour from Heraklion’s bus station A.

Tours & Tickets

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Ancient Palace of Knossos Tour

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 27 Reviews

Explore the Minoan Palace of Knossos and the nearby city of Heraklion on a 5-hour Crete tour! With an expert local guide, walk around the ruins and excavations ...  Read more

Location: Heraklion, Greece
Duration: 5.5 - 6 hours

From USD $54.07

Off Road Buggy Adventure in Crete

Come explore the Cretan mountains on a 7 hour buggy safari. Anyone holding a driver’s license can drive on this inclusive day for couples and families. This ...  Read more

Location: Heraklion, Greece
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $154.09

Full Day Tour to Spinalonga Island with BBQ Lunch

4 star rating: Recommended 20 Reviews

Take a boat ride to the island of Spinalonga. This former leper colony includes preserved houses and churches, and a strong Venetian influence in the form of ...  Read more

Location: Heraklion, Greece
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $69.59

Santorini Island Day Trip

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 8 Reviews

Get to know Santorini on a full-day independent trip from Crete, and see as much of the island as you wish! Either soak up the sun with a book on the beach, or ...  Read more

Location: Heraklion, Greece
Duration: 12 hours (approx.)

From USD $178.52

Spinalonga Island Day Trip

Originally, Spinalonga was not an island – it was part of the island of Crete. During Venetian occupation the island was carved out of the coast for defense ...  Read more

Location: Heraklion, Greece
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $59.35

Spinalonga and Cretan Culture Tour with Boat Trip

Visit Spinalonga island in combination with a taste of Cretan culture. Minibus tour and boat trip, small-group, with a personal touch.

Location: Heraklion, Greece
Duration: 1 day (approx.)

From USD $85.61

Chrissi Island Day Trip

Chrissi, an island 7km long with a maximum width of 2 km, is located 8 nautical miles south of the most southern town in Europe, Ierapetra. From the moment ...  Read more

Location: Heraklion, Greece
Duration: 12 hours (approx.)

From USD $62.78

Knossos Palace and Heraklio town Private Half Day Tour

Private half day tour from Heraklio port or town hotels with licensed guide and deluxe minivan to visit Knossos Palace and archaeological site, Heraklio town ...  Read more

Location: Heraklion, Greece
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $205.46

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