Insider's Guide to Heraklion

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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For centuries the island of Spinalonga has been known for its Venetian fortress, and more recently it was the setting for the 2005 novel 'The Island' by Victoria Hislop. The now-abandoned island is the perfect place to lose yourself for half a day. ... 

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3 star rating: Worth doing
October 2014

Pick ups pro-longed length of time. Would have preferred option to have lunch in Elounda instead of boat/barbecue. Would be good to have option. Spinalonga guide was very informative.

Doing what: Full Day Tour to Spinalonga Island with BBQ Lunch

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
October 2014

Our tour suppose to include Ag.Nikholas, but were picked up and drop at Elounda port without visiting the city. What a scam!

Doing what: Full Day Tour to Spinalonga Island with BBQ Lunch

4 star rating: Recommended
August 2014

I signed up very last minute and the local operator did a good job being in touch and helping me get on the tour. The Spinalonga guide also did a nice job with the tour, on a very hot day. Overall, the experience was a good one. I found Spinalonga very interesting. I also enjoyed the swimming area and the town of Agios Nicolaus. The BBQ lunch was good, though it was challenging eating it on a crowded boat. One negative was that I felt unprepared for the late hour of the lunch (3:30) and therefore needed to find an ATM and get food in Agios Nicolaus. Since I joined the tour late, it's possible that information would have come to me if I'd had more time.

Doing what: Full Day Tour to Spinalonga Island with BBQ Lunch

3 star rating: Worth doing
August 2014

Travel by coach was too long - inevitable when so many people to be picked up but it could be made clearer in the advertising that this would happen. The bay where we stopped for swimming was really unsuitable - stony and not particularly clean. There must surely be better places to stop?

Doing what: Full Day Tour to Spinalonga Island with BBQ Lunch

3 star rating: Worth doing
July 2014

The visit to Spinalonga was good, I would have liked to spend more time on the island than was given. Other than that it was a nice tour.

Doing what: Full Day Tour to Spinalonga Island with BBQ Lunch

4 star rating: Recommended
June 2014

This was a great tour, you need 2 euro pp to pay for entry on spinalonga. The barbecue and swim at lunch were great , luckily we had good weather highly recommend

Doing what: Full Day Tour to Spinalonga Island with BBQ Lunch

4 star rating: Recommended
June 2014

I really loved Santorini but I would prefer to go there and stay for a few days as we spent too many hours traveling (bus+boat+bus). The guide was really kind and funny, we could see that she knows a lot about her island (she lives there), unfortunately I don't remember her name but she said that we could call her "mama" :) also she recommended a good restaurant by the beach!

Doing what: Santorini Island Day Trip

3 star rating: Worth doing
September 2013

I liked the tour, and visiting Santorini. However, there was almost no guidance, we had short free time of 1 hour or 1.5 hours in the major cities which was too crowded and left us with the wish to see more. The ferry was 2.75 hours to each direction, which left us less time than we expected.

Doing what: Santorini Island Day Trip

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
September 2013

Santorini itself is the most beautiful
Of islands. However the tour tries too hard to fit too much in. The result is that you hardly have time to look round before being moved on to the next location. My advice get the ferry yourself and take your time maybe just concentrate on Thira or one location

Doing what: Santorini Island Day Trip

4 star rating: Recommended
July 2013

A fantastic tour. Not only is the scenery stunning, the history of Spinalonga likewise. Do not go to Heraklion and miss this tour. Well worth the day. Well organised and everything ran smoothly.

Doing what: Full Day Tour to Spinalonga Island with BBQ Lunch

SHONA S
New Zealand

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2013

I really enjoyed the day and pleased I did the tour. A good way to see more of Crete after a week walking in Western Crete. The local taxi pick up from my hotel to connect with the bus was on time as was the taxi waiting to meet the bus to return to my hotel at the end of the day. Excellent driving by the bus driver ( he managed so well in the narrow streets with the way the Greeks park) and the tour guide was excellent. Overall an excellent tour. However I did expect/ would have liked to have quite a bit longer on Spinalonga Island which was my reason for booking the tour.
Tour Wednesday 15 May 2013. No photos as my camera jammed and I am waiting for some from some one I met up with on the bus.

Doing what: Full Day Tour to Spinalonga Island with BBQ Lunch

4 star rating: Recommended
June 2013

We were collected on time and the rep was (Anraka )very friendly .we enjoyed spectacular scenery on the drive .
The boat trip to the small island was enjoyable however I wouldn't recommend it for any one with mobility problems ! The BBQ lunch was very tasty, washed own with wine or juice .
Spinalonga was fabulous , I was disappointed that we only had one hour on the island , no where near enough time !
On the return coach journey the Russian rep NEVER stopped talking over the intercom in Russian , the English people aboard and a lot of the Russians got feb up of her non stop jabbering , we all were saying sushhhhhh !
I would recommend that longer was spent on spinalona, and less time on a very rocky beach !

Doing what: Full Day Tour to Spinalonga Island with BBQ Lunch

3 star rating: Worth doing
June 2013

I wish there were multiple ways to see this island, but, alas, you've got few options. This is one of them. The ferry ride was lovely, but then we got herded off the boat into, like, 30 waiting, idling buses. It reeked of exhaust and was chaotic. We got shuffled into one bus that advertised both German and English (we're English-only speakers), but we quickly left that bus after the guide on it was rude to some nearby passengers. So we switched to a French/English bus, where we were the only English speakers -- our tour guide, though, was very sweet about it and called us "her girls" because we were the only ones she had to address in English.
On this tour, you get to see Oia, Fira, and the beach. You won't get much time at each, and you'll follow all the other tour buses around to each of the stops, which means hundreds of people flood the tiny streets at every stop. And you're basically only dropped there to do shopping. The tour guide was knowledgable and interesting -- she definitely does the best she can -- but it's possible that if you want the real Santorini, you'll have to give it more than just one afternoon.

Doing what: Santorini Island Day Trip

4 star rating: Recommended
July 2012

Great service being picked up directly from my hotel. Slight confusion as you book with viator but the trip is run by another company. Lovely day out with really well informed tour guides. Shame that you only have 30mins to explore Spinalonga on your own, also be prepared for the masses of other tourists doing the same thing.

Doing what: Full Day Tour to Spinalonga Island with BBQ Lunch

Julia G
United Kingdom

4 star rating: Recommended
August 2011

We had a great day out and enjoyed the BBQ and swimming from the boat. The day was well planned.

Doing what: Full Day Tour to Spinalonga Island with BBQ Lunch

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