Insider's Guide to Heraklion

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

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The fifth-biggest city in Greece, Crete’s capital buzzes with energy, mixing ancient origins and modern-day big-city bustle. Away from Heraklion there are beaches for relaxing, ancient ruins to explore, lovely villages and one of the world’s most ... 

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Certified reviews by travelers like you.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
November 2014

had a great time on this tour, the guide was very knowledgeable, friendly and informative. I highly recommend this tour.

Doing what: Ancient Palace of Knossos Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
October 2014

This was the highlight of my visit to Crete. The gorge itself was amazing due to its sheer height and beauty. The herbal smells particularly over the first few Km were amazing. The guide was helpful providing some background to the gorge and the small number of buildings in the valley. The history of those who lived in the gorge is fascinating. This is a trip that I would highly recommend.The only negative that I would say about the day was the very poor quality of the coffee / food rest stop, which the bus stopped at the half-way stage on travelling too and from the gorge. Better to be well planned and bring your own food!

Doing what: Full Day Tour to Samaria Gorge

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

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
October 2014

Pick up process too long (over 2 hours). When arrived at Knossos guide did not wait for people to go to toilet after being on coach for 2.5hrs. Also did not have time to purchase tickets or water. She disappeared into the site and we never found her. Went around on our own in the end. Would have preferred to skip wine tasting and have more time in Heraklion to go to musum etc.

Doing what: Ancient Palace of Knossos Tour

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

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2014

A stunning hike. The early start meant we were ahead of most other people which was appreciated. Our tour guide was knowledgeable about the area, friendly and approachable. However, there is no need to rush the hike; take time to enjoy the scenery. My hiking pace is brisk so I had 4.5 hours to wait for the ferry to leave from the village at the end. Bring swimming shorts and a towel for a swim in the Libyan Sea and also a book to read.

Doing what: Full Day Tour to Samaria Gorge

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2014

Perfect amount of time and very great your guides! Highly recommend and I'm not a big tour/history person;)

Doing what: Ancient Palace of Knossos Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2014

An awesome experience. The guide was great very helpful if how the walk was structured and the gear and food we needed to take with us, The walk was amazing and the transport arrangements were very organised.

Doing what: Full Day Tour to Samaria Gorge

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2014

Super, a well organised day. The guide was extremely knowledgeable, the day well organised

Doing what: Ancient Palace of Knossos Tour

3 star rating: Worth doing
September 2014

Very well organised and knowledgeable tour guide. Would have preferred to independently explore museum but was fantastic at knossos.

Doing what: Ancient Palace of Knossos Tour

3 star rating: Worth doing
September 2014

The Samaria Gorge and National Park is beautiful and a great experience. Wearing the proper shoes is a must, as this is an 11 mile hike along very rocky trails. Only downside was that its a longer day that perhaps it needs to be. Because the tour included 50 other people, my pick up from the hotel in Kolymbari was 515 and I didn't get dropped off until 2130. After finishing the hike, we had to stay the afternoon (about 4 add'l hours) in Agio Roumeli, and then ferry back to get a 1-2 hour bus ride back to the hotel. Due to ferry schedule, it's possible that cannot be helped. Also, I'm under the impression from talking with several other individuals on the bus that if you purchase your tour tickets in Chania, the price for the trip is less than half the price of what I paid through Viator. All in all, a great experience, but it's a very long day, even before and after the hike. Not sure that Viator is the way to go.

Doing what: Full Day Tour to Samaria Gorge

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
September 2014

Went on this tour on the 26th, coach was prompt collected us on time, although almost immediately after we were moved onto another coach, we then picked up seemingly many other visitors from other hotels, this took up another hour and then it was finally onto the tour, the first thing you'll notice is you will get a english/german speaking guide, I was hoping to be in English, the actual tour of Knossos was informative, but being an English/German speaking guide it took double the amount of time to see and in the immense heat as well was not too good i thought. After this we went to Peza to try out the wine sampling this strangely isnt documented at all on Viator but it is in the local iternarys over there in Crete, I actually enjoyed this and we actually got a bottle back home, the guide mentions we were meant to be taken to a factory but this definitely didn't happen, instead we were shown a 10 minute DVD. The Heraklion tour was literally a coach ride into the city, and then from the fountain we were left to roam around on our own for a hour and a bit, I expected this to be guided but this didnt happen hence we only located the church and by the time we found the archelogical museum it was time to get back on the coach, all in all we felt the tour could have been better and because of the lack of guiding at Heraklion, we felt the tour was incomplete.

Improvements they got to streamline the amount of people they collect at hotel, if we specify an english guide, you expect an english guide, the speaker was ok but it just felt like a school lesson and i swear some people got frustrated by this, mention the tour goes to Peza on Viator for wine sampling, get an enthusiastic english only speaker and if you say you will get a guided tour of Heraklion from the air condition coach, then please make it happen!

Doing what: Ancient Palace of Knossos Tour

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

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
August 2014

A long hot day! Driver and your guide were courteous and helpful.

Doing what: Ancient Palace of Knossos Tour

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