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How to Spend 1 Day in Heraklion

How to Spend 1 Day in Heraklion

The capital of Crete, Heraklion (also known as Iraklio) offers ancient Minoan ruins, a historic harbor, and a vibrant food, wine, and nightlife scene—all in a package that feels more authentic than many of the island’s resort towns. Here’s how to check out the highlights in just one day.

Morning: Minoan Magic

Even if you’re not normally one for ruins, make an exception for the Palace of Knossos, the 4,000-year-old palace complex that gave us the legend of the Minotaur and his labyrinth. Especially in high season, a skip-the-line ticket or a tour with skip-the-line access is well worth the extra money. Next, head back into Heraklion and learn about the Minoan civilization that built Knossos—and palaces across Crete—at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, one of the nation’s top museums. Finally, take in the city’s essential sights, perhaps from an open-top bus. Don’t miss the 16th-century Koules Fortress and the mighty Venetian Walls.

Afternoon: Food Frenzy

Every part of Greece offers its own unique and delicious cuisine, and Crete is no exception. Soak up the atmosphere at one of Heraklion’s vibrant markets, including the island’s largest fish market. Sample local delights such asbougatsa, a breakfast treat made with flaky phyllo pastry, cheese, rusks, olives, and olive oil. Don’t miss the chance to savor a glass or two of local wine, from the wineries around the city: vilana white and Romeiko red are two of the island’s signatures. Or, try a cooking class, perhaps with a professional chef or a local family.

Night: Dinner Dancing

With just one day in Heraklion, don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in Cretan culture at a folklore show. Soak up the ancient rhythms of traditional instruments such as the lyre and the lute. Feast on dishes from local lamb to spring greens or spinach pie as you listen to heartfelt folk songs. Then let yourself be swept away as costumed performers break into dances as lively as anything you'd see at a Greek wedding. Get into the spirit with local wines andtsipouro, Crete’s answer to Italy’s grappa brandy.

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9 Tours and Activities | All Heraklion Tours

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Cretan Night - Live Music and Dance

Cretan Night - Live Music and Dance

star-3
Enjoy a fun introduction to Cretan culture on this evening tour. Tuck into a delicious dinner of typical island cuisine, sip fine Greek wine and be entertained by a thrilling Cretan Folklore show, including live music and traditional dance. Hotel pickup and drop-off are included.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$101.79
From
$101.79
Taking safety measures

Private Departure Transfer: Crete Hotels to Heraklion Airport or Port

Private Departure Transfer: Crete Hotels to Heraklion Airport or Port

star-5
Sit back and enjoy a stress-free ride to Heraklion International Airport or Heraklion Port with this private departure transfer from your hotel in Crete. When it’s time to leave this beautiful Greek island by air or by cruise ship, simply meet your professional driver at your hotel or private residence, hop inside your private, air-conditioned vehicle, and relax as you’re whisked straight to the airport or portside. Just select your pickup location from hotels in many of Crete’s towns, including Heraklion, Chania, Malia, Rethymnon and more.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$32.50
Price varies by group size
From
$32.50
Price varies by group size

Heraklion Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Heraklion Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

star-3
Get to know Heraklion and stop to visit the Palace of Knossos just outside the city on this open-top hop-on hop-off tour. With your unlimited-use 1-day ticket, board the open-top, double-decker bus at any of 10 stops around the city. Then, with your free city map, hop off at the stops of interest to visit attractions such as the Minoan relics at Knossos and the harborside Venetian Castle. Otherwise, stay aboard and absorb the panoramic views of the sights as you learn about Heraklion’s past from the onboard audio commentary.
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  • 1 hour to 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$18.18
From
$18.18

Private Arrival Transfer: Heraklion Airport or Port to Crete Hotels

Private Arrival Transfer: Heraklion Airport or Port to Crete Hotels

star-4
Start your stay in Crete in style with this private, one-way transfer service from Heraklion International Airport or Heraklion Port to your Crete hotel or private residence. Meet your courteous driver at the airport terminal or the portside, and hop into your private, climate-controlled vehicle. Then, sit back and relax as your driver whisks you directly to your accommodation in any of Crete's major resorts, such as Heraklion, Chania, Elounda, Rethymnon, Agios Nikolaos and others.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$32.50
Price varies by group size
From
$32.50
Price varies by group size

Heraklion Bites and Sights Morning Small Group Tour

Heraklion Bites and Sights Morning Small Group Tour

star-5
Discover Heraklion’s hidden sights and culinary delights on a 4-hour walking tour. With a friendly local guide, dive into the heart of the Cretan capital to experience its landmarks, hidden gems and favorite foods. See sights such as St Titus Cathedral, walk atop the Venetian town walls, and discover hidden side streets and vibrant neighborhoods. Learn about Heraklion’s history, scout out tasty treats at a market, sip on Greek coffee and savor delicious 'meze' — small appetizers — at a taverna. Numbers are limited to 12 for a more personalized experience.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$112.69
From
$112.69
Taking safety measures

Private Tour: Ancient Palace of Knossos, Heraklion Archaeological Museum and City Tour

Private Tour: Ancient Palace of Knossos, Heraklion Archaeological Museum and City Tour

Uncover Greek folklore and ancient Minoan legends with this private, 4-hour tour to Heraklion Archaeological Museum and the Palace of Knossos. Hear the famous myth of Theseus and the Minotaur during a guided tour of the Minoan palace, and see highlights such as the Grand Staircase, Central Court and Throne Room. Then, uncover 5,000 years of ancient history as you explore Heraklion Archaeological Museum and the city center with your private guide. Entrance fees are not included.
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  • 4 hours
From
$468.53
Price varies by group size
From
$468.53
Price varies by group size

Crete private tour: Knossos Palace, Archaeological museum, and Heraklion Town

Crete private tour: Knossos Palace, Archaeological museum, and Heraklion Town

star-4
Uncover the mysteries of the ancient Minoan civilization on this private, half-day tour of Heraklion highlights. Explore the magnificent Knossos Palace, home to King Minos and legends of the Minotaur, and visit a world-class archaeological museum featuring artifacts dating back to 5000 BC. See the contrast of ancient and modern Crete with some free time in the port town of Heraklion, and enjoy personalized attention from your guide along the way. Entrance fees to Knossos Palace and Archaeological Museum at your expense.
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  • 5 hours
From
$472.27
Price varies by group size
From
$472.27
Price varies by group size

Private Cooking Class and Wine Tasting in Heraklion

Private Cooking Class and Wine Tasting in Heraklion

Get a masterclass in Cretan cuisine with a private, half-day winery tour and cooking class in Heraklion. Begin with a visit to a renowned winery, where you’ll learn about winemaking and take part in a guided wine tasting. Then, continue to a reconstructed village and visit a folkore museum before receiving hands-on instruction from one of the locals in the delicacies of Cretan cooking.
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  • 5 hours
From
$428.14
Price varies by group size
From
$428.14
Price varies by group size

Palace of Knossos Skip-the-Line Ticket with Tour Guide

Palace of Knossos Skip-the-Line Ticket with Tour Guide

star-4.5
If you want to make the most of your limited time on Crete, get a skip-the-line ticket for the Palace of Knossos.  With over 1500 rooms to explore, you’ll want to maximize your visit to the well-preserved labyrinth. Avoid the long line of tourists and exposure to the elements. Instead, collect your ticket upon arrival from a conveniently located operator.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$77.55
From
$77.55
Taking safety measures