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Heraklion - Best Place To Visit in Crete Islands

Visit Crete: The Largest Island Of Greece & The Best Places to Visit in Crete Island (2024)

Visit Crete: The Largest Island Of Greece

Crete Island is about 400 km (250 miles) from Athens. The ferry takes about 9 to 12 hours to reach the Crete island from Athens. There are flights from Athens that take about 50 to 60 minutes to reach Crete from Athens. Crete is the largest island in Greece. The area of the island is 3,220 square miles. The section of the island is covered by mountains. The highest peak of mountain Ida is 8058 feet. There are 640,000 people live on the Crete island, Greece.

The Crete island is long and narrow in shape. The east-west length of the island is 260 km (160 miles) and the width of the north to south is between 7 miles to 37 miles in a different geographical area. The Heraklion is the capital town and has several universally recognized museums. The museums have several items from the Bronze age that were found on the island by archeologists. The Crete island has a history of the civilization since Minoan and Bronze era. The island Crete has a rich heritage that resulted in the civic and construction changes of the residential area from the time of Bronze age, Dorian Greeks, and Ottoman Turks.

Tourists visit the Mosque that was built by Ottomans and also experience a Turkish bath at Hammams built by Turkish. The tourists get to see ancient Ramparts along the border of town as well as the Venetian harbor from the Byzantine period.

The Crete island has archeological and Byzantine museums that exhibit artifacts and items from the Byzantine and Bronze period. Most tourists stay at Crete island for 3 to 7 days and visit a few towns along the coast. Most young tourists move from one town to the next town along the coast to see the entire coastline and visit several beaches. The most interesting places to see at Island Crete are on the west end of the island. Few tourists stay at a nearby town to visit places like Elafonisi Beach, Samaria Gorge and Balos Lagoo

12 Best Places To Visit in Crete Islands

1. Heraklion

Heraklion is a capital town of Crete island. The population of the town is 313,766. Nearly ½ the population of the Crete Island lives in Heraklion city. The city of Heraklion is also known as a Palace of Knossos. The town has 16th-century Koules Fortress and Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Museum has a large collection of Minoan art.

Heraklion - Best Place To Visit in Crete IslandsImage Source

2. Knossos

Knossos is located about 6 km from the capital town Heraklion and a beautiful lace to visit in Crete Island. History of Crete suggests Knossos was highly populated in the 18th century and 100,000 people lived in Knossos. The Knossos name was derived as a name of a palace and its encompassing city that was most populated at that time. Visitors come to see the palace that was built 3,000 years ago. The city was destroyed by earthquakes, hurricanes, and several invasions. The courtyard, reception area, and several sections of the palace indicate the architectural advanced concepts were adopted to build the palace in ancient times. The palace was built in the Middle Minoan period of 2000 to 1580 BC.

Best Place To Visit in Crete Islands-KnossosImage Source

3. Heraklion Archaeological Museum

The Heraklion Archaeological museum in Crete Island has one of the largest collections of Minoan artifacts. The collection includes artifacts from Neolithic times, Byzantine, and Bronze period. Most exhibited items include Sculptures, Vases, Tools, Weapons, and pieces of jewelry.

Places To Visit in Crete Islands-Heraklion Archaeological MuseumImage Source

4. Elafonisi Beach

Elafonisi Beach is considered as one of the best beaches to visit in Crete island. The beach is about 210 km from the capital town and may take 3 hours and 30 minutes to reach the beach. Most tourists stay for one or two nights at one of the nearest towns to visit the Elafonisi beach.

5. Samaria Gorge

Most hikers love to visit the most beautiful scenic place in Crete Island, Samaria Gorge. The tourist should be physically fit to do the hiking and be able to walk a few miles to complete the tour. The best view of the fascinating valley is seen from the top of the mountain. The mountain and valley are photogenic and breathtaking. The Gorge is 180 km from Capital town Heraklion in Crete Islands, Greece.

Beautiful Place To Visit in Crete Islands-Samaria GorgeImage Source

6. Rethymno Old Town

The Rethymno Old Town is located about 80 km from Capital town Heraklion. It takes 90 minutes to reach the old town. Tourists take a walk through the old town to experience the uniformly built houses and cobblestone street that was constructed over 100 years ago. Rethymno Old Town is one of the best places to visit in Crete Islands.

7. Balos Lagoon

Balos Lagoon is about 180 km from the capital town Heraklion. Most tourists stay in a closer towns like Chania or Kissamos. Chania is about 60 km from Lagoon and Kissamos is about 18 kilometers from Balos Lagoon.

Sightseeing place to visit in Crete Islands-Balos LagoonImage Source

8. Chania’s Venetian Harbor

The city of Chania in Crete Island is about 145 km from Heraklion. It’s a small beautiful town that has good hotels and rental properties. The town is close to other attractions like Elafonisi Beach, Samaria Gorge, and Balos Lagoon. The Chania’s Venetian Harbor is the place where most tourists spend an evening and then try authentic island dinner at one of the restaurants near the harbor.

Best Tourist Place To Visit in Crete Islands-Chania’s Venetian HarborImage Source

9. Arkadi Monastery

The Arkadi Monastery is an Eastern Orthodox Monastery that is located about 80 km from the capital city Heraklion, and also the city of Chania. The Monastery was built in the 16th century. The architecture and look of the Monastery indicate construction was influenced by the Renaissance period, as well as the Roman, and the Baroque era. Arkadi Monastery in Crete Island can be visited from Heraklion and Chania.

Increible Place To Visit in Crete Islands-Arkadi MonasteryImage Source

10. Phaistos Palace and Archaeological Site in Crete Island

This must-visit archeological site in Crete Island is about 58 km south of Heraklion. Phaistos is also 6 km from the Mediterranean sea. The site was located by Thomas Abel Spratt. The excavation finding of the site indicates that there was a city of Phaistos at the site of excavation.

Best Place in Crete Islands-Phaistos Palace and Archaeological Site in Crete IslandImage Source

Respectively history also indicates the city of Phaistos was occupied by Minos and then destroyed by the Gortynians. The artifacts found at the site indicate the possible origin of the city around the Bronze age 4000 BC and Iron age.

11. Lake Voulismeni

Lake Voulismeni is about 63 km east of the city of Heraklion. The sweet water lake was a close lake that eventually open to the sea and became a saltwater lake. The Voulismeni lake in Crete Island is circular with a diameter of 137 meters and a depth of 48.8 meters. Lake is connected to the harbor. There are houses and hotels built on the side of the lake. The earthquake of October 12, 1856, probably caused the widening of the opening of the lake to the sea. Tourists come to see the Voulismeni lake and also follow the history of the lake.

Nice Place in Crete Islands-Lake VoulismeniImage Source

12. Holy Trinity Monastery

The Holy Trinity Monastery is about 18 km from the city of Chania and 150 km from the city of Heraklion. The church was built in the 17th century. The Monastery is a Greek Orthodox church and also has a small museum. The church was built with Byzantine architectural design.

Amazing Place in Crete Islands-Holy Trinity MonasteryImage Source

The Monastery has the main church and two small dome chapels. The Monastery is considered as Holy Trinity Church. The Monastery was damaged in 1892 during Turk war. The library attached to the Church contains rare books.

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