Heraklion (Greece)

City of myths, ancient civilisations and world-renowned artists – Heraklion lives and breathes culture.

Heraklion Crete, a city filled with palaces, fountains and mythical labyrinths

Sailing into Heraklion port, the intimidating walls of Koules Fortress emerge from the sea to guard the ancient treasures found within the city. Capital of Crete, Heraklion is brimming with landmarks, world-class museums, golden beaches and a stylish nightlife scene that shape a destination to please everyone’s taste.

Pedestrianized streets wind their way around the historic center connecting squares, ornate Ottoman fountains and arcaded walkways within the secure Venetian walls. Strolling along the picturesque harbor-front promenade, you’ll spot traditional fishing boats coming and going, old vaulted shipyards in the distance as well as tavernas spilling out onto the seafront grilling freshly-caught fish and serving ice-cold drinks.

As the birthplace of Minoan civilization, Heraklion shows you the best of Crete history and culture. Exploring the Archaeological Museum, you’ll lose track of time looking at exhibitions covering more than 5,000 years, and you’ll soon uncover the city’s rich artistic heritage having given the world El Greco, poet Odysseas Elytis and novelist Nikos Kazantzakis.

The dominating presence of Koules Fortress is your first sight of Heraklion as you come in from the sea, and its silhouette follows you everywhere you go. Used as a Venetian fort and prison, its story traces that of the city and tempts you into finding out more. Head into the city center to the Loggia, an elegant nobleman’s club on Piazza dei Signori (Square of the Lords), to discover more about Heraklion’s Venetian influences, then walk to the nearby Fountain of Lions - inspired by mythology - to continue your voyage of discovery.

The colossal palace of Knossos near Heraklion rises from the center of an ancient Minoan settlement, unveiling their innovation and forward-thinking. Set around a large courtyard, its maze of 1,500 rooms is linked to King Minos and characters from mythology such as the Minotaur and Labyrinth. Explore the Grand Staircase, Throne Room, and admire colorful frescoes that adorn the excavated walls.

Amazing excursions carefully curated by Celestyal Cruises’s experts