Heraklion, a city with long history and cosmopolitan character
Heraklion, lying along the north coast of Crete, is the largest city of the island that concentrates most of its economic activity. It has taken its current name since the liberation of Crete from the Turks, in 1898.
During the Minoan period, the city was used as the port of the legendary palace of Knossos. In its present location, Heraklion was built in 824 by the Arabs.
Taking a walk at the old town areas (established in the Middle Ages), you will get a keen sense of the glorious image of the past. It is obvious that Heraklion is living between the fastmoving currents of regeneration and the deep desire to maintain links with the old period; both these strands define city’s character.
Heraklion offers its visitors amazing places to discover: A wealth of
museums and archaeological sites, a summer cultural festival, an
extraordinary nightlife and numerous events throughout the year. The
city is easily approached by plane from all over the world and by boat
from Piraeus port or the nearby Greek islands.
One of the most popular destinations of Crete that is famous for the caves in the rocks as well as the hippies of the 70’s.
The beach located 65km southwest of Heraklion where the plain of Messara meets Asteroussia Mountains, offers an amazing scene to its visitors due to its tenths of caves, caverns and hollows that were formed by the fury of the waves, winds and saltiness of the sea.
In the Minoan era, Matala bay served as the port of Phaistos, (the second largest palace of the Minoan civilization) while on theRoman Times, it became the port of Gortyn.
The beautiful well- organized sandy beach of 300m long, offers a crystal-clear deep water.
RED BEACH (KOKKINI PARALIA)
It is located 800m south of Matala.
As implied by its name, the characteristic of the coast is the red sand, originating from the rocks of the region. The amazing blue- green color contributes to an amazing scene.
The secluded beach is very beautiful though is vulnerable to the winds blowing frequently in the area from the west side. The view from the hill is great and is an ideal place for watching the sunset.
Malia, located 35km east of Heraklion is the most touristic resort of Crete, famous for its wild nightlife.
The main beach of Malia lies in front of the town and is flooded by thousands of
It is the eastern part of the vast beach of 6km length starting from Stalida.
This wide beach with fine sand and shallow waters, remains a vivid resort, attracting tourists from many
AGIOFARAGO (GORGE OF THE SAINTS)
A well-hidden beach that has been a place where hermits used to live, due to the numerous
caves and caverns.
It is located about 80km south of Heraklion city, at the exit of the Gorge Agiofarago. The beach is stunning, with clear blue water, which is usually calm.
West of the beach a beautiful rocky arch is formed, beneath which you can swim.
TSOUTSOURAS (OR TSOUTSOUROS)
Located 63km south of Heraklion, the beach is slightly organized with umbrellas and several tamarisk trees around. Tsoutsouras consists of two united settlements which today are the harbor of Arkalochori.
The area might be developed touristically, but is still a destination for quiet holidays, ideal for families.
The sheltered bays with a total length of 2km, have lovely coarse sand and crystal-clear water.
Swimming in Tsoutsouras has been traditionally considered therapeutic and healing by many Cretans, because of its high concentration of salt and iodine, assisting with healing
musculoskeletal and orthopedic problems.
Α very beautiful dark-colored beach about 58km south of Heraklion, that is located in one of the most inaccessible areas of Asteroussia Mountains.
It is surrounded by almost vertical high cliffs with wonderful caves in orthogonal sides, formed in them.
The water has a turquoise color, making swimming and fishing two amazing experiences.
Access to the beach can be achieved only by boat to the nearest harbor in Tsoutsouras.
On the east side of the wild Asterousia Mountains, you will see Agios Nikitas beach, a beautiful isolated beach with crystal clear and deep green waters, that has taken its name from the famous monastery.
The short path inside the monastery leads to the beach with 230 steps.
There is a second twin called Kalogerou Arolithos beach east of the main beach, that is mainly
accessible by boat or swimming.
The two beaches are separated by a huge smooth and steep rock on which according to the
legend, there are the footprints of Saint Nikitas’ horse.
It is situated 72km southeast of Heraklion, a few miles east of Tsoutsouras and Ano Viannos.
Keratokambos, with the nearby seaside location of Kastri, have become a popular
family destination during the years.
A sandy beach, several kilometers long that lies in front of the village of Keratokambos,
stretches to both directions.
Even in the northern coast of Crete, the popular tourist resort consists of beaches with a calm sea -phenomenon that is not very often in this area, due to regular north winds.
The calmer beaches are located west of the port and are protected by Cape Sarandaris.
On the east of the port you will find the most popular sandy beaches of the area, that are well organized and close to the amenities of the city.
A sandy, well-organized beach with water sports and diving centres.
It is located 21km west of Heraklion, on the south side of the small Cape Souda, surrounded by several coves with beautiful beaches.
The bay deepens relatively fast, but in the middle of the beach there is a long and narrow rock which
provides a small safety area. The main beach of the settlement is long and narrow with sand and greenish water.
The beach is located about 70 km southeast of Heraklion and extends to the east to the serene beach Skouros.
It is not included in the “popular” list as Listis, Kastri and Keratokambos beach are the famous ones in the area.