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  • Aurelia Aurita!Aurelia Aurita!© Cretaquarium


One of the largest aquariums in Europe and the first large aquarium in Greece is located in the former American military base in Gournes, Heraklion!

Additional Info

  • Type - Category: Aquarium
  • Address: Former American Base of Gournes, Heraklion
  • Telephone: + 302810 337788
  • Working Hours:

    Cretaquarium is open every day year-round, including holidays

    Summer season (May-September): daily 09:30 - 21:00

    Winter season (October – April): daily 09:30 -17:00

  • Visit Duration: 1.30 - 2 hours
  • Entrance Fee:


    Entrance fee: €9 (general), €6 (reduced- children from 5 to 17 years old, over 65 years old and students)

    Free entrance:

    • Members of Cretaquarium

    • Disabled persons

    • Children under 5 years of age

    • Tour guides


  • Guide Assistance: Tour guide upon request (Greek, English, French)
  • Audio guide: Individual audio guide system in 9 languages (€3)
  • People with disabilities: Accessible to people with disabilities (including toilet facilities)
  • Parking: yes, 300 cars capacity
  • How to go:

    If you have no car, you can arrive there via the “Hersonissos-Malia” bus line and go down in the Aquarium station. Buses depart from the central bus station across the ferry terminal in the port. From the station you need to walk for approximately 10 minutes towards the beach, following the signs.


Cretazine Tips

  • The Aquarium is located in the former American military base of Gournes
  • There is a long sandy beach right in front of the Aquarium
  • Tour guides speaking different languages are also available if requested well in advance
  • Backstage tour ‘1000+1 Secrets of an Aquarium’ (Adults €5)
  • There is also a restaurant where you can have a snack
  • At the Aqua Shop you can find souvenirs & gifts related to the sea and the protection of the environment
  • Conference and social events rooms with capacity up to 130 persons
  • Membership card: Κartaquarium (€16) that provides unlimited free access for a year



Published in  What to see
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Dive into the marine world of the Mediterranean!

CretAquarium is one of the largest aquariums in Europe and the first large aquarium in Greece. It was founded in 2005 and it is located in the former American military base in Gournes, Heraklion. With 60 tanks, 100 observation points and 2.500 Mediterranean and tropical organisms, the tour deep into the fascinating Mediterranean marine world will take you about 2 hours. You will see fish, corals, sea organisms (known and unknown) and big predatory sharks that will take your breath away! You will also love the teeny tiny hippocampus and you will be impressed by the phantasmagorical dance of the medusas. Naturally, the famous sea turtle “caretta-caretta” could not be missed. However, they are not permanent residents of the aquarium. Most of them are hosted in the tanks for a short period of time for medical care and when they are fully healed they are released in their natural habitat (the aquarium has already released three of them).

The variety of marine life is highlighted with a background of Cretan underwater landscapes, such as the rocks of Matala (southern Crete) and the seabed of Vai (eastern Crete). Apart from the tanks, accompanied with information tables on the species in exhibition, there are also different touch screens and additional educational material.

If your interest for the marine world goes deeper than the surface, you have the ability to visit the “backstage” of the aquarium at an extra charge of 5 euros per person

Finally, as part of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, the largest marine research centre and showcasing venue of the Mediterranean marine world in the Mediterranean, the aquarium is an “living organism” itself.  Its exhibition is constantly expanding with new species and corals while at the same time the scientific personnel are conducting valuable research on marine biology and oceanography.

Furthermore, if your interest for the marine world goes deeper than the surface, you have the ability to visit the “backstage” of the aquarium. Twice a day at specific hours you can pay an extra charge of 5 euros per person and for groups of at least 10 persons to get a  tour inside the “auxiliary” spaces of the aquarium, where most of the tanks , or “quarantines” as they are called, used for the medical care, feeding and reproduction of the species are located. In these tours you will learn how the tanks function, how the water is filtered, about preservation procedures, ect.

After observing all this sea through the looking glass you might develop the urge to actually dive in it. No worries, as right in front of the Aquarium there is a long sandy beach, perfect for swimming.