Heraklion, the city of contradictions
Most people have a negative view of Heraklion before they visit it: a "little Athens", a chaotic settlement covered in cement. Well, it is all true! Compared to other Cretan towns, Heraklion is the least "picturesque", so most travel guides will advise you to "go see Knossos, the Archaeological Museum and get out of here"!
But when you arrive in the city and the first thing you see is proud Mount Yuchta and the triumphant fortress of Koule welcoming you, consider that the centuries old history of this city and the protagonist roles it played throughout history cannot be a coincidence!
Most likely you final destination is some exotic beach of the south, a traditional mountainous village or another more scenic Cretan town of the north. But before you rush to the nearest exit, we advise you to take a closer look to the most misunderstood city of Crete. Find its little ‘gems’ and feel its rhythm. Why? Because…
Heraklion bears a long history. Centuries of long and bloody battles, a constant exchange of conquerors and settlers (Arabs, Venetians, Turks) and its development as the commercial center of Crete attracting populations from around the island have all defined Heraklion’s identity. Heraklion features the most important Minoan Palace, one of the greatest museums in the country and scattered monuments all around the city -most of which are ‘hidden’- beautiful Venetian monuments, a magnificent fortress at the entrance of the port and finally, the largest and best preserved fortification work in Eastern Mediterranean!
Heraklion has life! This city never sleeps and never gets ‘deserted’. With a bustling nightlife for all tastes, the largest concentration of students on the island, new ideas, creative groups, events, and lots of interesting sub-cultures, Heraklion is full of life throughout the year.
Heraklion has culture. This city is never short of exhibitions, concerts and cultural events, especially during the summer when numerous festivals are organized. Heraklion is the ‘center’ of the island. An ideal ‘starting point’ and base to explore western, eastern and southern Crete. In Heraklion you can easily access mountains, the sea, vineyards, olive groves, archeological sites and traditional villages.
Heraklion has contradictions! Right next to the traditional rakadiko (raki shop) you will see an awarded gourmet restaurant experimenting on Cretan dishes. Next to the modern apartment buildings you will see low traditional village houses and maybe even an old Venetian monument. Next to the expensive boutiques you will see open air bazaars and small shops with scents from times long gone. Next to the anarchy of modern establishments you will see samples of Venetian architectural discipline. Next to the buzzing center you will find quiet lanes to take a relaxing walk.
Discover Heraklion, exactly as we live it!