Heraklion Crete - a modern city with a complex and fascinating history, became the capital of Crete in 1971. The central region of Crete, also named 'Heraklion' is fascinating, with something new to discover at every turn.
Our personal guide to the region, home to our Grandfather's village, lush farming lands, the famous author Kazantzakis, legendary King Minos and Knossos Minoan Palace, arguably the birthplace of European civilization. There is so much history to explore, you might not get time for the beaches!
Unravelling the history of civilization:
Visit the Museum map page of 'Incredible Crete' to discover history all over the island
1 Xanthoudidou Street, Heraklion
This is one of the most intriguing and valuable ancient history collections in the whole of Greece, in fact in Europe, and contains artifacts from many of the Minoan archaeological sites dotted all over the island.
These artifacts date from as early as 6000 BC, with neolithic ceramics.
Our highlights of the collection are the:
27 Sofokli Venizelou Avenue, Heraklion
This museum is of more modern times, from 330 AD to the end of the second world war. This collection is housed in a beautifully restored three storey neoclassical mansion.
The building itself has been
declared a Historical Building and a Work of Art. There are collections
regarding the Battle of Crete, the writer Nikos Kazantzakis, artist El
Greco and the traditional rural Cretan home.
Below is a video of the Historical Museum of Heraklion:
Exhibition Halls, Sofokli Venizelou Avenue, Heraklion
The easiest way to get to the exhibition halls is to walk towards the sea from the Liondaria, along Chandakos Street. This museum shows all the past and present ecology of the island. It has exhibits especially of interest for children under 15, dinosaur exhibits, earthquake exhibits and fossils.
See the video below showing a virtual visit to the Natural History Museum of Crete...
Each museum charges a small fee – usually less than 10 Euro. The most reliable place to check opening times is the government's Odysseus website - odysseus.culture.gr - it is a good idea to double-check with your hotel before setting out, due to seasonal or unexpected changes in museum or site opening times.
Please note that Heraklion Crete is a busy tourist destination in summer and both the archaeological museum and Knossos site can become very busy with long queues. We suggest visiting in spring or autumn, or visiting early in the morning, leaving plenty of time, see our tips for visiting Knossos here...
We love this wonderful video of Heraklion prefecture, made by the regional tourism board, because it shows the wild south coast, many stunning aerial shots of the countryside, the olive groves, the university, the rugged mountain passes, sparse rocky dry areas with remote highways, Knossos Palace, highlights of artifacts from the archaeological museum, Lake Zaros and lush farming lands, all with a commentary of the history of the region.