Heraklion Area
Beaches & Ancient Sites

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Crete Travel Questions & Answers

Vathi Beach, Crete

Heraklion Area Beaches in central Crete, Greece. Easy to get to, close to the international airport at Heraklion in the centre of the island, the beaches in this part of Crete are spectacular.  Ancient sites, mountains, trekking, walking, history and exploring are all on the menu in this diverse region.






On the North Coast

Outside of Heraklion town, explore both the north coast and south coast of the region of the same name. And explore the extraordinary ancient history, archeological sites, rural areas, olive groves, wine regions, villages, mountains and gorges.


Beaches on the North Coast

Looking out over Agia Pelagia Bay

To get to the sights and beaches on the north coast of Crete, take the relevant bus from Bus Station A which is near the port on the north side of town.



  • Ammoudara Beach - 7 km to the town beach, west of Heraklion, with many cafe bars and good swimming.
  • How to Get to Ammoudara Beach - we answer our visitor's question.
  • Kato Gouves Beach - a town beach to the east of the city,  18 km from town.
  • Anissaras Beach - a busy resort beach 25 km east of the city.
  • Agia Pelagia Beach - just 23 km from Heraklion town on the north-west coast, a busy seaside village with many beautiful bays, crystal clear waters good for diving and many hotels, tavernas and cafe bars right by the water.
Almyra next to Agia Pelagia BeachAgia Pelagia Beach



Beaches on the South Coast

Kokkinos Pirgos Beach on the south coast

To get to Heraklion beaches on the south coast of Crete, take a local taxi for less than 3 Euros to Bus Station B, at Chanio Porta, on the south side of town. Some buses change at the market town of Mires. Take care to listen to instructions about which side of the bus station you bus leaves from. Of course, a car is very handy to make the most of exploring.

  • Kokkinos Pirgos - 70 km - a pebbly beach at the south of Heraklion near Timbaki, close to Matala and Agia Galini, there is a great seafood taverna right on the beach
  • Matala Beach - 75 km - a very unusual rock formation makes this beach special, as well as its history. Hippies came here in the sixties and seventies, living rough in the sandstone caves. In modern times, a music festival has enlivened that same feeling - held every summer on the beach. Nearby are the beaches of Kommos, Red Sand Beach and Vathi Beach.
  • Agiofarago Beach - is off the beaten track - reached by a walk through Agiogarago Gorge or water taxi
  • Keratokambos Beach - 100 km - a wild beach to find some air and get the wind in your hair.
Kokkinos Pirgos Taverna tables in shade


Explore Heraklion Area
Ancient Sites

Heraklion Area

  • Minoan Palace of Knossos - just 5 km from town, the most spectacular historical sight on the island, dating from around 2000 BC.
  • Minoan Palace of Malia - 40 km east of town on the north coast, one of the four principal Minoan palaces on Crete.
Travel Q&A - this is the Roman site of Gortyna, close to Matala Beach

Ruins of Gortyna - 50 km south of Heraklion near Agioi Deka, Roman ruins which are exciting to explore and much less crowded than Knossos...

Minoan Palace of Phaistos - 62 km south of Heraklion, south of Mires in the Messara Valley, take the bus from bus Station B and Mires, be sure to check opening times as they vary from season to season, this site is also much less crowded than its sister Knossos Palace...

How do I get the bus to Matala Beach for the Sea Turtle project?...we answer this question for a volunteer...


Villages of Heraklion

  • Archanes Village - just 14 km from Heraklion town in the north of the island and only 7 km from Knossos, this beautiful northern village makes an ideal rural base for visiting the Heraklion area
  • Dafnes Village - a typical Cretan village sitting in the middle of wine country just 18 km south of Heraklion
  • Kerasia Village also 18 km south of Heraklion is known for its hospitality
  • Mountain Village of Zaros - 44 km south of town, relax in the fresh air in the foothills of Psiloritis mountain range.
  • Vori Village is a protected historic village in the south of Crete near Tymbaki and Kokkinos Pirgos
  • Kamilari Village sits on small hills overlooking the Libyan sea, in the south of the region, it is close to Matala Beach

Hire Car Itineraries

Matala Beach seafront apartment

Q&A for independent travellers visiting the Heraklion area beaches and ancient sites.

Ancient sites in Heraklion - pick up at airport or town

Pick up in Heraklion and Drop off in Chania - a short itinerary by car in Crete, see Rethymnon, Arkadi Monastery, Amari Valley, Lake Kournas, Georgioupolis Beach...

A Meditation Trip to Crete - a group of 7 explore the ancient sites of Crete, especially Gortyna, Phaistos and Knossos


Keratokambos Beach


Do you have Tips or Questions for Travel in Heraklion, Crete?

Do you have a secret about beaches in Heraklion, or a tip for other travellers? Or perhaps a question that is not answered here?

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see tips and questions from other visitors to this page...

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Getting Here...

Heraklion Area Beaches and Ancient Sites - arrive from European capitals or via Athens into Heraklion International Airport with code HER.

Take a 1 hour flight from Athens to Heraklion with Aegean Airlines or Olympic Air, with many flights available per day.

Or take a 9.5 hour overnight ferry from Pireaus port of Athens to Heraklion port.

More on flights and ferries below.




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