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Knossos Crete

Knossos Palace, Crete

Tips for Visitors

Knossos Crete – Tips for Visitors

  • The archaeological site of Knossos is located 5 km south-east of the capital Heraklion in the central north of the island of Crete in Greece.
  • See location map below.
  • See tips in our video below.

  • The Palace of Knossos Archaeological site is large and it is very popular. In summer it gets very busy. See the summer queue to the throne room in this picture below:

Queues can get long in summer

  • The best seasons to see the site are spring and autumn, when the crowds are not so big and the weather is not so hot.
  • Always try to arrive early at the site, to avoid crowds and queues. This is a beautiful natural valley which is best enjoyed without a thousand screaming kids.
  • Leave plenty of time to see the site, and the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, if you are a serious history buff.
  • If you are only mildly interested in history, allow a good 2 hours to visit the Knossos Palace and at least 3 hours for the museum in town.
  • Much of the site is not covered. Take a hat and sunscreen, and plenty of water.
  • Wear comfortable clothes, especially comfortable shoes.
  • Purchase a combined ticket to Knossos palace and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum for 15 Euro. This will allow entry to both places.
  • Check the opening hours before departing. Check at your hotel desk or on the net. Generally the site is open from 8.00am to 8.00pm in summer and 8.00am to 3.00pm in winter. But check it again, because it could be a holiday and it could be closed.
  • Pre-purchase a 'skip the line' entry ticket online to save time upon arrival at the site.

Getting Here

There is a local bus that will drop off and pick up at Knossos, it is easy to catch from Plateia Eleftherias Square bus stop at the Astoria Hotel in downtown Heraklion. Take Bus No. 2. marked 'Knossos'. The buses come every 20 minutes or so and the trip takes about 20 minutes, as the journey is only 5 km, but it depends on the traffic. To get back to Heraklion, take the same bus back. The bus stop is just outside Knossos gates - again they depart regularly and the trip takes approx. 20 mins.

Head to the new Heraklion Archaeological Museum at 1 Chatzidaki St near Plateia Eleftherias Square to see the magical artwork and artifacts which were found at Knossos and which start to unravel the mysteries of the Minoan culture.

You may want to hire a car and simply drive to Knossos from Heraklion, which is only 5 km. You could then continue to Phaistos which is another 60 km, and perhaps stay overnight in Matala Beach on the southern coast.

Day tours to the site can be taken from most capitals on the island, with a pick up from your hotel. Some tours combine the visit to Knossos with lunch and a visit to another part of the island, or to the museum. One advantage of these tours is the local guide with endless historic knowledge.

See tour details below. 

Knossos Palace Crete - Half Day Experiences

Full-Day Knossos Palace Tour - 7 hour tour includes Heraklion as well as a guided tour of the archaeological site. See the controversial reconstructions completed by the archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, and hear the stories of the labyrinth from your experienced history guide.

Knossos Palace Crete - Choose your Experience

Take a Knossos Palace Tour - there are a variety of guided experiences available, from a Skip The Line entry ticket with a guide for 90 minutes, to a 12 hour day tour which includes Knossos, Zeus Cave and Lasithi Plateau with traditional lunch in a small village. 

Knossos Palace Crete - Half Day Experiences

Self-Guided Audio Tours - skip the ticket lines and enter the Palace of Knossos and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum with a combo e-ticket. Explore the sites at your own pace with self-guided audio tours.

NB: you need to have your own smart phone and headphones.

This includes:

  • Entry ticket on your phone valid for one admission within 3 days
  • Two self-guided tours for your smartphone in English
  • Offline content - text - audio narration and maps
  • Free time in the attractions to explore further

Accommodation Nearby to Knossos Crete

Lato Hotel Restaurant

The Hotel Lato is a good central hotel in Heraklion, from here you can be picked up or take bus or taxi to Knossos Crete.

The Arhontiko Studios have been situated in a restored historic home within the village

Here is a good tip for those with a tight itinerary in Crete. If you are landing at Heraklion airport, take a taxi to the lovely rural village of Archanes, which is only 14 km.

Stay overnight in the delightful studios Arhontiko Studios Archanes then take a taxi early in the morning to Knossos Crete, which is 7 km down country roads.

This will ensure you miss busy Heraklion, and see one of the wonders of this island without any stress or hassle. Now that is the way to start your holiday in Crete!

Location of Knossos Crete

See the location of the Knossos Palace archaeological site on the map below.

Knossos frescoThis Knossos fresco gives us an impression of the women of the Minoan culture

Getting to Crete

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.

Car hire in Crete is a really good idea as it is a large island 60 km by 260 km. There is so much to explore.

When you book with our car rental partners - Rental Centre Crete - you are supporting a local company with excellent service and easy online booking. We are sure you will be well looked after by the team. Choose from hybrid, electric or regular vehicles.

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We trust you have enjoyed these tips from the We Love Crete team. Evíva!

The We Love Crete team - Anastasi, Katia & Apostoli

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