Things to do in Heraklion Crete – Guide 2024

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Explore Heraklion: Top Things to Do in Crete’s Vibrant Capital

Heraklion, the capital of Crete, offers a blend of historical sites, delicious food, and lively entertainment. This guide dives into the best activities and experiences to enjoy in Heraklion, ensuring your visit is memorable and full of discovery.

Introduction to Heraklion

Heraklion isn’t just any Greek city; it’s a hub of history, culture, and modern Cretan life. Whether you’re exploring ancient ruins or tasting local cuisine, Heraklion stands out as a must-visit destination in Greece. This introduction will cover the basics of what makes Heraklion a top tourist destination, from its historic streets to its bustling markets.

Day Trip: Heraklion to Dia Island Sailboat Cruise

4.7 / 5 – 1005 reviews

From $97.96 now $88.16 per person

Experience a memorable sailing adventure from Heraklion to Dia Island. Board a modern and spacious sailing yacht and enjoy water activities like paddleboarding and snorkeling. Relish a delicious meal and sip unlimited drinks during your journey.

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About This Activity

  • Free Cancellation: Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.

  • Reserve Now & Pay Later: Keep your travel plans flexible by booking your spot and paying nothing today.

  • Duration: 6 hours

  • Check Availability: See starting times.

  • Live Tour Guide: English

  • Pickup Optional: Provided from several areas including Ammoudara, Gazi, Heraklion, and more. Pickup may be up to 1 hour before the cruise starts.

Experience Itinerary

  1. Starting/Pickup Location: Depends on the selected option.

  2. Dia, Crete: 1 hour of sailing with scenic views.

  3. Dia, Crete: 4 hours of free time, swimming, snorkeling, meals, and drinks onboard.

  4. Heraklion: 1 hour of sailing back with scenic views.

Drop-Off Locations: Multiple locations including Gazi, Karteros, Gournes Gouvon, and more.


  • Enjoy the cool breeze, crystal-clear waters, and endless water activities!

  • Savor our Mediterranean menu with unlimited drinks!

  • Admire the stunning sunset!

  • You might even spot dolphins!

Full Description

Join us on a sail to the exotic Dia Island aboard our comfortable sailing yachts. The journey begins at the Heraklion Old Venetian Harbor, passing the historic Koules fortress. After exiting Heraklion’s main port, we set sail for Dia Island. Enjoy the beautiful Cretan sea and learn about Dia’s legend and history from our crew.

After an hour, we arrive at Dia’s first bay. Swim in the turquoise waters and try activities like snorkeling, fishing, and paddleboarding. Our crew is ready to provide equipment and serve drinks upon request.

An hour later, enjoy a Mediterranean menu with Greek salad, appetizers, and shrimp pasta (vegetarian and gluten-free options available). Pair your meal with wine, beer, iced tea, or soft drinks.

Next, we sail to a second bay, where you can relax and enjoy a fruit salad. After 30-60 minutes, we set sail back to Heraklion, ending the trip with joyful memories.

Choose between a morning or afternoon cruise with a sunset view. If weather or time constraints prevent visiting the second bay, extra time will be spent at the first bay, where the fruit salad will be served.

We look forward to welcoming you onboard for an unforgettable day!


  • Hotel pickup and drop-off (if selected)

  • Sailing cruise

  • Certified captain and crew

  • All-inclusive 3-course menu (pasta with shrimp or tomato sauce, Greek salad, and Cretan appetizers)

  • Unlimited drinks (wine, beer, soft drinks, iced tea, and water)

  • Snorkeling, fishing, and SUP boarding equipment (on request)

  • Music

Not Suitable For

  • People with mobility impairments

  • Wheelchair users

Important Information

What to Bring

  • Passport or ID card

  • Swimwear

  • Towel

  • Sunscreen

  • Beachwear

Know Before You Go

All passengers must provide the following details while booking or at least 1 day before departure:

  1. Full name

  2. Passport or ID number

  3. Date of birth

  4. Nationality

  5. Gender

Discovering Historical Landmarks

The story of Heraklion is best experienced through its historical landmarks. Top sites include:

  • Knossos Palace: Just outside Heraklion, this ancient palace brings you closer to the mysteries of the Minoan civilization.

  • Heraklion Archaeological Museum: Home to some of the most important artifacts from Crete’s archaeological sites, this museum tells the story of the island’s rich history.

  • Koules Fortress: Overlooking the harbor, this Venetian fortress offers not only history but also stunning views of the Mediterranean.

Enjoying Local Cuisine

Cretan cuisine is a feast for the senses, and Heraklion is the perfect place to indulge:

  • Traditional Dishes: Try bougatsa, a creamy pastry, or fresh seafood, which are staples of the local diet.

  • Local Spirits: Sample rakı, a traditional Cretan spirit, perfect for an authentic taste of the island’s culinary culture.

  • Tavernas and Restaurants: From seafront eateries to quaint cafes in the city center, discover the best spots for a true Cretan meal.

Shopping in Heraklion

Shopping in Heraklion offers a unique blend of traditional and modern:

  • Local Markets: The central market is a treasure trove of Cretan herbs, cheeses, and famous olive oil.

  • Crafts and Souvenirs: Pick up handmade pottery or woven fabrics as beautiful, authentic reminders of your trip.

  • Leather Goods: Known for its quality, Cretan leather goods are a stylish and durable purchase.

Outdoor Activities

Heraklion’s natural landscapes provide plenty of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts:

  • Beaches: Visit Ammoudara Beach for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports.

  • Hiking: The trails around Psiloritis Mountain offer scenic views and a chance to explore Crete’s rugged terrain.

Exploring Nightlife and Entertainment

As the sun sets, Heraklion’s nightlife comes alive with options for every taste:

  • Bars and Clubs: From laid-back bars with live music to vibrant clubs, there’s a spot for every night owl.

  • Cultural Events: Check out the Heraklion Summer Arts Festival for live performances and cultural showcases.

Heraklion is a city where history meets modern leisure, making it a perfect destination for travelers seeking a rich cultural experience alongside enjoyable activities. Whether you’re visiting historic sites, tasting the local cuisine, shopping, enjoying the outdoors, or exploring the nightlife, Heraklion promises a trip filled with memorable moments.

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