Crete, Heraklion: Heraklion Bites and Sights

Crete

Bypass the concrete and head straight for the heart of Heraklion. Hit the backstreets and hidden pathways, checking out the highlights, sampling local treats, and discovering all the forces that have combined to make Heraklion the city it is today.

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Description

Highlights

  • Dive into Heraklion’s history with stories of its turbulent past and visits to its legendary churches, fountains, and monuments;
  • Learn the secrets of the Cretan diet by sampling its best products at a local market;
  • Discover the local side of Heraklion through its lesser-known streets, forgotten laneways, and old city walls;
  • Admire art collections in unique locations;
  • Indulge in local flavors like a meze platter and oh-hey-that’s-strong raki and tsikoudia.

One of the most vibrant cities in all of Greece, Heraklion has been at the crossroads of civilizations for centuries. In its infancy, the city was known as “Kastro”, which historians believe indicates that the city was surrounded by fortification walls. Join this Heraklion walking tour to get to know the city as it is now, but also as it was centuries ago, uncovering remnants of occupations by the Byzantines, Arabs, Venetians, Turks, and pirates…yes, pirates. 

Heading off from “Freedom Square” aka Eleftherias Square, our tour of Heraklion will continue through lesser-known streets and neighborhoods to give you the opportunity to see the real city as a local insider. Appropriately, you’ll start off with a freshly brewed traditional coffee paired with a wander through the local market, where you can sample local products such as barley rusks and olives and cheese (what else would you expect?!), and chat with local shop owners. 

From there, take a hop back in time with a walk atop Heraklion’s great Venetian wall fortifications for some of the best view of the city. It’s also a great vantage point to see how these walls (ahem, the longest in Europe, ahem) divide the old city from the new city. Continue along to the lonesome tomb and monument of Nikos Kazantzakis, the son of Crete, and discover what inspired him to write Zorba. 

Moving on, we’ll walk along the pedestrian street, 25 August, admiring some of Heraklion’s major highlights, like St. Titus Cathedral and the Morosini Fountain in the heart of the city. Continue along the hidden backstreets of Heraklion, where your local guide will discuss the city’s history and point out further evidence of how the city has been shaped into the lively place it is today. 

After our morning exploration, our Heraklion walking tour will end at a local favorite – a meze tavern, where you’ll finish things off with a bang, or, rather, a drink! Dig into a meze platter and sip local specialties like raki and tsikoudia, the island’s famous (and oh so strong) distilled spirit. Opa!

Price includes

  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Food and beverage samples as indicated in the itinerary
  • Rusks
  • Olives and cheese
  • Coffee or soft drink
  • A meze platter

Price does not include

  • Additional food and drink
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips / gratuities for your local guide

Requirements

  • Starting time: 9.00 AM
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Language: English
  • Meeting point: Eleftherias Square, in the city centre. Eleftherias Square is the main square in Heraklion, near the Archaeological Museum, the Astoria Hotel, the Prefecture, and the Gate of Saint George.
  • Ending point: Venetian port of Heraklion.

Meeting point

  • Crete Eleftherias Square.; departure at: 09:00; arrival at: 13:00; Eleftherias Square, in the city centre. Eleftherias Square is the main square in Heraklion, near the Archaeological Museum, the Astoria Hotel, the Prefecture, and the Gate of Saint George.
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