Iraklion (Heraklion), Crete, Greece Cruise Port

The cruise port of Iraklion – more popularly called Heraklion – is the largest city on Greece's island of Crete, and one of the largest cities in all of Greece. Surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Aegean Sea, a trip to Heraklion is like stepping into the past enhanced with modern amenities. With its history extending to at least the Bronze Age (around 3200–600 B.C.) interwoven with Greek myth, this vibrant city is full of music and color. After changing hands for several centuries, Heraklion was incorporated into the Kingdom of Greece in 1913 and became Crete’s capital in 1971. The island's climate contributes to its popularity as a tourist spot; there’s also quite the list of famous residents who hail from Heraklion, so it might be the place to go if you’re looking for creative inspiration. Here are a handful of our favorite experiences when cruising to Iraklion, Greece:
 
  • Little wonder that the most interesting attractions in Greece bring the past to life. The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is considered one of the best museums in the world for its collection of Minoan (a Bronze Age civilization) art and artefacts. Although the museum began simply, it's since blossomed into a world-class center that continues to get rave reviews.
     
  • For more Bronze Age history, visit the Palace of Knossos. Discovered in 1878 by Minos Kalokairinos, excavations of the site continued for several decades. The palace was surmised to be the ceremonial and political center of Minoan civilization and culture, with up to 100,000 people making up its population at one point. Today the ruins are a fascinating way to get up close to ancient Greece – whose residents allegedly include Minos, the father of the mythical Minotaur.
     
  • Wine lovers can tour the award-winning Lyrarakis Winery, a 50-year-old family-owned business where you can get insight into the process and do some tasting.
     
  • When it's time for some R&R, hit Matala Beach, popular for its large, enclosed bay, view of the Paximadia islands, and long, sandy beach. There are also caves nearby, which can be explored above or underwater.
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