Heraklion is the largest city and capital of Crete, Greece's largest island, in the southeast of the country. Although founded by the Saracens in the 9th century AD, the area surrounding the city has a history dating back thousands of years. Just outside the city is the island's most important archeological site, the Minoan Palace of Knossos: legend has it that the Cretan king Minos lived here, and that two important Greek legends, that of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth, and that of Daedalus and Icarus, are set in or around this Palace. Another great tourist spot on the island is the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, which houses the largest collection of Minoan artifacts and art, such as the famous Cretan bull-leaping fresco. The city's airport is the largest on the island of Crete and has domestic and international flights (both all-year and seasonal) to many Greek and European destinations, such as departures from London, Athens, Larnaca, Thessaloniki, Frankfurt, Berlin, Rome and Tel Aviv. If you're looking for a cheap flight, use our online flight comparison tool to find different flight options whether you are looking to go from Birmingham, London or elsewhere.
The airport is located very close to the city centre and you can easily make the trip into or out of the city by taxi or by bus. Although there is no tourist card on offer in the city, you can find plenty of information online to plan your trip (a useful website is www.cretetravel.com).The island was dominated by Venice and the Ottomans throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and there are still monuments visible from these two different cultures: from the former, you can see the Koules (a castle on the harbour), the Loggia and the giant Venetian Walls, from the latter you can see the Vezir Mosque (now a church). Although there are many great cultural institutions and things to see, you should also enjoy the beaches on the island (the closest to the city is Amoudara), and all sea-related activities, such as sailing or even horseback riding on the beach. The traditional cuisine on the island, although unsophisticated, is of great taste, with local specialties such as fasolakia (fresh beans), fresh snails, artichoke with hare and bugatsa pastries. While in Heraklion, you should visit the cities of Chania, Agios Nikolaos and Elounda (among many other beauties Crete offers).