Heraklion is the largest city of Crete and one of Greece’s major urban centers.
Heraklion (GR: Ηράκλειον – also transliterated as Iraklion or Herakleion) is the largest urban centre in Crete, the capital of the region and the economic centre of the island. The first European civilisation, the Minoan civilisation, flourished on this land 5000 years ago. Currently the population of the municipality of Heraklion is approximately 150.000 people. It is a very dynamic and cosmopolitan town, particularly during the summer period when thousands of visitors can be seen shopping in the market or visiting the museums and other places of interest. During the last 20 years, the city has made also a remarkable progress in the academic and technological fields.
Heraklion lies along the North coast of the island, having to the west at about 80 km the town of Rethymnon and at 135 km the city of Hania. To the east is the town of Agios Nikolaos (60km) and the town of Sitia (130km).
The Heraklion airport (HER), named after the Cretan writer Nikos Kazantzakis, is one of the biggest in Greece and receives approximately 15% of the total tourist traffic of Greece. Heraklion’s airport is about 5km east of the city. Major car-rental companies have desks at the airport. Taxi and public bus are available for transfer from/to Iraklion.
Iraklion also receives a lot of visitors by boat. There are daily ferry trips to and from Peiraeus (Athens’ port), and many weekly ones to and from other islands and towns in Greece. The terminal at Heraklion port is within walking distance from the town’s center and there is plenty of taxis to take visitors to their destinations.
The Crete intra-regional Bus terminal is also located close to the port.
There is a considerable number of flights daily (10-20 depending on the season) connecting, the Heraklion International Airport (“Nikos Kazantzakis”, airport Code: HER) with the Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” (ATH) and the International Airport of Thessaloniki (SKG).
The distance from the airport to Heraklion center is approx. 5 km.
These flights are operated by various airlines, i. e. OLYMPIC, Aegean Airlines, Sky Express, Ellinair, and VOLOTEA. Additionally, in the period of April to October, direct charter flights connect several major European cities with Heraklion International Airport (“Nikos Kazantzakis”, airport Code: HER).
There are now three ferry lines going daily between Athens (Departure from Piraeus Port) and Heraklion:
- Minoan Lines (Departure at about 22:30, Arrival at 6:00)
- Superfast Ferries (Departure at 15:00, Arrival at 21:30)
- ANEK Lines (Departure at about 21:00, Arrival at 6:00)
During summer, Minoan Lines and ANEK lines introduce daily routes but these are not available every day.
HOW TO MOVE AROUND IN HERAKLION
Distances – approximately, from the center of Heraklion:
- 5 km to Heraklion International Airport
- approx. 20 minutes walking distance to the Port
- 6 km to the Minoan Palace of Knossos
- 8 to 10 km to FORTH
The use of a taxi is a convenient and relatively not expensive mean of transportation in Heraklion. Taxis in Heraklion are colored silver. You can find a lot around in the city streets. You can find them also waiting at the airport, the port, the bus stations, in the Lions Square, the “Platia Eleftherias” Square, and in “Platia Kornarou”.
From the Airport to the center of town, the cost of a taxi is approximately 10 to 15 Euro.
By Public Transportation:
There is a frequent public bus service from Heraklion-airport to the center of town as well as from the center of town to FORTH. Ticket vending machines are located next to most main bus stops. You can also buy tickets from most kiosks around the city. We advise you to buy your ticket prior to getting onto a public bus. The current price of the bus ticket from the airport to the centre of town is 1.20 Euro (one way) or 2.00 Euro if purchased on the bus and the current price of the bus ticket from the airport or from the centre of the town to FORTH is 1.70 Euro (one way) or 2.50 Euro if purchased on the bus.
Moving from the Airport
- By bus: The airport is very well-connected to the city center by public bus. One-way ticket: €1.70
- By taxi: It takes less than 10 minutes to get to the city center and costs about €15.
Moving from the Port
Most city hotels are within walking distance from the Port of Heraklion.
- By taxi: It takes less than 5-10 minutes to get to any of the city hotels and costs about € 10.