How to Reach Heraklion

Heraklion is the largest city of Crete and one of Greece’s major urban centers.

Iraklion (GR: Ηράκλειον – also transliterated as Heraklion 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.

(HERAKLION Google Map)

 By Air:

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 ExpressEllinair, 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).

 By Sea:

There are now three ferry lines going daily between Athens (Departure from Piraeus Port) and Heraklion:

During summer, Minoan Lines and ANEK lines introduce daily routes but these are not available every day.


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

By Taxi:

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.


FORTH campus is located 8 to 10 kilometers South-West of Heraklion center. You can reach FORTH by using:

1. By taxi

It will cost you approximately 15 to 20 Euro, and the driving time is approximately 20 minutes.

The name of FORTH in Greek is spelled and pronounced “ITE”, and “ITE” is near the University Hospital, spelled “PAGNH” and pronounced “PAGNI”; make it clear to your taxi driver that you are going to “ITE” which is different from “TEI”, this will ensure that he does NOT take you to “TEI” by mistake!

  • From Heraklion city center to FORTH The most convenient taxi queue is at “Eleftheria’s Square” (“Platia Eleftherias” in Greek). A taxi ride takes about 20-30 minutes and costs approximately € 15
  • From airport to FORTH. Taxi service is provided just outside the airport. A taxi ride takes about 15-25 minutes and costs approximately € 20

Please advise the cab driver that you are going to “ITE” (located near the University and the University Hospital –“ΠΑΓΝΗ” PAGNI).

2. Iraklio Urban Buses 

The (one-way) ticket to FORTH costs 1.70 Euro or 2.50 Euro if purchased on the bus, and takes about 30 minutes to reach FORTH. There are two bus lines reaching FORTH #8 and #11.

Reaching the Eleftherias/Liberty Square (Platia Eleftherias) bus stop, outside Astoria Hotel (see city map above) at approximately: 07:30, 08:40, 11:40, 14:10, 15:40, 17:30, 19:50, 21:25.

  • Bus line No 8 connects the airport to FORTH through the city center.(Please note: Sign on the bus reads “I.T.E.”) , the bus terminal is just in front of the FORTH building.
  • Bus line No 11 connects the city center directly to the University Hospital (Please note: Sign on the bus reads “ΠΑΓΝΗ- ΠΑΝΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΙΟ” (PAGNI–UNIVERSITY), the bus stop is at approximately 300 meters from FORTH’s main entrance and operates at a frequency of about 15 minutes. Trip duration is about 30 minutes. Specifically, when the bus reaches the area of the “Voutes” campus of the University, near which FORTH is located, use this “FORTH Location and Bus Stops” Google Map for orienting yourself.

One-way ticket: € 1.70 (tickets can be purchased at special vending machines near bus stops or at city kiosks).

We advise you to buy your ticket prior to getting onto a public bus, as well as your return ticket (for your return from FORTH – it is very hard to find a selling point at or near FORTH).

The “The Heraklion City Center” Google map above, shows the location of the bus stop in the centre of the city, in front of the Astoria hotel, in the direction towards FORTH; the note on that map also lists the bus line number, name, frequency, and approximate times.