Heraklion (Iraklio) is the main city on Crete and is in fact the second largest in the whole of Greece. It is a major tourist destination and in the summer plays host to the Iraklio Summer Festival of Music which this year is on until 30 September.
It is held in the Nikos Kazantzakis and the Manos Hatzidakis Open-Air Theatres and tickets are made available seven days before each performance. In the course of the summer, Iraklio showcases over seventy different artists and groups from all over the world and is an internationally famous festival.
Performances are not limited to music – there is also dance, theatre and film so there is something for everyone. Greece is famous for its music and Crete has a special link with theatre and the arts. A visit to the Iraklio Summer Festival makes a link back through the centuries to the Greek chorus that began all theatre, so get in touch with history and have a great time.
How to get there
Crete is now a major tourist destination, with flights from all major UK airports to Nikos Kazantzakis Airport, which is only 5 km east of the city. Flights to the city are very reasonable, and if you shop around, you’ll be able to find a flight for less than you thought. First Choice for one have a bunch of cheap deals on offer at the moment.
Although Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands it is only the fifth largest in the Mediterranean, so it is very easy to see the whole of it in a fairly short holiday. That said, it is so rich in archaeological sites that to see everything that the island has to offer could take years.
A virtual tour of the city:
Things to do
It’s hard to know where to begin when listing the things to do in Heraklion. Whether you are an archaeology buff or immersed in the myths and legends of Ancient Greece you will just love this place.
The Minoan culture flourished on Crete and left tantalizing fragments behind and the Palace of Knossos which is just outside Heraklion is in an amazingly complete condition and features the famous charging bull fresco. There is so much to see that planning carefully is a must and there are a number of tours that you can take so that you get to see the most you possibly can in the shortest possible time.
The many small villages just outside Heraklion are all lovely in their various ways and if you are a walker you will be in heaven – starting out from Zaros you can walk through some amazing scenery including the springs from which the famous water is taken which you will find on every restaurant table on Crete.
Gorgeous local dishes are on every corner and as befits the country’s largest island, seafood is a speciality. Cheeses, olive oil and the typical rough Greek wines all make a holiday in Crete one to remember.
Visiting the Summer Festival just makes the break so much more perfect.