HERAKLION - AUTHENTIC HOSPITALITY
The prefecture of Heraklion is located between the prefectures of Rethymno and Lassithi, which is known for its archaeological and historical sites. Impressive are the Venetian walls of Chandakas with the large gates that border the old city. At the entrance of the port is the Koule Castle which hosts various exhibitions and performances. In the center of the city there are many monuments of medieval times such as the Loggia monument which was the club of the Duke. Then, the Basilica of Agios Markos, built in 1239 and was the cathedral of Crete, today houses the Municipal Gallery of Heraklion.
In the port is the majestic fortress, Koules, which for centuries protected the state but also served as a prison in its galleries. The Historical Museum houses the treasures of Christian, Byzantine, Medieval, and modern times and works of popular culture, such as those of the great Greek painter EL GRECO. The Venetian walls that protected them for 25 years from the enemies made the capital the most well-fortified state in the Mediterranean. South of the present city, is the palace of Knossos which is the most important archeological find of the Bronze Age.
Eleftherios Venizelos Square with the Lions is the square with the famous Morosini fountain that was very important for the city, as it provided them with fresh water. It is worth mentioning the museum of Nikos Kazantzakis founded in 1983 which is a tribute to the author. Of unique aesthetic and historical importance are the Minoan palace and the city of Phaistos which were the second most important center of the Minoan period, after that of Knossos. In the settlement of Zaros is the artificial lake Zaros - also known as Votomos which was created in 1987 by the Forest Service, turning the once small wetland into one of the most beautiful places of recreation.
Gortyna is found in the plain of Messara, one of the largest archeological sites in Greece, where the first inhabitants of Crete lived towards the end of the Neolithic era. Among the most important finds of the archeological site of Gortyna are the Praetorium, the Roman baths, the theater, the temple of Apollo and the temple of the Egyptian deities. It is also worth visiting the special Cretaquarium which is one of the largest aquariums in Europe. It hosts 2,500 species of organisms, even sharks, and a touch tank, and there are educational programs for children.
The island is famous for the many and different beaches that promise visitors unforgettable experiences. One of the most famous tourist resorts of the prefecture is Malia with a long history, and more specifically in the Neolithic era, culminating in the Minoan period. The beach is divided into several sections and is perfectly organized. The same happens in Gouves the beach that attracts many visitors and especially families. Of rare wild natural beauty is the Agriofarago with its imposing rocks, scattered caves and the beach which is an ideal choice for camping.
Matala is also one of the most famous destinations, located in the southern part of the island. They are characterized by caves in the rocks that were a refuge for hippies in the 60s and 70s. Extreme lovers can dive from the high rock of the beach. The beach of Tripiti, which to visit one must cross the gorge with the enchanting landscape, offers visitors an unforgettable route. Another calm beach with impressive blue waters is that of Voidomatis with the steep slopes of the Asterousia mountains that reach the gorge of Mesosfini.
A popular and organized beach full of hotels, rooms to let, taverns and shops is that of Agia Pelagia. There are organized diving schools and water sports. Near it are the beaches of Kladissos, Mononafti and the busy bay of Psaromoura. Malia is a fully organized beach, popular especially among young people. In the area there are many hotels, taverns and restaurants that connect 2 tourist destinations. A large sandy beach, fully organized with dozens of hotels, restaurants, and shops is Ammoudara which is caught by the meltemia and is an attraction for water sports. Ideal for fun until the morning is the beach of the peninsula which is visited by thousands of tourists every summer.
Heraklion is a large prefecture, with countless hotels and rooms to let, boutiques-hotels in historic buildings of the center, but also excellent restaurants and bars with wonderful views of the Venetian port. Most accommodation and the busiest life is usually in northern Heraklion. The options for food and entertainment, especially in the city of Heraklion, seem innumerable. Snails, pies of various kinds, dolmades with vine leaves, local lamb or goat, local rabbit and wedding pilaf are some of the most typical dishes that one can try. Naturally fresh fish, seafood but also salads like the famous Cretan dakos and greens like stamnagathi, which you find only in Crete, stand out on the island. Also Cretan gruyere, mizithra, tsikoudia and local wine make a difference to lovers of flavors.