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About Heraklion

The proud city of Heraklion is the modern capital of Crete, largest and most ruggedly beautiful of the Greek Isles.

Just along the coast, you’ll find the scrupulously renovated remains of Knossos, the Palace of King Minos and the island’s capital under the Minoans. Here, the endless maze of salons, staircases and courtyards gave rise to the legend of the Labyrinth, housing the evil Minotaur at its heart. See the legend come vividly to life!

 

Shore excursions in Heraklion

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Aghios Nikolaos On Your Own

Activity medium

Duration: 5½ hours

Simply chill out on the beach or explore the cosmopolitan charms of Aghios Nikolaos.

Hop aboard your coach for a scenic drive along the coast to Aghios Nikolaos, undoubtedly the most picturesque harbour in Crete.

Upon arrival, you’ll have approximately 4 hours of free time to explore. The heart of the town is set around the famous Voulismeni Lake, and the pretty pedestrianised harbour is lined with colourful boutiques, tavernas and cafés. This beautiful harbour town also boasts a wealth of culture, housing the Archaeological and Folklore Museums.

If you wish to take things at a slower pace, Kitroplatia beach is close by, which have been awarded the blue flag standard.

Essential information

This tour will operate by coach and on foot. This tour is unguided and does not include lunch or refreshments. Please carry local currency (Euros). The transfer time is approximately 1 hour each way. Please make a note of the return time and meeting point, as coaches cannot be held for latecomers. Please remember swimwear, a towel and sunscreen if wishing to swim. Before you book this excursion, you must refer to the ‘Beach / Water Related’ paragraphs under the Guide to Symbols in this brochure.

Heraklion Beach Break

Activity mediumFamily

Duration: 4 hours

Enjoy some rest, relaxation and a dip in the cooling Grecian waters.

Hop aboard, for a short transfer to one of Crete’s famous sandy beaches.

Enjoy three hours at Kokkini Hani to soak up the sun and swim in the crystal clear waters of the Southern Aegean Sea. The beach front is lined with a number of small shops and restaurants where you can buy snacks and refreshments.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Passengers are required to bring a towel, sun protection and plenty of drinking water. Please note that sun beds and umbrellas are available to hire locally, but these cannot be guaranteed, as this is one of the island’s most popular beaches and it can become very crowded during the peak season. There may be independent suppliers on the beach that offer watersports, these are provided by parties unconnected to Cunard.

Heraklion Beach Break

Knossos - The Minoan Miracle

Activity highShopping

Duration: 4 hours

This popular tour visits the amazing Knossos archaeological site, proving the existence of the Minoan civilisation.

The original palace of Knossos was raised around 1900 BC, but was destroyed by an earthquake 200 years later. It was rebuilt on a grander scale, only to be severely damaged by the eruption of Santorini in 1600 BC and ravaged by fire in 1400 BC.

Your guided tour will take you through the marvellous ruins of the ancient complex, restored by Sir Arthur Evans. His work has been criticised by some for its modernity, but it does help you visualise the palace as it was, when it served as the administrative centre for the region.

There will be over an hour of free time for you to stroll at leisure in the town of Heraklion. Perhaps visit the Fountain of Morosini, near the colourful fruit and vegetable market, or shop for some Cretan souvenirs.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The archaeological site, which will be explored on foot, has uneven pathways and rough ground and there are 15 steps to be negotiated in various places. Flash photography is not permitted at the archaeological site. Heraklion will be explored on foot during the free time.

Knossos and Winery

Activity highRefreshments included

Duration: 4½ hours

Explore the archeological site of Knossos before rewarding yourself with wine tasting at a local winery.

The great discovery of Knossos not only proved the existence of the Minoan as the earliest civilisation in Europe, but also left all experts amazed at how advanced it was.

Your guided tour will take you through the fantastic ruins of the ancient complex, restored by Sir Arthur Evans. View in amazement, parts of the original labyrinth and picture its maze haunted by the mythical Minotaur, for whose containment it was built, by its master builder, Deadalus. He was kept prisoner so as to not reveal its secret until he and his son, Icarus, literally took flight, with a tragic end.

Built in expansive vineyards, the Boutari, Fantaxometaho Estate is one of the most modern and impressive wineries of Crete and the setting for a winery tour to see its production facilities and wine cellars. The tour is followed by a multimedia presentation on the history of wine making and an introduction to the art of wine tasting. Enjoy a sample of wines produced at the winery and a plate of Dakos, a Cretan dried rusk soaked in olive oil and topped with fresh tomato and cheese.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The site of Knossos will be explored on foot. There is some rough and uneven ground and many steps in various places around the site. Flash photography is not permitted at the archaeological site.

Plateau of Lassithi and Kera Monastery

Activity medium

Duration: 5 hours

A scenic tour, giving you a glimpse of what Crete has to offer along with a visit to an ‘Eco-Park’ to see the craftsmen at work.

Depart on a scenic drive from the Venetian fortress-dominated harbour of Heraklion and climb from the coast to the Lassithi Plateau located approximately 2700 feet above sea level. Surrounded by mountains, the Plateau is home to ancient monasteries, traditional small villages and over 10,000 magnificent, self-driven windmills, which dot the landscape.

Visit the historical monastery of Kera Kardiotissa that is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is renowned for its Byzantine icons, 14th century frescoes and carved altar screens. The Monastery offers sweeping views of Mt Dikte, the Pediada Valley and the sea.

The ‘Lassinthos Eco-Park’ seeks to preserve Crete’s traditions and culture and provides the opportunity for you to watch local artisans practicing their traditional crafts. Women weave blankets and rugs on an old loom while a candle maker crafts candles for a village church. Visit the wine press, dairy and plant workshop before viewing the small menagerie, which includes peacocks, grouse, ostrich, deer and Crete’s native goat, the Kri-Kri. Free time will be given for you to browse in the small souvenir shop or purchase refreshments from the café at the Eco-Park.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There are a few hairpin bends on the journey to the Plateau and approximately 15 steps at the entrance to the Monastery. The Monastery does not allow flash photography and passengers are advised to dress conservatively. Shorts are not permitted and women must cover their shoulders and knees. Please note we cannot guarantee wildlife sightings.

 

A selection of cruises to Heraklion

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