Recently ranked as Europe’s fastest growing tourism destination, Heraklion, the capital city of Crete, never stops surprising with its stunning potential.
Once considered the ugly duckling of the island, Heraklion is top on the list of European city-break destinations, showing the highest growth in international arrivals.
The main gate to the biggest of the Greek islands has steadily become a hugely popular destination. Once home to Europe’s oldest civilization — the Minoans — Heraklion hosts impressive archaeological sites and some of the finest museums of Greece. These combine with eclectic examples of architecture and the healthiest diet in the world.
The stunning natural landscape, welcoming locals and a vibrant nightlife are just some of the reasons why Heraklion has turned into the ultimate Greek destination.
However, there is more to Heraklion than meets the eye. Although there are endless online resources to tell you all there is to know about the Minoan Palace of Knossos, why not, this time, look at the more hidden prospects around town?
Wine & Brunch Bars
Inviting cafes are scattered all over the city, offering the best of Heraklion’s vibe. Try more authentic Greek venues for live local music and flowing raki.
For the best breakfast, coffee and all-day-comfort food in town head to 626 All Day Lounge & City Garden. Here, grab a chair under the shade of the trees and sip some of their creative drinks. Open all day, the 626 also offers brunch and unique dinners.
Get your photo camera ready to explore one of the most curious districts of the city, venturing along the picturesque alleys of the former underground area of Lakkos. Here, bizarre graffiti accompany stories of brothels, soldiers and lovers, mixing with renovated tavernas and the echoes of rebetiko music. Enjoy a round of Cretan tapas at any popular kafenio.
On Saturdays, the gypsy atmosphere of Pateles open market reveals the sounds, smells and colors of the town’s melting-pot character.
The market on 1866 Street offers fresh produce and a closer look at the island’s culinary habits. Shop for herbs and spices as well as curious souvenirs.
Food is a serious business for the Greeks and an extremely significant affair in Crete, home to one of the country’s healthiest and tastiest diets. To taste the most wholehearted cuisine, book a table at the legendary Peskesi to try local dishes and Minoan cuisine.
For a more unique atmosphere head to the most thrilling rooftop restaurant in town, the Herb’s Garden. Inspired by Cretan fragrances, the restaurant serves all the freshness of local ingredients with more than a gourmet twist. Insider’s tip: Don’t miss their lamb!
Enjoy Your Stay
Lato Boutique Hotel remains one of the city favorites. This boutique hotel caters to every need, including the magnificent views of Heraklion’s Venetian fortress. Comfortably located close to the port, the hotel boasts unique rooms and an excellent buffet for morning breakfast.
The warm atmosphere of the eco-friendly Olive Green Hotel makes everyone feel at home. State-of-the-art technology naturally blends with earth tones and plenty of light. Traditional images and welcome treats dress every room in the best outfit as far as hospitality is concerned. Insider’s tip: Check the pillow menu for an utmost comfort experience.
Cultural activities, new gastronomic ventures and creative iconic accommodation are next. Keep returning to Greek Reporter to discover a whole new concept in gastronomic stays rooted in the local scene with utmost luxury and all the ingredients of the Cretan legacy.