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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 3-3½ 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. Please note that Aghios Nikolaos is a seasonal resort and some shops and venues may be closed during the winter period from November until April.

East Island Panorama

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 5 hours

A leisurely option that allows you to enjoy the sights and scenery of Crete’s east coast.

Setting off from the pier, enjoy a short drive through the island’s capital, Heraklion. View the old fishing harbour and admire the Venetian fortress and arsenals, before your drive takes you further east.

You’ll pass through the thriving resort of Hersonissos en route to Elounda Bay, where a short photo stop will be made for you to enjoy the lovely coastline views. Continue to the charming village of Plaka, located in the lovely setting of the Mirabello Bay, with views across to the famous island of Spinalonga. A stop will be made at a local taverna to enjoy a local snack and a soft drink.

To round off your tour, you’ll drive to the popular resort of Aghios Nikoalos for short photo stop, before the return drive to Heraklion.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach. This tour involves limited walking; however there is 5 minute walk to reach the refreshment venue from the coach drop off point. Passengers must be able to negotiate steps on to and off the coach.

Heraklion Beach Break

Activity lowFamily

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 around 3 hours at the beach, in an area known as Kokkini Hani. Here, you can soak up the sun and swim in the crystal clear waters of the Southern Aegean Sea.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Please note that that the actual beach area is dependent on the time of year. Walking is at the discretion of the passenger; however there may be steps to negotiate. 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 P&O Cruises.

Knossos and Wine Tasting

Activity highRefreshments included

Duration: 4 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 archaeological site, which will be explored on foot, has uneven pathways and rough ground and numerous 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. A nominal charge of 50 cents to 1 euro for use of the toilet facilities may be implemented at Knossos, which is payable locally.

Knossos - The Minoan Miracle

Activity highShopping

Duration: 4 hours

This popular tour visits the fascinating 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 numerous 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. A nominal charge of 50 cents to 1 euro for use of the toilet facilities may be implemented at Knossos, which is payable locally.

 

A selection of cruises to Heraklion

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