Fly to Crete, one of the largest and most beautiful islands of Greece, where you can learn about ancient Grecian culture, and enjoy the gorgeous beaches that Crete is famous for.
Heraklion International Airport(HER)
Heraklion Airport, also sometimes known as ‘Nikos Kazantzakis’ Airport in honour of the famous Greek philosopher and author of the same name, is the primary airport on the island of Crete and sees millions of passengers each year. Though Heraklion is a pretty small airport for the traffic it sees, there are a decent number of facilities at hand. There is access to a bank, an ATM, a currency exchange service, an information desk, a duty-free shop and a café bar offering snacks.
Airlines to Heraklion
Though Heraklion is an international airport, you will not find direct flights from Australia to Crete. Passengers will most likely find that flights to HER Airport will be redirected to one or more transfer hubs, like Dubai (DOH), and Athens (ATH).
Most flights to this destination are operated by Aegean Airlines, though there are other international carriers that fly from Athens (ATH), or other nearby islands like Kos (KGS) and Thessaloniki (SKG). These carriers are Etihad Airways, Lufthansa, Ellinair, Sky Express, SAS, Air Canada, Olympic, Air Serbia, Air Baltic and Egypt Air.
Getting into Heraklion
Taxis can be located just outside the airport and cost about 12-14EUR ($19-22), and are the fastest and most direct way to get into town.
By public transport
There are buses operated by KTEL available from the airport into the main town every few minutes, and this convenient service runs early in the mornings and late into the evenings from Monday to Saturday. On Sunday you’ll find there is a far more intermittent service, so it may be advisable to use another mode of transport. However, the buses are cheap and cheerful, coming in at around 1EUR ($1.60) for a one-way ticket.
There is also the option to rent a car, which for some may be more convenient, and there are a four car hire companies within the airport, these are Avis, Autohellas, Eurodollar and Travel Star.
What can you do in Heraklion?
Once frequented by Minoan traders, Heraklion has an ancient past. It is the largest city on Crete and one of the largest in Greece, and with all of its cultural, natural and historical attractions, this isn’t a place you can see in a day.
Wander around the Old Town, buttressed up against the turquoise harbour, you’ll find these clustered buildings make up a series of cafes, restaurants, bars, and boutiques. There is a lovely main square, perfect for people watching, and a 16th century fortress called Koules which you can explore.
In the main part of town, you can also see the Historical Museum of Crete and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, both of which are filled with artefacts thousands of years old. This is a great way to understand the scope and influence of this island throughout Greece, and will give you a greater insight into the ancient monuments surrounding the city.
There are many architectural marvels on Crete, but the foremost are the Palace of Knossos, frequently cited as being the mythical Labyrinth of Minos, and the Palace of Phaestos, overlooking the Libyan Sea. Over 3000 years old, these storied buildings will allow you to step back into an entirely different epoch.
Lastly, there are the golden beaches, where visitors from all over the world come to relax upon. Slightly out of town you will find Florida, Amnissos and Karteros, where the water dances a cobalt blue beneath an azure sky.
When should you go?
The summer months of June through to August are wonderful weather-wise on Crete, where you can expect averages of 24-26°C. However this is one of the busiest seasons, and if you want nice weather, but don’t want to tackle the crowds, the shoulder months of April/May and September/October are great alternatives. During these seasons the averages range from 17-24°C. The winter (October-March) months are generally best avoided, though the weather remains mild, much of the islands’ amenities, such as hotels and restaurants tend to shut down in the low season.
What do you need to know?
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Visas: You do not need a visa if you hold a passport that is part of the European Union, but if you are a foreign national outside of the EU you must check Greece’s official government website to see if you are eligible for a visa upon entry or if you have to apply in advance of your flight.
Please note all information is current as of January 2016.
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