Heraklion
Archaeology

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Our most recommended Heraklion Archaeology

Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Entry with Guided Walking Tour

1. Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Entry with Guided Walking Tour

Join a guided tour of Knossos, a complex of more than 1500 interlocking rooms, once an astonishing palace built for a mighty king of the Bronze Age. Knossos is considered Europe’s oldest city. As you wander through the labyrinthine ruins, get the chance to see the original throne of ‘’Minos”, the mystifying sanctuaries, the luxurious domestic quarters of the royal family, Crete’s treasures pantries, and the water-management systems. The first palace of Knossos was erected soon after 2000 BC. In 1700 BC, a catastrophic earthquake destroyed the Palace. A new palace was built immediately, the most monumental of all, and for over 300 years it represented the pre-eminent center of power in Bronze Age Crete. The new palace was an imposing complex with important architectural innovations, splendid frescoes adorning the walls, hundreds of rooms distributed in four storeys, impressive storage areas, specialized workshops, and spacious courts hosting ceremonies and feasts. Learn how during the last decades of the 14th century BC, a series of earthquakes led to the final destruction of the palace. 

Heraklion: Archaeological Museum & Knossos Ticket with Audio

2. Heraklion: Archaeological Museum & Knossos Ticket with Audio

Experience Ancient Crete at your own pace with a combined e-ticket for the island's top two archaeological attractions, the Palace of Knossos and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Experience two captivating self-guided audio tours on your smartphone. Receive your ticket in a separate email from our local partner, and download the app and audio tours onto your phone prior to your visit. Then travel back in time to experience the grandeur of Crete from the Minoan period to Roman times. Put on your headphones and discover the Palace of Knossos and the exquisite artifacts exhibited in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Through the power of storytelling, learn interesting facts and hear little-known stories from ancient times. The content of the tours is the result of in-depth research, squeezed into brief original stories that will make your visit both engaging and informative. The audio tours can be used repeatedly and anytime, before or after your visit. This is an unmissable opportunity to gain valuable insights into ancient Crete and the Minoan civilization, and to engage with your surroundings in an entirely original way.

Crete: Palace of Knossos Ticket with Audio Tour

3. Crete: Palace of Knossos Ticket with Audio Tour

Enjoy an exciting visit to Knossos, Crete’s most famous historical attraction with a skip-the-line e-ticket, which includes a compelling audio tour downloadable on your phone and a detailed map of the site. Visit the grand capital of Minoan Crete, located just south of Heraklion, and see the evocative setting, complete with impressive ruins and brightly-colored frescoes, come alive through an engaging narrative that sheds light on various elements of Minoan culture. The cupbearers and procession frescoes at the South Propylaeum, which depict scenes from everyday life and the ceremonial activities in Minoan Crete, provide a great insight into the aesthetic ideals of the time. Follow the evolution of Minoan fashion, learn about the popular hairstyles of the people, and discover the beauty products locals used to touch up their look. At the West Magazines, where the storage facilities of the palace are located, gain an understanding of the well-organized bureaucracy that supported the palace organization, the earliest forms of linear writing, as well as the Minoan economy and trade networks. Discover the copy of the “Prince of the Lilies” at the South Entrance Corridor and gaze out on Mount Juktas, perfectly framed by the eroded walls of the palace. Visit the Queen’s Megaron, embellished with famous blue dolphins fresco and equipped with a bathroom and a toilet room, where you can find out everything about the bath habits in the Minoan era.

Crete: Day Trip to Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island

4. Crete: Day Trip to Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island

Travel to northeastern Crete, visit Agios Nikolaos and see its beautiful scenery, and take a boat trip to Spinalonga Island on this exciting day tour of some of Crete's most interesting sites. Begin the day with the visit to Agios Nikolaos, and see the shore of Mirabello Bay. Explore the town, famous for the lake at its center and its shopping and cafes. Take your time for a walk to enjoy the views, enjoy some shopping or have a drink in one of the numerous cafes around the lake. Explore an open-air market on Wednesdays. Move on to see Elounda village, a former fishing village on the northern coast of the island. Depart from Elounda for the cruise to Spinalonga Island. Learn about the island's vibrant history, from a home for the Venetians and Turks to a place of isolation for those suffering from leprosy. Experience the island, more popular after the 2005 historical novel “The Island” about how lepers lived in Spinalonga. Join the hundreds of people who come to the island every day to visit and learn its history.

Heraklion: Hop-on Hop-off Bus Sightseeing Tour

5. Heraklion: Hop-on Hop-off Bus Sightseeing Tour

Explore Heraklion on an open bus tour with a 48-hour ticket. See city’s famous landmarks and visit the famous beach of Ammoudara. Use the ticket for 2 days and board the bus at various points around the city.  Familiarize yourself with the Cretan civilization, history, and architecture and learn all about the old and modern city of Heraklion in your own language with the commentary on board, available in 8 languages.  Admire the view of the streets and the landmarks from a safe distance, Hop on and off at all the bus stops to visit major attractions such as Knossos Palace, the Archaeological Museum, Ammoudara Beach, the Venetian Port, the Market, and many others.  The 8 bus stops along the route are: • Old port square • Historical Museum of Crete • Knossos Palace • Heraklion Archaeological Museum • Grave of Nikos Kazantzakis • Venetian Walls • Port bus station • Jesus Gate

Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Ticket & Private Guided Tour

6. Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Ticket & Private Guided Tour

Settlements in Knossos date as far back as the Neolithic period. Neolithic remains from around 7000 BC are found throughout Crete. Explore the ruins of the ancient Minoan civilization and enjoy a skip-the-line tour of the Knossos Palace. The Knossos Palace was built from 1700 to 1400 BC. Advanced architectural techniques were used in its construction, and sections of the palace stood up to 5 stories high. It featured 1,300 rooms connected by corridors, and a theater and extensive storerooms, which held large clay containers of oil, grains, dried fish, beans and olives – often with gold hidden beneath.

Day Tour: Spinalonga, Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, & Kolokitha

7. Day Tour: Spinalonga, Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, & Kolokitha

You will be picked up from the Heraklion area and taken along the picturesque northeast coast through the gorge of St George, reaching the small fishing village of Elounda. Today Elounda is a popular holiday resort, often visited by celebrities for the luxurious white beaches. From there, take the boat to the small island of Spinalonga. The history and the culture of Spinalonga are laced with different diverse strands of history. In Ancient Greek times it served as a natural guard for the city of Olous; later it was used as a hide-out for Saracen pirates, turned into a fortress by the Venetians, and later settled by the Turks.  After your visit to the island of Spinalonga (1.5 hours), the boat will head for one of the bays in the area.. Swim in the crystal clear waters, and then savor a delicious barbecue served on board. Later, return to Elounda, where you take the bus to go to the picturesque town of Agios Nikolaos. Enjoy shopping, exploring and marveling at the bottomless lake there. At the tour's end, the bus will take you back to Heraklion area.

Knossos Palace & Archaeological Museum Private Tour

8. Knossos Palace & Archaeological Museum Private Tour

Enjoy a tour of the mythological Labyrinth with your own licensed guide who will take you through Knossos, focusing on the highlights of the area and its most prominent features. Afterward, the driver will take your group to the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion where your private tour will continue. Discover Knossos, the capital of Minoan Crete, considered Europe’s oldest city. Hear about the islands long history from your guide and learn about the peak of the Minoan culture in 2000 B.C. Later visit the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion where you can marvel at the findings of the first civilization of Europe, the Minoans. The tour will guide you through the ages, in a period of time that extends over a 5.000 years, from the neolithic to the roman era.

Knossos Palace & Heraklion Full-Day Tour from Chania Area

9. Knossos Palace & Heraklion Full-Day Tour from Chania Area

Depart from Chania at around 7 AM and head eastwards along the north coast. Pass the city of Heraklion and continue towards inland Crete until you reach the Palace of Knossos. The palace is one of the most significant archaeological sites in the world, a cradle of European culture and the center of the Minoan civilization. Follow your guide on a 2-hour tour through the fascinating story of the Minoan period and learn about the Minotaur and Ariadne. Afterward, rejoin the bus which will bring you to the heart of the capital city of Crete, Heraklion. Take the chance to visit the archaeological museum, where you can see and learn about the Minoan period while accompanied by your guide. Finally, enjoy 2 hours of free time to explore the busy and lively city of Heraklion, have Cretan lunch, and drink Raki. At around 3:30 PM, the bus will depart on its return journey to Chania.

From Heraklion: Chania, Lake Kournas and Rethymno Tour

10. From Heraklion: Chania, Lake Kournas and Rethymno Tour

Depart Heraklion and journey west by bus to the stunning city of Chania. Learn about its Minoan history and see sights from different civilizations, including the Byzantine, Ottoman and Venetian eras. Get a view of the lighthouse in the port, wander the narrow streets of the old town and enjoy some free time for lunch in the pretty harbor. Look for gifts and souvenirs in the famous agora (market) and more. Then, make your way to Lake Kournas and get back to nature in the lush green hills. Keep a look out for rare birds and marine life, including eels and turtles. Go for a swim or take an early afternoon walk in the protected wetlands. Drive back towards Heraklion and stop in the city of Rethymno along the way. Wander the enchanting alleys of the old town, see the domes and minarets of the Ottoman-era mosques, and marvel at the 16th-century Venetian fortress.

Frequently asked questions about Heraklion Archaeology

What are other things to do than Archaeology that are worth visiting in Heraklion?

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Other Sightseeing Options in Heraklion

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What people are saying about Heraklion

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 579 reviews

We had a great time on our tour with Alex. I would definitely recommend this tour to others. To start out with we were a little skeptical with the size of the bikes but soon learned it was better that way biking through the small crowded streets of the city. No pedaling allowed or required on these bikes, they were really easy to use as long as you know how to ride a bike ;-) Alex brought us to a tavern where he fed us some great food. Go on this tour if you arrive in the city and need to know where you have to go.

This is a must-do! The line was incredibly long when we got to the site in the morning, but we were able to skip it as our guide, Akrivi, had our tickets. She laid out a ton of history that really allowed us to appreciate the site even more than if we were by ourselves. She engaged with my young son which was highly appreciated as well. We were able to skip another line once inside, as well. Overall, the site is amazing, and it was really fantastic to have such a knowledgeable and kind tour guide leading us.

Helene, Marek and Giannis drive men the best! Recomend english and polish guide - extra travel !!! I recommend, tour guides Helen and Marek, bus driver Giannis everything at its best! We are satisfied with the successful trip

Brilliant experience of the ancient seat of Minoan power and the shockingly advanced technology of the period.

Brilliant day visiting a couple of great places, would recommend