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Heraklion Nature & adventure

Our most recommended Heraklion Nature & adventure

Crete: Day Trip to Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island

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

Embark on a full-day guided trip to northeastern Crete and take a boat trip to Spinalonga Island. Visit Agios Nikolaos with its famous lake, and explore the picturesque village of Elounda. 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.

From Heraklion: Chania Town, Kournas Lake, and Rethymno Tour

2. From Heraklion: Chania Town, Kournas Lake, and Rethymno Tour

Morning Pick up: We will start collecting participants from pick-up points in the morning. Depending on the place of your hotel/apartment the bus drive will differ. Bus Drive: 3 hours 1st stop: Chania Town – 2 hours 30 minutes Our groups will enjoy their time to wander around the beautiful Venetian streets and neighborhoods of this picturesque town of Greece. Walk through its roads full of little shops, markets and local restaurants around theirfamous old port. Bus Drive: 1 hour 2nd stop:The lake of Kournas – 1 hour 20 minutes The largest natural lake of Crete reflecting the White Mountains gives you the sense of an Alpine landscape. Grab the opportunity to hire a pedal boat for a lovely ride around the lake, swimming and enjoying a meal in one of the little tavernas (not included). Bus Drive:20 minutes 3rd stop: Rethymno – 1 hour 30 minutes Visit Rethymno and its picturesque venetian town. Enjoy your free time to walk along the old port and beautiful oriental beach road. End of the tour – Return to resorts: Embarkation in the buses and drive back to the hotels where we gathered participants in the morning. Depending on traffic and on the pick-up places of each one, the time of journey back to the hotel will differ. Bus Drive: 2 hours

Agia Pelagia: Cretan Villages Quad Sunset Trip

3. Agia Pelagia: Cretan Villages Quad Sunset Trip

Meet your guide at the Peninsula Hotel and Spa in Agia Pelagia and start with driving tutorial session. Practice driving to ensure that you are confident with your quad bike. Cruise along lonely paths far away from main traffic that wind through scenic vistas.  Explore a cliff path that overlooks the sea and arrive at the traditional village of Achlada. Find out about the background of the village and hear about the ancient and traditional Cretan way of life. Share a special moment with the three last inhabitants of this village. Enjoy a drive and a walk through this village which is not accessible by any other means. Continues through the mountains to the mountain village of Rogdia where yiuo can gaze out at the bay of Heraklion. View the 16th century tower of Modino, a chateau that was once occupied by feudal lords.  Have some free time to watch as the colors of the sunsetting between the sea the mountains. Ride back to the meeting point after the sun sets.

From Heraklion: Gramvousa and Balos Cruise with Hotel Pickup

4. From Heraklion: Gramvousa and Balos Cruise with Hotel Pickup

Start with pickup from Heraklion or the surrounding area. Drive over to Kastelli by bus to board your boat. Balos are Gramvousa are located on the West part of the island. Depending on the area your hotel is located is around 4 hours by bus to the place where the boats depart. Embark the boat from the village of Kasteli and head over to Balos Lagoon and enjoy plenty of time to swim in the quiet crystal clear waters, walk across the golden sand beach and soak in the sun as you relax. Cruise across the western Cretan sea and arrive at the tranquil Gramvousa. Swim along the coast and stroll up to the castle on the hill to admire panoramic views of the natural landscape as you hike up to that point. The drivers will be awaiting you at the port, in order to begin the drive back to Heraklion.

Black Rose Pirate Boat: 5-Hour Trip from Heraklion

5. Black Rose Pirate Boat: 5-Hour Trip from Heraklion

Embark on a multi-stop cruise from Heraklion to St. Georges Bay, Sissi, Stalis, and more. Hop on board the Black Rose pirate boat and enjoy a pirate-themed experience with face painting, music, dancing, and a BBQ meal. The Black Rose sails daily from the Port of Hersonissos through the clear waters of the Cretan Sea. The first stop on the trip is St. Georges Bay. You’ll have around 2 hours to swim and snorkel and explore the area. By the time you’re back on the boat, the pirate crew will have prepared a delicious BBQ meal for you to enjoy. Later, head for the coast of Malia and Stalis for the second swimming stop.

Agia Pelagia: Quad Safari-Family Tour

6. Agia Pelagia: Quad Safari-Family Tour

Begin the tour at the Peninsula Resort and Spa with a short theoretical introduction and a quad driving lesson before the adventure begins. Follow a beautiful off-road cliff path along the sea and into the heights of Achlada away from traffic and in the midst of the most beautiful nature the area has to offer. Enjoy breathtaking views over Agia Pelagia until reaching Heraklion, then continue to the ancient and abruptly abandoned ghost village of Achlada.  Find out more about the background of the village and the traditional Cretan way of life and share a special personal moment with the last two remaining inhabitants of the village. Stroll through this otherwise inaccessible village at leisure. From the heights of Achlada, pass in between the mountains surrounded by breathtaking nature before continuing to Fodele, a traditional Cretan village, also called the village of the oranges and birthplace of the famous painter El Greco.  Explore Crete’s culture and marvel at its local handicrafts. Take some time for shopping and a visit to the museum or to the village’s orthodox churches. Sit back and enjoy a famous freshly squeezed orange juice made from the local orange trees for a more relaxing experience. Return to the hotel at 1.00 p.m., just in time for lunch.

Crete: Full-Day Land Rover Safari at Sunset w/ Dinner & Wine

7. Crete: Full-Day Land Rover Safari at Sunset w/ Dinner & Wine

Explore the Cretan mountains outside of Heraklion from the seat of a Land Rover during a guided day tour. Witness a stunning sunset over the Lassithi Plateau before stopping off for a local-style BBQ dinner with wine. Begin your journey with hotel pickup and make your way through the magnificent mountains of Crete. Visit the Aposelemis Dam and an ancient Roman aqueduct as your guide shares interesting insight. Next, stop off in the picturesque village of Kastamonitsa, nestled in the foothills of the Afendi Mountains. Enjoy the chance to sample local products such as olive oil and raki, a distilled alcoholic drink made with grapes and anise. Back in the vehicle, brace yourself as you venture down dirt tracks and follow the Minoan path through mountain passes. Catch spectacular views of wildlife and unbelievable scenery, learning about mythology and history along the way. Take a break to relax over a glass of prosecco and fresh fruit salad while admiring the sunset. Be sure to take plenty of photos to share of the amazing backdrop. After building up an appetite, head to a local tavern for a delicious Cretan-style meal that will include appetizers and main courses as well as vegetarian options. Wash down the food with unlimited wine served with dinner. Make your way back down the mountain roads as you head toward your hotel, marveling at the views of the moonlit coastline and illuminated towns along the way.

Heraklion: CRETAquarium Admission Ticket

8. Heraklion: CRETAquarium Admission Ticket

Venture into the ocean’s depth with a 1-day admission ticket to the CRETAquarium. One of Europe’s largest aquariums, over 2,000 sea creatures lice the CRETAquarium's 60 diverse habitats. Delve into the caves and crevices of the Mediterranean, where stingrays and rock-like scorpionfish slither about. Pop out into the open ocean, where menacing sharks circle, waiting to be fed. Get up close and personal with jellyfish and schools of vibrant tropical clownfish through shallow, open-topped tanks, which allow a new viewing perspective of well known species.  Above all, gain a new appreciation for the unending diversity of the world’s most mystifying environment. When you’ve had your fill of looking at the ocean’s residents, why not pop in for a dip? The CRETAquarium is, fittingly, right on the beach.

From Heraklion: Chania, Lake Kournas and Rethymno Tour

9. 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.

Heraklion: Chrissi the Southernmost Natural Park in Europe

10. Heraklion: Chrissi the Southernmost Natural Park in Europe

Take some time and experience the magic of the uninhabited island of Chrissi on a sightseeing cruise. Sail the Lybian Sea, take in your surroundings, and take your time with a short walk on the white-sand beaches, speckled with shells. Enjoy pickup from one of the designated meeting points and embark on a scenic drive to Ιerapetra. Once you arrive, discover the southernmost and warmest town in Europe for 45 minutes, while enjoying your free time. Depart on a boat for Chrissi Island, and cross the Libyan Sea to this stunning and uninhabited and exotic island. Admire the colors of the water and relax on a boat cruise around its most beautiful bays. Take your time to discover the natural landscape and swim to the shore, dive from the boat, and enjoy the clear waters of the island. Look out at the white sand beaches and view the millions of small shells that litter the beaches. Take the option to purchase lunch onboard the boat, and ask your guide in advance to get a discounted price.

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Frequently asked questions about Heraklion

What are the best day trips and excursions from Heraklion?

The best day trips and excursions from Heraklion are:

Chania

Other Sightseeing Options in Heraklion

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What people are saying about Heraklion

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 798 reviews

Angela and I came to Crete for our thanksgiving break looking for fun activities to do and we found scuba diving. We’ve never done it before and we’re both pretty nervous to do it, but our instructor Ioannis Almpantakis was the best. He gave us all the information we needed for our first time and was very patient with us. This was by far one of the best experiences of our lives. He is a great leader and you can tell he was very passionate about his job. If you get the chance to scuba dive definitely do it!

The lake is cool, but perhaps not as beautiful as it is depicted in photographs (that being said I did see it on quite an overcast day). However, the towns were absolutely lovely and I really enjoyed just strolling through and exploring a different side of Crete! Really loved the guide as well!

Everything was perfect from the beginning! Our friendly guide Kostas, the trip, the goats, the Minoan route, the food (very tasty), the cheese, zeuz's cave, etc. 100! Recommended

Very nice trip. They picked me up in a van very close to my hotel because the streets were very narrow. Recommended!

The water was absolutely unreal. A must-do while travelling through Crete.