Heraklion
Off the beaten track

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Our most recommended Heraklion Off the beaten track

From Heraklion: Afternoon Sailing Trip to Dia Island

1. From Heraklion: Afternoon Sailing Trip to Dia Island

Benefit from optional pick-up from your hotel or cruise ship, or meet at the Venetian harbor at Heraklion Port at 14:30, and then relax on a 1-hour cruise to Dia Island on an intimate boat with space for no more than 8 passengers. Relax aboard the elegant sailing boat before dropping anchor in the romantic Gulf of Saint George at 15:30. Discover an idyllic location with a great history as an ancient Minoan port and one of the favorite destinations of the underwater explorer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau.  Enjoy 2.5 hours at leisure to fish, swim in the crystal clear water, take a walk among the island's cedar trees or just relax in the quiet bay overlooking Heraklion. Snorkeling and fishing equipment is provided for your comfort and convenience by the attentive crew, along with unlimited refreshments and seasonal fruits. Feast from a delicious Mediterranean menu of roasted chicken fillets, rice with vegetables, Greek salad and wine. Depart Dia Island at 18:00 and journey back to Heraklion for an estimated arrival time of 19:00, where a transfer to your hotel or cruise ship is provided if requested.

From Heraklion: Morning Sailing trip to Dia Island

2. From Heraklion: Morning Sailing trip to Dia Island

Enjoy a cruise, snorkeling and fishing in crystal clear waters on this relaxing and fun trip to Dia Island. Relax on the 1-hour trip to the island, taking in the scenery and enjoying the comfort of your boat, which will have a maximum of 8 passengers onboard. Next, visit the romantic gulf and ancient Minoan port of St. George. Spend 2.5 hours swimming in the turquoise water, walking on the beautiful trails, fishing or just relaxing on the beach. Relax and let the crew take care of you by providing you with any snorkeling and fishing equipment you need. Enjoy unlimited refreshments, seasonal fruits and a delicious Mediterranean lunch served by the crew.

Agia Pelagia: Quad Safari-Family Tour

3. 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, or alternatively, there is the possibility to have lunch in a local restaurant and try Greek Meze – a variety of Greek delicacies served on small plates.

Crete: Scuba Experience with Certified Instructor

4. Crete: Scuba Experience with Certified Instructor

This is the ideal diving course for those who want to try scuba diving but do not have a diving certificate. Enjoy a pre-dive lesson and always be accompanied by a certified instructor. Begin your day with the basic theory on diving and the skills necessary to do so. You will then move on to real-life diving under the supervision of a certified instructor. During the dive, you will have the opportunity to explore the bottom of the sea in Agia Pelagia, learn the basic commands, and get the chance to observe up-close the fish and sea creatures living near the seabed.

From Rethymno: Knossos & Heraklion Archaeological Museum

5. From Rethymno: Knossos & Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Following pick-up from your hotel in Rethymno, travel along the northern coast of Crete by comfortable bus. Make your way to the archaeological site of Knossos, where King Minos built his palace. Get a 2-hour guided tour of the monument, designed by Daedalus in such an intriguing way that no visitor was said to find their way out without the help of a guide! Journey through the incredible history of King Minos and the Minoan civilization, and hear about some of the legends of Crete at what was once the island's largest palace. Then, drive to the ancient city of Heraklion to take a guided tour of the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Learn more about the island at what is considered to be one of the finest museums in the world dedicated to Minoan art with its many galleries of historic frescoes, jewelry, statues and more. Get some free time for coffee or lunch, and shop for souvenirs in the city center before the return journey to Rethymno. 

Day Tour of Spinalonga, Agios Nikolaos, Elounda & Plaka

6. Day Tour of Spinalonga, Agios Nikolaos, Elounda & Plaka

Reach the cosmopolitan city of Agios Nikolaos on the Gulf of Mirabello, passing the north-east coast and St. George’s Gorge. Agios Nikolaos is famous for its picturesque bottomless lake, explored by the ocean researcher Jaques Cousteau and the subject of numerous legends. Discover the pretty city on your own, stroll through the shops, or relax in one of the cafes and watch the world go by. Continue to Elounda, enjoying some of the most beautiful views of Crete. Look across the Elounda Lagoon at the enchanting islands of Spinalonga and Kolokitha. Spinalonga has been an important place throughout history. Have some time to explore the island on your own. After a short drive you will reach Plaka, a small fishing village directly opposite Spinalonga. From there a 10-minute boat ride takes you to the island. Plaka was the ferry port of the leper colony, whose history was documented in a book and a Greek television series. Visit the filming sites, enjoy lunch or have a refreshing swim. The last stop of the day is Elounda, a former fishing village but today a famous holiday resort with the most 5-star hotels in Greece. Take plenty of time to stroll through the picturesque harbor and have a cup of coffee before heading back to your accommodation.

From Heraklion Area: Full-Day Bus Trip to Elafonisi Island

7. From Heraklion Area: Full-Day Bus Trip to Elafonisi Island

Start your day of discovery with a pick-up service. Right after you board your comfortable, air-conditioned bus, you will journey to the southwest corner of Crete to spend a relaxing day on the pink sand beaches on the small island of Elafonisi. Take in the lush green landscape on the way to the island as you travel through the impressive Topolia Gorge and pass many old and very typical villages. Stop for a coffee and breakfast in the village of Elos, known for its chestnut trees. Upon arrival at Elafonisi, get at least 4-hours to relax and swim in the crystal clear water. Laze in the sun, or go for a stroll along the pink sand beach. Benefit from beach kiosks where you can purchase food and water to rehydrate and re-energize. Situated just off the shore of the main island, Elafonisi can be reached by walking through the water. Both the beach and island are protected wildlife areas of rare beauty. Depart by bus at approximately 4:00 PM and return to Heraklion for an estimated arrival time and hotel drop-off at around 7:30 PM.

From Heraklion: Day Trip to Knossos and the Lasithi Plateau

8. From Heraklion: Day Trip to Knossos and the Lasithi Plateau

Discover the breathtaking beauty of the Lasithi Plateau on a day trip from Heraklion. Admire the remaining windmills and the drainage system that dates back to the Venetian Empire. Pass through traditional villages such as Psychro. Visit the Dikteon Cave, where Zeus is said to have been born. Continue to the village of Tzermiado and enjoy lunch in an authentic tavern before going to the Keras Kardiotissas Monastery, known for its remarkable murals. Next, visit the Minoan Palace of Knossos and learn the legend of the settlement at sites such as the Throne Room and Royal Chambers.

Heraklion: Cretan Wine Tasting Tour & Gourmet Lunch

9. Heraklion: Cretan Wine Tasting Tour & Gourmet Lunch

Journey through the authentic flavors of Crete at a private wine tasting with professionals from the industry, and sample 15 different wines. Join a small and friendly group of no more than 8 people and learn more about the vines, terroir and gastronomy of Crete. Hear about local produce, such as olive oil and cheese. Benefit from the services of a guide who is a former journalist and restaurant chef, and speaks both English and French. Meet some of the best producers of the island's wines from the central regions of Archanes and Peza, where wine was first made in Crete. Take a tour of 2 of their wineries and vineyards, and then experience the flavors of the wines at a private tasting of 15 wines following a wine presentation. Enjoy a sensational tasting of olive oil and other traditional products from Crete, such as honey, marmalade, wine vinegar and more. Then, meet a selection of chefs at a gourmet lunch in one of the best restaurants in the wine making region; and get ready to be dazzled by their creative talents in the kitchen! 

From Rethymno: Full-Day Knossos and Heraklion Tour

10. From Rethymno: Full-Day Knossos and Heraklion Tour

Depart from Rethymnon at around 8:30 AM, heading eastwards along the north coast. Pass the city of Heraklion and continue towards the inland of Crete until you reach the tour's highlight – your visit to the Palace of Knossos. This is one of the most significant archaeological sites in the world, a cradle of European culture and the center of the Minoan civilization. You will be guided (for about 2 hours) through the fascinating story of the Minoan period and hear about both the Minotaur and Ariadne.  Afterwards the bus brings you to the heart of the capital city of Crete – Heraklion. There you have the chance to visit the archaeological museum, where you can see and learn about the Minoan period while accompanied by your guide. Finally you will have two hours of free time to enjoy the busy and lively city of Heraklion, have Cretan lunch and drink raki. Time will pass before you know it, and at around 6:00 PM the bus will depart on its return journey to Rethymnon.

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What people are saying about Heraklion

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 505 reviews

Transportation to and from activity was very smooth, FREE if you’re within 10km of the port and very easy to coordinate. The activity was wonderful!! Captain and assistant captain were extremely friendly and helpful throughout the trip. The boat ride was serene and the activities on Dia Island were great - relax on the boat, swim in the ocean, snorkel a bit, hike on the island - it’s a choose your own adventure! The lunch was great (including wine and a cute fruit salad at the end) and it doesn’t get better than sitting on a boat on a sunny day having lunch after swimming around in the ocean! Overall a favorite experience of ours in Heraklion, definitely recommend!

I can really recommend this trip! Marcos and Cristina were very skillful, friendly and helpful, always there for us. The beach on Dia island was really small but sufficient for a rest after swimming. I recommend snorkeling, since the water was crystal clear and you can see a lot of sea creatures. The lunch on boat was also a unique experience, and very tasty. Hotel transfer was comfortable.

We had such a great time with Marcos and Christina. Very attentive and many fun things to do. We had time to relax as well as do some swimming and snorkeling. Highly recommend. Dia island is beautiful.

Absolutely amazing experience! The staff are so lovely and can’t do enough for you. The island you visit is a hidden paradise, and the food was absolutely Gorgeous.

Great Sailingtour to Dia Island! The crew was very nice, the food, the boat, the crystalclear water and everything. We enjoyed it a lot.