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    Heraklion, Magical Matala, an ocean oasis

    Magical Matala, an ocean oasis

    According to Greek mythology, Matala is the place where Zeus swam ashore with the kidnapped Europa on his back. In more recent times, Matala has become legendary because of its cliffside caves and crescent-shaped bay, the perfect backdrop for a magical sunset.

    Heraklion, Koules Fortress

    Koules Fortress

    Located at the entrance of the old port of Heraklion, the 16th-century Koules Fortress underwent six years of restoration before reopening. The brand-new exhibition tells the story of the building, featuring ancient amphorae, Venetian cannons and finds from several shipwrecks.

    Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos

    Agios Nikolaos

    Agios Nikolaos is quite different from other towns in Crete, combining resort-style flair and modern architecture with a bustling nightlife. Hire a car, drive along the northern coastline and head east towards the hilly terrain overlooking the shores of the beautiful Mirabello Bay.

    Heraklion, Crete, Knossos

    Flights to Heraklion, Crete

    The main city on the island of Crete, Heraklion is the fourth largest city in Greece and the birthplace of Minoan civilisation. On this island, myth meets history and the mountains meet the sea offering you an unforgettable travel experience. Whether you’re looking for a trip back in time, a relaxing break on beautiful beaches, or simply want to enjoy the city’s wild nightlife in modern bars, restaurants and clubs, Heraklion offers you everything you are looking for.

    So don’t wait a moment longer, and book your Brussels Airlines ticket to Heraklion, Crete!

    What to do in Heraklion?

    1. Head to the beach, of course! The island of Crete is famous for its beautiful beaches. Whether you are looking for popular beaches offering many complementary services (like Matala, Amoudara or Malia) or for secluded bays (Agiofaraggo and Dermatos), and whether you prefer sand, pebbles or rock, you will definitely find the perfect beach near Heraklion.
    2. Heraklion, Crete, Matala beach
    3. See where King Minos and the mythical Minotaur lived: the Minoan palaces of Knossos, Phaestos and Zakros are situated near Heraklion and can be easily reached by bus. You can also visit a number of Minoan tombs near Heraklion, where you can admire statues, pottery and other pieces of Minoan art.
    4. Discover Heraklion’s Venetian past: the Venetians ruled Crete in the 16th century and have left many architectural reminders of their time on the island. Their influence is mostly visible in the defensive buildings dominating the harbour like the Koules Fortress, the Loggia (today the Heraklion Town Hall), and the Morosini Fountain, decorated with lions, the symbol of La Serenissima (a name for the Republic of Venice).
    5. And its Byzantine past: the Byzantine influence is mostly to be found in the religious buildings, like the Agios Titos Cathedral or the Agios Minas Cathedral, both converted into mosques during the Ottoman occupation.
    6. Interesting museums to visit are the Historical Museum of Crete, the Museum of Natural History, and The Archeological Museum.
    7. Enjoy the animated nightlife of Heraklion on Korai Street or in St. Titus Square.

    Practical information for your trip to Heraklion

    • Brussels Airlines flights arrive and depart from Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport, which is located 3 km from Heraklion.
    • Current local time in Heraklion:  
    • Currency: Euro. Make sure to always have some cash on hand as not all restaurants accept credit cards. ATMs are available throughout the country.
    • Electric sockets: Plug type C and type F (two round pins) suitable for appliances of 230 V – 50 Hz.
    • Travel information: Greece is part of the Schengen-zone, meaning that under normal circumstances, EU citizens may travel without a passport. Non-EU citizens must have a valid passport. Citizens of the following countries may enter Greece without a visa: Countries of the European Union, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Citizens of other countries require a visa. For all information on visas and travel documents, visit the website
    • Vaccination: When travelling to Crete, there are no mandatory vaccinations for European travellers. For more health information, visit the website

    Heraklion, Crete, Harbour

    What to do and not to do in Heraklion, Crete

    • The Palace of Knossos is one of the most visited places in Greece after the Acropolis. We advise that you set aside a full day for the visit.
    • In tourist areas, you will have no problem communicating with the Greek in English, some will also be able to help you around in French. Though speaking a few words of Greek is well appreciated by the locals. And if you plan on going off the beaten path, knowing more than just a few words of Greek will definitely pay off. Learning the Greek alphabet is not a must but might prove useful for those that want to understand road signs when driving around in rural areas

    A few words of Greek

    • Kalimera is the usual greeting in the morning, if you’re greeting someone in the afternoon or evening, say kalispera. Goodnight is kalinikta, do pay attention though as kalinikta is only used as a goodbye, never as a greeting. Going for drinks with friends? The Greeks don’t say cheers but yamas! Want to go out? Say Pame gia café. It literally means “Let’s go for a coffee” but it’s generally used to go out for drinks, not specifically coffee. If you have a particular Greek lady or gentleman in mind, this is the way to ask them out for a drink.

    When to go to Heraklion, Crete?

    Crete has a Mediterranean climate with strong sub-Saharan influences from the nearby African continent. Winters are mild and summers are long, hot and sunny. With over 300 days of sunshine, Heraklion is a top destination for guaranteed sunshine. Though summers are hot and dry, the strong Meltemi wind can cool the weather down significantly, especially in the northern regions such as Chania. Crete will occasionally suffer heatwaves coming from Africa, yet these will usually only affect southern Crete.

    Generally, the most popular moment to visit Heraklion, and Crete in general, is between June and September. Summer starts early in Crete, with the average highs already climbing to 24°C in May. So even if you can’t handle the heat in the peak of summer (average highs of 30°C in July-August), just about any other month in spring or summer is a good option. If you plan on visiting archaeological sites or going on excursions, avoid peak summer and plan your trip in spring or autumn. Springtime would be the best choice as nature will be in full bloom.

    What to eat in Heraklion, Crete?

    The Greeks love to cook and seldom eat alone! That’s why, on the island of Crete, you can sample many mouthwatering Greek specialties. Some of the best-known delicacies are: “Tzatziki” (a mixture of yoghurt, cucumber and garlic), “Mavromatika” (beans), “Moussaka” and “Psarosoupa”, which is a fish soup.

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    Book your flight to Heraklion

    Don’t wait a moment longer and book now your getaway to Heraklion Crete with Brussels Airlines.
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