Car Hire Heraklion Airport
“Heraklion” or “Iraklio” is the capital of Crete and is located in the middle of the island at the northern coast.
When you choose to visit Heraklion or Crete in general, chances are high that you will arrive at the “Nikos Katzatzakis” airport which is located just 5 km from the city center.
The airport of Heraklion, though the biggest and busiest in Crete, is fairly small and easy to navigate through.
After you have collected your luggage you will easily find your way to the arrivals hall.
Due to safety measures we will be waiting for you outside of the arrivals hall, to welcome you and assist you with your luggage.
It is very convenient to rent a car at Heraklion Airport as you have to walk only 2 minutes to reach our parking area.
At the end of your rental period, you can easily return your hired car at the same parking area.
Car Hire Heraklion Ferry Port
Heraklion Ferry Port is located just 1km from the city center. You can easily pick up or return your rental car for free at an designated parking area at the Harbour of Heraklion.
Heraklion at first might be a little overwhelming and not what you expected when you arrive, due to the chaotic traffic, the concrete sea of buildings and lack of organised infrastructure, but give it a chance and look a little closer and you will discover its beauties behind the facade.
A brief History lesson
Heraklion which is located near the remains of the Minoan Palace Knossos was part of the Minoan civilization and used as a port.
Around 1600BC a tsunami and severe ashfall, that was caused by the eruption of the volcano in Santorini, leveled the port and wiped out the Minoans.
The centuries after the fall of the Minoan empire were not very prosperous.
In 824 the Arabs built a city( where modern Heraklion is located) named “ Castle of the Moat” or “Chandax”. After the construction was finished it became the capital of the Emirates of Crete which was muslim state at that time.
Later on in 961 the Byzantine forces took control of the city after a year-long siege.
The city was completely destroyed and rebuilt.
After being under Byzantine control for the past 243 years the city of Heraklion was sold to the republic of Venice. The Venetians built enormous walls and fortifications around the city as well as a fortress at the port. ( big parts of the wall and the fort are still intact to this day)
The city was renamed to “Candia” and Crete was referred to as “Kingdom of Candia”
In the Ottoman War (1645-1669) the Ottomans besieged the city for 21 years.
In 1669 the city fell and was renamed to “Kandiye” and was the capital of Crete until 1849.
After an insurrection in 1897 the Turkish rule came to an end and Crete was reunited with Greece. One year later the city was renamed to “Heraklion” after the Roman Port “Heracleum”
During world war two in 1941 Crete was attacked once again by the Germans due to its important strategic position. The war leads to many casualties and destruction of buildings throughout the city.
5 Best things to do in Heraklion City
1) Heraklion Archaeological Museum
A good way to get out of the hot summer sun and learn about life in Crete centuries ago is to visit the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. This Museum is one of the most important ones in Greece and offers great findings from the Prehistoric era until the Minoan and post Minoan era.
Part of the permanent exhibition are relics like : jewels, stone and marble statues, everyday items, pottery pieces and of course, highlights like the Disc of Phaestos and Hellenic-Roman sculptures that have been excavated from sites like Phaestos, Knossos, Zakros and Malia.
As this museum is very popular we recommend you to visit early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the big crowds and have the best experience possible.
2) Visit ”Koules” Fortress
“Koules” which in Turkish means “fortress”, is a Venetian built fort at the harbour of Heraklion.
It was built during the 13th century when the Venetians conquered the city.
The primary use of this fortress was to store military equipment, store food supplies, hold prisoners and accommodate the guards of it.
Nowadays the fortress is open to the public. You are able to go inside and check out the different rooms in which you can find cannons, cannonballs and other tools and equipment used back in the days. Furthermore you can go on top of the fortress and enjoy the views of the Heraklion and the Aegean sea.
3) The palace of “Knossos”
If you like archeology the Palace of Knossos is a must. Knossos is the biggest and most impressive Minoan site in Crete. The Legend has it that the Labyrinth built by King Minos in which the “Minotaurus” was hosted, was located at this Minoan site.
For its time the palace was surprisingly sophisticated as it was built with thought and efficiency in mind. The Minoans used a liquids management system, food storage,lighting and heating systems of which you can learn much more on site.
There are busses going to Knossos from the city center every 15-20 minutes which makes visiting very convenient. If you plan to visit with your hire car you can use the free of charge parking available.
4) Explore the area around Morosini Fountain ( Lions square )
The Morosini Fountain or the lions square or as most locals refer to “The Lions” is a Venetian built fountain that is located at a square in the heart of Heraklion's old town. The fountain dates back to 1628 and played a crucial role in providing fresh water to the thirsty residents of Heraklion. It is definitely interesting to have a look at this beautiful piece of Venetian architecture but more interesting are the various cafes, shops, restaurants, old buildings and churches that surround the area. At any time of the day the whole area is very lively and busy. At night the Lions become the main meating point for people that look forward to a good night out. At a very close proximity of the square, you can find plenty of traditional greek meze bars and modern cocktail and shisha bars.