Holidays to Heraklion deliver on every front. Prepare for great beaches, stay-up-late nightlife and some of Greece’s top historical sites.
Whoever said less is more had never been to the Heraklion area. In these parts, more is more. The region’s beaches are case and point. They come in all shapes and sizes, from busy bands of sand like the ones in Hersonissos and Kokkini Hani, to quiet, family-focused stretches, like Agia Pelagia’s.
The après-beach scene in the Heraklion area is the best in Crete. Hersonissos is home to a roll call of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. And, less than 10 miles down the coast, there’s Malia, a contender for the nightlife capital of Greece.
The sightseeing opportunities come thick and fast in the Heraklion area. If historical sites are your cup of tea, you can explore the Minoan Palace of Knossos in Heraklion town, or the old leper colony on Spinalonga Island, just down the coast to the south. If you’re more of an action-man or woman, you can hike your way around the World Biosphere Reserve that is the Samaria Gorge.
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Gouves is actually 2 places for the price of 1. Built into the side of Mount Ederi is the old village of Pano Gouves, with its whitewashed houses and churches. Then, at the bottom of the hill, there’s the seaside town of Kato Gouves, where you’ll find the bars, restaurants and hotels. It’s all just 25 minutes from Crete’s capital Heraklion, and 15 minutes from the island’s biggest resort, Hersonissos.
The tranquil village of Gournes is a relative newcomer on Crete’s northern coast – though its unhurried, laid-back vibe leads you to believe it’s been around much longer. Quaint guesthouses and apartments dot the rugged landscape around a charming waterfront village that’s fronted by a secluded stretch of sandy beach. And the better-known tourist spots of Gouves and Kokkini are within walking distance.
It’s no surprise that the feather in Amoudara’s cap is its beach – the name means ‘big sand’ in Greek. The biscuit-coloured grains roll out along the coast for half-a-dozen kilometres, peppered with sunloungers, beach bars and watersports centres.
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