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Crete: Heraklion & Knossos

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Days 3-4
Next stop: Crete: Matala & Phaistos Previous stop: Athens Return to full itinerary »

Start your trip to Crete in the east, which includes the capital as well as the archaeological sites of Knossos and Gournia. There are plenty of natural wonders among the man-made ones here. The palm-fringed beaches are gorgeous, but there are also inland plains and highlands dotted with villages where the way of life seems to have remained untouched for centuries. Rent a car to explore it all.
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  • Archaeology
  • Natural Beauty


  • In Heraklion, visit the Archaeological Museum, which houses many of the treasures discovered by the excavations at the Palace of Knossos and other great Minoan monuments.
  • The Palace at Knossos is one of the world's greatest archaeological sites, and the vast ruins convey the nobility that informed ancient Minoan culture. Highlights include the grand staircase, workshops, and queen's megaron (apartment).
  • Stay at a luxury hotel along the Elounda peninsula, which boasts crystal clear water, or snorkel at Obus to see the remains of a sunken ancient city.

Side Trips

  • Archane, 5 mi/8 km south of Knossos, is a beautifully restored, picture-perfect village.
  • Take a boat trip to Spinalonga, a fortified islet off Elounda that was once a leper colony.

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