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Explore Hersonissos in Crete and unravel the area’s secret gems

Explore Hersonissos in Crete and unravel the area’s secret gems

Destination Crete

Creta Maris Resort Destination Guide

Prepare for a memorable vacation in Hersonissos, Crete, a seaside port town just 25 kilometres away from Heraklion and known internationally among explorers, hikers, sports enthusiasts, tourists, and vacationers. Make the most of your holiday in Hersonissos surrounded by fascinating places to visit and learn all about Cretan history. Marvel at magnificent views over the horizon, enjoy the excellent climate, and stroll around to admire a wealth of unique, indescribable archaeological treasures. Find answers to your questions and discover a complete selection of the best attractions you can enjoy in this region.

What is Hersonissos in Crete like?

Start your journey in Crete from Hersonissos, an open, cosmopolitan area whose beauty lies in simplicity. The area boasts a very lively tourist resort perfect for both family and couple holidays. Escape from the hectic city life and book a holiday in Hersonissos to discover the vibrant town while soaking up the natural beauty comprised of pristine beaches and imposing mountains.

Combine mountains and coastline

Opt for an alternative vacation and immerse yourself in nature. Located in the northwest of the island at about 1760 metres, Hersonissos is easily accessible, combining mountainous landscapes with crystal-clear virgin coastlines. With characteristic turquoise water and verdant vegetation, the area has been a paradise for travellers for centuries, and nowadays it is still visited for its cultural sites and natural treasures.

Discover the vibrant town

Find a variety of attractions to see and discover Crete’s top landmarks in close proximity. The seaside town of the port of Hersonissos is a beehive of activity all year around. Enjoy the area in its full swing and stroll along its beautiful fishing villages, promenades, restaurants, shops, and bars. Choose amongst an infinite number of places to swim, all of them lapped by warm, crystal clear waters, stretch out, relax and take in the Cretan ambience.

Soak up the authentic Cretan hospitality

Indulge in the local cuisine and pamper yourself with delicacies or locally produced alcoholic beverages, such as rakia. Immerse yourself into the renowned Cretan hospitality, let your mind wander, and spend some quality time with your family, friends, or other half. Socialise with the friendliest folks in Greece, join cultural activities ideal for everyone, find out about the island’s traditions and let Crete cater to each of your needs.

How to get to Hersonissos, Crete?

The town of Hersonissos, Crete, is one of Greece’s most accessible and friendly locations and can be reached by plane, ferry or car. Conveniently situated close to Heraklion, the island’s capital, Hersonissos is a perfect base to explore the city and visit the surrounding areas.

By plane

If travelling to Greece from abroad, value your comfort and opt for a flight to Athens. From there, take another flight to Heraklion, and you have almost reached your destination. The ride from the airport of Heraklion to Hersonissos takes about 45 minutes. Keep in mind that you can even book a direct charter flight from many European cities straight to Crete during the summer, so plan ahead, and you won’t be disappointed.

By ferry

Hop on a ferry to Crete from Brindisi, Ancona, Bari, or Venice in Italy. If you’re already in Greece and choose to travel by boat, ferries to Crete depart from Piraeus’s main harbour in Athens and from Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Kalamata, and Gythio. If you’re island hopping, you might be able to find ferries departing from the Cyclades islands.

*Please note that the ferry routes and schedules are subject to change from November to April, depending on the ferry companies and weather conditions.

By car or bus

Rent a car at the airport or at your hotel’s lobby and drive east along the coastal road to reach Hersonissos. The Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Creta Maris hotel’s representative, is, for example, ready to assist you and offer you the best car for your needs. The streets are well-signalled, and the trip doesn’t take longer than 25 minutes. If you opt for a bus ride, you’ll need approximately 45 minutes from the airport of Heraklion to Hersonissos, and the ticket costs 3 euros. From the port, walk for around 10 minutes to the Central Bus Station and hop on one of the frequently departing buses.

How can I plunge into the history of Hersonissos, Crete?

Explore some of the history of the scenic Cretan town of Hersonissos and find out about its evolution throughout the times. Built in the 16th century by members of the Venetian Republic as a place to vacation and entertain the upper class, the old town boasts a marvellous location overlooking sheer rock cliffs and offering panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. Finding its roots in the Minoan times, Hersonissos is an area of major historical significance, attracting locals and tourists from all over the globe alike.

Discover a place steeped in mythology

Marvel at mythological facts and legends surrounding the city. Hersonissos, Crete has been populated for over 2500 years, while the first evidence of human occupation comes from the Stone Age. Hersonissos is thought to have been founded around 400 BC and derives its name from Hercules, the Romanised form of Heracles, the Greek god who slew the Cretan Bull and was reputedly the founder of the games in nearby Heraklion. The area is said to have been a centre of the cult of the goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone and a major stop-over on the island’s east-west trade routes.

*Bonus tip: Make sure you pay a visit to the settlement of Knossos and the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion to find out more about the story of Knossos Palace in Minoan times.

Find out about Crete Hersonissos’ moments of glory and decay

Get lost in a glorious town and travel back in time when it was flourishing. The town saw moments of glory during the Roman and early Byzantine period when it had its magnificent marble fountains and sculptures. The city grew significantly and acquired its own theatre, aqueduct, and public baths. Remnants of this period can be seen today in the area of Kastri. Later on, the city became a ghost town for fear of pirate raids which forced the inhabitants to move far inland and establish a new city. For many centuries, Hersonissos fell into obscurity and remained abandoned.

Explore the modern fishing village

Be in awe of Hersonissos’ modern city. The port turned into a small fishing village in the late 1950s when people developed an ever-increasing interest in its tourist hosting capabilities. Nowadays, the city offers a myriad of sights, sounds, and tastes to explore – from the Venetian-style stone houses and tree-lined streets, to street performers and festivals perfect for those who love to revel in the outdoors. The town is home to many ancient ruins dating back to the times of the Minoans. What’s more, Hersonissos is dotted with churches, shops, restaurants, and plenty of excursions to do!

Which attractions should I visit in the city of Hersonissos, Crete?

There are many things to do and see while visiting Hersonissos. If you’re looking to explore, many historical places take your breath away. The city is not only famous for its natural setting and fantastic tourist facilities but also its many opportunities for sightseeing, entertainment, shopping, and even health care. Whether you are travelling with your family or friends, there is something in Hersonissos for everyone. Two exceptional museums you should definitely visit while vacationing in a Hersonissos Hotel are the Cretan Open-air Museum Lychnostatis and the renovated agricultural museum and gallery of Menelaos Palamas.

Stroll in the city port

Start off at the city port. Hersonissos port, or Limenas, is said to be one of the most popular resorts in Crete and is particularly famous for its nightlife, with a vibrant waterfront boasting a variety of bars/pubs, restaurants, and local taverns. Stroll around the main streets and gaze at the picturesque artisanal window shops. Find thoughtfully designed souvenirs, handmade jewellery, furs, or clothing and bring back home memories of a lifetime. Search for the remains of the ancient theatre, admire the mosaics, visit the paleo-Christian Basilicas, and kick back with local delicacies at the picturesque taverns. The city port is truly a sight to behold.

Pay a visit to the city museums

Find artwork and crafts promoting the understanding and awareness of the Cretan folk cultural heritage at Lychnostatis Museum. Learn how the natives made yarn and curried leather hundreds of years ago, and marvel at the museum’s premises including Cretan farmers’ houses, a distillery, a windmill, a church, wine, and olive presses. Admire the weaving workshops, a garden with medicinal plants, and a folk art gallery. Add the Rural Museum of Menelaos Parlamas to your itinerary, housed in the village’s old olive oil mill. Gain knowledge about the daily life and tasks of a Cretan farmer before the technological era.

Dive into history with daily excursions

Tour around Hersonissos to learn about the history, culture, and food of Crete. There are so many incredible things to do and see when visiting Hersonissos. Start the day at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, and then take a drive down south to Hersonissos. There you’ll find plenty of tourist attractions for all tastes. Start off at the Soumela Monastery, which dates back to the 13th century and has been continuously inhabited since before the 15th century. Visit the Knossos Palace, one of the largest constructions of the ancient world. Hop on a trip to the cinematographic island of Spinaloga, admire the preserved fragments of Venetian fortresses, and learn all about Cretan history.

What activities and experiences should I add to my itinerary?

Look for outdoor adventure and relaxation in Crete. Hersonissos is full of authentic culture, from the ancient ruins to the bustling market places and the laid-back tavernas. When in Hersonissos, Crete, there is plenty to do to keep you happy and satisfied. Indulge in various outdoor activities, experiment with local tastes, and savour foods you’ve never tried before. Take a boat tour of the coast or book a safari trip to explore the hidden gems further. Observe the sites and wildlife up close and personal as you take in the history of the area.

Immerse yourself in revitalising outdoor activities

Join and tailor to your liking a wide variety of enjoyable outdoor activities in Hersonissos, including hiking, cycling, fishing, long beach walks, and even dolphin watching. Explore the Aegean seabed and be mesmerised by its diverse beauty. If you prefer water sports, there are plenty of options for you. Boat rentals are abundant, with many boats available for couples, family getaways, or big groups. Explore nature further, and hike up the mountains to admire the panorama from the top of the acropolis. If you want to pump up your adrenaline even more rent a mountain bike and ride through challenging trails.

Taste the authentic Cretan cuisine

Experience the Cretan cuisine in one of the area’s authentic, vibrant restaurants and taverns. Crete’s rich cuisine offers a range of meat dishes such as pork, lamb, and chicken, as well as fish, seafood, and vegetarian dishes. Taste tender, fresh, and succulent seafood from the Aegean Sea like swordfish, squid, and many others. If you want to eat something more elaborate, you can have a live lobster freshly prepared and served with delicious homemade soup. The Cretan’s cuisine is a hidden treasure with an array of dishes that keep the most die-hard foodies satisfied.

Travel alternatively with day cruises & safari trips

Hop on a day cruise to Elounda, explore hidden islets and feel like royalty; imagine lying onboard, sipping a cool drink, and listening to the waves of the Mediterranean. Cruising is a fantastic and affordable luxury all-in-one experience to explore Crete further. It’s as if the whole world is transfixed on your every move, and it takes a lot of the pressure away. Besides the typical sun and sand, Hersonissos is also a fabulous place to go for a safari. Journey through the stunning gorges and visit traditional villages. Drive on traffic-free roads and kick back while enjoying the Cretan flora and fauna at its finest.

What are the best Hersonissos beaches?

Get away from big crowds and experience the best of Hersonissos, Crete while visiting the beaches. Sandy stretches of coastlines, crystal clear water, and natural landscapes, all comprised to offer a memorable beach experience of absolute comfort and relaxation. Combine that with the cool breeze of the Mediterranean, and you’re in the lap of luxury! Make sure you bring along sun protectors, as the temperatures in the area tend to get high, and you can get burned even while casually walking around the city.

Find out about the main Hersonissos beaches’ characteristics

Explore the southeast coast of Hersonissos, boasting a long, perfect stretch of beach, or the northern coastline, which is dotted with secluded little beaches and impressive picture-perfect coves. All beaches of the resort are public, so they can be enjoyed free of charge. Changes might apply if you’re planning on renting beach equipment such as loungers or umbrellas, which of course, come with an extra yet reasonable charge. Hersonissos beaches are filled with families with kids playing in the water and people sunbathing on the white sands. Waste no time and have a refreshment at a nice bar or nearby restaurant.

Swim in the nearby crystal clear beaches

Enjoy all-day lounging on beachside hammocks, swim in the clear waters, or play carefree with the kids. There are plenty of beaches worth visiting in and around Hersonissos. Have complete solitude and get away from big crowds by heading to Agios Stefanos Beach. If you’re looking for an active beach experience, try Blue Lagoon, which is perfect for divers. If you’re more of a beach bum and prefer a quiet setting, try Black Pearl Bay Beach, truly a hidden gem. Alternatively, head to Cape Sarandaris, one of Hersonissos’ nicest and most protected beaches, which also caters to those who love naturism. If you don’t mind driving, Stalida and Mallia beach should also be a must-see on your beach tour itinerary.

Unwind in the city beach or search for exclusivity

Admire the hilly and rocky landscape that curves around the city bay without having to drive far. Like the other beaches in town, this city beach has fine-grained sand and azure waters. Feel refreshed and revived from the sun and surf, and in need of a replenishing vacation while enjoying the Hersonissos port beach. If a city beach is not your cup of tea, book a hotel with access to an exclusive beach – such as Creta Maris Resort, one of the few location privileged Hersonnissos hotels with all amenities provided and direct access to the blue-flag awarded beachfront.

Explore Crete with a Hersonissos hotel holiday package

Pamper yourself with a fantastic value-for-money experience in Greece and take advantage of Hersonissos’ marvels while comfortably enjoying your vacation in Crete. Feel the heart of the cosmopolitan area beating, and immerse yourself in a superb variety of activities ideal for every taste. Soak up the Cretan sun and prepare for a summer full of memories.

Book a Hersonissos holiday package at Creta Maris Resort and marvel at its exclusive beachfront location with all the amenities. Get your accommodation, meals, drinks, and activities all sorted quickly and tailor the package to suit your liking. Use the hotel’s strategic location to travel around easily and consult the friendly staff to get personalised advice. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the all-inclusive adventure in Hersonissos, Crete’s most renowned tourist destination.

Get 10 + 1 Exclusive All-Inclusive Hersonissos Hotel Perks at Creta Maris

  1. Enjoy a breakfast room service (valid for direct bookings and specific room types)
  2. Find a wide selection of restaurants and snack points for lunch and dinner
  3. Indulge in beverages, alcoholic drinks, juices, and coffee at the hotel’s 9 bars
  4. Access 10 outdoor and 5 kids pools with sunbeds and umbrellas
  5. Unwind on a sandy, children-friendly beachfront with sunbeds and umbrellas
  6. Get two tickets per adult per stay for the Open-Air Cinema “Cine Creta Maris”
  7. Discover recreational activities – fitness centre, sports, mini soccer, mini-golf, tennis
  8. Entertain yourself with day lessons – yoga, pilates, aqua & step aerobic, cooking
  9. Dance the night away with mini-disco for kids, Dj, live music, karaoke and shows
  10. Gain a 15-minute extension for 45 min spa treatments, 15% discount on all services
  11. Secure a fully equipped late departure room and late check-out