Heraklion An Introduction Heraklion, the capital of Nomos (prefecture) Heraklion is the heartbeat of Crete. With a population of 250,000 and a popular stop off place for visitors to the island, the city is a vibrant, bustling and busy place with a thriving economy. Go there and immerse yourself in the culture and every day life of the Cretans – modern and ancient sit side by side, fancy restaurants share the streets with simple ouzerias and tavernas and despite the often frenetic pace, you can always find a quiet spot to sit and relax. Heraklion is believed to have been settled since the Neolithic age. The Venetian walls surround the old city and facing the harbour are the ancient vaults and Venetian fortress. The heart of the city has a multitude of shops, café’s, bars, restaurants and tavernas. You can shop till you drop, or just drop yourself into a comfortable chair, order a cooling drink, and watch the world go by!
How to get into Heraklion By Taxi: A taxi will cost around 5 Euros. Ask the driver to drop you off by the roundabout at the bottom of 25th August Street (see X on the map).
On foot: The walk into town from the ship will take about 20 minutes. When you leave the port, you should turn right and walk along the main road. After about 250 metres, you will come to the first roundabout (which has a fountain in the middle). Keep going straight and you will pass the Venetian arsenals on your left – large elongated, vaulted chambers which were used for the construction and repair of ships of the Venetian fleet. A little bit further along you will come to the small marina, complete with brightly painted fishing boats and large private yachts, which also is home to the Venetian fortress (Koules). Keep going until you reach the second roundabout (distinguishable by the dolphin statue in middle of it). The road which branches to the left at this roundabout is 25th August Street, a wide pedestrianised street which takes you to the heart of Heraklion.
Food & Drink Peninda Peninda - 50/50 (1)
This new addition to the Market Street has been an instant success. This attractive taverna is a great place to sit down and relax from the typical Market madness. Here you’ll find great, true Greek food sometimes with a Mediterranean twist. Fresh and seasonal produce are being used in what could be called honest home cooking. A spacious outdoor (but covered and shaded) terrace right on the Market street is the place to tickle your taste buds.
This small but beautiful taverna is located in the famous Market street of Heraklion. This is the place to taste typical ‘mezedes’ (the Greek equivalent to the Spanish ‘Tapas’). Here you’ll feel truly in Greece as both traditional and modern Greek music are being played. Sample some of the great Greek and Cretan food on offer and enjoy a very drinkable quality wine from the villages. And as they have kept the prices low, you will have plenty left to buy one or two souvenirs from the Market.
Located in the heart of the city of Heraklion, 'Loukoulos' is considered one of the best in town! Balancing smoothly between the formal style of its classic building and the warm decoration, the restaurant has a unique atmosphere triggering all your senses. The new menu offers a variety of plates, from the traditional Greek cuisine to Italian and French flavours. Try the freshest meat and fish all prepared on the grill and in the wood oven! The staff is always ready to help to match your favourite tastes with the best matching wine from a variety of exceptional wines.
To take in the highlights of Heraklion, with plenty of pit stops for refreshments or a lovely lunch, use the map overleaf. Stroll up 25th August Street and admire the beautiful neo-classical buildings which now house banks, travel agencies and shops. About half way up, on your left hand side, is the church of St Titos (Agios Titos) (17) which is set in a lovely square and provides opportunities for a relaxing drink or spot of lunch. Continuing up the 25th August, also on the left hand side, is the Venetian Loggia or Town Hall (noblemen’s club) (18). One of the most elegant buildings in Heraklion, it was constructed in 1626 by Morisini, the same man who built the Lions Fountain and it was used by the Venetians as a meeting place for the nobles and rulers. Opposite the Loggia (on your right hand side
and easily missable) is a small side street which leads to the Theotokopoulos park – surrounded almost on all sides by cafes. This is a lovely place to sit, relax and experience the great café culture Heraklion has to offer. Staying on the 25th August St however, and just a few steps further you’ll reach Liontaria Square (Lions Square) (19), which is recognisable by its famous Morosini Fountain. It was built in order to provide the inhabitants of Heraklion with water, to the tune of 1000 barrels per day. The water came from Archanes, a village outside Heraklion, on the slopes of Mount Juktas, 15 km away via an overland aqueduct. Recently the Venetian underground ducts which supplied the fountain with water have been exposed to give people crossing the square a glimpse of this ingenious water system.
From here, you have a few options: Turning right at the fountain will take you into Handakos, a lovely pedestrianised street full of boutique shops and cafes and bars, which leads down to the seafront. Turning left, up a narrow side street is Dedalou - a pedestrian shopping street, where you can bag a Cretan souvenir or treat yourself in one of the many clothes and shoe shops. Or continue straight and you will reach the main street called Dikeossinis and Kalokerinou, which is also good for shopping and even has some stores which you’ll recognise - Marks & Spencer, Body Shop and Zara. From Kalokerinou, you can easily reach the local market on 1866 Street - where stalls selling fruits, vegetables, herbs, T-shirts, nuts, honey and shoes spill over onto this narrow street.
Eating out is a national pastime in Greece and Crete is no exception. Cretans will spend hours enjoying a meal out, often late into the evening. It’s a very social affair with friends and family often invited along.
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As you are here, it would be a shame to miss out on one of the many great bars and restaurants, whether it is to refresh over a cold beer or one of the excellent local wines, make a coffee stop and enjoy a typical cold coffee (fredo cappuccino) or recharge over a relaxing lunch – you will be spoiled for choice! And in order to make your life a little easier, here are some of the best places to visit (and we know this from the locals!)
Nestling in a quiet corner overlooking the beautiful Agios Titos church lies the popular bar restaurant Pagopoieion (once an ice factory) - a fusion of Mediterranean flavours, high quality local and seasonal produce and great service makes this a popular spot for both visitors and locals alike. Enjoy a cooling drink under the shade of the trees or treat your taste buds with some of the best and most innovative food in town. Or simply enjoy a great espresso or cappuccino – the care with which these are made is probably unrivalled in Heraklion.
Central Park (6)
Located right on Theotokopoulos park, this very popular all day cafe restaurant is the ideal spot for a relaxing lunch on the spacious and comfortable terrace. For a light snack, tuck into their finger licking fingerfood or perhaps the signature chicken club sandwich will hit the spot. Or pick from a selection of fresh salads and classic Greek meat plates, here you will be spoiled for choice. And as you finish off with an impeccable espresso or cappuccino (hot or cold) you’ll feel fully recharged to enjoy all Heraklion still has to offer. Treat yourself and don’t miss this hotspot in Central Heraklion!
For the best fish and seafood restaurant look no further than the 7Thalasses (7Seas). The menu is a work of art with mouth-watering dishes made with the finest local fish and top quality ingredients. Choose your very own catch of the day which will be grilled to your liking or try one of the inspired dishes, like Mussels cooked in fresh tomatoes and flamed with ouzo! A great selection of wines complete the scene for what will be a meal to remember. And to make your life easy a complimentary taxi to and from 7Seas is provided (fare of up to €10 return will be deducted from your bill).
Conveniently located about half way up on the 25th August Street, here you can stop for a sandwich with a difference – rolled up with fresh and interesting and tasty fillings. Take a break over one of the best coffees in town or try one of their freshly cooked pasta dishes. Now with a small terrace right on 25th August Street, sit back and watch Heraklion city life pass by.
Corner Bar (9)
You can’t miss it! As you walk towards Lions Square and just before the Morisni Fountain, you’ll find this attractive cafe ‘eat’aliano. Sit back, relax and soak up the hustle and bustle of Heraklion, whilst enjoying a lovely ‘fredo’ cappuccino or one of their other signature cold coffees. Or tuck in to one of their fresh pasta dishes together with a lovely salad. Friendly staff are waiting to serve you with a smile.
Special Offer -50% on all wines
Kounies 4Seasons is a true gem on the seafront road. The name ‘Kounies’ (which translated means ‘swings’) takes its name from the unique way in which the meat used to be cooked-swinging over hot charcoal and making the meat even more tender. 4Seasons is the recent addition to the name and it reflects the quality and seasonal produce used in their cooking. Whilst the swings are no longer there, the meat is certainly no less tasty and tender. Delicious chicken fillets (some say the best in Heraklion!), succulent pork chops and homemade omelettes are some of the great dishes on offer, not to mention lovely Greek and seasonal salads and a wide range of appetizers. Located opposite the Historical museum, this is a great restaurant taverna with great service and good honest cooking.
Dish Bar (11)
Tucked away beside Aghios Titos, is the lovely, quaint bar restaurant, the Dish Bar. Choose to sit in a quiet spot outside on the terrace or in the courtyard, and enjoy some great food. Prosciutto with Rocquefort served with seasonal fruits or the veal carpaccio with Parmesan cheese to start with and then choose from fresh fish (red mullet fillets with a semolina crust and rosemary), meats (veal fillet cuts in a Vinsanto desert wine sauce) or exciting pasta dishes. And don’t miss the Dish Cheesecake - simply delicious.
Café Plus (13)
Located just off the 25th August St on the corner of Theotokopoulos park, Cafe Plus is a friendly cafe and espresso bar and a great place to sit and watch the world go by. Chill out with a frappe or freddo (iced coffee), or choose from the great selection of beers, wine and cocktails. Service with a smile where life is plus!
Take 5 (14)
One of the longest established bars in Heraklion and a favourite with locals, Take 5, has recently been refurbished but still retains the renowned friendly, stylish but relaxed atmosphere. Take a break, take a drink or take some home-cooked food - simply take 5, one of the best in town.
Gelato ice creams (15)
Ice cream as it should be! And this is simply the best option for a cooling ice cream. Choose from flavours such as Caramel Praline, Summer fruits, Hazelnut nocchia or the classic Straciatella and many many more, the ice cream tastes as good as it looks. Located just after Lion’s Square, you can’t miss it on your right handside as you make your way towards the Market Street.
Mare, with a view of the endless blue of the Cretan sea creates a perfect setting at any time of the day. Here you can choose from an extensive menu from interesting Mediterranean dishes to typical Cretan delights. Or simply sip away on a cooling drink. Lose yourself in the magnificent view – this is the place to relax!
Sunglasses Xidakis (12)
The Greeks go crazy for their sunglasses and Ksidakis has an amazing range of sunglasses to suit all tastes and budgets. From Tom Ford and Chanel to Calvin Klein and Rayban, you are sure to find your perfect glasses here. Protect your eyes and look great – whatever you chose, we arranged for a special discount of an incredible 20%.
7Seas – taxi offer*
Only 3 minutes by taxi and it is FREE! Return taxi trip paid to/from Heraklion Port terminal or Koules roundabout (bottom of 25th August Street) to/from 7Seas restaurant. Total taxi fare up to a value of €10.00 paid, with a minimum spend of €25,00 per person (excl. drinks) in 7Seas. Taxi fare value will be deducted from the bill. Minimum number of people per offer and per taxi is 2. Offer is valid from 1 May till 31 October 2010.
To claim your discounts, please present your cruise card!
layout & printing by typokreta 4 / 2010
Located on Handakos Street, this small & friendly bar is a lovely place to try one of 100 beers (served with tasty fingerfood) or order a tea with a difference – tea served as tea should be served with a great selection of biscuits (tuck in as many as you want as they are free). If you like chocolate, then choose from wide selection of hot chocolates or even indulge yourself with a chocolate fondue.
Find your bearings
Published on Apr 7, 2010