Heraklion is the capital of Crete, and therefore home to the majority of its trade and commerce. But, it's also home to fabulous beaches, archaeological sites, museums and is rich in Cretan culture.
Why hire a car at Heraklion Airport?
There is simply too much to see, do, and explore in this fascinating country to be dependent on public transport. Do as the Cretans do, be independent and set out on your own journey.
That all important first mile - driving out of Heraklion Airport:
Cretans drive on the right. If being on the other side of the road, or the other side of the car, is something new to you, take your time and drive your hire car around the airport car park for a few laps before joining the motorway.
"Heraklion is the capital, the most important city in Crete"
The Cretans are a proud bunch and the rivalry between neighbouring towns is passionate. To make friends quickly, tell the locals in Heraklion that it's your favourite place on the island. When in Chania, do the same. You get the idea.
If it's possible, the vibe in Crete is one which demands your absolute respect while insisting that you be utterly laid back and relaxed while you give it.
Hospitality is valued in Cretan culture. If you're staying in a place where the locals can knock on your front door, don't be surprised to see them there with a welcome basket of oranges.
It's either warm, or hot. In the summer the temperature hovers in the late 20s to early 30s and in winter it rarely drops into the teens.
Being a coastal town, you'd expect seafood to be the dish of the day in the local restaurants, but the speciality is in fact snails. Try them, coated in salt and fried in butter or slow cooked in a thick barley broth.
Poet and Nobel Prize winner Odysseas Elytis was born in here.
There are more than 3000 caves in Crete, but we recommend a hotel or villa.
"The city's chic native population lives a fast-paced life, and the urbanite brusqueness will make you appreciate the hospitality that comes so naturally in Heraklion's surrounding mountain villages"
Once you've collected your luggage, head for the airport's arrivals hall, where you'll find plenty of car hire desks.
The ladies of Crete produce some of the finest needlework in the world. Take home a pillow case, tablecloth or scarf and give a piece of handmade art to a loved one as a gift, or do the right thing and keep it for yourself as a souvenir of your trip.
There are a number of cash machines located around the building, as well as a bureau de change.
If you're feeling peckish before your flight, there are several snack bars in the terminal building.
Be patient. Like all good holiday destinations, Crete has a relaxed pace and the locals have a laid back attitude to time. This is not the place for rigid itineraries and deadlines.
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Just a short drive from the airport, Heraklion, capital of Crete is a bustling town filled with shops, markets and surrounded by beaches along its northern shore. There is plenty here to entertain any and all travellers.
Knossos was the first palace of Crete, and if you enjoy myths and legends then this is an absolute must-see. Hire a guide when you get there to get the most out of it and take plenty of water. You will feel like you've stepped, not out of a rental car, but out of a time machine and straight into a very hot, very ancient Crete.
Over the centuries these caves, carved into the rock face above the beach, have been used as places of worship, residences, tombs, and inspirational hideaways for hippies like Joni Mitchell and Cat Stevens. They're groovy.