Crete, home of mythical Zeus and the Minoans, gave birth to the first civilization of Europe. Crete is the biggest island of Greece lying right in the middle of the Mediterranean, sea in reach history and glory.
Highlights of Best of Heraklion & Thrilling Knossos 4-h shore excursion
- +/- 4 hours private shore excursion of Heraklion
- Visit Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Knossos palace
- Combines Crete’ modern and historical sites
- Professional English-speaking tour driver
- Pickup / drop off at the Venetian lion-guarder port of Heraklion
Description of the cruise shore excursion in Heraklion and Knossos
Visit Knossos, the capital of King Minos and the center of the magnificent Minoan civilization is located only a few kilometers south of Heraklion. Searching the keys to the past will travel back in time some 4500 years BC. Knossos Palace is famous around the world for its myths of Europa, the Minotaur, the Labyrinth and Theseus, Daedalus, and Ikarus. In order to understand the future Knossos will open us a window to the most ancient civilization of Europe. Knossos’ architectural feats include several store buildings (first in the world) with light wells and bathrooms, impressive pillars and an ingenious drainage system, aqueducts, irrigation systems, paved roads, and magnificent frescoes. This will impress you and show you advanced beautiful jewelry and a way of life you never thought possible in the dawn of history.
Heraklion, the capital of Crete
Heraklion, the capital of Crete and the biggest island in Greece. Back in 1204 AD, the city of Heraklion was bought by the Republic of Venice. Then the Venetians improved on the ditch of the city by building enormous fortifications most of which are still in place including a giant wall, in places up to 40 m thick, with 7 bastions, and a fortress in the harbor. Time at leisure in Heraklion to explore the city and to see the impressive Venetian buildings and castle, the Cathedral, the fountains, the open street market or if you wish just taste the Cretan cuisine for lunch.
The Archaeological Museum of Herakleion
The Archaeological Museum of Herakleion city is one of the largest and most important museums in Greece and among one of the most important museums in Europe. The museum houses representative artifacts from all the periods of Cretan prehistory and history, covering a chronological span of over 5.500 years from the Neolithic period to Roman times. The singularly important Minoan collection contains unique examples of Minoan art, many of them true masterpieces. It is rightly considered as the museum of Minoan culture par excellence worldwide. The museum, located in the town center, was built between 1937 and 1940 by architect Patroklos Karantinos on a site previously occupied by the Roman Catholic monastery of Saint Francis which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1856.
Note: Walking (approximately 2 miles) in the archaeological site of Knossos will be on uneven ground and gravel surfaces, and inclines and 25 to 35 steps. We recommend Comfortable shoes, a hat, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreens. Passengers may not be allowed to enter the site with big bags/rucksacks. Guests may be required to wait in long lines to enter the popular venues.
Return to your cruise ship pier for embarkation.
More Crete shore excursions here!
- Shore Excursion - Private tour
- Activity level: Moderate
Included in the tour
- Car and Driver
- A professional English-speaking driver or escort with good knowledge of the history and culture of Greece, to guide you till you enter archaeological sites and museums. Tour drivers are not licensed to companion you inside the archaeological sites and museums. If you'd like to have a licensed state tour guide to escort you inside the sites and museums, we can arrange it for you at an additional cost. Licensed by the state tour guides are freelance and it is subject to availability on bookings day!
- Transport by air-conditioned Mercedes-Benz vehicle or similar appropriate for the size of your group
- Accommodation is based according to availability (for multiple-day tours only)
- Pick-up from and return to your hotel
- Pick-up from the Port of Piraeus
- Private tour, Road tolls and local taxes
- Our terminal: Leof. Andrea Siggrou 37, 117 43 Athina, Greece.
Excluded from the tour
- Entrance fees to the archaeological sites and museum
- Wine tasting fee (wine tours)
- Olive oil tasting fee (olive oil tasting tours)
- Gratuities (optional)
- Food and beverage
- Your private chauffeur/guide will discuss a program best suited to your interest and mobile abilities. Option for a professional tour guide with a state license at an extra cost. Read more for the difference between a STATE LICENSED TOUR GUIDE and a TOUR DRIVER GUIDE in Greece!
- Dress: religious and marmoreal sites: shoulders and knee must be covered
- Terms & Conditions and Frequent Questions
- Confirmation will be received at the time of booking
- A voucher will be emailed to you with our contact numbers and all necessary information for your tour.
- This is your ticket and proof of purchase. On the day of the tour please present a paper voucher in order to redeem your tour/activity.
Persons with Disabilities
- Due to uneven surfaces, certain sites are not recommended for persons with walking disabilities or using a wheelchair. Such sites are the Acropolis, the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, Mycenae, Delphi and Meteora
- In all cases, we recommend comfortable flat-solid walking shoes, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
- Please note that on this tour, your tour driver is not licensed to accompany you on your climb. If you want this service you may book a licensed by-state tour guide for an extra cost.
- In case a group is followed by a licensed tour guide or an English speaking tour-escort the professional driver is not obliged to speak English!
Opening hours & Admission fees
- Opening Hours:Summer April 1st to October 31st from 08:00 AM to 07:30 PM
- Winter: November 1st to March 31st from 08:30 AM to 03:00 PM
- Free admission fees: Children under 18 & Students from E.U.
- Reduced admission fees: Citizens of the E.U. aged over 65 & Students from countries outside the E.U.
Free admission days
- March 6: In memory of deceased Minister of Tourism & visionary Melina Mercouri
- June 5: Environment international day
- April 18 : International monuments day
- May 18: International museums day
- September 27: International tourism day
- The last weekend of September annually (European Heritage Days)
- National Holidays
- Sundays in the period between 1 November and 31 March
- The first Sunday of every month, except for July, August, and September
- NOTE: If the first Sunday is a holiday then the second is the free admission day
Holidays in Greece
- January 1: closed
- January 6: 08:30 AM - 03:00 PM
- Shrove Monday: 08:30AM - 03:00 PM
- March 25: closed
- Good Friday: 12:00 PM - 03:00 PM
- Holy Saturday: 08:30 AM - 03:00 PM
- Easter Sunday: closed
- Easter Monday: 08:30 AM - 03:00 PM
- May 1: closed
- Holy Spirit Day: 08:30 AM - 03:00 PM
- 15 August 15: 08:30 AM - 03:00 PM
- October 28: 08:30 AM- 03:00 PM
- December 25 & 26: closed