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What To Visit Close To Heraklion With A Hire Car

Posted by yannis_s, 04 June 2009 · 2,828 views

Crete is an island of amazing diversity and exquisite natural beauty; Eastern Crete is famous for its unique setting and long history. Setting Heraklion as a starting point of our trip we will be driving towards popular and important destinations the Eastern part of the island, where there is an abundance of towns, villages, historical sites, places of ecological interest and pretty much everything you might think of.

Knossos – Arhanes

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One of the most famous places of archaeological interest lies almost 5km away from Heraklion: Knossos, the largest and most famous Minoan Palace in Crete, center of the Minoan Civilization, built in 1900 BC, is an absolute must see. The Palace was brought to light by Arthur Evans who reconstructed parts of it, offering us an insight to its original layout.
Ten kilometers south from Knossos is the famous village of Arhanes, an awarded traditional village that preserves its originality and style; take some time to enjoy a leisurely stroll in the narrow streets and admire the beautifully restored traditional houses.

Gortys - Phaistos

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Gortys, lying almost 45 minutes away from Heraklion, is a much known site in Crete, due to its historical value and past. The once upon a time Roman capital of Crete features a large archaeological site, where the oldest legal code in Europe was discovered several decades ago. The plane tree that dominates the site offered its shadow to Zeus and Europe, who coupled and gave birth to Minos, Sarpedon and Radamanthys, the three important kings of Crete. Gortys also features an old Episcopal Church, St Titus.
In close proximity to Gortys, almost 10km away, stands the imposing Palace of Phaistos, the second most important and known palace of the Minoan Era. This is the place where the famous disk of Phaistos featuring Linear A was found.


After spending some time at the site of Phaistos, you are most likely to be craving for a refreshing swim. Matala Beach is very close by; Matala is a long and beautiful sandy beach with caves, where hippies used to live during the 60s, celebrating freedom and diversity.

Anogia – Zoniana

If you are interested in visiting some of the most traditional villages in Crete, you should definitely head towards Anogia, a village whose residents are known for their pride and boldness, as well as their characteristic Cretan outfits; they are dressed in black.
The drive towards Anogia will take you through scenic yet wild scenery, as you will be passing by smaller settlements untouched by tourism. Shops and houses of Anogia will give you an insight on the traditional way of living that was practiced once upon the time on the island of Crete. Woven fabrics and tavernas catering traditional flavors and dishes of Anogia are among the major attractions here.
If you take the road up the mountain you will reach the village of Zoniana and one of the most known caves in the area: the Sfentoni Cave, featuring stalagmites and stalactites.


Setting off from Heraklion and driving for almost 30 kilometers, you will find the village of Koutouloufari, a traditional hillside village offering magnificent views to the coast and country side. Koutouloufari is known for its traditional architecture, featuring houses with arches, as well as the beaches of Hersonissos that lie down the hill.

Driving the Cretan countryside is an amazing experience you cannot afford to miss; make sure that you have a reliable car that can take you to the remote villages and places of Eastern Crete. Find companies offering car rental in Crete and book a car that will make your transportation easy and comfortable.

June 2020

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