Located 24 km east of the International Airport Nikos Kazantzakis of Heraklion, the Municipality of Hersonissos extends from the north coastline of central Crete to the imposing mountain chains of Lassithi. Within its borders there are traditional villages with unique characteristics and colors.
The city of Hersonissos is known as the most organized tourist destination in Crete, as tourism is well developed here already since the 80s. It is also known for its high quality hotels, conference infrastructures and the natural beauty of its coasts. It has become a destination for mass tourism and intense nightlife.
But once you get out of the town’s borders, you will find yourself in a rural environment, where many historical monuments and landscapes of exceptional beauty await to be discovered and traditional villages offer a genuine Cretan experience
Hersonissos has developed due to tourism and, in just a few decades, has grown into the largest tourist resort in Crete. Though it has only 3,000 permanent inhabitants, this number increases exponentially each summer, with the thousands of seasonal workers in tourism.
Hersonissos means fun, lovely beaches, a modern town with dozens of shops selling tourist goods, clothes and jewelry, restaurants offering all kinds of food, cafeterias, bars and nightclubs to suit every taste.
The alternative Hersonissos
At the same time it also offers alternative choices for the lovers of nature, culture and history. Visitors can discover another side of Hersonissos through alternative routes that will introduce them to the local history, culture, mythology, and the beautiful natural environment of the region.
The region is characterized by a rich natural environment and unique biotopes. A large part of the municipality’s mountainous area, bordering with the plateau of Lassithi, is integrated in the ecological European network NATURA 2000. There are two large caves in the region (e.g. the stalactite cave Diktaion Andron, birth place of Zeus), as well as many smaller ones, and at least three gorges worth visiting.
- The town is ideally located for easy travel across the whole island by car. There are also good bus connections to Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos.
Archaeological Monuments and Temples of the port of Hersonissos
Visitors who are intrigued by archaeological monuments and sites of cultural heritage are invited to take a tour inside the city of the port of Hersonissos and discover the remains of ancient civilizations that flourished in the region in different time periods.
Start your route from the eastern part of the city and visit the Basilica A (also known as the Basilica of Aghios Nikolaos) which is located by the sea, north from the hotel “ERI BEACH”.
Continue walking on the promenade by the sea with direction to the west and you will encounter the Saracen fountain, which has a marvelous mosaic decoration. From this point, if you look towards the beach, try to distinguish the remains of the Roman port that are still preserved in the sea.
A bit further to the west, over the hill of “Kefala” and the church of Aghia Paraskevi, you can visit the Basilica B that still preserves its mosaic floors from the Paleo-Christian period.
Beaches in Hersonissos
Hersonissos offers a great choice of beaches to its visitors, some of them also rewarded with the “Blue Flag”. Numerous smaller and larger bays stretch along the coast, all offering fine sand and shallow waters. Wether you take your swim at one of the “Limanakia” beaches, at “New York’s”, at the large “Creta Maris” beach with its water sports clubs or at the nudist beach, you will enjoy the perfect combination of relaxing sea holidays with the numerous activities Hersonissos offers.
(Text source: municipality of Hersonissos)
What to do in and around Hersonissos
- Visit the large Waterpark in a distance of 5km
- Discover the nearby traditional villages of Koutouloufari, Piskopiano and Old Hersonissos
- Visit the open air museum Lychnostatis
- Go by boat from the harbor Hersonissos to Sissi or Milatos
- Discover the nearby Lassithi plateau and the birth place of Zeus, the stalactite cave Diktaion Andron
- Discover Agios Nikolaos and the islet of Spinalonga
- Walk on ancient paths in the Minoan Palace of Knossos