Top hotels in Crete
Located in Heraklion's elegant district, the 5-star Galaxy Hotel Iraklio offers 2 gourmet restaurants, a free wellness centre and a large freshwater pool. Luxurious rooms feature balconies with pool and city views. All accommodation in Galaxy Iraklio offers work desks, satellite LCD TV and free Wi-Fi access. Air-conditioned rooms are equipped with pure Egyptian cotton linen and hypoallergenic rooms are available. Some units feature whirlpools. Vetri Restaurant serves an American buffet breakfast prepared with fresh, local ingredients and Cretan cuisine. Per Se Lounge offers casual meals, wines and cocktails. The Pool Deck serves light meals and drinks. 24-hour room service is available with additional in-room dishes. The hotel’s Wellness Club is open 24 hours a day and its use is free to all guests. It includes a state-of-the-art gym and an all-marble steam room. Guests are within a 10-minute walk from the city centre and shopping and historic attractions. Knossos archaeological site is a 10-minute drive. Heraklion International Airport is at 5 km.
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Hotels in Crete
Heraklion, Crete's largest city, has survived Arabic, Venetian and Ottoman rule and its history can be traced back over many centuries. Book a Heraklion hotel with us and discover one of Greece's most important urban centres and one that is rich with antiquity.
The beaches of Ammoudara and Karteros flank Heraklion and provide wide, sandy stretches that are perfect for sunbathing and swimming. And if you fancy the opportunity to glide serenely on the Mediterranean Sea, Ammoudara has a windsurfing school.
Knossos was the capital of Minoan Crete, and the magnificent Palace of Knossos is a reminder of that once great civilisation. Excavated in 1978, the palace originally consisted of 22,000m2 and you'll see four wings arranged around a central courtyard. The buildings are elaborately constructed and, once seen, it's easy to imagine the tale of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth being more than just a myth. There are also several buildings considered to be part of the complex that sit apart from it, such as the Royal Villa and the Little Palace.
You'll find two aquariums that house examples of the Mediterranean's fabulous sea life. Cretaquarium Thalassocosmos has thousands of living organisms including turtles, starfish, sharks, manta rays and octopi. And at Aquaworld Aquarium you're positively encouraged to enjoy a hands-on experience with its weird and wonderful inhabitants that include reptiles as well as sea creatures.
To add to the aqua-based fun provided by Crete's coastline, there are three nearby water parks. You'll find a wealth of pools of different sizes, water slides and the like at Star Beach. Aqua Plus has pools too and concentrates more on games and rides, while Watercity gives the format a twist and is more akin to an amusement park – but with lots of water!
Eating and drinking in Heraklion
It would be remiss to visit Crete and not try some local cuisine. Kastella, right on the seafront by the Venetian harbour, is a very popular Cretan restaurant. Here you might try roasted swordfish or perhaps some calamari. Authentic Greek food is served at Hovoli where you could sample an open souvlaki-pita or a feta cheese salad. And Paralia has a seasonal menu which includes fried zucchini and grilled fish platter, with a desert crepes and a choice of different toppings.
Heraklion has many taverns in which you can enjoy live traditional Greek music. And if your tastes veer more towards, say, house and electronic dance music, then there are several clubs and bars that will cater for you, many of which feature visiting DJs.
Shopping in and around Heraklion
Odos 1866 is a street that holds an open-air market from Monday to Saturday, where you can buy fruit and vegeSEOSITE_LEVEL_DESCRIPTIONs, herbs and teas, olive oils and Cretan souvenirs. A side street off Odos 1866 contains a fish market, as well as a shop selling Cretan music. And Daidalou is the place to go for boutiques and fashion.
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