Christmas Market in Heraklion

Christmas Market, a Must-See Attraction of December in Heraklion

 Like magic, the winter holiday spirit invaded the city of Heraklion, the regional capital of Crete. Even though the snow is missing from the background, the city and its inhabitants follow the local customs and traditions, getting ready for the Christmas feast.

 Full of energy, we went out to explore the city life and plunge into its multi-sensory spectacle: the brightness of the commercial arteries, the festive street lights and the decorated Christmas trees from shop windows, squares, and parks, the shopping fever in the city center, the cheerfulness of parties, the taverns and bars full of happy people, the cultural events everywhere, and, by contrast, as a discreet escape to the unseen world, the vibrating liturgical chants in the beautiful Orthodox churches.


  In the evening, the Christmas Market from Plateia Eleftheria spreads a festive atmosphere throughout the city, attracting visitors like a magnet. Families with children, couples of all ages, groups of happy teenagers, and tourists enter the realm of Santa Claus through the huge illuminated archway.


Handcrafts, Age-Old Traditions, Live Music, and Story Time

 The star of the venue - a glorious decorated Christmas tree, makes the kids avid to meet the generous Santa for claiming their gift, while the adults stay around with the phone cameras open, on the hunt for the best moment for the picture. Next to it, in a tent, the allegorical scene of Jesus' birth almost goes unnoticed, as the children rush into the wooden sleigh adorned with garlands and drawn by reindeer, ready to begin the imaginary journey around the world.


 On the central stage, concerts and recitals of some local artists, dance groups, choirs, and even the city's band are scheduled, announcing a Christmas time of fun and good cheer. We are pleasantly surprised by an excellent winter jazz recital, seasoned with old Greek party music, which interrupts the bustle of the place and reaches our souls. Between the artistic moments on the stage, we admire a show of lights and lasers projected on the facade of the City Hall, accompanied by international pop music.


  We visit all the kiosks one by one, admiring their shelves full of beautiful handmade things, waiting for their customers. Craftsmen magicians have played ingeniously, transforming metal, stones, glass, wood, and textiles into festive ornaments for home and Christmas trees, themed gifts, talismans, jewelry, icons, toys, desk accessories, and traditional gifts of all kinds. A complete tour takes about two hours, leaving visitors barely able to resist the temptation to shop.




 Children have a wide range of recreational activities - from the playgrounds with old fashion installations, sports games, hands-on workshops, and cartoon watching in Santa’s house, to skating on an artificial ice rink, bungee-jumping, or even the modern video games and 3D journeys with VR glasses.


  Even though we may not be hungry, we are often drawn to colorful piles of sweets, such as candies, jellies, lollipops, pies, cakes, and other homemade treats. We were faced with the tough decision of choosing between the tempting popcorn, boiled corn on the cob, or ripe/fried chestnuts. Eventually, we decided to sit down at a small snack bar where we ordered the mouth-watering "loukoumades" - juicy donuts rolled in honey and sesame. To complement these delicious treats, we also ordered hot chocolate and mulled wine. Yummy!


 Near the exit, a cottage with walls full of hundreds of written messages - a post office - arouses the enthusiasm of the children and the inspiration of the adults. Here, a cheerful elf helps everyone to write their letter with wishes and then leave it for Santa Claus, clung to the wall with push pins.  We do not miss the chance to become children again! An infinite joy fills our hearts as we put on paper our hopes and desires for ourselves, our loved ones, and people around the world.


Heraklion - the Vibrant City of Winter Nights

  After touring the Christmas Market, we were thinking about what else we could do. A light snack or a hearty dinner would be the perfect way to end your day in the center of Heraklion. The narrow streets are lined with taverns, bars, and coffee shops that have heated terraces, ambient music, romantic candles on tables, light bulb garlands wrapped around trees and pillars, and Christmas decorations everywhere, creating a fairy tale atmosphere. While the steam of teas and coffees mixes with the aromas of fresh barbecue and baked dishes, people sitting shoulder to shoulder enjoy a state of relaxation and good cheer...

   What a wonderful time of the year!


  Many tourists opt to visit Crete during the winter holidays every year. If you happen to be in Heraklion, be sure not to miss the Christmas Market! This event creates a festive atmosphere in the heart of the city and gives visitors a glimpse of Cretan art and crafts, seasonal delicacies, and the local way of life.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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