Hersonissos - Top 15 Attractions and Things To Do

Holiday Experiences In and Around Hersonissos

Those of you who love exploration and adventure will find Hersonissos to be a versatile resort for all tastes. Its picturesque ambiance with friendly locals and numerous activities, makes it one of the top destinations in the Heraklion region. Whether you're looking for outdoor activities, cultural experiences, shopping, or nightlife, Hersonissos has something for everyone.

If you want to make the most of your holiday in Hersonissos, here are some recommendations you can consider:

1. Experience the charm of the ageless harbor: Revealing the historic importance of the port area through the centuries, three landmarks are of great interest: Agia Paraskevi Church, the Early Christian Basilica on the cliff Kastri, and Sarakino - the Roman pyramid-shaped fountain decorated with a mosaic dating from the 4th century. Nowadays, the harbor is the heart of the town's activity, with beach bars, cafes, traditional restaurants, and nightclubs, attracting tourists from all over the resort. As the sun sets, shows and parties invade the seafront, creating a joyful and electrifying atmosphere.

2. Enjoy a romantic sunset. At the very peak of the Cape Sarandaris, west of the port, you will discover the little old Church of St. George Sarandaris. Nearby there are traces of a stone quarry dating back to Minoan times, now partially covered by water. Several natural pools are formed in the volcanic rock a few steps beyond the church. But the highlight of this location is the breathtaking view of the sea, especially during sunset. As the sun sets below the horizon, the water is illuminated, creating a peaceful and enchanting atmosphere. This location is known to have the most romantic sunset in Hersonissos, so it's a must-see!

3. Stroll and shopping. If you are wondering where to do the best shopping in Hersonissos, then the central area is where you should go. The main thoroughfare of the town, lively and crowded in the evening, has a variety of shops, boutiques, and bazaars with a wide range of products, from traditional Cretan items to elegant and unique souvenirs. Shop windows and stands along the streets, even on the sidewalks, make the shopping experience even more enticing. Are you ready for a good few hours of shopping?

4. Visit Lychnostatis Open Air Museum, where you can Immerse yourself in the traditional life and popular culture of Crete! This open-air museum offers a captivating experience, allowing visitors to learn about the customs and features of the islanders. Explore exhibits such as the traditional Greek farm, weaving, pottery workshops, and a distillery. The museum provides a warm and hospitable atmosphere, and free guided tours in multiple languages to enhance the experience. You find here the official website of the museum. 

5. Explore the underwater world, a great experience of discovering the fascinating aquatic fauna, for both adults and children. Hersonissos is home to the Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Center, which showcases local marine life and reptiles from Crete and around the world, as well as many animals rescued in various ecological missions. Also, not far from Hersonissos, is the CRETAquarium - one of the largest aquariums in Europe - where you can admire a variety of more than 2,000 specimens such as sharks, jellyfish, crustaceans, shells, and multi-colored fish species, letting you be carried away in a fascinating underwater journey!

6. Venture out on a boat trip. The beautiful port of Hersonissos serves as a starting point for an exciting array of boat trips catering to different preferences and interests. You can choose from adrenaline and extreme tours, historical and heritage tours, pirate ship cruises, glass-bottom boat trips, or sunset party tours. If you want to explore the beauty of Crete's north coast, opt for sailing trips with the choice of half-day or full-day excursions featuring barbecues and drinks. You'll be in good hands on the boat trips, with a friendly and attentive crew ready to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

7. Join a Train Tour.  You can choose from two captivating tours, with the steward on board: a 2-hour village and city tour that combines the traditional settlement of Old Hersonissos, the cosmopolitan Port of Hersonissos, and the beautiful beaches of Anisaras and Analipsis, or a half day tour that allows you to admire the natural beauty of Crete. These tours provide a delightful way to explore the region, showcasing the traditional charm, picturesque narrow streets, and coastal allure of Hersonissos while offering a deeper exploration of the area's rich natural beauty and cultural heritage. 
Information about this service can be found at traintour.gr

8. Explore the beaches by bike. Venture on a scenic bike tour along the Gulf of Malia, from Cape Sarandaris to Cape Drapanos! Explore the quiet "Limanakia" beaches to the west of the port, take a coffee break on the cliff, and then continue your journey through the captivating coastal scenery to the eastern beaches and small sandy bays near the Stalida Resort. If you are fond of photography, this excursion of several kilometers, where you will collect beautiful impressions and memories for a lifetime, is perfect for you. 

9. Visit the traditional villages. Visit Ano Hersonissos, Piskopiano, and Koutouloufari, the traditional villages on the slopes of Mount Harakas above Hersonissos. These villages offer a unique insight into the richness and traditional charm of Crete, with picturesque streets and houses, the rural atmosphere, little tavernas with delicious food, and the beauty of the surrounding nature. Koutouloufari and Piskopiano are famous for their distinctive character, traditional art, and architecture, featuring many old houses that have been brought back to life, modernized and made available to tourists. Take the chance to experience the true essence of Crete! 

10. Explore the mountains. With the help of professional driver-guides, the safari tours provide a unique opportunity to explore the hidden treasures of the island and add a touch of fun to every moment. For nature enthusiasts, hiking through the Aposelemis Gorge, also known as the Vulture Gorge, is a rewarding experience that requires some effort. The hike starts at an altitude of 120 meters near the village of Xerokamares and ends on the coast, west of the village of Agrian. Recently, the Municipality of Hersonissos has developed a nice trail along the Aposelemis riverbed, making the hike more accessible and enjoyable.

11. Aquatic Adventures. Are you ready for an exciting day at the water parks in the area? Water City, Aqua Plus, and StarBeach offer a wide range of water slides, pools, lazy rivers, and thrilling activities that guarantee a good time and unforgettable experiences. Whether you enjoy hurtling down twisty slides, rafting down the lazy rivers, or simply relaxing in the sun, waterparks are the perfect alternative to a typical beach day. With skilled instructors, safety measures, and facilities suitable for all ages, they provide an ideal opportunity for relaxation and fun with your loved ones.

12. Visit the neighboring Stalis resort. Just about a few bus stops from Hersonissos, Stalis (or Stalida) is renowned for its long, sandy beach and crystal-clear waters, making it a popular destination for sunbathers and water sports enthusiasts. Waterfront bars and taverns along the beach road provide the perfect spot to unwind and soak in the coastal ambiance. Stalis' 4 km long beach promenade is packed with attractions, dining options, shopping, and entertainment. Whether you're looking to indulge in a beach day in a tropical setting, experience Greek and Cretan culture, or enjoy an exciting night of music and dance, Stalis is the most convenient option to experience it all at its best.

13. Discover the Palace of Malia: Delve into the ancient Minoan civilization at Malia Palace, the third-largest after Knossos and Phaistos, dating back to 1900 BC. Located 11 km east of Hersonissos, this archaeological site offers a glimpse into a brilliant prehistoric era, considered the cradle of Hellenic civilization. Exploring the ruins of Malia Palace will transport you back in time, allowing you to appreciate the outstanding achievements of the Bronze Age Minoan civilization, the economic and technological level, and not least, the artistic sophistication. Near the archaeological site, you can relax on Potamos Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches on the northeast coast.

14. Visit Heraklion and Knossos Palace.  Visiting Heraklion city is an interesting journey into the rich Crete's history and culture. In Heraklion, you will discover a vibrant city full of historical landmarks, irresistible shops, and delicious local food. Take a trip to the Archaeological Museum, among the most modern and large in Europe, and together with it, explore the iconic Knossos, the Minoan palace shrouded in legends and archaeological wonders. By simply walking the streets of Heraklion, you will feel how the charm of the past constantly infiltrates the modern life of the locals. 

15. Take a bus tour by agencies. Discover the famous island's sights by joining coach tours offered by local agencies. Lose yourself in the maze-like streets of Knossos, and explore the charm of traditional villages of Kritsa and Myrtos. You can also take a trip to Spinalonga, Balos, or even Santorini with modern and comfortable coaches &boats, and dedicated guides. If you are fond of history, nature, and adventure, these tours are the perfect way to explore the marvels of Crete. Local travel agencies in Hersonissos offer a variety of tours and excursions, including cruises and boat trips, off-road safaris and quads, or even hiking in the Samaria. 

Are you prepared to pack your bags for Hersonissos? We hope we have helped you plan the most thrilling vacation! If you need more information about Hersonissos, check out our article ”Hersonissos Travel Guide”!

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