Crete is a fantastical island, rich in myth and history. A trip to this gorgeous place could be a truly busy one, with something for everyone to see and do.
Whether you are looking for a beach holiday or a whistle-stop tour of some top sites, Crete is not to be missed.
Replete with natural beauty, from the sparklingly clear blue sea that surrounds it to the Mediterranean scrub-covered landscape, there is so much to see and do for every taste. Venturing into these enchanting hills will be an adventure to remember for many years to come.
With so many places to visit and appreciate, it might be hard to know where to begin. But one of the must-see sights on Crete is the iconic Palace of Knossos. It will be worth tearing yourself away from the sun lounger to see what all the fuss is about.
But why should you visit this historical site over and above some others? Here are some of our top reasons to put the Palace of Knossos at the top of your Cretan list!
Myths and legends
Are you a fan of Greek myths? Everyone has heard or read some incredible stories from Ancient Greece, even if just at school. If you would love to learn more about Greek myths, look no further. The palace was praised by Homer in The Odyssey, and it’s steeped in all kinds of marvellous myths.
From King Minos hiring Daedelus to design the labyrinthine palace, and the tale of Icarus, to the legend of the Minotaur – there will be at least one myth you are familiar with.
When you visit the palace, you will be able to soak up the atmosphere of these amazing myths and legendary Greek figures.
The largest palace in Minoan Crete, the Palace of Knossos is a must-see attraction for anyone who loves history. With the area having been settled in 7000 BC, it was an important site that survived earthquakes and invasions. While the palace itself is now in ruins, it is incredibly well preserved given its amazing age.
You can expect to spend ninety minutes to two hours at the site, as you will soak in over 20,000 square metres of the enchanting palace (including 1500 rooms) and the village ruins which are scattered around the surrounding hillsides. As a once in a lifetime experience, the Palace of Knossos is hard to beat.
You will be able to view the Great Palace, the Little Palace and the Caravan Serai, once used as public baths for those travelling to the palace. While you may not be able to take a dip now, you will certainly get a strong feeling for how life used to be for those awaiting an audience with the king.
Plenty to see and hear
When you visit the Palace of Knossos, you can have a guided tour around the ruins of the site, including those which have been reconstructed to show more clearly how the site was used.
If you are unfamiliar with the myths and legends associated with this monumental piece of history, an experienced guide will be invaluable, sometimes providing you with supplemental images and regaling you with tales of the Minotaur to give you a true feeling of stepping back in time.
Even if you know these myths by heart, it is still a sensational experience to hear them told among the very ruins where they were thought to have taken place.
An amazing location
Knossos is only fifteen minutes away from Heraklion by car. This makes it a popular destination for tourists. But don’t worry if you aren’t driving – you can also head to Knossos from the main bus stop at Heraklion port.
If you want a more curated experience, you can book tours from Heraklion which include seeing Knossos and hearing some incredible facts and legends.
With the Palace of Knossos being so easy to get to from Heraklion, there is no reason not to make this beautiful site your top priority during your time in Crete.
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