The largest and most densely populated region on the island of Crete is Heraklion (Iráklion). Nestling picturesquely among two imposing mountain ranges – Ídi (Mt Psiloritis) to the west and Dikti (Lasithiótika mountains) to the east– Iráklion boasts exceptional archaeological treasures, significant coastal settlements, a series of picturesque villages, vast valleys with olive groves and vineyards as well as the best organised tourist infrastructure in Crete. A unique combination of urban scenery and natural wealth makes the region of Iráklion an appealing all-year-round destination.
The Archaeological Museum in Heraklion is practically worth the trip to Crete alone. Almost without peer in Greece, the facility’s Minoan collection is internationally famous. All in all, exhibitions cover the island’s history from the Neolithic Age to the Greco-Roman era.
This is actually the biggest aquarium attraction of its kind in the whole of the Eastern Mediterranean area and contains a number of huge tanks, filled with marine landscapes and colourful sea creatures.
Phaistos was one of the most important centres of Minoan civilization, and the most wealthy and powerful city in southern Crete. The Phaistos Disk, the most famous example of Minoan pictographic script, unique in its kind, was discovered inside a small room of the Phaistos palace. Agia Triada in south central Crete, lies 4 km west of Phaistos, situated at the western end of the Mesara Plain. The site was not one of the “palaces” of Minoan Crete, but rather a well-to-do town, and possibly a royal villa. Gortys finally, was first inhabited at the end of the Neolithic period (3000 BC) and flourished much later, in the Late Minoan period (1600-1100 BC), when the villa with the shrine was founded at the site of Chania, near Metropolis.