The Island The guide was updated:Heraklion is a modern town (the largest of the island, with a population of approximately 180,000 inhabitants), and is the administrative, commercial, industrial and agricultural centre of Crete. The strange coexistence of the beautiful and the ugly, the old and the new, the apparent architectural chaos and the mixture of buildings from different civilizations, makes the city really interesting and attractive.
The fact that you may walk by the Venetian port enjoying the view of an ancient period and in two minutes distance you may find yourself having a coffee or a drink in a very modern and trendy café/bar, makes the visitor have a truly unique experience. Eleftherios Venizelos Square (Platia Eleftheriou Venizelou)—the Lion’s Square, as the locals call it—is the city’s traditional centre. This will be your first and your last destination during a day. Around this square, you’ll find all the commercial streets of the town.
There are many restaurants and taverns offering Cretan specialities throughout the area and also many cafés and bars. The eastern part of the Heraklion prefecture has some major resorts near the sea like Chersonisos, some great archaeological sites like Malia and many important Byzantine churches. Only 5 kilometres south from the centre of Heraklion, you can visit Knossos—the largest and the most brilliant centre of Minoan civilization. Great beaches, intensive night life, warm people, great cuisine and the strange “game” between the old and the new are promising unforgettable holidays in the island.