Flights to Heraklion International Airport arrive on the island of Crete, with regular services from some of the main low cost and major airlines in Europe. The airport is the second busiest in Greece. From the UK, British Airways offer a direct service to Heraklion from London Gatwick, while low cost carriers including Monarch Airlines offer services from Birmingham, Leeds/Bradford and Manchester. Jet2.com offers regular flights from Newcastle, East Midlands and Glasgow International. Other operators serving Heraklion include Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways. Local bus services bring visitors into the city of Heraklion from the airport very regularly throughout the day and evening.
As with the majority of areas in Greece and on the island of Crete itself, Heraklion is steeped in historic attractions and the cultural heritage of one of the most important historic countries in the World. The Venetian Fortress found at the mouth of the old port of Heraklion is always a favourite with visitors, it can be toured and offers stunning views across the ocean and a beautiful view back over the town itself. The port of Heraklion has many buildings and sites reflecting the many cultures that have controlled the city and Crete itself, including the Ottoman Vezir Mosque from the 19th century and the 10th century Byzantine Church of St Matthew of the Sinaites. As the capital of Crete, the city has also been the site of much regeneration in the 21st century, which saw the construction of the Pankritio Stadium, the home of the Ergotelis football team. The island of Crete is also known as an impressive area for beaches and water sports because of the warm Mediterranean Sea waters in the area around the port of Heraklion.
Heraklion is the largest city on the island of Crete, which is part of the Greek nation and situated in the beautiful Aegean Sea. The name of the city derives from the legendary Greek strongman Herakles or Hercules. Four thousand years ago, Crete was the location of the sophisticated Minoan culture. Its kings lived in the palace of Knossos, the ruins of which are about 2 kilometres from Heraklion. Other areas of the city date from the 1200s, when the Republic of Venice occupied it. Fortifications and areas of harbour built by Venetians are still there today. The Basilica of St. Titus dates from the Ottoman occupation when it was built as the Vezir Mosque. Excellent city centre and beachside hotel accommodation is available to visitors who want to sunbathe, swim and go boating in the Aegean. Inland excursions, cycling and buggy trips are available also.
The largest city in Crete and one of the most populated in Greece overall, Heraklion is a vibrant modern metropolis that contrasts many of Crete’s more traditional towns. As the island’s key business district, Heraklion attracts business travellers as well as holidaymakers. Whatever the reason for travel, Heraklion is easy to reach via its one airport. Getting from the airport to the city centre and other destinations around Crete is just as easy when travelling via bus.
Alongside being this city’s only airport, Heraklion International Airport (HER) is also the main airport for the entire island of Crete. The airport is located very close to the city centre (around 3 miles east), which makes it quick and easy to reach by bus (average journey time: 20 minutes). Heraklion Airport has one restaurant, a variety of snack outlets, two duty-free shops, a 24-hour medical centre, free WiFi and an ATM.
As a major business and tourism hub in Greece, Heraklion is well served by a number of airlines. Over 20 airlines offer various flight routes to Heraklion, but only five offer direct flights: British Airways, easyJet, Thomas Cook, Jet2 and TUI. Jet2 has the widest range of departure locations, with flights available from Belfast, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham. Note that all direct flights to Heraklion are seasonal, occurring almost exclusively in the peak summer season.
Taking a plane to Heraklion is far quicker and more convenient than travelling via a combination of trains and ferries. With direct flights available from 12 UK airports during the summer, holiday-goers have flexibility in their vacation plans when travelling by plane. There’s also the option to take a connecting flight when traveling outside the summer season. Depending on the departure airport of choice, passengers arrive in as little as four hours – a speed unmatched by any other travel option.
Heraklion is one of the rare metropolitan cities in the Greek islands. As such, it has a its own public bus system which follows routes around the city and its surrounding areas. Alternatively, travellers can also explore the city on foot. While Heraklion is a modern city, some of the best sites are the oldest. West of the city’s new harbour is the old Venetian harbour; there, travellers can enjoy the view, explore the history and visit the 16th-century Koules Fortress.
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