Irakleio in a Day

Here’s our simple guide for how to see the best of Irakleio in a day including the Archaeological Museum, Icon Museum, Historical Museum and Venetian Harbour.

Fisherman in the Harbour in Irakleio on CreteFisherman in the Venetian Harbour in Irakleio

You can just about fit Irákleio’s main sights into one long day if you take advantage of early and late opening times. But check the hours for each attraction first, as you may need to switch this itinerary around a little on certain days.

Irakleio in a Day: Morning

Irakleio Archaeological Museum on CreteIrakleio Archaeological Museum

8:00am

Get an early start at the Archaeological Museum. If you haven’t had breakfast yet, start your visit with a coffee and pastry in the museum coffee shop.

10.30am

Walk down Odos Dedalou, the main shopping street, and turn right when you reach the end at Platia Venizelou. Continue down Odos 25 Augoustou, stopping to admire the Venetian Loggia. Just beyond, peek into the lovely Áyios Títos church, set back on a small square. Continue to the end of the street, where it reaches the waterfront.

The Venetian Fortress in Irakleio Harbour on CreteThe Venetian Fortress in Irakleio Harbour

11.30am

Walk out along the colourful harbour and visit the Venetian Fortress. Be sure to climb to the top for the city’s best views. See our full page about Irakleio's Harbour and Venetian Fortress.

Irakleio in a Day: Lunch

12.30pm

Have an early lunch by the waterside at Taverna Paralia, with lovely views out to sea. It’s one of our favourite places to eat in Irakleio, and we always try to get a table with great views of the harbour and the Venetian Fortress.

Irakleio in a Day: Afternoon

Map showing location of Historical Museum in Irakleio on CreteMap (c) Google Maps

1.30pm

From Paralia, walk along the waterfront to the Historical Museum, which is only 5 minutes away. It’s not a huge museum and you’ll probably spend an hour or so here. You can certainly see the highlights in that time. See our full page about the Historical Museum.

3.00pm

Return to Platia Venizelou and have a closer look at the Morosini Fountain. You’ve got some time to kill, but there’s no better spot for people-watching. Have a welcome rest at Bougatsa Kirkor and try Crete’s traditional custard pastry, the bougátsa, or relax in the adjacent El Greco Park.

Irakleio's Icon Museum on CreteIrakleio's Icon Museum on Crete

4.30pm

Visit the Icon Museum, which should take you less than an hour, and see the cathedral and church of Áyios Mínas, both on the same square. See our full page on Irakleio’s Icon Museum.

Afterwards, there’s still time for a last look at the Minoan treasures in the Archaeology Museum, which is open until 8pm. You can then have a pre-dinner drink in one of the bars behind Dedalou Street and congratulate yourself for seeing Irakleio in a day!

Where to Stay in Irakleio

Our Irakleion pages

  • Irakleio’s Icon Museum in the church of Ayia Aikaterini is a small but impressive collection from the world’s best icon painters.

    Irakleio’s Icon Museum

    Irakleio’s Icon Museum in the church of Ayia Aikaterini is a small but impressive collection from the world’s best icon painters.

  • Here are some of the things you’ll see when walking around Irakleio, the capital of Crete, including churches, squares, and the beautiful Venetian Loggia.

    Walking Around Irakleio

    Here are some of the things you’ll see when walking around Irakleio, the capital of Crete, including churches, squares, and the beautiful Venetian Loggia.

  • Irakleio’s Archaeological Museum is Crete’s most important museum and contains some of Crete’s oldest artefacts, Minoan frescoes and the Phaistos Disc.

    Irakleio’s Archaeological Museum

    Irakleio’s Archaeological Museum is Crete’s most important museum and contains some of Crete’s oldest artefacts, Minoan frescoes and the Phaistos Disc.

  • Irakleio’s Historical Museum is officially called the Historical Museum of Crete and contains the only work by El Greco that is still on his native island.

    Irakleio’s Historical Museum

    Irakleio’s Historical Museum is officially called the Historical Museum of Crete and contains the only work by El Greco that is still on his native island.

  • Irakleio’s Venetian Harbour is one of its most attractive features, and a stroll around here with a visit to the Venetian Fortress that guards it is a relaxing treat.

    Irakleio Harbour and Venetian Fortress

    Irakleio’s Venetian Harbour is one of its most attractive features, and a stroll around here with a visit to the Venetian Fortress that guards it is a relaxing treat.

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