Aquila Atlantis Hotel is on a unique location to explore Heraklion the birthplace of El Greco and Nikos Kazantzakis.
The Palace of Knossos the biggest and most impressive palace of the Minoan civilization and the capital of Minoan Crete, is situated just 5km away. To beat the crowds and avoid the heat, get there before 10.00 am. A combined ticket with the Iraklio Archaeological Museum costs 10 euros.
Very close to Knossos is the village of Archanes which has won the 2nd "best-restored village in Europe" prize. There are four archeological sites here - one in the village (a fenced excavation) and three close by, at Anemospilia, at Fourni (on the edge of the village - a Minoan graveyard) and the fourth one, Vathypetro, on the way to Houdetsi is worthwhile not only for the finds but also some of the most magnificent views of Crete which you can see from the site - a unique vantage point.
As you return to Heraklion visit also the Archeological Museum of Heraklion. The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is one of the most important and significant museums in Greece. The museum was built during the years 1937-1940 and hosts 20 rooms with exhibits originating exclusively from Crete. These exhibits come mostly from central and eastern Crete and cover a history of 5.500 years. The exhibits are presented following the chronological evolution of the Minoan civilization.
Visit the Historical Museum of Crete. It was founded in 1953 by the Society of Cretan Historical Studies. It is housed in a three-story neoclassical building owned by Kalokairinos family and constitutes another important element of Cretan history and tradition. It comprises 12 rooms showing the evolution of Cretan civilization from the Christian period until the 20th century. It includes pictures, historical heirlooms, books, maps, Cretan costumes and many other exhibits depicting in the best way the Crete of the past.
Familiarize yourself with the natural wealth of Crete and mainland Greece at the Natural History Museum of Crete. Among others, the purpose is to understand the relation between the old civilizations and the natural environment, to get to know the impressive past, the future of Crete and the Mediterranean through the fossils, rocks, and minerals presented.
I spent some time at the Museum of Visual Arts (METH) which was established in 2000 by K. Schizakis and is a meeting place for fruitful discussions between creators and art enthusiasts. It is a place of intellectual development, cultivation, education, and entertainment. Important events in art's most particular aspects are organized and hosted in the museum.
Visit Koules Fortress, 'The Venice of the East', as it was described during the Venetian rule, is the trademark of the medieval city of Heraklion. Koules Fortress was built in 1523-1540 offering a spectacular view to the Cretan sea and is the vigilant guard that protects the city of Heraklion.
The tomb of the most beloved writer of Crete, N, Kazantzakis is located on the southern part of the Venetian Walls, on the tower Martinengo. Its wooden cross bears his famous quote: 'I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free'. Offering a view to the entire city of Heraklion, this part of the city makes clear that no homage will ever be enough for this great man.
Head to the center of Heraklio at Lions' Square - Morosini Fountain Known as Lions' Square, Morosini Fountain or Eleftheriou Venizelou Square (in honor of the great Greek statesman), the square with its ornate eight-lobed stone fountain portraying scenes from Greek mythology, is the quintessential meeting spot for locals and visitors to the city alike.
Visit the Central Market 1866 Street Fruits, vegetables, herbs, fresh fish and meat. Iraklio’s lively marketplace spreads its colorful offerings along a road whose name is a constant reminder for all of yet another historical Cretan revolution. Shouts, movement, and energy merge with the aromas of thyme, honey, and Raki, the local version of moonshine. Here you can learn about the rich variety of Cretan cheeses while strolling along and planning the day’s activities…
St. Minas Cathedral The patron saint of Iraklio, St. Minas has his majestic home in one of the largest churches in Greece. Built on a cross plan with two bell towers gracing the rear, the church has been repeatedly scarred by battles for the city’s conquest. Following 30 years of restoration attempts, the cathedral was finally returned to its original splendor in 1896, to ecstatic celebrations by the city’s populace.
Pay a visit at Church and Museum of St. Catherine of the Sinaites With its stunning collection of altar furnishings, books, vestments, and detached murals representative of the Cretan Renaissance, the most outstanding of which is the rare icons painted by Michael Damaskinos, the church of St. Catherine was built during the second Byzantine period, and today boasts an exhibition space that will undoubtedly enrich the knowledge of all art-loving visitors.
Explore 25th of August Street Ottoman, Venetian, modern. Buildings with a unique co-existence that showcase the city’s rich and intense historical legacy. The pedestrian 25th of August Street that runs from the old port up to Lions Square switches back and forth between history and everyday modern life: shops, offices, the elegant church of St. Titus and monuments. A one-of-a-kind jumble with elements that distinguish themselves from the rest: the Venetian Loggia, once a meeting place for the aristocracy and today one of Europe’s best-preserved Venetian monuments, and the Basilica of St. Mark, today housing the Municipal Picture Gallery.
Historical Museum of Crete The museum’s rooms play host to a 2,000-year-old history, displaying a wealth of utilitarian and decorative objects from the Roman and Arab periods, passing through the Byzantine, Venetian and Turkish occupations as well. Stand in front of the wooden model of the city of Iraklio as it looked in the 17th century and marvel at the peak of the city’s power in Venetian times. Ponder the 21-year siege of the city by Turkish invaders, the desperation at the fall into enemy hands, the union of the island with the rest of Greece in 1913 and the famed Battle of Crete in the island’s more recent history.
Located 63 km south-west of Heraklion, the ruins of Phaistos palace are the second most significant palace complex of Minoan Crete and unique cradle of cultural wealth. The old and the new palace, the royal living accommodations, the storage areas, the workshops, etc. stand out from the monuments of Phaistos archaeological site. The most important finding displayed at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is the famous 'Phaistos Disc'.
With a history of thousands of years, Gortyn or Gortys, one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece and erstwhile capital of Crete in the past, welcomes us. 45 minutes from Heraklion, the beating heart of the story by the famous Praetorium. Near the plates with the laws of Gortyn, the Roman theater and baths, the Temple of Apollo, the surviving ancient coins and in each find and exhibit maximum cultural value. Gortyn other outside the ruins of St. Titus, who was one of the first churches of Christendom.
The large Cretaquarium, 15 km east of Heraklion (located at the former American Base in Gournes) offers its visitors a great view of the Mediterranean's sea wealth. Those wishing to live the magical experience of the silent world of the sea are welcome to come 'face to face' with hundreds of species and thousands of sea organisms.
For wine lovers, we propose the Buttari's winery in Skalani village (13km), We propose the guided tour through the winemaking process, the installations and the barrel cellars.
Explore Rethymno's old town, perhaps the prettiest of Crete's Venetian cities and especially the waterfront and the streets just behind. Walk along the .harbour wall to the Venetian lighthouse. The Fortezza (fortress) was built by the Venetians in 1573 to protect the city. Not only are walls, churches and the remains of its buildings of interest, the view from it to the town area great way to start planning your tour of the town. There are also sweeping sea views. Open daily.
Lassithi Plateau is ideal for those who love cycling. Enjoy the 18km ride that goes through almost all the little villages. This ride is especially nice.
Visit the small town of Agios Nikolaos, the town with its unique features, the lake ("Voulismeni"), a folklore-inspiringly deep body of water which is connected to the sea by a narrow inlet. It is surrounded and overlooked by cafes and restaurants - a busy gathering place for residents and visitors alike.
The next stop is the cosmopolitan Elounda. The way from Agios Nikolaos to Elounda is one of the most beautiful ways on the island. Keep driving till the village of Plaka, with a marvelous view of Spinalonga Island. A visit to the island is a must and will be unforgettable!
For golf lovers, the Crete Golf Club, the only 18-hole golf course on the island and one of the most impressive courses of the Mediterranean, which holds a unique challenge and a pleasant experience for both golf players and visitors all year round, is located just 25 km away.
We propose to organize full-day excursions to the south coasts, like the well organized Matala beach, famous since 1960, as the hipes used to live there, in the caves, facing the bay and organizing parties. You can also visit the next beach Komos, a long sandy beach. with many trees for natural shadow. It would be better to go there on a quiet day with no wind.
Our third beach proposal is the beach Agiofarago, just have in mind that from the parking place you need to walk 30 min. to reach the beach. At that beach, you will feel that you have a private beach. At this beach, there are also rocks appropriate for climbing. If you like climbing, don't forget your equipment.
For more activities around Heraklion Area.
Check-in: 14.00 pm
Check out: 12.00 pm
Minimum Stay: 1-3 nights, depending on the season
How To Get There
Aquila Atlantis Hotel is in a unique location. It "hangs over" the old harbor of the city offering visitors unlimited views to the Venetian castle and the endless blue of the Cretan Sea. It is found in the center of the old city of Heraklion, in a beautiful and peaceful neighborhood, just a few steps away from the central market. You may choose among alternative options to explore the city and the island.
From May through mid-October there are direct charter flights to Heraklion (5.2km) or Chania (146km). Tickets can be bought in advance for almost all flights via our partner website.
"The journey is the thing". A superb way of enjoying the journey to Crete is to fly to Athens and take the ferry from Piraeus (Pireas) - the port serving Athens. A still-romantic way to travel by the overnight ferry from Piraeus to Heraklion Port (1.3km). Tickets can be bought in advance for all ferries via our website.
If you want to explore the region while you're here, we recommend that you rent a car, other means of transport are limited and/or infrequent. We suggest our sister website, which offers competitive prices and you can collect your car at either airport.
Book your taxi transfer online easily and safely from the airport or port to any location via our partner website.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through CreteTravel.com
Dining: One restaurant and one lounge bar-cafe but dozens of dishes, hundreds of taste experiences.
Internet Access: WiFi access in all rooms and all public areas (including the pool)
Complimentary Gym - Wellness Club, fully-equipped
Swimming Pools: Outdoor pool (seasonal) with unobstructed views over the harbor, a semi-covered heated pool
Meetings/Functions: The Aquila Atlantis Hotel is the No.1 choice of major multinational companies, famous brands and public entities for conducting conferences, meetings, and events. It offers the largest and most luxurious Conference Centre in Heraklion. In the 6 multipurpose spaces covering a surface of 1,000 M2, with a total capacity of over 900 seats, only success stories have been written. The thoroughly designed layout of all 6 spaces, the trained personnel, the ultra-modern facilities, and the excellent infrastructure guarantee the success of your conference or event! 6 multipurpose halls, one choice… Aquila Atlantis Hotel!
Business Center: Hotel places particular emphasis on the provision of quality services to its valued business guests. It provides you 24/7 access to computers, wireless and wired internet, print and photocopy facilities and secretarial support as well.
Complimentary Parking: A special parking area is provided for the guests of Aquila Atlantis Hotel, without additional charge
Transportation Services: Aquilla Atlantis Hotel could arrange your private transportation to the hotel from any point in Crete (including all airports and ports) with a luxurious car and multilingual driver at special rates for all guests.
Golf Course: 18-hole Golf Club (at 25 km)
Tennis Courts: at the Heraklion Tennis Club (at 100 m), floodlighting, tennis lessons, rackets & balls for hire
Disabled Access: Suitable
Pets: Not allowed
Languages Spoken: Greek, English, German