Heraklion

Atmospheric old alleys
Massive Venetian walls
The Palace of Knossós

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Heraklion/Crete

A striking view

The best way to arrive in Iráklion is from the sea on an MSC cruise ship. It’s the traditional approach and is still the one that shows the city in its best light, with Mount Yioúhtas rising behind, the heights of the Psilorítis range to the west and, as you get closer, the great fortress guarding the harbour entrance and the city walls encircling and dominating the oldest part of town.
 
Iráklion has superb fortifications, a fine market and atmospheric old alleys to visit when you alight from your MSC cruise. Virtually everything you’re likely to want to see lies within the north-eastern corner of the walled city. The massive Venetian walls, in places up to 15m thick, are the most obvious evidence of Iráklion’s history.

Though their fabric is incredibly well preserved, access is virtually nonexistent. El Greco Park, to the right as you approach Platía Venizélou, is crowded with cafés and bars, while opposite, on the left, are some of the more interesting of Iráklion’s older buildings including the church of Áyios Títos and the Venetian city hall with its famous loggia, both almost entirely rebuilt. Just above this stands the church of San Marco, its steps usually crowded with sightseers spilling over from the nearby platía.

Knossós, 5km south of Iráklio on a low, largely artificial hill, was by far the largest of the Minoan palaces, thriving more than three and a half thousand years ago at the heart of a highly sophisticated island-wide civilization: it’s an excursion not to be missed on any MSC Mediterranean cruise to Greece.

As soon as you enter the Palace of Knossós through its West Court, it is clear how the legends of the labyrinth grew up around it. Even with a map and description, it can be very hard to work out where you are.

Must see places in Heraklion

  • The palace of Knossos

    The palace of Knossos

  • Minoan artefacts in the museum

    Minoan artefacts in the museum

  • Rethymnon village

    Rethymnon village

Discover our excursions

7 results found

  • FODELE VILLAGE & RETHYMNON TOWN

    CITY TOUR

    IRK05

    Leave the port and drive along the northern coastal road to the charming village of Fodele located in a pretty valley full of orange groves. The village is the birthplace of the famous painter El Greco who was born here in 1541. You can take a short walk
    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      5 h

    • Adults$72.00Price per person

    • Children$52.00Price per person

  • KNOSSOS & ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM

    CULTURE AND HISTORY

    IRK08

    Take yourself back to the Aegean Bronze Age for a few hours to discover relics left by the Minoan civilisation that thrived on Crete from about 2,600 to 1,400 B.C.. You’ll first board a coach and head for the outskirts of Heraklion to reach the archaeolog
    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults$85.00Price per person

    • Children$62.00Price per person

  • KNOSSOS PALACE AND SHOPPING

    CULTURE AND HISTORY

    IRK02

    You do not need to have an expert’s knowledge of Greek history or Cretan civilizations to appreciate the fabulous Minoan Palace of Knossos. More than just a collection of stones or ruins, the Palace structure is still visible and visitors can wander the m
    • Shopping

    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults$69.00Price per person

    • Children$49.00Price per person

  • THE MINOAN PALACE OF PHAESTOS

    CULTURE AND HISTORY

    IRK06

    This tour will take you through some of the most beautiful areas of Crete that are characterized by lush vineyards and ancient olive trees. We will drive across the Aghia Varvara Pass to the southern part of Crete to reach the traditional village of Aghia
    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults$59.00Price per person

    • Children$42.00Price per person

  • EXPLORING CRETE

    SCENIC ROUTE

    IRK03

    Come and pay homage to Dionysus, the Greek god of wine-making and revelry! Leave the port and drive southwards through ancient vineyards that have flourished here since the Minoan period, around 1,600 BC. Our first stop will be at a modern winery to see h
    • Snack included

    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • Best seller

    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      4:30 h

    • Adults$62.00Price per person

    • Children$42.00Price per person

  • THE VILLAGES OF CRETE

    SCENIC ROUTE

    IRK07

    Drive along the coastal road and through the spectacular ravine of Saint George to Kritsa passing some villages on the way. Upon you arrival, right at the entrance of the village, you will find the Byzantine church of Panagia Kera which boasts 700-year ol
    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      5 h

    • Adults$62.00Price per person

    • Children$49.00Price per person

  • CRETE’S ANCIENT TRADITIONS: POTTERY & WINE

    SOMETHING SPECIAL

    IRK10

    This enjoyable half-day tour offers a chance to touch base with two of Crete’s proudest traditions – pottery and wine making – at the villages of Thrapsano and Peza, both of which lie inland from Heraklion. A scenic 45-minute coach ride to the southeast t
    • Tasting included

    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      3:30 h

    • Adults$32.00Price per person

    • Children$29.00Price per person

The excursions in the program above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this program is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise.
Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.

 

Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

Greece

Under the protective wing of the gods
Under the protective wing of the gods

It would take a lifetime of island-hopping to fully appreciate the 227 inhabited Greek islands scattered across the Mediterranean Sea.
With sapphire water lapping at rocky coastlines sprinkled with secret coves and sandy beaches, they are the stuff of dreamy travel posters, the very definition of the eulogized Greek summer of sun, sea and sand.

For anyone with a cultural bone in their body a cruise to the Greek islands cannot fail to inspire. Every culture has left its mark, and almost every town or village has a link to the past, whether it’s a delicately crumbling temple to Aphrodite, a forbidding Venetian fort or a dusty Byzantine monastery decorated with exquisite frescoes.
But the call to cultural duty will never be too overwhelming on a Greek islands holiday. The hedonistic pleasures of languor and warmth – swimming in balmy seas at dusk, talking and drinking under the stars – are just as appealing.
Sprawling, globalized Athens is an obligatory, almost unavoidable introduction to Greece: aside from the show-stopping Acropolis it offers a truly metropolitan range of cultural diversions, from museums to concerts; well-stocked shops; gourmet restaurants and stimulating clubs.

 
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