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About Heraklion

Heraklion is a wondrous little city of the island of Crete, Greece. The city has a population of 140,730 people; it is the fourth largest city in Greece. Heraklion is a city oozing with history of Greek mythology and literary magic to fascinate the mind. Tourist attractions of this ancient city, includes the Palace of Knossos.

Cheap flights to Heraklion are now available for a limited period of time, so get ready to transport to this island city, witness the contrasts of modern life and deep links with the past! Heraklion is home of Heraklion International Airport (HER), which is located a short 10-minute drive from the city centre. Heraklion International Airport serves a multitude of airlines – including Swiss International Air Lines and Olympic Air. Popular international flights depart from Cape Town and Johannesburg. Flight duration from Johannesburg to Heraklion is approximately 15 hours and 25 minutes!

Why visit Heraklion

monument under clouds

Infinite Greek History

Heraklion has a dynamic historical period. It is an archaeologist’s paradise. The city’s journey into existence dates back to Minoan times – 9th century AD - during the Aegean Bronze Age.

feta on brown bread

Cretan Cuisine

Mostly based on olive oil, and locally produced vegetables and fruits, Cretan cuisine will delight your palate. Traditional dishes can be enjoyed at fancy restaurants and small taverns.

man pouring beer

Nightlife

Heraklion is known for having the most intense nightlife in Crete. Tourists can enjoy engaging bars and lively night clubs to party the night away, on the port island city.

General information

Essential details you need to know before your trip

Country Greece
Currency Euro
Exchange Rate 1 ZAR = 0.71 EUR
Language Greek
Hub Airport Heraklion International Airport
Airline Olympic Air
Time Zone GMT +3
Travel Adaptor Type C and F

Best time to visit Heraklion

The best time for a Mediterranean vacation in Heraklion is between May and early October. It is deliciously sunny, and the water beckons to be basked in. If your sole reason for visiting the city is sightseeing, the months of April, May, October and early November would be the perfect time. By European standards, the weather is still quite warm during this time, but it is not unusual to experience some rain. Make sure to pack warm clothing. For cheap flights to Heraklion, plan your island trip for September and October. There is no guarantee, but the city can excite locals and tourists with great weather during the first three weeks of October.

Weather & Climate in Heraklion

Average temperature (°C) & rainfall level (mm) per month

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 10°C 10°C 11°C 13°C 16°C 20°C 23°C 23°C 20°C 18°C 15°C 12°C
High °C 15°C 16°C 17°C 20°C 23°C 27°C 29°C 28°C 26°C 23°C 20°C 17°C
Rainfall (mm) 92 77 57 30 15 3 1 1 20 69 59 77

Overview

Crete’s largest city on the northern coast, Heraklion is a portal to the Bronze Age. It is abundant with history of the Minoan people, dating back 4000 years. The Greek Islands fabric of existence can be felt at the palace of Knossos. Heraklion truly provides a sensory journey into Greek mythology.

The city is a paella of early cultures stemming from the settlement of the Eastern Roman Empire, Arabs, Byzantine, Republic of Venice and Ottoman Empire. Each nation clearly saw great value in the ancient city and strived to claim the island for themselves. Heraklion’s architecture reflects its history with Venetian sculptures found around the city.

The port city enables travellers to take ferries and boats from Heraklion to destinations such as Ios Island, Rhodes, Paros, Mykonos and Santorini.

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Visa & Customs

South African passport holders need a valid passport and a Schengen visa to travel to Heraklion and Greece. Application forms need to be completed and submitted at the Greece Visa Application Centres in Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban. Your passport should be valid for a period of at least three months beyond the last intended day in Heraklion. Ensure that there are at least two blank pages in your passport.

Health & Safety

There are no mandatory vaccines required for travelling to Heraklion. However, travellers are advised to have their routine vaccinations done before their trip. Vaccines to be done include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox vaccine, polio vaccine and a yearly flu shot. The food and water is safe, but travellers visiting for short periods are encouraged to drink bottled water.

There are two public hospitals located in the city. Pharmacies are also highly revered. Pharmacists are well equipped to assist tourists with minor medical complaints.

The city is considered very safe; the main concerns are traffic, stray dogs and jellyfish in the ocean. Precautions to take when touring the city:

• Take care of your belongings in public spaces as pick-pocketing can occur in crowded spaces and on the transportation system.

• Take note of which areas to avoid at night.

• Be alert of fake taxis.

• Do not carry large sums of cash.

• Do not keep your wallet or phone on the table at cafés or restaurants.

Cost of Living

Item Cape Town Johannesburg Heraklion
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant R100.00 R100.00 R112.51
Domestic Beer (0.5 litre draught) R25.00 R25.00 R56.25
Cappucino (regular) R22.78 R10.00 R42.97
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) R10.00 R10.00 R14.06
Pack of Cigarettes (MArlboro) R38.50 R38.00 R56.25
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