Herakleion – the commercial hub
The Heraklion region hosts the lion’s share of the Cretan population, the lively port city of the same name alone housing approximately 200,000 residents. Via the city’s commercial cargo port Crete exports its outstanding agricultural products to all points of the compass. Heraklion also sports two university campuses, a fact that contributes to the city’s cultural diversity, lively café culture and night life. The walled Venetian fortress which forms the heart of the city offers a fascinating contrast to the modern market place which thrives there. Obviously no visit to Heraklion would be complete without exploring the famous Knossos Archeological site. The Archeological and Natural History Museums also offer fascinating insights in to the lives of Crete’s ancient populations.
The Southern coasts of the Heraklion region are noted for their agricultural production, the Messara plain in particular which spreads out around ancient Phaistos. Moires is the agricultural boom town in the area but the greatest tourist attraction is the beach at Matala with its unique catacombs carved into the sandstone cliffs, once used as a burial ground for Roman officers and statesmen. The most popular resort area of Heraklion’s northern coast is Chersonissos with an amazing array of family and luxury hotels. The nearby villages of Stalis, Koutouloufari, Piskopiano and Ano Chersonissos are also popular destinations for visitors looking for laid-back relaxation in quaint traditional surroundings. For those looking for a wilder time, the youth oriented resort town of Malia with its long sandy beaches and pulsing nightlife will keep you dancing till dawn!