Heraklion or Iraklion the birthplace of El Greco and Nikos Kazantzakis can at first seem a nightmare, particularly if you arrive expecting to see a picturesque little island town.
You find yourself instead in the fifth largest city in Greece, it's ugly and modern, a maelstrom of traffic, concrete and dust. But behind this facade and - as with Athens - you can discover a vibrant working small metropolis with a great number of attractive features which do much to temper initial impressions.
Stay long enough and you can even begin to like the place; the sea, as well as the area's antiquites, excellent food and friendly, welcoming people make this place a delightful place to visit.
Heraklion is Crete's biggest city (among Chania, Rethimno, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Ierapetra), whose emblem is the Venetian fortress of Koules and it harmoniously combines a multilingual past as Byzantine churches standing next to the Venetian mansions and Turkish fountains and a thriving present with many restaurants, coffee shops and bars that cater to every taste.
Heraklion or Iraklion has undergone a significant makeover in recent years - this is a result of being chosen as an Olympic city ...partly bu mostly because of the city's increasing prosperity. Infrastructure works have included redevelopment of the waterfront ( have a nice walk there ), improved roads and a city bypass to ease traffic congestion and maybe the most important much of the historic centre has been turned into pleasant pedestrian strips. Let's see how you could spent one or two days in Heraklion.
You have a day or two to spend in Heraklion, the main city and key business centre of Crete. The city is also a major cruise destination. Beyond the crazed progress of moped riders, noisy scooters and a battered, out-of-control look to the city, there is much to do and plenty of things worth seeing.
Apart from shopping and the designer clothes on Daedalou Street ("Daydaloo"), there are many small shops off all the main streets which sell those local products which normally are used when you live in Crete. Just have a look along 1866 Street and more so its side streets - you may find a curio distinctly different from more typical "gifts" offered to visitors in gift shops.
The famous tourist attraction, the Saturday market that was by the port, an almost kilometre long display of fruit and vegetables and sundry items - has now sadly moved to an obscure suburb.This is a brief guide to some of the well known and some less well known enjoyments and rewards of Heraklion