Heraklion is a very different holiday to Chania. It is a big city. The ruins of the Palace of Knossos are easy to get to by local bus, Jean shows you how on the film she made. There is little tourist help we found, in fact, the government tourist board has many sheets on the window saying, “no tourist information inside”. That is just a stone’s throw from the Hop On bus tour and bus stop for the ruins.
It is a big city; the shops are great. The beggars are persistent, especially the children who appear to be learning a trade. We don’t often say that but at such times, watch for pick-pockets.
The Palace of Knossos is a treat, we left it until the afternoon when it is less busy. It is a complex of ruins with more than 1500 interlocking rooms. Built in the Bronze age (2000 BC), the Palace of Knossos is considered Europe’s oldest city and is referred to as the centre of Minoan civilisation. The people, as well as the palace, were destroyed by the eruption of the Santorini Volcano (1700 BC). A new palace was built with many splendid frescoes adorning the walls, hundreds of rooms and workshops distributed in four storeys with spacious courts for hosting ceremonies and feasts. But further earthquakes in the 14th century BC led to the final destruction. Excavation of the site was between 1900-1930 and many of the results are at the museum. This alone is a licensed guided tour that takes an hour so you can see the time vanishing. An organised tour can explain things easily, but there are digital tours and signs on all the ruins.