The Palace of Knossos and Heraklion
- Knossos: Lost for thousands of years, this elaborate palace complex offers a fascinating glimpse into a civilization that predates Athens and Rome.
- Heraklion: After a brief guided tour, you'll have about 45 minutes to shop, relax in a cafe, and see the statues, fountains, and civic buildings in the city center.
- Eleftherias Square: "Freedom" Square celebrates Crete's liberation after 20 centuries of conquest. See the recently discovered St. George Gate, built in 1565.
About This Chania Tour
You're about to explore the ancient capital of Crete – the very first city in Europe.
Knossos is so old that the ancients considered it ancient, so wondrous that it may have inspired Plato's account of Atlantis. Around 1700 B.C., the lives of 100,000 people revolved around the vast palace here, and on this tour you'll walk in their footsteps.
We call them Minoans, a name bestowed by Sir Arthur Evans, the British adventurer who dug up their palace in 1900 and was reminded of mythic King Minos. As myths go, this one is particularly juicy, involving murder, bestiality, and the resulting half-bull minotaur who ate unlucky Athenians in his labyrinth.
That mythic maze may actually have been the palace, which held more than a thousand interlocking rooms. What remains includes the Throne Room, the Royal Villa, the Small Palace, shrines, banquet halls, courtyards lined with stout pillars, and vivid frescoes, such as the famous Bull-Leaper. (The Minoans were big on bulls.)
Some of what you'll see was reconstructed by Evans himself, in one of the most controversial archeological restorations ever – he wasn't meticulous about historical accuracy. But his heart was in the right place, and what he actually restored is the Minoans' place in history – something we can see and touch 32 centuries later.
Today Heraklion is Crete's capital, and your guide will show you around and give you time at the statues, fountains, shops and civic buildings near Eleftherias Square. It'll be fun. But what you'll remember from this day is the Minoans, whose splendid palace in Europe's first city was nearly lost to myth.
The Royal Rump
How central was Minoan civilization in the making of Europe? The president of the International Court of the Hague sits on a replica of the alabaster throne at Knossos Palace. Some say the original was carved to fit a female posterior, suggesting that the man at the top in Knossos was actually a woman.
Please exit the port terminal building or go to your tender station to meet your guide. Please look for our GoBe Representative with the displayed logo sign. Staying at a hotel? Be sure to advise the GoBe Crew so we can meet you in the lobby.
No tripods or professional cameras are allowed inside the sites. During your free time, you may like to visit independently the renovated Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.
Plan to walk for 2 miles, over sidewalks, uneven ground, cobblestone and steps. If your mobility is limited, this tour may be too challenging for you to enjoy and maintain the pace of the group. It is not wheelchair accessible.
Cultural, Full Day, Shopping, Walking Tour
English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated strenuous. Travelers must consider their physical fitness level and medical history when determining whether this tour is appropriate. Travelers with pre-existing neck, back, knee and/or shoulder injuries, cardiac conditions, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, other heart or respiratory conditions or any other medical condition must take particular caution when selecting a tour categorized as "strenuous". If you have concerns, you must consult with your personal physician before engaging in any activity that may be too strenuous for you.
Suitable for all ages.
Special Medical Restriction
If you have knee, hip, neck, back, respiratory or cardiac problems or you are pregnant, this tour may not be suitable for you, due to the strenuous nature of the walking required.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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