Car hire in Heraklion
Hiring a car in Heraklion
Crete’s capital, and the fifth largest city in the whole of Greece, Heraklion is beautiful place to embrace Grecian culture whilst visiting the island. Much different to other towns and villages in Crete, it is recognised as a busy and vibrant working metropolis. Located on the coast, Heraklion boasts splendid architecture, colourful markets and an array of excellent restaurants, bars and cafes. Locals will welcome you with open arms, and recent road developments make it an easy destination to locate by vehicle.
If you want to delve into the heart of Heraklion, you will have to set off on foot, taking a stroll down its many cobbled streets and passageways. However, if you’re located away from the city centre, hiring a car to get to Heraklion is recommended, as public transport may restrict how long you can spend in the city and can sometimes be unreliable.
What you need to know
If you’re located in other resorts in Crete like Chania, Agios Nikolaos or Rethymno, a day trip to Heraklion is a popular option among tourists and is something visitors to the island should consider. Car hire with Holiday Autos will give the opportunity to hop in your vehicle and visit the city when it suits you. It’s guaranteed that with our easy to use booking tool, we will find you the best deal from the sometimes intimidating selection of car hire companies. We offer free cancellation, no credit card fees as well as a contact centre which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, should you need our assistance.
Where to pick up your car
There is a selection of car hire companies dotted in and around Heraklion city but you will find the majority of car hire outlets at Heraklion Airport (HER) on arrivals. Pre-booking your vehicle before your holiday takes away any stress and saves time, as well as ensuring that you have the most cost-efficient deal. Picking up your car hire keys at the airport means you can start your holiday straight away.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
Once you’re on the road, choosing where to visit in Heraklion is completely up to you. If you fancy a bit a luxury shopping, the designer labels on Daedalou Street in central Heraklion are for you. If you find the history of ancient Greece intriguing, the Archaeological Museum has collection of many findings from sites in Crete including Knossos, Zakros and Archanes, and is well worth a visit. If you simply fancy kicking back and chilling out on the beach, then a selection of crystal clear sea and white sandy beaches are only a short drive away.
Near the more popular resorts in Heraklion, beaches are easy to locate, but if you venture slightly further afield you will also be able to discover many secluded small bays which will provide you privacy and isolation, allowing you to escape from the hustle and bustle of Heraklion centre.
Situated 5 km southeast of Heraklion, a short road trip to the ruins of Knossos Palace is easy by car, with parking facilities available on arrival at the site. Dating as far back as 6,000 years BC, the ruins cover an area of 22,000 square meters and are connected to thrilling myths and legends, such as myth of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur.
Art lovers should visit the Municipal Gallery and Basilica of St. Mark, which is just opposite Lion Square in the centre of the city. The gallery often has many different exhibitions on display, from specific works of art to early photos of the Greek island.
Koules Fortress lies at the entrance of the old port in Heraklion and was constructed in the 16th century acting as a prison to many rebels who broke the rules imposed by occupiers of the time. Tourists are able to take a leisurely walk along to the fort and to the port which features many fishing boats and small yachts. Relaxing in one of the many cafes and tavernas alongside the port will allow you to admire a lovely outlook over the port to the glistening Mediterranean Sea.
Slightly further afield, some 40 km away from Heraklion, you will find the lively resort of Malia, which is hugely popular among 18-30 year-olds. A selection of vibrant bars, pubs and clubs which spill out on to the famous Malia strip, will leave you spoilt for choice when it comes to finding the perfect cocktail.
Chania, 145 km west of Heraklion, is the second largest city on the island, and with the freedom of a hire car, is a great location for a day out exploring the other side of the island. The old town of Chania was built by Venetians during the 14th century, which means the architecture and buildings within the city are beautifully unique.
Top attractions to visit in Heraklion
A trip to Heraklion would not be complete without visiting the city’s top attractions, and with the freedom of having your own car, nowhere is out of bounds.
The Cathedral of St. Minas
St. Mina is the patron Saint of Heraklion, and is worshipped for protecting the city. The Cathedral is grand in its design, and inside features beautiful architecture dating back hundreds of years. A bomb exhibited next to the Cathedral stands as witness to the Saint’s protection, as it fell here in 1941 yet never exploded.
Wine lovers will be pleased to hear that there are many wineries scattered across Crete, including the popular Lyrarakis winery which was established in 1966. Located in the mountains of Alagni, south of Heraklion city, the well-preserved 14th century stone-presses demonstrate the area's long history of winemaking.
Tucked away in the island’s south-west corner is the beautiful little beach resort of Elafonisi. It’s clear waters and secluded coves offer raw and picturesque views of the beaches, seas and mountainscape. If you want to relax in what may feel like paradise, a trip to Elafonisi will leave you feeling exhilarated.