Heraklion International Airport - also known as Nikos Kazantzakis Airport, after the famous Greek writer and philosopher - serves Heraklion, the largest city and capital of the beautiful island of Crete in Greece. One of the busiest airports in the country and the main gateway to Crete island, Heraklion International is often overloaded with beachgoers and holidaymakers during the peak holiday season. To resolve the problem, a new airport at Kastelli Pediados is in the works (as of July 2014) and may replace Heraklion Airport upon completion.
As Heraklion - with its many stunning sand and pebble beaches - is best visited during summer, most international airlines operate direct flights only on a seasonal basis. As such, the airport can get very crowded in summer but finding direct international flights during off-peak or winter seasons can be very difficult.
Located a mere 5 kilometres from Heraklion, getting from the airport to the city couldn’t be easy. There are regular bus services that make this connection at amazingly low fares, but for those wanting a bit more comfort and convenience a taxi ride into the city will take less than 20 minutes and should not cost more than 15 euros. Otherwise, those confident of their driving skills can rent a car direct from the airport and take the E75 motorway which links the airport to the city.
Once in Crete, public transportation gets even easier. The city is blanketed by an extensive network of buses that leave every few minutes, and for those in a hurry taxi stands can also be found all over the city.
What to see and do
If you’ve heard of Heraklion, you’ve probably heard about the breathtakingly beautiful beaches that go on for hundreds of miles. If you haven’t heard of them before, you’ve heard of them now. With amazingly clear emerald waters (more green than blue), imposing cliffs, palm forests, and white sands or pebbles (depending on which beach you go to), beaches in Heraklion look like they came straight out of an artist’s impression of paradise. If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of choice there is when it comes to finding a place to lay your blanket, here are a few top choices.
For those looking for typical golden, soft sands, Vai beach is for you. Ranked number 1 in many a beach-lover’s list, Vai (also known as Finikodassos, meaning Palm Forest) gives you standard beach beauty with its white sands and blue-green waters but boosts its appeal a hundredfold with Europe’s largest natural palm grove situated just behind the sand.
If you’re more a pebble kind of person, then head to Mýrtos instead. A gorgeous expanse of fine-pebble beach, Mýrtos stretches over an entire kilometre and offers water sports centres as well as numerous sun beds and umbrellas on top of its unusual aesthetic appeal.
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Airports near Crete Heraklion
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