Heraklion, the capital of Crete, lives up to its title by providing a variety of vacation fun, archaeological treasures, delicious Cretan cuisine, and a diverse range of beaches. Heraklion is a complex Crete beachfront city that embraces both the past and the contemporary. The dynamic city of today, with its squares and pedestrian walkways, is bustling with youthful energy, restaurants, and bars, yet the Old Town and its picturesque Venetian harbor retain much of their allure. Heraklion boasts outstanding museums as well as one of Europe’s largest aquariums. For history aficionados, the region’s most intriguing ancient treasure is located just beyond the city boundaries. Knossos Palace was the home of the mythological Minotaur and his labyrinth, as well as being the most important center of Minoan society.
Why work from Heraklion as a Digital Nomad
Despite the delay in issuing a digital nomad visa, Greece made a step in the right direction by proposing a special tax break for digital nomads towards the end of 2020. In January 2021, the program “If you can work from anywhere, why not work from Greece?” was approved. It provides a 50% tax discount for digital nomads for a period of seven years, with the goal of attracting digital nomads for lengthy periods of time. The Greek government’s actions demonstrate that they recognize the importance of digital nomads to the economy and local communities, especially given that they extend beyond popular tourist spots.
Heraklion city is a dream of a location to work and live because of Crete’s ideal weather, amazing environment, and famous friendliness toward visitors. The existing but underdeveloped 5G network that will eventually cover the entire island is the only drawback for digitally connected workers staying there permanently.
The term “digital nomad” was coined as an innovative manner of working and began to take form. This sort of freelancers will not only work where they want, but will also relocate every few months, seeking for any location that offers reasonable living, whether it’s an apartment on the outskirts of a city or a shared home in the heart of it. They can work from home, a neighborhood coffee shop, or one of the many popular coworking spaces springing up across the world. Many digital nomads work in creative fields such as writing, graphic design, hosting websites, and other technology endeavors. A change of scenery may help keep the creative juices flowing, so looking out your window every few months at a different city can be exactly the thing to cure writer’s block or when you’re stuck on a design concept for your latest project.
Getting to Heraklion
Heraklion has a harbor that is served by ferries from Piraeus and numerous Greek islands daily. The journey time from Piraeus (Athens) is approximately 8.5-10hrs. There is also an international airport which receives international and domestic flights (around 45mins from Athens and 1hr30mins from Thessaloniki). If Heraklion is your starting point for a Cretan adventure, you may rent a car either at Heraklion Airport or in the city.
Getting around Heraklion
Heraklion is connected by bus to Rethymnon, Chania, Kastelli, Ierapetra, Aghios Nikolaos, Sitia, Malia, and other smaller villages in central Crete via Rethymnon, Kastelli, Ierapetra, Aghios Nikolaos, Sitia, Malia, and other smaller villages in central Crete. Most buses leave from Bus Station A’, which is located across the street from the Heraklion port, towards locations around the north coast, including west to Rethymnon and Chania and east to Agios Nikolaos in Lassithi. Rogdia, Agia Gallini, Mires, Matala, Anogia, Gortys, Zaros, and Festos are served by the second Bus Station B’, which is located on the outskirts of town at Chanioporta. Heraklion also has an urban bus system that provides transportation both within and outside of the city. From Heraklion, you may go to areas of historical significance like as the Knossos archaeological site, the Heraklion airport, the port, or simply stroll around the city. Tickets may be purchased at kiosks before to boarding the bus and range in price from €1.10 to €1.50 to €5.00 for a day.
Taxi stands may be found around tourist attractions across the city, as well as at the airport and port. Of course, you may get a free taxi while it is on the road. Although all taxi drivers are required to utilize the taximeter, taxi charges are usually set for certain routes. The rate doubles at night, and the taxi driver must convert to tariff 2, as well as while traveling outside of the municipal boundaries. To avoid being overcharged, we strongly advise that you obtain information about the taxi fare for your journey before getting into the taxi. Taxis within the city cost no more than €8.00.
Having your own vehicle is the most expensive method to move around Crete, but it is also the most convenient way to go anywhere you want, stick to your route, and stop whenever you want. The motorways in Crete are well maintained but expect narrow roads with numerous ups and downs if you wish to visit the interior and mountainous villages. Car rental companies are located both at the airport and in the city center. Because Heraklion has a large variety of local and international vehicle rental providers, it is simpler to obtain a great price if you book ahead of time.
Heraklion Municipality offers the possibility to cycle your way through the city with a free bicycle which can be borrowed from specific points. All bicycles meet modern city cycling standards in accordance with the European Standards EN14764 (Safety Requirements and test methods for City and Trekking bicycles for use on public roads) and can be used by both men and women. Also, all bikes are equipped with a basket, light, and a security lock. To use a bicycle, it is required to present an official document (identity or diploma or passport) and to fill out an application with the person’s personal data. The free bicycle for all by the Heraklion Municipality service operates at the following city spots:
– Gate of Jesus, every day 07:30 – 15:30
– Karavolas, every day (summer months) from 12:30 to 20:30
Information calling center: (+30) 2810-300755
Digital Nomading specifics
Free Wi-Fi at Herakleion
The City of Heraklion’s Wireless Network is an effort to provide people with a free broadband service. When you are inside range of the Wi-Fi service, technological devices such as laptops, PDAs, and certain modern mobile phones can connect to the Internet. The wireless network covers both the inside and outside of the municipality. To join to the network, simply turn on your device’s Wi-Fi and choose the network SSID: municipality of Heraklion. To ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to use this service, a daily time limit for network access and speed limit has been implemented to avoid abuse. We hope you appreciate this free service provided to citizens by the Municipality of Heraklion. In the foreseeable future, there are plans for even additional coverage. As a result, the graph will be updated as the network grows.
Remote working isn’t just for home offices anymore. Employees may work from any location in the globe if they are comfortable. Flexibility like this is already influencing tomorrow’s travel and working patterns. To encourage remote employees to book, hotels currently provide extended stays and in-room working facilities such as high-speed Wi-Fi, free phone calls, a desk, light, fully equipped kitchenettes, and other amenities. However, there are some new projects to consider as the next big thing in travel: coworking spaces in tourist locations, in addition to traditional hotels that adapt. Coworking spaces are already available in Heraklion, and here are some of the bests:
Office12 is a co-working place in Heraklion that opened in 2015 and provides all the facilities that a creative and imaginative individual needs to be focused, productive, and happy. It welcomes visitors and ideas, sponsors events and seminars, and assists inhabitants in moving ahead and becoming closer to one another, forming a little community. An open space area, private offices, team rooms for 2-4 individuals, a conference room, and a coffee area make up Office12. It has a floor area of 160 square meters and is in an energy-efficient building with magnificent surroundings and a balcony with a view to enjoy while working.
You may connect, communicate, learn, create, and develop at the Pom coworking space. This area is teeming with creative people, from freelancers to startups, entrepreneurs to small companies, who have come together to build a dynamic community where everyone supports one other. Pom provides an active setting with plenty of natural light, comfortable furnishings, and enough of inspiration to get your creative juices flowing. Members of coworking spaces can set up shop in shared workplaces with individual open workstations or book a private office. When the need arises, there are conference rooms to use and secure super-fast Internet to connect to. There’s a laser printer for when you want to see words on paper, as well as a kitchenette where you can make a snack or get a cup of coffee. There are monthly events to attend where you can show off your fantastic networking abilities and get to know your coworker across the desk. When you need a break, stroll around the front yard, relax on the rear patio, or take in some fresh air on the terrace.
Nice and sunny space, stylish bar, and full equipped kitchen. It is not just a job; it is a way of life. Meet new individuals as well as fresh ideas. It’s not only about working; it’s also about being motivated. In the heart of Heraklion, where culture, professionalism, and comfort may all be found.
Comeet is a Heraklion, Crete-based coworking facility. Its goal is to provide a space where individuals from all walks of life can come together, express themselves, interact, and exchange ideas. Comeet is a multi-purpose facility that specializes on shared workplaces. It also serves as a cultural venue for music, theater, workshops, lectures, and exhibitions, among other things.
Inside La Brasserie there is a cozy small 20 square meter area, which is Betty Boop themed. This area is equipped with a surround sound system, special show lightning, beamer, and white screen. If you like to have a private breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner for your company, there is a former MasterChef from the 5-star Amsterdam Hotel Arena. The chef can prepare together with you a menu for your guest a la carte or as buffet.
“Betty Boop” is daily available from 09:00 till 22:00 for a private event.
Half day rental is any time between 09:00 and 17:00 for 4 hours.
Whole day is from 09:00 till 17:00 for 8 hours.
Evening is from 17:00 till 22:00 for 5 hours.
Networking/meeting new people
Facebook remains the largest and most popular social network, with 2.8 billion people using the platform monthly. So joining the Facebook group “Digital Nomads Crete” and “Digital Nomads Heraklion-Crete” allows you to connect with other digital nomads from all over the world, learn from them and share your experiences. People from many walks of life share their personal thoughts on what makes Heraklion so appealing and special. Thousands of people visit Heraklion each year, but only a few get the chance to see the city through the eyes of a resident. Meet the locals and learn about their hidden gems and points of interest. Choose a different stroll with some locals to discover more about the area and get to know it from the inside out. Discover a different way of life and see areas that you won’t find in any tourist guide.
Where to stay
Crete might be a very handy vacation spot. Having a restricted budget will also allow you to discover a suitable location to stay without having to spend tens of thousands of dollars. This holds true for Heraklion just as much as it does for the rest of the island. There are several places to stay in Heraklion at a low cost, such as hostels and some inexpensive hotels (mostly outside of the city) with a daily budget of 50€ to 60€.
For those of you with a more flexible budget, the offer widens quite a lot. There are some unique mid-range places to stay within a budget between 60€ to 150€ per night, such as hotels and flats in the center of city.
In Heraklion, there are some fantastic hotels within walking distance of the city center. For a five-star experience, you may select from distinctive hotels, gorgeous houses transformed into spectacular rental apartments with every type of comfort. The cost of a night’s stay in any of these stunning locations starts at 160€. However, keep in mind that these costs are not very high when compared to those on other Greek islands, therefore availability might be limited at times. Don’t wait until the last minute to get the best available hotel in Heraklion.
Many people want to visit the city but stay out of the city center. And it’s a good idea, because Heraklion is Greece’s fourth-largest city, which means it’s always bustling, congested, and nosy, with traffic being a major concern. Some of these northern coast resort communities offer a perfect balance for getting some beach time while remaining close to the city. One of these, is the small fishing village of Agia Pelagia, which is about 25 km west from the city center, facing the northern coast. The main beach is a wide bay, with tranquil waters, and there are several nice restaurants. Another place not far from the center of town, Amoudara village, is home to the most popular beach in Heraklion. Amoudara is a great choice as it’s close to the city and comfortable to reach Knossos and other landmarks of the region. The two most major beach resort towns in the Heraklion area, on Crete’s northern shore, are Hersonissos and Malia. Hersonissos (24 km from Heraklion city center)is noted for its diverse selection of stores, restaurants, theme parks, and recreational activities. Malia (34 km from the capital) is well-known for its distinctive nightlife, which includes a wide range of discos, beach bars, taverns, and clubs that draw young people throughout the summer. Stalida (also called Stalis) is a seaside resort town near Malia. It is not large, and it is ideal for family vacations since the sea is rather shallow, making it ideal for little children. If you’re searching for a place to stay in Heraklion, you’ve undoubtedly already heard of Matala, a hippy town with famed caverns overlooking the shore. Matala (68 kilometers southwest of Heraklion) lies adjacent to Phaestus, the Minoan civilization’s second greatest palace.
Living expenses in Heraklion
The cost of living in Heraklion is essentially consistent with the rest of Crete. Housing costs in distant settlements are likely to be lower than on the mainland, but access to all the services that make life comfortable may be difficult. In terms of real expenses, a simple one-bedroom apartment in Heraklion’s center may be rented for around 300€ per month, and in the countryside, you can expect to spend much less. Lunch costs vary according on your preferences, but an excellent taverna meal for two with wine may frequently be found for under 30€. Depending on where you get it, a coffee drink will cost you anywhere from 2€ to 5€.
Winter in Heraklion
You must realize that Crete is a diverse environment. The weather at the shore does not match the reality of the mountains, and the north is not the same as the south. As a result, the weather on the island fluctuates, however not to an extraordinary degree. Rain transforms to snow in a couple of minutes as you’re driving, which always surprises you. As early as mid-October or early November, fall and winter merge into one, and the season lasts until April or May. The weather in Crete throughout the winter is mild. The skies are usually overcast, and snowfall is uncommon near the sea. However, inches of snow cover the upper summits of the mountains from January through the first months of the summer. Winter has a love-hate connection with the locals because it comes and goes like a broken window shade. The temperature change is accentuated by the fact that you suddenly require a winter jacket and then spend days basking in the blazing Aegean heat.
July is the hottest month in Heraklion with an average temperature of 25°C and the coldest is January at 12°C. The wettest month is December with an average of 100mm of rain and the best month to swim in the sea is in August when the average sea temperature is 26°C. Generally, the summers are warm, humid, arid, and clear. The winters are cool and mostly clear, and it is windy almost all year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 9°C to 29°C and is rarely below 6°C or above 32°C.
Heraklion, the capital of Crete, is a port with a rich and fascinating history. Before joining modern Greece in the twentieth century, the city was ruled by the Byzantines, the Moors, the Venetians, and the Ottomans. During the late Medieval and Renaissance periods, the Venetians were in command, and they erected powerful four-kilometer defenses that could resist an Ottoman siege for 21 years. Knossos, on the southern highlands, was a center for the Minoan Civilization and is regarded as Greece’s oldest city. The palace complex at the archaeological site is a tangle of ruins, with colorful murals thousands of years old still adorning the walls. The Heraklion Archaeological Museum, the premier venue in the world to study ancient culture, has many Minoan artifacts.
Minoan Palace of Knossos
The Minoan Palace at Knossos is over 20,000 square meters and the largest of all Minoan palatial structures. It was built of ashlar blocks, had many floors, and was decorated with beautiful frescoes. The old palace was built around 2,000 BC but was destroyed by an earthquake in 1700 BC. The newer, more complex palace was built almost immediately after the first one was destroyed. In the middle of the 15th Century BC, the Achaeans took over the island of Crete and settled in the palace. The palace was once again destroyed by fire in the middle of the 14th Century B.C and henceforth ceased to function as a palatial center.
Phaestos Minoan Palace
The Palace of Phaistos is located on the east end of Kastri Hill, the end of the Messara plain in South Central Crete. It is one of the finest Minoan palaces. The preserves of the old and new palace can be seen until nowadays. Excavations in the area began in 1884 and after the declaration of the Cretan State as independent in 1898, continued between in 1900-1904.
Heraklion’s Venetian Castle is known as Koules, which means stronghold in Turkish. It is a massive stronghold that encircles Heraklion’s harbor in Crete. The Koules Castle is a large two-story stronghold that used to protect the port’s entrance. When the Venetians captured the town in the early 13th century, they built the castle. In the Castle, there were three carvings of Saint Mark’s Lion. The one near the castle’s beach still stands today. The Ottomans added the upper story and the foundation for a minaret to the original structure. The Venetian Castle of Koules has been cleaned and renovated several times. It is the signature of Heraklion Town and is frequented by hundreds of people every year.
The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is considered one of the most important museums in Europe and holds many recognizable treasures from Knossos, making it a must visit. The Historical Museum of Crete also makes a fascinating visit, taking you through nearly two millennia of Cretan history, from the early Christian era to World War II.
The magnificent Cathedral of Saint Minas, one of Greece’s biggest cathedrals, towers above the city of Heraklion. It is the island’s patron saint and is notable for its two bell towers. The plaza of Saint Catherine, with the church of Saint Catherine constructed by the Venetians in 1555 in the midst, is a true oasis for the city. The chapel houses a beautiful collection of icons by El Greco and other notable artists. Agios Titos, a lovely Byzantine monument with three naves dedicated to Agios Spyridon, Agios Titos, and Agios Nikolaos, is another church that charms the city of Heraklion. Outside of town, Arkalochori village’s landmarks are the churches of Michael the Archangel and Profitis Elias. They are magnificent Byzantine structures. The holy monastery of Valsamonerou was built in the village of Virizia during the early years of Venetian rule. Only the churches devoted to the three saints Agios Fanourios, Agios Ioannis, and the Virgin Mary have remained today. The abandoned monastery is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that deserves to be seen. The female monastery of Kaliviani is located far from Heraklion, between the towns of Messara and Moires. Over the ruins of an old ecclesiastical monastery, the church was erected in 1873.
Other things to do in Heraklion
Apart from beach vacations, Heraklion offers a plethora of other activities. Diving is a popular sport in Heraklion, especially in resorts like Hersonissos, Malia, Agia Pelagia, and Gouves on the island’s northern side. Heraklion’s seafloor is rich in vegetation and wildlife, as well as several old wrecks. In addition, the high winds that blow often in the summer give excellent windsurfing conditions. In Heraklion, there are a few windsurfing establishments that rent equipment and give lessons for all levels. Hiking is another favorite pastime, especially in the spring and fall when the temperature is cooler. Hiking paths in Heraklion pass through dramatic gorges, villages, and ancient landmarks before concluding on isolated beaches.
Where to eat
Crete is known for its cuisine, which is like traditional Greek cuisine but also includes several unique delicacies that make a vacation to the island a gourmet joy. Lamp, local vegetables, fava beans, and enough Raki to make you regret your life decisions are all part of traditional Cretan food. Even though you’ll eat more potatoes and beans than you have in your life up until this point, it’s satisfying without being hearty. So don’t just fill your face with gyros while you’re here (though there is a time and place for that). Spend some time in a Cretan restaurant and avoid the typical Greek fare in favor of regional specialties.
There is no better spot to go partying in Crete than Heraklion, the island’s capital. Of course, Crete isn’t Mykonos, Ios, or other Greek islands famed for their crazy nightlife, but the city is still the place to go for amazing nightlife on the island. Although there are more pubs and bars in the city center than dance clubs and discos, the most prestigious clubs in Crete can be found just a few minutes to the east in the resorts of Malia and Hersonissos.
The Ottoman Empire’s heritage is inextricably linked to Greek café and coffee culture, but you don’t need to remind them of this sordid history to enjoy some Greek coffee. But whatever you do, don’t refer to it as Turkish. Here are some of the greatest Heraklion cafés, whether you’re searching for a spot to relax and get some work done, want a fantastic view to appreciate while sipping your coffee, or want to know where the locals go for their weekend cup of joe.
Almost all the beaches on the south coast are pebble-covered, with deep blue seas and unpaved roads leading to them. If you’re seeking for peace and quiet, travel to Vathy and Martsalo, which are a 30-minute walk from the Odigitria Monastery region. Aghiofarago is one of the most gorgeous beaches, albeit it does draw a lot of boats in August. After a 20-minute hike through a gorge, you’ll arrive at beautiful beach. Lendas is more developed since it is accessible by a narrow-paved road. The unpaved road to Aghios Nikitas Beach, below the town of Ahendrias, is well worth the trip; there is a lovely palm grove close. On the east side of Asterousia, there’s Listis Beach, which may be accessed by descending a short pathway, and Keratokambos Beach, which has a variety of facilities but also peaceful portions. You may go horseback riding on the beach or visit the unexpectedly stunning Gallery “Savvas Petrakis”, which displays the works of renowned Greek painters. Those preferring to stay close to “civilization” can swim below the legendary caves of Listis by Kastri and the dunes of Komos by Matala. Οn the north coast, in the coves of Sarandaris at Hersonisos, Potamos by Malia, as well as on Dia Island one comes across heavenly beaches, where the water is azure blue.
Around Heraklion, there is a plethora of other lovely Cretan villages and small towns. Gouves is a little picturesque town near Kato Gouves, a well-known seaside tourist destination. Matala and Tsoutsouros are quiet resorts on the Heraklion region’s south coast. The Minoan Palace of Malia is in Malia, which is the liveliest of all the seaside resorts in Crete. The hillside and mountain villages, on the other hand, exhibit a laid-back appeal, typical of the Cretan way of life. Ancient Archanes, one of the most significant regions in Minoan Crete, is one of these Crete settlements. Peza village, which is known for its wine and olive oil production, is another inland community. If you want to experience some of the most excellent Cretan wines, go there.