Heraklion is the largest city on the map of the largest Greek island – Crete. Located nearby the famous ancient palace of Knossos, the metropolitan area extends around the central region of the northern part of the island. More than 200 thousand people live there on a regular basis and the population doubles during the summer thanks to the tourist invasion.
Undoubtedly, Heraklion is one of the top European picks for travelers who wish to enjoy the warm weather and sea as early as March or as late as November. The main reason for heading to Crete is the beach, but there is more than that. While the area still holds the spirit of the Bronze Age and the Antiquity that can be sensed on numerous locations, the city is modern and one of the fastest developing in Greece, providing a wide variety of choices for people to have a good time there.
One of the warmest zones in Europe, Crete gives you the chance to enjoy the beach as early as March or as late as November. The summer is sweltering in the Heraklion area, so beware to avoid being under the sun for a long time. The average temperature in July is over 28 degrees Celsius. There are rarely rainy days around the island, especially during the summer.
Even if it is the largest city in Crete, the environment is quite safe. The crime level is low, and the risk for the travelers is insignificant. The most common violation recently is vandalism rather than robbery, burglary or assault. There are certain parts of Heraklion to avoid in the night, but overall the city is safe.
The health care in Heraklion is among the best in Greece. Being on vacation in and around the biggest city in Crete will assure that a hospital of high quality is located nearby. Heraklion University hospital is praised for being among the top Greek health care facilities. Being a citizen of the EU, you need the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to avoid paying (or paying too much) for health care
Finding public toilets while on tour around Heraklion is not a common thing. There are only a few restrooms available in the center of the city. You can find a toilet near the port and the Koules castle, and there are only two spots around the central area to use the restroom for free in the most significant city of the island.
The quality of the public Internet in Heraklion is not good enough. You can find areas in the center of the city where free Wi-Fi is available. Anyway, it is not always easy to connect, and the speed of the web service is moderate at best.
Drinking the tap water while on vacation in Crete is overall safe, but it mostly depends on the location. The major hotels filter the water, so it is alright to drink it. A 6-pack of 1,5 l bottles of water worth less than 2 Euro anyway.