If you travel this summer to Crete and you are a fan of history, you should definitely visit the archaeological site of Knossos, the largest Bronze Age site on the island and the oldest city of Europe. In this place, you will admire several significant sites from the Minoan Times and explore the civilisation that flourished in Crete the third and second millennium B.C., being one of the oldest and most advanced Neolithic civilisations in the world.
The most important monuments in Knossos are the Palace of Knossos, the Little Palace, the Royal Villa and other villas, mansions and tombs. The Palace of Knossos is the largest palatial centre in Crete with four wings arranged around a central courtyard, containing royal quarters, workshops, rooms and halls. The Little Palace is located on the western side of the site and has strong palatial architecture with wall masonry, reception rooms, a magnificent hall and a megaron. The Royal Villa has a religious character as it was the residence of an aristocrat or a priest. Walk around the site, and you will also explore many houses, luxury villas with frescoes and wall paintings, axes, columns, mosaics and paved streets. The place is a journey back in history, and what is impressive with Knossos is that it embeds buildings from various periods, such as the Bronze Age and the Roman Times, creating thus a multicultural scenery.
How to get there
The site of Knossos is located very close to the town of Heraklion (4 km). If you rent a car in Heraklion, you can go there in 5 minutes, but you can also go there by car from other cities in Crete. If you rent a car in Chania, you need about 2 hours drive, while from Rethymno and Agios Nikolaos one hour. There is also public transportation from the Hospital of Heraklion to Knossos, but the schedule is not very often, and you may find it full of people. Taxis are quite expensive, but from Heraklion due to the short distance, you need about 10€.
Other things to see
Knossos is very easily combined with other interesting things to see. The city of Heraklion is a modern town with great nightlife, but there are many other touristic resorts to visit nearby, such as Matala and Hersonissos. If you love history and you want to understand better the Minoan civilisation, we recommend you visiting also the ancient site of Phaistos (1 hour drive) as well as the Archaeological Museum inside the town of Heraklion, where you can see the Phaistos Disc, a clay table with the Minoan Linear A scripture, which has not been deciphered yet.