This blessed place with its great tradition and customs, especially Christmas, becomes even more hospitable and welcomes us with a “raki” and walks us through its streets to offer us its traditional dishes. Do we take notes, and who knows? Maybe this Christmas, they will find us different and highly festive, in this place that lacks nothing, any time of the year.
The Christmas side of Heraklion
Every year in Heraklion, the heart of the festive events beats in Eleftherias Square, where a village is set up with wooden houses full of ornaments, cards, balloons, gifts and Christmas delicacies. In fact, there is a special custom here, that of bougatsa – the inhabitants on New Year’s Eve consume large quantities of bougatsa wanting the first taste of the year to be sweet. That is why in all the city streets on New Year’s Eve, you will find outdoor benches that distribute bougatsa.
Apart from the festive events, a walk in the Venetian fortress-emblem that dominates the entrance of the old port of Chandakas, against the background of the cold winter sea is worth as much as anything. It is one of the most intimate symbols of the city with a long history dating back to the 16th century.
If you want to experience Christmas with a traditional village atmosphere, all you have to do is head to Archanes. It is one of the most beautiful traditional settlements of Crete, located 14 km outside the centre of Heraklion. To visit this place, you are advised to use a vehicle that will take you safely and quickly there. Choosing a car hire from a reputable company located there, such as that of Enjoy Travel, will offer you an immediate and economical solution to your travels. Restored mansions with colours, stone cobbled streets with lanterns, and vineyards all around compose a magical landscape. At the entrance of the village, you will find the imposing neoclassical building that houses the Environmental Education Center and a little further the all-white church of Panagia.
If you are in Heraklion at Christmas, attend the Christmas service at the metropolitan church of Agios Minas, which is considered the patron saint of Heraklion. Visit the aquarium of Crete, one of the most modern aquariums in Europe that will take you to the magical world of the Mediterranean. Learn about the habits of sea creatures and the secrets of the seabed and watch the feeding of the animals and the cleaning of the tanks by the divers.
It is also possible not to mention the famous museum of the famous Heraklion-writer Nikos Kazantzakis. There you will have the opportunity to see manuscripts and notes of the author, samples of correspondence with great thinkers, politicians and writers of his time, first editions of works in Greek and other languages, rare photographic material, souvenirs from his travels and personal items. For your stay in the city of Heraklion, you can choose from dozens of options of hotels, hostels and mansions, either inside the city or outside. In any case, the quality of your vacation will be high and will definitely leave you satisfied, looking for the opportunity to revisit it.