Visit the great Minoan ruins of the Palace of Knossos, famous as the home of the labyrinth where the Minotaur roamed, and the Archaeological Museum housing many superb artifacts from the complex. Explore the stunning mountain-fringed Lassithi plateau with its orchards, 7000 windmills and ancient villages. Take home fine reproduction Minoan pottery, a traditional Cretan knife, local embroidery, hand-woven rugs, gold and silver jewelry. Relax over a dish of hearty moussaka or delicious souvlaki in a taverna, washed down with local wine or beer.
The following Shore Excursions are available for this port on this cruise, and may be reserved beginning 240 days before the cruise begins for guests receiving Concierge amenities, and 180 days before the cruise begins for all other guests. Guests receiving Concierge amenities will receive a 5% discount off of the prices shown below for Regent Choice tours.
Most Active or Strenuous
Minimal Activity Required
Leaving the port of Heraklion, you will travel southwards to Knossos, the ancient capital of the great king Minos, which truly reflects the wonders of the ancient Minoan civilization. The original palace of Knossos was constructed around 1900 B.C.. Some two-hundred years later, an earthquake destroyed the original palace; however, it was rebuilt on an even grander scale. Unfortunately, the final catastrophe to hit the palace occurred around 1500-1450 B.C., with the eruption of the volcano in Santorini. Despite this devastating blow, people continued to live in the capital for another fifty years, until a fire swept throughout the city around 1400 B.C., causing its ultimate destruction as well.
During your guided tour, you will be taken through the amazing ruins of the ancient palace complex, which once served as the administrative and religious center for the whole region. The living quarters of the king and queen and members of the royal court, rooms for state occasions, theater area, store rooms and potters' workshops are all able to be viewed within the palace complex. The restoration undertaken by Sir Arthur Evans, though criticized by some for its modernity, helps the tourist to both visualize the palace as it was and understand its labyrinthine complexity.
At the conclusion of your time at Knossos, you will be taken to the main square of Heraklion where you will be afforded free time for shopping or simply strolling around Crete's interesting capital city before returning to the ship.
Please note: The guided portion of this tour involves approximately 1 1/2 hours of walking over uneven pavement and grounds. There is also approx. 15 steps to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests. Those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned only to participate to the extent of their personal stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
The charming countryside of Crete provides the backdrop to this pleasant half-day excursion. Of the three great mountain ranges of Crete, you will be exploring the most eastern, Mt. Dikti. Departing from the pier, you will travel into the island's interior, ascending to a level of 3,000 feet. Along the way, enjoy the passing view of the fertile countryside and many picturesque villages - typical of Crete - as you make your way to the Plateau known as Lassithi.
The first stop on this magnificent mountain route will be at the monastery of Kera, which is adorned with 14th century wall paintings. Originally named Kardiotissa, the structure was built in the 17th century and is dedicated to the Virgin of Kera. You will have time here to tour the monastery and see the lovely Byzantine icons contained in the church. Leaving the monastery, your coach will continue climbing along a route that takes you through wooded villages to the plateau of Lassithi. Here, a breathtaking view is afforded of the encircling mountains that are dotted with over 100 picturesque windmills, something the area is famous for. You'll want to be sure to take some memorable photos from this vantage point before re-boarding your coach for the return trip to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 1 hour of walking - at times on uneven ground, as well as climbing of steps and may not be suitable for wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns.
Explore the excavated palace of the mythological king Minos and other ruins in Knossos using 3D software that shows how the structures appeared thousands of years ago.
After departing from the pier, you will enjoy a brief drive inland to Knossos, once the capital of ancient Minoan Crete. The area was first inhabited in the seventh millennium B.C., and its grandeur has been slowly revealed through archaeological excavation. The palace that once stood here was known as the seat of power of the legendary King Minos, and the remains of this UNESCO World Heritage site reflect the glory of former times.
From 1900 to 1931, British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans supervised the excavation of the Palace of Knossos and the surrounding area, and you will see firsthand some of the treasures that have been uncovered. There are royal quarters, shrines, a royal villa, workshops, banquet halls and other preserved monuments from the Minoan civilization.
Portions of the ruins have been reconstructed using modern materials to show how they appeared in ancient times. For a more in-depth view of the structures, simply use the provided electronic tablet with 3D augmented-reality software. Just point the tablet’s camera at a ruin, and you will see the structure as it originally stood centuries ago.
After a thorough walking tour of Knossos, you will return to Heraklion to sightsee on your own. You might browse the boutiques or seek out highlights such as the 17th-century Morosini Fountain in Lions Square before returning to the pier.
Please note: The guided portion of this tour involves approximately 1½ hours of walking over uneven pavement and grounds. There is also approx 15 steps to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests. Those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned only to participate to the extent of their personal stamina and ability Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
A scenic drive from the pier takes you to the excavations of the ancient Minoan Palace of Phaestos, once occupied by King Radamanthys, the brother of King Minos and considered by many to be the finest and most typical of Minoan palaces. Located on the crest of a hill dominating the valley of Messara, the site actually contains the ruins of two palaces. The first having been in use for about three centuries, was destroyed around 1700 B.C. A new palace was erected on its ruins, but also met with destruction around 1400 B.C. However, the existence of the two different palaces can be easily observed.
As you explore the site you'll no doubt marvel at the majestic courtyards, the theater, living quarters and other remains that showcase the highly developed and peaceful Minoan civilization that extended all over Crete. An added bonus to this tour is the amazing views afforded of the surrounding countryside.
At the conclusion of your visit, your coach will transport you back to the port.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 1 1/2 hours of walking and/or standing - at times on uneven ground and may not be suitable for those with mobility concerns. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
Terms & Conditions:
Free Unlimited Shore Excursions are for full fare guests only, capacity controlled and subject to availability. Requested excursions may not be available at time of booking. Supplement will apply on Regent Choice excursions (indicated by the above) and excludes Private Arrangements and all Adventures Ashore programs. Concierge benefits do not apply to Executive Collection private cars or other private arrangements. In order to ensure quality guides and sufficient transportation, we must provide the tour operator with passenger counts at least 36 hours in advance. Therefore no refunds will be given within 36 hours of tour departure for cancellations or no-shows. Please pay special attention to scheduling and tour lengths when booking your shore excursions. In many cases, it is not possible to participate in more than one tour per day in a given port. Tour Departure times are subject to change so please reference your actual tour ticket for the correct departure time. Tours operate rain or shine. Minor children 17 years and under must be accompanied by a an adult 18 years or older on all shore excursions. Tours require minimum participation levels to operate so please sign up as early as possible. Tours may be cancelled if minimum participation levels are not met. Prices, Itineraries and General Information shore excursion prices are subject to change to meet unexpected cost increases or currency fluctuations. Please consult the Destination Services Desk onboard for information. During local or national holidays, access to certain facilities (such as museums or archaeological sites) may be limited or denied. In such instances, adjustments will be made to minimize inconvenience to guests. Some tours have limited availability. Tours are generally available for reserving 180 days prior to the beginning of a cruise. Please sign up early to avoid disappointment. Regent Seven Seas Cruises reserves the right to require guests to complete a liability waiver for select shore excursions. For more information, please visit the Destination Services Desk onboard.