Hersonissos Crete - A cosmopolitan resort with famous nightlife
Hersonissos or Limenas Hersonissou is located 25 km east of Heraklion and is one of the most cosmopolitan places in Crete. In fact, Hersonissos consists of several small villages like Koutouloufari, Piscopiano, Potamies, Avdou, Gonies and Kera and the main tourist destinations being Limenas Hersonissou, Anissaras and Old Hersonissos.
Limenas Hersonissou which is the harbour of Hersonissos is famous for its night life as there are many bars, restaurants and tavernas next to the beach.
The town has many late 20th century buildings and hotels as well as an impressive variety of goods to offer shoppers, from top designer labels and exquisite jewellery to fine antiques and high quality leather goods.
The neighbouring villages offer a number of small hotels and apartments for quiet and peaceful family vacations.
The land is fertile, though rocky. The water of the city is provided from the famous Malia springs. There are all of the main public utilities except for a hospital. Emergency care and treatment is handled through the adequate network of private owned medical centres.
All the shops are located on the beach road and on Eleftheriou Venizelou Street. Shops are open 9:00 am – 10:00 pm, 7 days a week. Transport is fully operational through the new intercity road, with buses and taxis. Also daily cruises to the neighbouring island of Dia and many other small islets and beaches are being organized regularly.
Hersonissos keeps the name of the ancient city that was located where its harbour is today. The city was first built during Minoan times but experienced great prosperity during the Roman and early Byzantine period.
The Roman Hersonissos had wonderful marble fountains and theatres. Remnants of this period can be seen in the area of Kastri, on a promontory where excavations have revealed an early Christian basilica.
The ancient city of Hersonissos was irrigated by an aqueduct, ruins of which can be found today at Xerokamares, at the village of Potamies.
The marks of the Byzantine era on the city can mostly be seen at the harbour and it’s Acropolis (dominating hill) where a paleo-Christian basilica church is found.
Venetians and Turks have also left their mark on the area. The port was called Porto Tigani and sheltered many boats even after the city shrank to a few living houses.
The city died slowly because of Saracens and other pirates looting the coastal area and cities. The people sheltered high up on the mountain slopes with enough time to react on eminent pirate attacks. That is how the town of Old Hersonissos was built.
It is called old nowadays because the port was almost abandoned and evolved into a small fishing village, until after the 1950's when some interest grew on its tourist hosting capacities.
There are many excavations going on that have revealed beautiful mosaics, building remnants and pottery. Although there is no organized archaeological site, one can admire findings scattered throughout the area.
How to get there:
There are regular public buses from and to Heraklion.