P&O Cruises now offer a selection of cruises that include the city of Heraklion on the island of Crete as a Port-of-Call.
The proud city of Heraklion is the modern capital of Crete, largest and most ruggedly beautiful of the Greek Isles.
Just along the coast, you’ll find the scrupulously renovated remains of Knossos, the Palace of King Minos and the island’s capital under the Minoans. Here, the endless maze of salons, staircases and courtyards gave rise to the legend of the Labyrinth, housing the evil Minotaur at its heart. See the legend come vividly to life!
A full list of the P&O cruises that feature Heraklion in Crete as a Port of Call can be found here:
P&O Heraklion Cruises also feature a fantastic selection of shore excursions. We’ve listed a few of the most popular excursions below. Please check the P&O Heraklion Excursions page for a complete list of current excursions.
Knossos – The Minoan Miracle
This popular tour visits the amazing Knossos archaeological site, proving the existence of the Minoan civilisation.
The original palace of Knossos was raised around 1900 BC, but was destroyed by an earthquake 200 years later. It was rebuilt on a grander scale, only to be severely damaged by the eruption of Santorini in 1600 BC and ravaged by fire in 1400 BC.
Your guided tour will take you through the marvellous ruins of the ancient complex, restored by Sir Arthur Evans. His work has been criticised by some for its modernity, but it does help you visualise the palace as it was, when it served as the administrative centre for the region.
There will be over an hour of free time for you to stroll at leisure in the town of Heraklion. Perhaps visit the Fountain of Morosini, near the colourful fruit and vegetable market, or shop for some Cretan souvenirs.
Knossos and Winery
Explore the archeological site of Knossos before rewarding yourself with wine tasting at a local winery.
The great discovery of Knossos not only proved the existence of the Minoan as the earliest civilisation in Europe, but also left all experts amazed at how advanced it was.
Your guided tour will take you through the fantastic ruins of the ancient complex, restored by Sir Arthur Evans. View in amazement, parts of the original labyrinth and picture its maze haunted by the mythical Minotaur, for whose containment it was built, by its master builder, Deadalus. He was kept prisoner so as to not reveal its secret until he and his son, Icarus, literally took flight, with a tragic end.
Built in expansive vineyards, The Fantaxometaho Estate is one of the most modern and impressive wineries of Crete and the setting for a winery tour to see its production facilities and wine cellars. The tour is followed by a multimedia presentation on the history of wine making and an introduction to the art of wine tasting. Enjoy a sample of wines produced at the winery and a plate of Dakos, a Cretan dried rusk soaked in olive oil and topped with fresh tomato and cheese.
Villages and Crafts
This tour helps you get a feel for traditional Crete by visiting island villages and learning about their crafts.
From the fortress-dominated harbour of the city of Heraklion, drive through some of the fertile countryside and up into the spine of the island with its snow-capped peaks.
The traditional mountain village of Thrapsono is well known for its ceramic workshops and artists. Visit a pottery and see the artists at work on the potter’s wheel while admiring the rural surroundings. If you wish, you may purchase some of the wonderful creations.
Built on the slopes above the town of Heraklion is the village of Arolithos. Even though it was built in recent years, the village was built in the traditional way and looks centuries old. Wander through tree-lined narrow streets and view the shops of the local artisans. At the museum you will be able to view traditional embroidery, local costumes, wood sculptures, religious artefacts and local arms and armaments.
Relax with a glass of the local aperitif, Raki (or, for the less adventurous, a soft drink) accompanied with a few small meze.
The Best of Crete
Discover the real Crete on this full day tour, including Knossos, the resort of Aghios Nikolaos and a typical Greek lunch.
The capital of Minoan Crete was the largest and most sophisticated palace on the island. It contained over 1,000 rooms and enjoyed the comforts of an elaborate drainage system, flushing toilets and paved roads. In legend, Knossos was believed to be the setting of an underground labyrinth, designed to imprison the mythical Minotaur. This half-man, half-bull was born of King Minos’ wife and slain by Theseus. Your guided tour will take you through the ruins of the ancient capital of Minoan Crete.
An hour’s drive, through the ever-changing Cretan countryside, will bring you to Aghios Nikolaos, one of the island’s most famous resorts. Boasting a superb setting on the Bay of Mirabello, built around the harbour and Lake Voulismeni, now interconnected by canals, the area is filled with a variety of shops and cafés of every description and you’ll have approximately 1 hour to explore for souvenirs of your visit. A typical Greek lunch with wine and coffee will be served in a local restaurant.
A stop will be made at a vantage point for you to admire the islet of Spinalonga; this former leper colony is dominated by a Venetian fortress.
You will find the full and current list of P&O Heraklion Shore Excursions at
Book online and qualify for P&O online booking discounts.
All P&O Cruises to Heraklion are fully bookable online at P&O Cruises.Share