What we know as the Heraklion Port is actually divided into two parts. One is the old Venetian harbour and the other is the new Heraklion Ferry Port.
The Heraklion Port serves as a harbour for travellers to and from Heraklion as well as for the shipment of cargo. It is a port that is well equipped to serve the needs of all visitors. There are many shops, cafes and restaurants within and around the port. There are also some travel agencies and tour operators in the vicinity.
The Heraklion Port is a very busy port; in fact, it is the third busiest in all of Greece. It serves around two million passengers and approximately 300,000 vehicles every year. There are at least two large and modern ships belonging to the regular Cretan ferry lines that depart for Piraeus every day. Also, there are also ferries sailing directly to many other Aegean ports and the Port of Thessaloniki from the Heraklion Port.
1. Meidani (centre)
2. Shipyards (Arsenali)
3. Koules Fortress
4. Canteen in the middle of the jetty
5. Port Authority and Marina cafeteria
6. Port car park
7. Passenger docks
9. Intercity buses to Chania, Rethymno, Hersonissos, Agios Nikolaos, Ierapetra, Sitia, etc.
Location of the Heraklion Port
The Heraklion Port has a very strategic location along the highway system of Crete. It sits right in the middle of Crete’s main highway that runs alongside the north coast of the island. This main highway links the towns of Kissamos, Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos and Sitia from west to east.
The Heraklion Port also serves as the beginning point of the Heraklion Timbaki highway. This highway connects the northern and southern coasts of Crete, connecting areas such as Messara, the Phaistos Minoan Palace, the archaeological site in Gortys, Matala, Mires, Timbaki and others.
Heraklion Port serves two million passengers each year, both those using the daily routes from Piraeus, Santorini and other islands, and guests from cruise ships which stop at Heraklion for their passengers to visit Knossos and the city of Heraklion.
In recent years, great efforts have been made to modernise the passenger facilities provided at Heraklion Port. A major improvement is the new 2,500 square metre passenger terminus, providing passengers with a pleasant place to wait.
At the passenger terminus, you can also check in and out for your flight from the Heraklion Airport. You can also temporarily leave your luggage in the lockers as well as use the wireless Internet connection for your laptop.
Aerial picture of the Heraklion port. The passengers' terminal is on the top-left corner.
Parking at the Heraklion Port
There are plenty of parking spaces available at the Heraklion Port, both for short- and long-term parking. There are also areas specially designated for disabled customers.
Sailing Schedules at the Heraklion Port
The Heraklion Port is served by the ferries of the Minoan Lines. These ferries travel the following ferry routes: Heraklion to Piraeus, Heraklion to Thessaloniki Port, and Patras - Corfu - Igoumenitsa.
Ferries travelling the Heraklion - Piraeus route depart from the port twice a day during summer. The travel time is seven hours. Ferries leave Heraklion at 11:00am and at 10:00pm, arriving at Piraeus at 6:00pm and at 5:00am the following morning respectively. On the other hand, Minoan Lines ferries leave Piraeus for Heraklion at 10:00pm.
Minoan Lines is one of the older ferry lines in Greek, having been in operation for more than 30 years. Its ships travel the sea routes of the Aegean and the Adriatic, serving both mainland Greece and Italy.
The Heraklion Port is also served by the ferries of ANEK Lines. Their ferries leave Heraklion at 9pm, arriving at Piraeus at 5:30am the following day. The same schedule is followed for ferries from Piraeus sailing for Heraklion.
The ships sailing to and from Heraklion are typically large vessels with three levels. These ships are fitted with comfortable cabins and seating. There are also shops, bars, restaurants and in-house entertainment catering to passengers.
Many of these ships also carry vehicles. Passengers are more often than not welcome to take their pets along for the ferry ride. However, these pets cannot be brought to certain areas of the ship.
Passengers with disabilities are accommodated through satisfactory wheelchair access on board all ferries that sail the islands and to other ports outside Greece. These passengers, however, must notify the ferry if they have special needs when they make their travel bookings.
Travelling to Heraklion Port by Car
Travelling to the Heraklion Port by driving is very simple. All you have to do is to take the national highway and follow the signs. If you are driving from Agios Nikolaos, drive west along the national highway, and then north towards the sea once you get to Heraklion.
If you are coming from Rethymnon or Chania, drive east along the national highway. Just follow the signs towards Heraklion.
Travelling to Heraklion Port by Taxi
If you are taking the taxi to the Heraklion Port, you will find it very easy to get one. In Greece, taxi service is inexpensive, and it is not hard to find one at all. Most taxi companies in Heraklion and anywhere else in Crete can be radioed.
For more convenience, you can book online a taxi transfer ahead of time to arrange the trip from your hotel to the Heraklion Port.