Hersonissos or Chersonissos
Hersonissos is 26 kilometres east of Heraklion, between Anissaras and Stalis.
Hersonissos has developed due to tourism and, in just a few decades, has grown into the largest tourist resort in Crete.
Hersonissos has about 3,000 permanent inhabitants (2,981 in the 2001 census), but this number increases exponentially each summer, with the thousands of seasonal workers in tourism, and of course the hundreds of thousands of tourists who come to Hersonissos on holiday.
Hersonissos with Stalis in the background
Hersonissos is officially named Limenas Hersonissou (“Port of Hersonissos”), because it was once the harbour of the village of Αno Hersonissos (“Upper Hersonissos”), now known as Old Hersonissos. Ano Hersonissos is 2 kilometres south of seaside Hersonissos, which essentially developed from the 1960s onwards due to tourism. Until then it had been just a small village with a rudimentary harbour, from which local agricultural goods were exported.
Hersonissos is ideal for…
If anyone tries to sell you a holiday in Hersonissos by telling you it’s a small, picturesque Cretan town, don’t believe them - they’re lying.
Hersonissos seen from Anissaras (east)
Hersonissos means fun and mass tourism, lovely but busy beaches, a modern town with dozens of shops selling tourist goods, clothes and jewellery, restaurants offering all kinds of food, cafeterias, bars and nightclubs to suit every taste.
Hersonissos also means conference tourism in the large luxury hotels, the only golf course in Crete, and all-inclusive holidays for tourists of all ages who are mostly entertained in their hotel and rarely leave it to get to know the beautiful sights of Crete. This is a shame, because Hersonissos is ideally placed for easy travel across the whole island, either by rented car or by bus.
People traveling with children will find many ways of keeping them happy in Hersonissos, with a day at the two Water Parks, a visit to the Hersonissos Aquarium or the giant CretAquarium in Gournes, a trip on the “happy train”, or letting them enjoy themselves in the play areas provided by many restaurants.
Also, 1-2 kilometres to the south are the traditional villages of Koutouloufari, Piskopiano and Ano Hersonissos, for those who would rather stay somewhere quieter without missing out on all seaside Hersonissos has to offer.
Hersonissos on the map
How to get to Hersonissos
From Heraklion Airport you can get to Hersonissos by rented car, delivered on your arrival at the airport, by taxi or by bus. Heraklion Airport is roughly 20 kilometres from Hersonissos, about a 15-minute drive along the new National Road.
From Heraklion Port to Hersonissos. If you haven’t got a car, you can either take a taxi on leaving the ferry, or walk 500 metres down the road to the main bus station, just outside the port on the other side of the road. Buses depart for Hersonissos every half hour, from early in the morning to late at night.
From Chania and Rethymno to Hersonissos. The National Road from Chania and Rethymno to Heraklion continues on to Hersonissos and further east. Hersonissos is about 2 hours’ drive from Rethymno and 2.5 hours from Chania.
To get from Agios Nikolaos to Hersonissos, take the National Road in the direction of Heraklion, and you will be in Hersonissos in about half an hour.
From Kokkini Hani, Gouves, Gournes, Analipsi and Anissaras to Hersonissos. Take the old National Road through the above resorts, this leads to Hersonissos in a few minutes’ drive. Buses are frequent, while taxis are cheap as it’s only a short distance away.
The same applies to Stalis and Malia, which are east of Hersonissos and very close to it.