Travel Guide: Hersonissos, Crete, Greece.

Hersonissos is a busy and sprawling resort that stretches a couple of kilometres wide along the north coast of Crete around a 30 minute drive (or 25km) to the East of Heraklion International airport.

What is now known as Hersonissos (Χερσόνησος in Greek meaning peninsula) is actually the Port of Hersonissos which in days gone by served the village of the same name which lies a little further inland and is now termed as 'Old Hersonissos'.

Hersonissos is a long and largely thin town of approximately 27,000 permanent inhabitants but this swells remarkably every summer season as holidaymakers head there to enjoy the famous Cretan hospitality and the endless summer sun.

Hersonissos Central Beach, Crete, Greece. This is our guide to the large seaside resort.
Hersonissos Beach, Crete, Greece

The town is a popular destination for a number of reasons and we'll try and give you a flavour of the key reasons people flock in and around the town in this guide.

Firstly I guess it's important to point out that Hersonissos itself is the focal point of a 'region' of tourism that spreads across a larger area. Holidaymakers may gravitate to the centre of town for a meal or a stroll (or to party!) but dotted around the central town are resorts that all feed into the central area. Anissaras and Analipsi to the West are mostly a collection of large hotels and resorts with some of the best beaches in the area along the coast and whilst a proportion of these shrines to holiday heaven are all inclusive there are a few shops and restaurants interspersed within them. Up the hill to the south behind Hersonissos lie the pretty villages of Old Hersonissos, Piskopiano and Koutouloufari which are self sufficient and atmospheric traditional Cretan village in style and tailored almost exclusively to the holidaymakers that flock to them each and ever summer. They sit up behind Hersonissos and provide a scenic spot with a wide choice of hotels, cafes, bars, restaurants and a few shops too but once again you will see the taxi drivers of Hersonissos making almost endless short trips up and down the hills to fetch those who stay in these beautiful villages down to the lights and sounds of central Hersonissos.

Piskopiano, Crete, Greece.

So now we have established that Hersonissos is the focal point of a wider area it's important to also remember that the town itself has a huge range of places to stay too. With lodgings to suit every budget the town itself is a great place to take your break in the sun whatever your holiday desires maybe. I see Hersonissos as an 'all rounder' in terms of being suitable for families as well as the young looking for fun in the sun. The purist visitors to Crete that seek an absolutely authentic experience often talk about this area of Crete with derision as it is just too westernised, over populated or commercial for their liking and I respect this as I have seen both sides of the story but ultimately it depends on what you personally perceive as a great holiday and I also know many people who return to this region year after year and have the most wonderful holiday.

If you are going to stay in Hersonissos itself and you prefer a quiet spot to retreat to or laze around the hotel pool then avoid the main Venizeliou Road through the town and look to stay on the fringes of Hersonissos. In high season the main strip and the centre of town are busy and full of life and a fair amount of noise and unless you are going to be amongst the party scene until the early hours you might find this a bit too much.

The only type of people I would suggest this area specifically isn't for are people seeking a break with solitude. Hersonissos and it's surrounding villages and resorts is Crete on a more lively, busy and commercial scale and if you want a quiet beach with peaceful dining and an opportunity in more quiet solitude to recharge from your hectic home life then this area is not going to be what you are after however families, couples and groups of friends alike who want to holiday in a place that gives you that Cretan spirit whilst being packed with life, bustle and vibrancy then Hersonissos and it's surround will not disappoint.

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