Heraklion is a Greek nome situated in the very heart of Crete. In the west in borders on Rethymnon, in the east - on Lassithi. The same-name administrative center of the region is a capital of the island that is presently considered one of the largest Greek cities.
The population of Heraklion amounts to 175 000 people. 125 000 of them live in the capital. It is exactly where the main places for recreation, museums, administrative and financial institutions are concentrated. There are numerous world-known monuments of the greatest Minoan culture in the region.
Heraklion has a modern, well-developed infrastructure. A huge number of amusement facilities and companies operate in the nome for the favor of those who like active recreation. Thus, one may rent a bicycle and go conquering mountain peaks or yachting in the sea.
At the coast of Heraklion are numerous well-equipped beaches located at different distances from the Cretan capital. Only 5 km away from the city there is a village named Amoudara with a long sandy coastline. More beaches can be found in Pantanassa, Lefcada, Paleokastro, Karteros and other picturesque places.
Although the nome is mainly occupied by plains, the region has many mountains as well. Among the most popular ones is Yuchtas. The peak not only protects the main city of Crete from the wind, but is also considered to be sacred. Once they found a Minoan temple in the cave almost on the very top of the ancient mountain.
A considerable part of Heraklion is covered with a massif Ida (Psiloritis). It consists of five peaks including the highest one on the island – Timios-Stavros. There are many villages spreading out at the foot of Ida – locals always welcome adventurous travellers who are not afraid to launch a challenge to the local peaks.
A lot of interesting places can be visited not far from Asterusia mountains close to the southern coast of Heraklion. Among all places of interest special attention is to be paid to Agiofarango – the Gorge of Saints that comes down the Monastery of the Virgin Hodegetria to the side of the Libyan Sea.
Together with the mountains, the landscape of Heraklion is formed by plains between them as well. For example, Karteros leads to the same-name resort, while Roza canyon comes down the Dikti range. A big number of unique places have a reserve status and attract mountain climbers and those who look for unforgettable hiking in the wild.