Most of our customers like to stay in Old Hersonissos or one of the the neighbouring hillside villages of Koutouloufari and Piskopiano, with winding streets and friendly, family-run tavernas. Inland and vastly different from the bigger coastal town, Old Hersonissos provides a slower pace of life and a beautiful central square with a fountain in the middle and a church. As with all the traditional villages on the island, the square is where people congregate in little tavernas and bars. The village is all about traditional architecture, white washed alleyways, flower-filled courtyards, old wells and stone houses with outdoor wood-burning ovens. Here you can buy local ceramic art, hand-made embroidery and woven items. As it is some way up the hillside, it also has fine views of the coast.
Hersonissos is only 16 miles or about 45 minutes’ drive away from Crete’s historical capital, Heraklion. Every corner of Crete is steeped in history, and this is particularly true of Hersonissos, which originated in Minoan times. It thrived during the Classical and early Byzantine eras, and did even better under the Romans, as you can see from the remains of the ornate marble fountains they built down by the harbour. Eventually the great city dwindled until Hersonissos was just a small fishing village.
Hersonissos is an attractive resort with a pretty fishing harbour and a promenade lined with shops, cafés, bars, and restaurants. There are some excellent beaches along the coast here such as the popular Star Beach in front of the water park, and Hersonissos Beach to the east of the port, starting in front of the New York Bar. There are all kinds of water sports for you to try such as jet-skis and banana boats. To see some of the best costal scenery, take the tourist train to nearby Stalis and Malia, both of which are famous for long stretches of golden sand backed by restaurants and bars.
Now tourism has restored its glory days – and nights! If you would like to get a better understanding of the history of the place there are a couple of museums that will help. A former olive oil mill was converted to house The Museum of Rural Life, mainly focusing on fishing and farming, whereas The Cretan Open-Air Museum, 'Lychnostatis', is a recreation of village life with a windmill, stone house, gallery and functioning bar that opens a window into the past.