Heraklion is the capital city of the island of Crete. When coming to Heraklion, tourists usually expect to see typical Greek city, full of old architecture and taverns. However, they get really surprised finding themselves in a modern and the fifth largest city in Greece.
Even though the ugliness might be the first impression of this city, there are a great number of attractive features which will lead to the change of the initial impressions very fast.
Besides the perfect blue sea, archeological museums, excellent food and friendly people, numerous antiquities make this city a place to be visited.
Warnings & Dangers in Heraklion
OVERALL RISK : LOW
The safety index of 82 is the best proof of how safe the city is. Even though it is relatively safe, it is necessary to avoid strange looking people on the street. Scams are a reality in Heraklion and travelers need to be attentive.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
The public transport in Greece might be risky and the existence of fake taxis is a problem. If you want to explore the city on your own, renting a car is the best solution. Strikes may sometimes affect the transport. If you ride a scooter, a helmet is obligatory by law.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
There are some pickpockets in Heraklion, but the risk of being robbed is very low, if you practice your common sense. Most visits pass without any trouble, but in order to feel safe, you should leave valuables in a safe place at your hotel.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
The only possible natural hazards in Greece are earthquakes and forest fires that may occur due to the extremely hot weather.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
There are some reports in recent years about sexual assault and rape in Heraklion, but violent crimes are generally rare here. Racially motivated attacks sometimes happen, so avoid being in dangerous areas during the night.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Even though many people wonder why Greece was not the target of the terrorist attacks in Europe, the possibility and the threat exists. There is no terrorist treat in Heraklion, but the attacks might happen anywhere in Greece, especially in the major cities. Terrorist usually attack in places frequented by foreigners, since they are the most crowded ones.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Scammers almost do not exist in Heraklion, but it is a necessity to be watchful of strange looking people in your surroundings. There were situations when tourists were asked what time it is and once they took their phone out to see, it was snatched.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Even though the assault against foreigner women is very rare, there have been some occasions of sexual assault or rape. Women should not remain alone late at night and should avoid strangely looking men. Greeks are very welcoming and friendly people, so women will have the opportunity to enjoy their hospitality and compliments should not always be taken as a sexual harassment.
So... How Safe Is Heraklion Really?
Heraklion is safe for you to travel. There are plenty of things to do and explore in the city. The tour around the city may take you to Byzantine churches, Venetian wall and fortress, or Archaeological Museum.
The city is very safe and some of the possible dangers are stray dogs and jellyfish in the sea. Travelers should not go to the most dangerous neighborhoods and areas, and should pay attention to scams, pickpockets and other risks, as they would do in any other major city. The safest way to explore the city in on foot or by taxis, which are all metered.
One possible inconvenience can be the protests because, in case they happen, the streets will be crowded and you cannot go sightseeing or shopping.
Tourists should always remain prepared for any kind of mistrustful activity but should never miss a chance to see this beautiful Greek island.
- Visas - Passengers do not need a visa if their stay is less than 90 days. A residence permit is necessary for tourists who want to stay longer. Passport must have at least six months’ validity.The possession of a visa is required for official and diplomatic passport holders.
- Currency - The official currency in Greece is the Euro. You can withdraw around €600 per day which is the limit. Greece is not an expensive country in comparison to other European countries and, once being there, you can find cheap tavernas and accommodation. Greece is still a cash country, so make sure that you always have cash on you.
- Weather - Greece is characterized by cold winters and sunny summers. There is very little rain and the snow is rare. The best time to go there is the period from May to September. The peak season is in July and August with a lot of crowds.
- Airports - Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport, a shared civil and military facility is 5 km away from the city center and has numerous services including a bank, an ATM and a cafe bar. It is considered the second mostly used airport when coming to Greece. Alternative airports which can also be used are Athens, Corfy and Rhodes.
- Travel Insurance - In order to protect yourself and have the coverage of medical treatment in case of an accident, you need to have a travel insurance policy.