Hersonissos – Famous, Touristy Holiday Resort, Popular among Scuba Divers

Hersonissos is, as you will find out as soon as you set foot in town, one of the most touristy places in all of Crete. It is though perfectly situated for excursions to ancient sites and to the stunning nature both above and below sea level.

Why to visit Hersonissos?

There are several good reasons to visit Hersonissos. The village beach is gorgeous even though it gets very crowded during the summer month, especially in August. Hersonissos is a favorite spot among Germans and Russians. Along the beach you will find plenty of taverns and beach bars. The best thing to do when visiting Hersonissos is to rent a car for a couple of days and go off on adventure in the areas around Hersonissos. You should not miss a day in the capital of Crete, Heraklion, nor a day in Malia where the ancient site and the great beach is waiting for you. Read more about Maila here

Church near the sea in Hersonissos, Crete Greece
Church near the sea in Hersonissos

Also Agia Pelagia and Sissi are worthwhile a visit. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, there are many much quieter beaches nearby.

What to do in Hersonissos?

ship like pirate schooners with two masts for sails near rocks of the coast of Crete

Pirate Ship Cruise


You can choose to relax during the day enjoying the great beaches or water parks, drinking coffee on the beach or along the seaside road. You can visit the archaeological sites, visit the villages of Piskopiano, Ano Hersonissos and Koutouloufari or if you prefer to spend your hours actively in nature, you can hike in the gorges of Avdou Valley. Rent a car and visit Lassithi Plateau or Agios Nikolaos. During the summer nights you while have endless choices for entertainment with all the nightclubs along the coast.

Beach tavern in Hersonissos, Crete, Greece
Beach tavern in Hersonissos

Scuba diving in Hersonissos

Scuba divers exploring ruined Messerschmitt at the bottom of the sea in Hersonissos, Crete Greece
Scuba divers exploring ruined Messerschmitt at the bottom of the sea in Hersonissos

The coastline of Heraklion prefecture, from Hersonissos and Stalida all the way to Agia Pelagia has become rather popular among scuba divers. Many of the diving centres are based here in some of the most popular tourist resorts, like Hersonissos. They offer PADI courses for all ages and you will have the opportunity to go on boat trips to exciting diving sites. Some of the most famous diving sites are Saint George cave in Hersonissos, Skaros Reef in Fodele, and Cape Trypiti at Lygaria beach.

Scene from a diver's perspective looking up towards the water surface, with a school of fish swimming next to a steep wall of an underwater hill. Seen near Hersonissos, Crete, Greece
Scene from a diver’s perspective looking up towards the water surface, with a school of fish swimming next to a steep wall of an underwater hill, near Hersonissos

Where is Hersonissos Crete?

Hersonissos or Chersónisos is a town and a municipality in the northern part of Crete, with a port to the Aegean Sea. This community lies between Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos. What is usually called Hersonissos is in fact its peninsula and harbour. It is situated 25 km from the Heraklion airport and 27 km from the Heraklion port. The seat of the municipality is the village Gournes.

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Hersonissos waterfront

Young woman reading a book at the beach while the sun rise, Hersonissos, Crete Greece

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Hersonissos is oriented towards the tourism industry. The strip near the harbour is heavily themed with Dutch snackbars and Irish pubs. The clubs sit on the seafront, the most famous being New York club, Status, Havana, Camelot and Bio Bio club. On the eastern side you’ll find large hotels and the “Star Beach” with slides, bars, pools, games, bungie jump, go-karts, like a day time club. The area provides many activities for children.

Low season empty beach with sun loungers and straw umbrellas in the town of Hersonissos Crete, Greece
Low season empty beach with sun loungers and straw umbrellas in the town of Hersonissos

The main street has souvenir shops, as well as other shops and restaurants, some near the sea. Hersonissos is excellent for finding fashion bargains and designer labels with shops on the main strip and the beach road.

Acqua Plus Water Park


Visit Aquaworld Aquarium

There is a small aquarium called Aquaworld Aquarium, featuring local sea life and reptiles, most of which are rescued animals; many of them are comfortable with the visitors and their children and may be hold and patted.

Lychnostatis Open Air Museum

White typical greek chapel with blue sky in Crete Hersonissos at the open air museum
White Greek chapel in Hersonissos at the Open Air Museum of Lychnostatis

The Lychnostatis Open Air Museum, with its recreation of a traditional Cretan village, is another interesting place not only for those with children. Nightlife is also important, and feature discos, clubs, bars and pubs. One can take a sight-seeing train that runs down the main street along the sea, and provides access to the surrounding area.

Hersonissos Beach Guide

Beach off the coast of Crete in Hersonissos Greece. Seaside landscape. Rocky shore and sea
Beach in Hersonissos – Rocky shore and sea

Hersonissos is well known for its beautiful beaches, but excursions to other places of Crete are organized from there as well. Like in all of Crete, the local economy is not based only on tourism, but on agriculture too. In the autumn, many people employed in the tourism sector, work with the olive harvest as well.

Summer day at beautiful lagoon with blue water and colorful bottom of Hersonissos on the island of Crete in Greece
Summer day at beautiful lagoon in Hersonissos with blue, crystal-clear water

Clubs in Hersonissos

Twilight time along the North coast of Crete island in Hersonissos harbor, Greece
Sunset at the northern coast of Crete at the beach of Hersonissos

Classic Clubs:

  • Biobio Club – located on the beach road of Hersonissos.

Beach Clubs:

  • New York Club – located on the beach road in the heart of Hersonissos, overlooking the beautiful bay. Relax on comfortable sunbeds during the day, enjoy the afternoon sunset, or party all night till dawn.
  • Palm Club – open-air beach club day and night in the heart of Hersonissos.

Greek Club:

  • To Konaki Club – located at the quaint village of Old Hersonissos, is a tavern with delicious specialties served in the traditional Cretan way of hospitality.
travel to Hersonissos, Crete, Greece
Hersonissos, by night

The Ancient historical sites of Hersonissos

Roman fountain in Limi, Hersonisos seaside street, Crete
Roman fountain in the street of Limi in Hersonissos

At the modern settlement of Hersonissos is the site of the ancient town of Chersonesos, an important seaport from Classical Greece through Byzantine times that served the city of Lyttos. The contemporary theme port is built over the remains of the Roman port. Some traces of those remains, most of them submerged, are still visible in some places. On the seaside street there is a pyramidal Roman fountain with mosaics of fishing scenes and on the top of the rocky hill behind the port stand the ruins of an early Christian basilica with floor mosaics.

The area around Hersonissos is noted for its prehistoric archaeological finds. On the coast about one kilometer to the east of Hersonissos was an ancient temple dedicated to the goddess Britomartis.

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Goúves – long beaches, caves, and archaeological sites

Goúves is a town in the municipality Hersonissos. Goúves town is often confused with its busy summer resort, Káto Goúves. Besides this well developed tourist resort with long sandy beaches, the area has some traditional villages and interesting archeological sites and caves. West of Goúves are the tourist resorts of Kokkíni Háni (also spelled Háni Kokkíni) and Amnísos, both with similar attractions, and, to the East, lies Crete’s biggest resort, Hersonissos.

View of Kato Gouves beach, Crete
Kato Gouves Beach

Goúves town is located about 20 km east of Heraklion. Kátó Goúves, just a couple of kilometres north of the village, with its long sandy beach, is the summer resort. There is a variety of accommodation, from large hotels to boarding houses and self-catering apartments, and there are many restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and shops.

Within a short distance are beautiful and picturesque villages and interesting sights, such as the monastery of Saint John “Theologos”, the Skotino and Eileithyia caves. The most important archeological sites of the area are the Minoan villas of Kokkíni Háni and Amnísos.

Weather and climate in Hersonissos Crete

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Average monthly temperatures in °C and average rainfall in mm in Hersonissos, Crete