You can’t go to Crete without visiting the Palace of Knossos, the largest Bronze Age archaeological site and thought to be Europe’s oldest city. The birthplace of Europe’s oldest civilisation, the Minoans, the site dates back more than 4,000 years!
We visited on a day trip as part of our summer press trip to Crete with Olympic Holidays. The girls were especially interested as they studied the Legend of King Minos, the warrior king rumoured to be a son of Zeus. To make a long story short, legend has it that the Gods were angry at him and to retaliate made it so his wife gave birth to the half man, half bull Minotaur, who grew up to hunt victims in the labyrinth beneath the palace.
The famous labyrinth is rumoured to be at Knossos! We were all very excited to try to find it.
6 Tips for visiting the Palace of Knossos in Crete
- Get there when they open at 8 am (though in Crete style allow them a few minutes to have their coffee!). You’ll miss the crowds (and the heat). Most of the bus tours start arriving around 9.30.
- Kids under 18 get in free, but make sure to bring your passport for ID.
- Take a taxi, or make your own way there. That was you don’t have to wait for the other people!
- Bring water! Lots of it. It’s hot.
- Be your own guide. We bought a book at the shop and guided ourself! When we were there tour guides were 80 Euros for a private 1-hour tour, or 10 Euros per person for the group tours.
- When you get back to the UK, visit the exhibit at the Ashmolean in Oxford. It’s well put together and gives you a sense of the excavation.
My 12-year-old’s perspective
One of the things I really wanted to do in Crete was to see some achinet ruins as we had learnt so much about Ancient Greece at school. I thought we may see a temple or maybe a theatre, what I had not expected was to the see the Palace of King Minos, the Greek myth we had studied so much at school. The myth is about the legendary Minotaur: a creature that is half bull and half man. Legend has it that is the famous laybryth was at the Palace! I was excited to go and it was amazing to see what we had learnt so much about. I didn’t find the labrynth though!
IF YOU GO:
Olympic Holidays For bookings call 0208 492 6868 or visit www.olympicholidays.com.
Palace of Knossos Knosos, Heraklion, Crete, Greece +30-2810-231940 odysseus.culture.gr/h/3/eh351.jsp?obj_id=2369
Disclosure: My trip to Crete was provided by Olympic Holidays for the basis of this review. All opinions are my own.