The busy North and the secluded South
The Prefecture of Heraklion lies in the central eastern part of Crete. It borders the prefectures of Lasithi to the east and Rethymnon to the west, abutting the Cretan Sea in the north and the Libyan Sea in the south. Heraklion Prefecture covers 2.641 square kilometers and has as its capital the City of Heraklion. So far it is the most economically developed prefecture of Crete and one of the most productive of Greece.
In Heraklion the inhospitable, barren and austere mountainous landscape is wedded harmoniously, under the sunny blue sky, with fertile green plains, blond sandy beaches, and crystal clear sea water. The landscape of the prefecture is mainly plain and semi-mountainous. Mountainous are the two extremities of the prefecture, the eastern and the western, nearing the borders of the prefectures of Lasithi and Rethymnon. Between them extends a semi-mountainous region with mountain peaks lower than 1.000 metres. The most extensive lowland of Crete is the fertile plain of Messara, located between the central mountains of the prefecture and Kofinas mountain. More important rivers in the south of the prefecture are Geropotamos (old river) and Anapodaris that flow into the Libyan sea. The prefecture is washed on the north by Cretan Sea and on the south by Libyan Sea.
The prefecture of Heraklion has the highest number of hotels compared with the rest of Cretan prefectures and attracts an even higher number of visitors every year. The Prefecture of Heraklion aims at the expansion of tourism, especially that of eco and agro-tourism, including promotion of winter holidays, further development of infrastructure and new forms of activities such as sailing, yachting, hiking, etc. Due to its geographic position, mild climate, unique natural environment, archeological cites, museums, and vibrant night life, prefecture of Heraklion is well positioned in becoming a high quality all year holiday destination.
Long sandy beaches unfold in the entire northern area of the prefecture, in close proximity to Heraklion town. Visits to the beach can easily be combined with archeological sight seeing, exploration of historical monuments, long walks to country side and the close by mountain ranges. The morphological variety of the landscape offers long sandy beaches, steep rocky coasts, and hidden coves, so different between them at the same time so similar in relation to clear blue sea waters, wonderful landscapes and a caressing sun. The development of the northern road axis of the prefecture had as natural consequence the intense tourist growth and exploitation of the coasts and beaches that are found in the northern sea resorts.
In close proximity to big urban and semi-urban centres, a cluster of tourist resorts has been developed offering high quality facilities to inhabitants and to visitors alike. They offer crystal clear sea waters, coast guards, umbrellas, and easy access to surrounding cafes and restaurants. Famous beaches east of Heraklion town, on the road that leads towards Lasithi are Ammoudara beach, Karteros, Tombrouk, Malia and Chersonisos. They all offer long sandy beaches, sea sport facilities, good night life, cafes and restaurants and are visited by thousands of visitors every year.
In contrast to intense development of Heraklion prefecture northern resorts, the south presents a completely different picture. This is due to the inaccessibility of the south beaches due to the mountain ranges of Asterousia, Lasithi mountains, and Ida that have created natural walls to human activities and thus they have been for many years the privilege of few local fishermen and farmers that were visiting only during the summer. Some of the most amazing beaches in Greece, are located in the south Heraklion. From the peaceful beaches of Tertsa, Arvi, Keratokambos, Tsoutsouras, Lentas and Agiofarago to the busy beaches of Matala and Agia Galini, here you can have some of the most amaing beach-experience in your life.