Greece
Mar 2023
1 month

Heraklion

A lot of potential, but best left for holidays.

[Local Time}
{Temperature}
°C ·
[Description}

Crete's capital and largest city, nestled on the northern coast of the island.

The Venetian Harbour was constructed during the Middle Ages, while the Koules Fortress stands as a remnant of Ottoman rule, which lasted from the 15th to the 19th centuries. Additionally, the Heraklion City Walls offer a glimpse into the city's defensive structures throughout history.

Verdict:
Consider for a holiday

Too quiet for me as a destination to work from for a month. Would work better as a stop on a month-long tour of Crete or for a week-long stay.

🌎
Verdict:
Consider for a holiday

Too quiet for me as a destination to work from for a month. Would work better as a stop on a month-long tour of Crete or for a week-long stay.

Verdict:
Consider for a holiday

Too quiet for me as a destination to work from for a month. Would work better as a stop on a month-long tour of Crete or for a week-long stay.

👎
Verdict:
Consider for a holiday

Too quiet for me as a destination to work from for a month. Would work better as a stop on a month-long tour of Crete or for a week-long stay.

🛫
Euro (EUR)
200,000
🏝️ Great for a holiday

Summary

After a bitterly cold couple of months in Tbilisi, I was on the search for warmer pastures and having never visited Crete, a month in it's largest city seemed to tick a lot of boxes.

Accommodation
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

If you are visiting out of the main tourist seasons (before May) you should have your pick of a vast array of options for a great price.

info
New legislation
Recent changes introduced by the Turkish government has made short-term rentals for under 100 days more restricted. Keep an eye on Reddit threads for up-to-date assessments of how the new legislation is impacting short-term rentals in practice.
Places to work
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Not an enormous selection of options, but I particularly enjoyed my time at Comeet, situated just out of the historical centre. There are an absolute glut of coffee shops dotted around all areas of the city if you are just passing by.

Value
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Eating out is good value but being such a tourist hotbed, probably not as good value as Thessaloniki and Athens.

info
The yen is currently at a 34-year low
While this is undoubtedly a negative for the Japanese, it makes for an exceptionally good time to visit Japan from abroad. Although this trend is unlikely to reverse significantly in the short term, it's still worth checking before visiting.
Read more
View the cost of living
open_in_new
Working hours
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Greece is based in Eastern European Time, perfect if you are used to working in European hours, one hour ahead of CET.

No items found.

Where to stay

Heraklion is a small city and easy to get around on foot. I wouldn't put too much emphasis on staying in the immediate centre.

Would avoid
Recommended
Old Town
The venetian walls form the perimeter of the old town where most of the town's food and drink options are.
Would avoid
Recommended
Leof. Ionias
If i was to return I would consider staying in this area just south of the old town which has a great selection of cafes and brunch spots. Only a 10 minute walk to the centre of town.

Where to work

Comeet
Top Choice
☕️ Good Coffee
📍 Top Location
🥗 On Site Cafe
🧍Community Focused
⭐️ Quality Fit Out
🌳 Outdoor Space

Situated just a 10 minute walk from the boundaries of the City Walls, Comeet provides a peaceful and calm location to work from with both fixed desk and hot desking options. I opted for a fixed desk on the first floor where you have access to the meeting room downstairs for calls if required.

A fully stocked kitchen as well as an espresso machine is provided, with numerous lunch options and grocery shops available close by. A great option if you are looking for a peaceful and professional working environment whilst working from Heraklion.

Remote work visa

No remote work visa
Remote work visa available
Remote work visa coming soon
If staying for a prolonged period, you may want to consider a dedicated visa for this destination.
This country is actively working on a visa support for remote workers.
Check your government website for details of how to obtain a tourist visa.

Greece introduced a Digital Nomad Visa in 2021, allowing remote workers to reside for up to two years. From January 1, 2024, applications must be submitted through Greek consulates abroad, not in-country. The visa provides access to 26 Schengen countries but requires spending at least six months in Greece. Digital nomads can bring family members.

View full details
To the best of my knowledge this information was correct as of 27th April 2024. If you notice something has changed drop me a message and I'll update it!

Citizen Remote is a great source of up to date knowledge for everything to do with remote work visas.

Safety

Off-work

Walk the Venetian Walls of Heraklion

The ancient city walls actually falls well short of what they could be with some extra investment but still provide a great (if not interrupted) unique skyline walk around the perimeter of the city.

Learn more
Take a day trip to Rethymno

Nearby Rethymno is only an hours drive away by bus but features an old town bustling with tavernas and bars. I found it a more of an interesting destination than Heraklion and would consider retiurning there for a short stint.

Hike up Mount Juktas

Visible from anywhere in the the city centre, this mountain is reachable on foot by just walking straight at it for a couple of hours. The village of Archanes is worth a pitstop to refuel before or after the ascent.

Visit Malia

The coastal walk from Heraklion takes you through several beachside towns and resorts, finishing up in the former British party retreat of Malia. No longer littered with British 19 year olds necking Jägerbomb, the town was surprisingly pleasant and easily reachable via bus from the city centre.

Take a day trip to Rethymno

Nearby Rethymno is only an hours drive away by bus but features an old town bustling with tavernas and bars. I found it a more of an interesting destination than Heraklion and would consider retiurning there for a short stint.

Walk the Venetian Walls of Heraklion

The ancient city walls actually falls well short of what they could be with some extra investment but still provide a great (if not interrupted) unique skyline walk around the perimeter of the city.

Hike up Mount Juktas

Visible from anywhere in the the city centre, this mountain is reachable on foot by just walking straight at it for a couple of hours. The village of Archanes is worth a pitstop to refuel before or after the ascent.

Visit Malia

The coastal walk from Heraklion takes you through several beachside towns and resorts, finishing up in the former British party retreat of Malia. No longer littered with British 19 year olds necking Jägerbomb, the town was surprisingly pleasant and easily reachable via bus from the city centre.

Duration & season

Even with it's southernly positioning, Crete is not immune from the rotations of the seasonal calendar with temperatures routinely dropping under 10 degrees throughout winter. During March it was pleasantly mild, with some stand out days of heat in the mid 20s. Sunshine and high temperatures is of course assured during the summer months.

If you are looking for beaches, the city itself wouldn't be my number one pick, with the better beaches to be found to the East of the city towards Malia.

Food & drink

City Walls Run
·
Run
Could be an amazing route but the path is incredibly disjointed and poorly maintained forcing you up and down at various points. Still well worth checking out.
Heraklion - Rethymno
·
Cycle
Achievable in a morning, the ride out of Heraklion offers several challenging climbs. Some small towns for coffee en route.
Heraklion - Malia
·
Walk
Coast line walk which takes you to the next major town along the coast to the West. Lots of opportunities for swimming stops.

People

The demographic make up of the city is likely to swing massively depending on the time of year you visit. In the off season you're likely to see predominantly locals with the swathes of tourists making their presence felt from April onwards. The coworking space was mainly Greek's from either Crete or the mainland, with a few international remote workers present.

I stayed for one month which was plenty and one of the rare occasions where I would have been happy to have moved on early.

Exercise

City Walls Run
Could be an amazing route but the path is incredibly disjointed and poorly maintained forcing you up and down at various points. Still well worth checking out.
keyboard_arrow_down
Heraklion - Rethymno
Achievable in a morning, the ride out of Heraklion offers several challenging climbs. Some small towns for coffee en route.
keyboard_arrow_down
Heraklion - Malia
Coast line walk which takes you to the next major town along the coast to the West. Lots of opportunities for swimming stops.
keyboard_arrow_down
City Walls Run
Could be an amazing route but the path is incredibly disjointed and poorly maintained forcing you up and down at various points. Still well worth checking out.
Heraklion - Rethymno
Achievable in a morning, the ride out of Heraklion offers several challenging climbs. Some small towns for coffee en route.
Heraklion - Malia
Coast line walk which takes you to the next major town along the coast to the West. Lots of opportunities for swimming stops.

Verdict

Positives
  • A very relaxed feel.As to be expected from a touristy destination out of season, there was a very calm ambience across the entire city.
  • Moderately priced.Whilst it's not particularly cheap, eating out is relatively inexpensive compared to many other destinations.
  • Very safe and secure.In part due to how quiet a season it was.
  • Great value accommodation in the off season.Airbnbs in the run up to the summer months were some of the best value I had seen across the whole of Europe for that period.
  • A good base to explore the rest of the island from.It is easy to get around to the other towns via public transport, making them ideal for day trips.
  • Great for cycling.The quiet mountain roads are ideal for weekend rides, with no shortage of elevation.
Negatives
  • A distinct lack of ambience around the city.Even though it is the largest island in Crete and 4th largest in Greece, it doesn't feel like it. I've mentioned in other articles some cities being a pleasure to simply walk around. The opposite was true in Heraklion.
  • Not the widest array of international food.Whilst I love Greek food the Taverna and Meze culture isn't particularly ideal for a grabbing a quick meal by yourself.
Tips
  • Consider incorporating Heraklion into a wider tour of the island.There wasn't quite enough for me to justify spending a month in Heraklion, but it would be ideal for a week long trip as part of visiting the other cities on the island like Chania, Rethimno & Agios Nikolas. If i had to pick any of them for a return trip, it would be comfortably Chania.
Planning a trip?
I loved everything about this trip to Japan. I've put together some thoughts on my entire stay in the country, which may come in handy if you are planning a visit soon.
No items found.
If there's any data missing that you would like to see in these articles please leave some feedback and I'll aim to add it in.