Europe Travel

A Visit to Knossos Palace, Heraklion Crete

Knossos Palace, located on the island of Crete in Greece, is an ancient archaeological site. It holds great historical and cultural significance. Knossos Palace is believed to have been the center of the Minoan civilization for thousands of years. The Minoans are one of the oldest and most advanced civilizations in Europe. Come with me on A Visit to Knossos Palace, Heraklion Crete.

Knossos Palace

British Excavation

Knossos Palace was first excavated in the early 20th century by British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. Evans team uncovered a complex of interconnected buildings that showcased the grandeur and sophistication of Minoan architecture.

Knossos Palace

Minoan Architecture

The palace complex covers a vast area. It is made up of multiple levels, courtyards, and rooms that served various functions. The architecture of Knossos Palace is characterized by its intricate layout, colorful frescoes, and advanced engineering techniques. The palace featured large storage areas, workshops and living quarters. Important ceremonial spaces, indicate it was not only a royal residence but also a political, administrative, and religious center.

Throne Room

One of the most iconic features of Knossos Palace is the Grand Staircase. The staircase is adorned with frescoes depicting scenes of religious rituals, daily life, and mythical creatures. The frescoes provide valuable insights into Minoan culture and beliefs. In the central courtyard you will find the “Throne Room”. Here a stone throne is believed to belong to the mythical King Minos.

Archaeological Findings

The archaeological findings at Knossos Palace have shed light on the sophisticated lifestyle of the Minoans. This ancient civilization included skilled artisans, traders, and seafarers. The palace had an extensive network of trade connections with other civilizations in the Mediterranean. For generations the region contributed to the prosperity and cultural exchange of the Minoan society.

Knossos Palace is surrounded by beautiful hills

Heraklion Archeological Museum

A visit to Knossos Palace, Heraklion Crete should include a visit to the Heraklion Archeological Museum. Opened in 1933 it underwent a major renovation between 2006-2013. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts from Knossos Palace and Crete dating back 5000 years. It is considered one of Europe’s best museums.

Vessels for storage of wine, olive oil
The museum houses thousands of precious artifacts
One of the museum’s most important artifact is this draught – a board game made with gold and precious stones. It clarifies the importance and hierarchy of Knossos Palace

Unknown Tragic Fate

Despite its grandeur and prosperity, Knossos Palace met a tragic fate around 1450 BC. Historians believe it was destroyed by a catastrophic event, possibly an earthquake or invasion. For centuries the ruins of the palace lay buried, only unearthed and reconstructed in the early 20th century. This sparked a renewed interest in Minoan civilization and its enigmatic legacy.

Many frescoes or partial frescoes have been moved from the palace to the museum to preserve and protect them

Today, Knossos Palace stands as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors marvel at its ancient splendor and explore the mysteries of the Minoan civilization. The site continues to be a source of fascination for archaeologists, historians, and enthusiasts who seek to unravel its secrets. A truly remarkable ancient palace that played an influential role in shaping the course of European history.

A Visit to Knossos Palace, Heraklion Crete

Knossos Palace and Heraklion Archeological Museum tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. Tour guides are available at the entrance of the palace for hire. A self-guided app that provides excellent information is a great option. It’s recommended to plan ahead if visiting during the busy summer season. We visited the first week of April, which is the beginning of the busy season. We purchased our ticket at the gate and there was no line at either Knossos Palace or the museum.

If you need to spend a night or two in Heraklion, we enjoyed the boutique hotel Vespera. Lovely, large room, great breakfast and helpful staff.

Thanks for reading my post A Visit to Knossos Palace, Heraklion Crete. We love it when you pin, comment and share our blog posts. Thank you. See last week’s post Dear Chania and Western Crete.

Previous Post Next Post

You may also like


  • Reply Sharyn

    I think I must have spent too much time at the beach cause I missed these fabulous ruins.

    April 27, 2024 at 2:39 am
    • Reply Laureen

      We almost didn’t go…sure glad we did though.

      April 27, 2024 at 4:53 am
  • Reply Sonia

    We missed this after spending most of our time in Crete in the Chania area. It definitely looks worth a visit, sorry we missed bit.

    April 27, 2024 at 6:12 am
  • Reply Tara

    Gorgeous photos! I’ve saved this for my upcoming trip to Crete!

    April 27, 2024 at 9:52 am
    • Reply Laureen

      You’re gonna love Crete!

      April 27, 2024 at 10:00 am
  • Reply Terri

    I love to visit these old palaces and temples to learn about ancient civilizations. Thanks for sharing. The sculptures are exquisite.

    April 27, 2024 at 11:27 am
    • Reply Laureen

      Thanks. I love that too.

      April 27, 2024 at 1:50 pm
  • Reply Jenn P. | By Land and Sea

    Love the history you’ve featured here. Such a great spot!

    April 27, 2024 at 6:34 pm
  • Reply Lisa

    This looks amazing and the artwork being so vibrant still. I love reading about the Minoan civilisation. I find it fascinating. Definitely adding this to our list of things to see when we get to visit.

    April 27, 2024 at 8:30 pm
  • Reply Natalie

    Wow this looks fascinating! I’ve never been to Greece, but I’d love to explore ruins like these once I make it over there 🙂

    April 29, 2024 at 11:48 pm
    • Reply Laureen

      It’s amazing country

      April 30, 2024 at 12:21 am
  • Reply Mohana Das

    A thriving centre of culture many thousand years ago! And to think it was hidden the contemporary world for so long. I do wonder if we will ever get to know the true reason behind how Knossos Palace met its end. Great post about a great place, thanks for sharing!

    May 3, 2024 at 5:35 pm
  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.