The site of Knossos is located 5 km south-east of Heraklio and is a site every visitor in Crete should go to. Excavated and restored by the archaeologist Arthur Evans, it took over 40 years for the whole palace to come to light. It is perhaps the most representative of the Cretan civilization. The entire palatial complex consisted of around 1400 rooms and was the ruling, administrative and ritualistic centre of Crete between 2000 and 1450 BC. Some of the buildings had as many as four storeys and the palace was built around a central courtyard. It is thought that in around 1500 BC the population of Knossos numbered around 10000. When the Minoan empire collapsed around 1450 BC following natural catastrophes connected to the volcanic eruptions of Santorini, the ruins remained inhabited for some time. They must have been as impressive to the Achaeans and Dorians who followed as they are to us today. It is also possible that the intricate layout of the palace, with its winding, impenetrable passages and rooms, inspired the myth of the Minotaur in the labyrinth.
Once a week there is a guided tour to Knossos leaving at 08:00 from Summer Lodge. An air conditioned coach takes you all the way to Heraklio with stops for coffee or a snack before reaching the palace. On the way back you will have the chance to visit the town and the museum. Later that evening the same bus will bring you back to Summer Lodge around 19:00.Price : 44 € (including entrance fee)