71. Knossos

What is Knossos?

Knossos in Crete has been referred to as 'Europe's first city'. Inhabited since Neolithic times (around 7000 BC), a building resembling a palace was first constructed at Knossos around 2000 BC. It was damaged and rebuilt until it was finally destroyed in the 1300s BC. At its peak (around 1700 BC), the area surrounding the palace was home to 100,000 people. Historians refer to this period of history in Crete as 'Minoan' - Minos was the king of Crete in Greek mythology, although there were likely two King Minoses, one good and one bad. The bad one is known for sacrificing young people to the Minotaur who lived in the labyrinth built by Daedalus.  

What is Knossos like?

It's relatively compact and easy to cover in a couple of hours. I actually preferred the Archaeological Museum in nearby Heraklion - this contains many of the artefacts from Knossos. The size of some of the huge pieces of pottery and the craftsmanship of the jewellery are incredible. 

Where is Knossos?

Crete, Greece

When did we go?

October 2021 - it would have been Pete's 60th birthday and he'd definitely have wanted to celebrate with a trip to Greece.

How did we get there? 

We flew to Heraklion airport and stayed in a hotel in Heraklion before getting a bus out to Knossos.

Worth noting: 

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is a few miles away in the city centre. It's well worth a visit. There had been a big earthquake the week before I visited and the first floor was shut so I only saw half of it, but it was still highly impressive.

Where was Knossos on the 2015 Lonely Planet Ultimate Travel List?

It was not featured in 2015. It was added to the list in 2020.

Does Knossos deserve its place in the 2020 Lonely Planet Top 500?

It doesn't have the spectacular impact of the Pyramids or Karnak or other sites - I would not have put it so high up.  


Knossos Lonely Planet Ultimate Travelguide