Heraklion perfecture in Crete combines some of the island's most spectacular vineyards with visits to important archaeological sites.
This unique area of Central Crete and Greece is in an area where the Minoan civilization flourished and where a Minoan winepress dating back to 1600 BC was found (Vathypetro in Archanes), today there is fertile soil for a quality Cretan wine, which combines traditional varieties with modern techniques.
The prefecture of Irakleio has built a strong reputation as a wine production destination (PGI Irakleio, PDO Archanes, PDO Dafnes, PDO Peza).
- Douloufakis Winery is located at Dafnes Village, nearby Heraklion, and produces wines from local and foreign grape varieties: Vidiano, Vilana, Kotsifali but also Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Syrah.
- Lyrarakis Winery also invests in local grape varieties, including Melissaki, which was transplanted from the foothills of Psiloritis to a family vineyard to produce a special dry wine.
- Domaine Paterianakis is a pioneer in wine production from organic farming grapes on Crete.
And of course, you could combine your visit to one of the above wineries with a visit to Knossos Minoan Palace.
Knossos is the most famous Minoan palace and is located on the hill of Kefala, just 5.5km from the city of Irakleio. Autumn is an ideal time to visit the site without suffering from the heat and observe the remains of the great ancient city that was initially inhabited by hunter-gatherers in the Neolithic Period and that later, at the height of its glory, in the Bronze Age, hosted a civilization with rare characteristics ̶ pluralistic, extroverted, sophisticated and peaceful ̶ described by some scholars as the “Pax Minoica” (the Minoan Peace).
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