Eating & Drinking in Herakleion (Crete)

Food on the island is a splendid example of Modern Greek fused with Turkish. Cheeses here are especially diverse, and the tangy ‘myzithra’ a particular favourite. The Cretan diet was mostly vegetarian up until the 1960s, due to the cost of meat. Village festivals and saints days gave your average Cretan peasant the opportunity to partake in meat-eating, which they generally wouldn’t have been able to afford at home very often. Because of this, there are numerous delicious vegetarian dishes available in most tavernas, though if you are of a vegetarian ilk, do beware that meat hasn’t been added to the old recipe, as sometimes it is in the stuffed rice dishes (such as the tomatoes or ‘dolmades’/vine leaves). The Greek word for vegetarian is "hortofagos".

Being an island, fish is, of course, a very important part of the average seaside taverna’s menu. Village wine can be rather off-putting for those who are more used to quaffing a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but it’s generally very cheap, and quite often organic. Bottled wines come in all the usual colours and varieties (see Wines). Beers inlcude Amstel (Dutch), Kaiser (German), Mythos (Danish owned, though like Amstel, it is brewed in Greece), Alpha and Fix (both Greek). There is a microbrewery in the Rethymnon nomos, called ‘Brink’s’, which produces a couple of rather tasty, organic beers, which can be a very pleasant change from the usual suspects listed above, though do tend to be slightly more expensive.

Read more about Cretan food in the Chania section about Crete which provides a good summary that applies to the whole island.


In hidden valleys Crete just beside a protected forest lies an enchanting eco-friendly property called Country Hotel Velani, named after the acorn of the Kermes oak tree. Lying serenely next to the village of Avdou, this property and its surrounding nature will impress you.
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Other Activities for Herakleion

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