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The archaeological site of Knossos was discovered at the end of the 19th Century and is the largest site on the island of Crete - the Palace of Knossos, home to the legendary King Minos, his labyrinth, and the Minotaur who lived inside it. Visitors can see both the original ruins, which date back to approximately 1700 BC, and a partial reconstruction of the palace how it would have looked according to early 20th Century archaeologists.
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Knossos Palace: Pre-Booked E-Ticket & Smartphone Audio Tour
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Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Entry with Guided Walking Tour
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Knossos Palace Skip-the-Line Ticket & Private Guided Tour
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Knossos Palace: Private Guided Tour with Skip-The-Line Entry
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4 Tips for Visiting the Knossos

Northern Buildings, Knossos | Photo: James Preston CC-BY 2.0
Water and protection from the sunMake sure to bring plenty of water with you! The hot weather in Crete is especially intense in summer and the site is exposed to the elements. You might also need to bring sunscreen and a hat as there isn’t much shade available, and comfortable shoes for walking are also advised.
Knossos | Photo: Andrew Skudder CC-BY-SA 2.0
Plan your visiting timeIf you want to skip long lines then it’s best to visit Knossos first thing in the morning or in the late afternoon. The site is busiest in summer and gets a lot of traffic from large groups of tourists.
Visit the MuseumAfter you’ve visited the ruins of Knossos, you might enjoy a trip to the local archaeological museum to get a more complete picture of the history and culture of the Minoans.
Beaches are nearbyIf you need to cool off after a dusty and hot visit to the ruins, there are plenty of nearby beaches where you can swim or enjoy a refreshing paddle in the sea.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I plan for a trip to Knossos?

It takes about 2 hours to explore the ruin thoroughly. If you also decide to visit the local archaeological museum, then it’s recommended that you plan in an additional 3 hours. It’s generally advised that you plan about half a day at least for a visit to the largest archaeological site in Crete, plus traveling time, or that you visit on an organized day trip! Read more.

How old are the ruins at Knossos?

The oldest parts of the ruins of Knossos come from 7000 BCE. From the end of about the 3rd millennium BCE, Knossos grew in importance as the center of a kingdom, which is evidenced by the existence of the large palace complex. The palaces of Crete were almost all destroyed by an earthquake between 1750 and 1700 BCE, but many were rebuilt in a more elaborate style. The palace at Knossos was used until at least 1370 BCE. After a Mycenean invasion in the 14th century BCE, the palace and city were destroyed and abandoned, and the Minoan culture began to slowly disappear from day to day life in Crete. Knossos was resettled around 1000 BCE, and the Greek and then Roman city prospered. The ruins of the buildings from this later phase are close to the ruins of the palace but haven’t yet been extensively excavated. Read more.

When and how was Knossos discovered?

The Cretan businessman and amateur archaeologist, Minos Kalokairinos, was the first to excavate part of the complex. More professional excavations took place under the watch of English archaeologist Arthur Evans between 1900 and 1914, during which over 215,000 square feet (20,000 square meters) were explored. The reconstructions of the palace which you can still see today date back to Evans, although he was criticized for basing the reconstructed palace on the aesthetics of buildings of the day and descriptions from ancient texts rather than interpreting the remains that he found. The exact use of the site is still a subject of speculation, some archaeologists believe it was the capital city or administrative center, others argue that it was a Necropolis or sacred site. Read more.

How is Knossos related to the minotaur's labyrinth?

According to legend, the Minotaur was a man-eating hybrid creature, a combination of a bull and a man, whose birth was the result of King Minos’s disrespect for the sea god, Poseidon. Minos ordered that a huge labyrinth should be built to contain the creature, and once he had defeated Athens in battle, he demanded that the city send 7 virgins and youths to Crete every 9 years, as a tribute to be fed to the Minotaur. The practice was ended by hero Theseus, who defeated the Minotaur with the help of King Minos’s daughter Ariadne before fleeing with her and the hostages to Naxos. The location of the labyrinth is still shrouded in mystery, though according to legends it’s either beneath the palace complex of Knossos or in a cave about 3 hours away. Read more.

Will my children enjoy a trip to see Knossos?

Although it might be tricky to navigate the uneven paths and steps with a stroller, older children can expect to have a lot of fun exploring the ruins! It’s advised that you take advantage of a guided tour when visiting with kids, as an expert guide will be able to bring the myths and legends to life in a way that will interest the whole family. Read more.

General Information

Opening Hours:

In summer the palace is open daily from 8 am to 8 pm, in winter the site is open from 8 am to 5 pm. On public and religious holidays the opening times may vary.


Tickets for adults cost 15€ per person and 8€ for children, students, and those over the age of 65. Combined tickets including entry to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum are 16€ for adults and 10€ for children, students and those over 65.

COVID-19 measures

⚠️Currently, measures are taken against the coronavirus:
  • Pandemic measures are subject to change by the local authorities.


714 09, Greece

How to get there:

From Iraklio the site is easily reached by bus (number 2) which runs 3-5 times an hour from bus station A. Knossos is the final stop. The site also has a car park.
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