The Palace of Knossos

The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
37 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 20
Time of year visited
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
342nd/372 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Bottom 10% SUMMARY RATING: Gash


The Palace of Knossos is Crete’s most famous attraction and the former capital of the Minoans, the first advanced civilization in all of Europe.  To put its age into context, the Minoan civilization started as early as 3500BC, with the more complex urban civilization around 2000BC – the oldest advanced civilization in the world was the Sumerians in 3000BC, the Pyramid of Giza was built 2500BC, the Ancient Greek Dark Ages only started in 1200BC/ 800BC, Rome was only founded in 753BC and starts to branch outside of Italy in 250BC.  Indeed – Old AF and with the added mystery that we still don’t know how they collapsed in 1450BC


The problem with Knossos though is that it is very hard to contextualize this history and bring it to life.  This is not a criticism of the restoration work that has been done, it is actually very impressive, more just the broad difficulties for a site quite this old.  So, my tips:


  • Biggest one – try and read up on the Minoans before you arrive, otherwise you run the risk of your visit feeling a bit like one of those school trips where you wander around a little bored and starting at a bunch of old stones with not that much meaning.  Instead, you want to be imaging what this place was like and how far ahead of its time it really was
  • Get there before 10am – we noticed a clear increase in fellow tourists at 10am as the coach loads arrived and, if visiting in summer, it avoids the energy sapping heat of the day
  • Take full advantage of the rest of Crete – I look forward to returning to Crete one day to venture further out to see the more remote eastern end, hike Europe’s longest gorge and rent a car to go exploring all across the island.  In my trip, I did what most do – fly into Iraklio, sit in a hotel by the pool, visit Knossos and have a few nice meals.  Pleasant, but not exactly a wow experience


#1 Getting the chance to wander through this ground-breaking site and try to understand just how ahead of its time it was

#2 The views over the site and the valley around

#3 Piecing together what Knossos might have looked like at its height

#4 Getting a brief glimpse into what it must have been like in day-to-day life at the site

Experiences nearby

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Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone