Heraklion Airport (HER)

The Main Crete Airport and the Second Busiest Greek Aviation Hub

Heraklion International Airport: the Primary Entry Point to Crete

Heraklion Airport is officially known as Nikos Kazantzakis Airport (although it is hardly called this way), named after the late author and philosopher who was born in the city of Heraklion. Its IATA Code is HER. Thus, it also goes by the name HER Airport, while travelers may come across several other written variations. Verily, the city of Heraklion is also known as Iraklio or Iraklion. As a result, the terms Iraklion Airport and Iraklio Airport are often used as well. 

The major Crete Airport is conveniently located on the east side of Heraklion, on the north part of the island. It is actually situated in the municipality of Nea Alikarnassos, being just 5km/3.1 miles away from Heraklion city center. Its strategic location makes it the preferred airport by travelers heading not only to Heraklion but also to other popular tourist destinations, such as Malia, Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, and Hersonissos. 

Nikos Kazantzakis Airport first opened its doors in 1939, while in 1971, it underwent a massive restoration, becoming a full-service modern air hub. Nowadays, it is the main among the three airports in Crete as well as the second most-occupied Greek aviation hub (after the capital’s El. Venizelos Airport). As a matter of fact, in 2022, it welcomed more than 8 million passengers, almost fully reaching its pre-pandemic passenger flow. Moreover, it serves as a military airport at the same time. 

Interesting Fact: Heraklion International Airport will cease its operation in 2027, being replaced by a brand new aviation hub, which is under construction in the area of Kasteli, 39km/24 miles from Heraklion. Verily, Kasteli International Airport is expected to become the leading Crete Airport. It is even considered the most ambitious project recently put into action in Crete.


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Airport Name: Heraklion International Airport “Nikos Kazantzakis”



Location: Nea Alikarnassos, Heraklion, Greece

Time Zone: Eastern European Summer Time (UTC+3)

Airport Map: Heraklion Airport at Google Maps

Airlines Operating at HER Airport

Heraklion International Airport is a seasonal aviation hub. Thus, it handles far more flights during the summer months (the high tourist season) than during other times. In fact, during the winter, it mainly serves domestic destinations, whereas in summer, charter flights fly from and to Heraklion Airport, linking Crete with the mainland, various Greek islands, and international destinations as well. Overall, during the high season, more than 60 airlines are present at the airport. In any case, the major Crete Airport is a hub for Bluebird Airways and Sky Express and a focus city for Aegean Airlines.

HER Airport’s Layout

Heraklion Airport is a small aviation hub consisting of one runway and one terminal building. Thus, Arrivals and Departures at the airport are located right next to each other, on the same level. As a matter of fact, Departures are split over two halls: one for Schengen flights and one for flights to non-Schengen destinations. Overall, the terminal is small and tends to get crowded during the summer.

Parking Facilities

Nikos Kazantzidis Airport has only one parking facility. Thus, one parking lot serves both the short-term and the long-stay parking needs of its passengers. The open-air parking lot lies just outside the terminal and has a 722-vehicle capacity. Moreover, it features 10 covered VIP parking spots. Its services are regarded as safe and efficient and are available around the clock.

Transit Options

HER passengers have several options for their airport rides. However, the mass transit alternatives are limited to buses. Hence, journeys from Heraklion Airport to the city center are serviced by the following modes of transport:

Services and Amenities

Despite its importance, Heraklion International Airport remains a small aviation hub. Still, it provides its passengers with all the required services and amenities. Explicitly, it is equipped with: 


  • Cafes and restaurants
  • Retail stores /  Duty-free area
  • Baggage storage / Baggage Wrapping
  • Meet & Greet services
  • ATMs / Currency exchange area
  • Baby room (baby care facility)
  • Health check station
  • Lost & Found services
  • Post office
  • Lounges 
  • Wi-Fi
  • Charging stations
  • Tourist Information Desk
  • Special services and amenities for passengers with disabilities

Contact Info

Official Name: Heraklion International Airport “Nikos Kazantzakis”​


Address: Leoforos Ikarou kai Senetaki, PC 71408, Heraklion Crete


Phone Number: +30 2810 397800


Email: d5st@hasp.gov.gr

The City of Heraklion

The Capital of Crete (Greece’s largest island), Heraklion, is a destination that balances perfectly between its historical significance and its touristic facilities, renowned culinary scene, and vibrant nightlife. Situated in the north part of Crete, Heraklion’s signature attraction is undoubtedly the Palace of Knossos. The city itself masterfully blends the features of a modern urban area with nostalgic, medieval vibes and Venetian architectural masterpieces. From the vivid harbor to the scenic tavernas and cafes, and from the local markets to the nearby beaches with the clear waters, Heraklion can deservedly stand next to other Europe’s major tourist destinations.


What is Crete’s main airport?

Crete -Greece’s largest island- has 3 airports (Heraklion Airport, Chania Airport, and Sitia Airport). Nevertheless, Heraklion International Airport is, without a doubt, the major aviation hub serving the island as well as the second busiest Greek airport.

How many terminals does Heraklion Airport have?

Heraklion Airport is a single-terminal aviation hub. Thus, only one terminal building houses both the arrivals and the departures. However, please note that Departures are split over a Schengen and a non-Schengen zone.

What is replacing the Heraklion Airport?

Kasteli International Airport, located 39km/24 miles from Heraklion, will replace Nikos Kazantzakis Airport. The new airport is expected to be functional by 2027. At that time, Heraklion Airport will cease its operation, and all flights will be served by Kasteli Airport.

Is Heraklion Airport bigger than Chania?

Heraklion International Airport is the major among the three Crete Airports. Thus, it is a busier aviation hub than Chania Airport, while its size exceeds that of Ioannis Daskalogiannis (Chania) Airport as well.

Is Heraklion a big airport?

No, Nikos Kazantzakis Airport isn’t a big aviation hub. Even though it is the busiest Crete Airport and the second most-occupied Greek airport, Heraklion International Airport consists of just one terminal building and one runway.

What facilities are at Heraklion Airport?

Heraklion International Airport is a small airport that provides its passengers with just the necessary (still top-quality) services and amenities. Thus, it features one restaurant, a few cafes, some retail stores, a Duty-free area, Wi-Fi, ATMs, a currency exchange facility, baggage services, info desks, and a post office. Moreover, it is an accessible airport with designated services for passengers with disabilities.

How early to get to Heraklion Airport?

Nikos Kazantzakis Airport is a small aviation hub with only one terminal building. Still, it often gets crowded, especially during the summer season. Therefore, to enjoy a seamless check-in experience, it is advisable to arrive at the airport two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before a flight to an international destination.

What are the transit options from Heraklion Airport?

Crete’s visitors wishing to travel from Heraklion Airport to the city of Heraklion can settle on comfortable airport taxis or lavish private airport transfers. On the other hand, travelers who want to explore Crete usually rent a car at the airport, whereas those traveling on a tight budget opt for a bus ride to their destination.