Highlights of this tour
- Outside visit Koules fortress
Your private driver picks you up at the Iraklion port or your accommodation with adapted transportation for your accessible tour of the CretAquarium and Koules fortress. Together you make the trip to this impressive aquarium. Once you arrive, the accessible tour of the CretAquarium and Koules fortress can begin. In the aquarium you learn everything there is to know about life underwater. On the way back, you make a stop at the Venetian fortress Koules. Your driver takes you back to the port or your accommodation at the end of your accessible tour.
The wheelchair-accessible CretAquarium consists of different areas that focus on different kinds of species who live in the Mediterranean Sea.
The first section of the aquarium is called ‘Playing with the light.’ This area shows you the species that live in the darkest corners of the sea. Some of the species you find there are dusky groupers, red corals, crayfish, gorgonians, skates, etc.
The second part of the CretAquarium, ‘Open Sea,’ brings light to the darkness. You get to see enormous tanks filled with all kinds of underwater species. These tanks are the home of, among others, the Sand Tiger shark, greater amberjacks, octopuses, groupers, santer seabreams, and European seabasses.
The third area, ‘Coastal areas,’ shows you the part of the sea that focusses on the coastal areas where you find the most productive ecosystems of the world. Some of the species you see here are parrotfish, rainbow wrasses, anemones, crustaceans, echinoderms, etc. Besides that, sea plants cover the bottom of the fish tanks and make it look like incredible underwater landscapes.
The tour continues to the section ‘The Aquarium beyond the glass!’ These tanks are a lot different from the others: they are small and open. Here, you see the species from up close. Jellyfish and rainbow wrasse are two of the species you find here.
The last area of the aquarium is called ‘Traveling to the Tropics’ and is dedicated to Lessepsian migration. Various tropical species have crossed the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea. Some of these immigrating species have settled in and received the name ‘Lessepsian,’ named after the constructor of the canal. This part of the CretAquarium is also inhabited by other tropical species from more distant seas. Some of the species you find here are clown anemonefish, cobia, and the marbled spine foot.
The CretAquarium is part of Thalassokosmos, which means ‘Sea World.’ Thalassokosmos is the building complex of HCMR, of which the aquarium is a part. The Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) is a research foundation for marine sciences that supports the CretAquarium in every way possible. It is the largest research organization in Greece. It exists out of three research institutes: The Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture (IMBBC), The Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters (IMBRIW), and the Institute of Oceanography (IO). This unique complex consists of multiple components that take care of research, education, culture, and recreation. It strives to spread knowledge about life underwater.
The second part of the tour takes you to the Koules fortress. Depending on your available time, this is an inside or outside visit. The fortress is an incredible complex situated by the port of Iraklion. The Venetians built it around 1540 for the defense and protection of the city of Iraklion and its harbor. The fortress still looks similar to how it looked in the 16th century. There are twenty rooms and warehouses on the ground floor behind thick walls in which old cannonballs are still stored. The other rooms were used for food storage, water tanks, prisons, etc. The roof is a lookout point that wheelchair users reach by using an elevator. Assistance is necessary on the roof due to the uneven floor.
Keep in mind that your driver guide can not access or tour any of the archaeological sites by local law. If you wish a guide to accompany you to tour inside the sites or museums, please let us know when booking this tour.
“Amazing, Superb, Wonderful. These are some words to describe the excursions …” Read more
“…Thank you, Mirjam for working your magic again. Can not recommend this […] seriously enough. You have opened up the world to us…” Read more
“Every tour we had was great. Our needs were met and the experiences special…” Read moreAnn L, September 2019