Most of the visitors are then indeed very surprised when e.g. after a tour of the excavation site at Knossos they take a side trip to the archaeologic museum at Heraklion and by that occasion have some looks at the inner city.
Heraklion does in fact have some most beautiful quarters. Among those is the old town with its all-year vivacious squares, e.g. the square that frames the lions fountain, and the attaching St. Titus Square which since a few years now marks the center of a large pedestrian area.
The municipal park borders to them, named after Crete's most famous painter Domenikos Theotokopoulos (better known as "El Greco"), and towards the sea one gets straight to the old port with its fortress and its large and very picturesque depots from the medieval times.
It is after all quite comfortable to go to Heraklion
by suburban bus, and tours of the excavation site of Knossos
and subsequent stop at the museum are offered by many coach tour operators. In case that you should prefer to combine these things in an extended day trip
, it is however advisable to use a rental car
e.g. by Eurocars Rent-a-Car
because it provides the required temporal independence.