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This is one of the great archaeological sites of the world, yet until Arthur Evans began excavating in 1900, little was known about the ancient people who inhabited it. Using every possible clue and remnant, Evans rebuilt large parts of the palace -- walls, floors, stairs, windows, and columns. Visitors must stay on a walkway, but you still get a good sense of the structure's labyrinthine nature. You are looking at the remains of two major palaces, plus several restorations made up to about 1250 B.C. This was not a palace in the modern sense, but a combination of a royal residence and the Minoans' chief religious/ceremonial center, as well as their administrative headquarters and royal workshops. Take the time for a guided tour; it's worth the expense (your hotel or a travel agency can arrange it). On your own, you'll need at least 2 hours for a walk-through. The latter part of the day and Sunday tend to be less crowded. And if time is an issue, splurge on a taxi, usually 12€ one way.