Start your stroll at Fountain Square (also known as Lions Sq., officially Plateia Venizelou), after trying a plate of bougatsa at one of the two cafes here serving this local pastry: Armenian Greeks introduced this cheese- or cream-filled delicacy to Crete. This square, long one big traffic jam, is now pedestrian-only. Francesco Morosini, Crete's Venetian governor, installed the fountain here in 1628. Note the fading but still elegant relief carvings around the basin. Across from the fountain is the Basilica of St. Mark, restored to its original 14th-century Italian style and used for exhibitions and concerts.
Proceeding south 50m (164 ft.) to the crossroads, you'll see the market street (officially from 1866); alas, it is increasingly taken over by tourist shops but is still a must-see, with its purveyors of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and wines.
At the far end of the market street, look for Kornarou Square, with its lovely Turkish fountain; beside it is the Venetian Bembo Fountain (1588). The modern statue at the far side of the square commemorates the hero and heroine of Vincenzo Kornarou's Renaissance epic poem Erotokritos, a Cretan-Greek classic.
Turning right onto Vikela, proceed (always bearing right) until you come to the imposing, if not artistically notable, 19th-century Cathedral of Ayios Menas, dedicated to the patron saint of Iraklion. Below and to the left, the medieval Church of Ayios Menas boasts old woodcarvings and icons.
At the far corner of the cathedral (to the northeast) is the 15th-century Church of St. Katherine. During the 16th and 17th centuries, this church hosted the Mount Sinai Monastery School, where it is alleged that Domenico Theotokopoulou studied before moving on to Venice and Spain; there he became known as El Greco. The church houses a small museum of icons, frescoes, and woodcarvings. It's open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 1pm, and Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 4 to 6pm. Admission is 5€.
Take Ayii Dheka, the narrow street that leads away from the facade of St. Katherine's, and you'll arrive at Leoforos Kalokerinou, the main shopping street for locals. Turn right and proceed up to the crossroads of the market street and 25th Avgusto -- now set aside for pedestrians. Turn left to go back down past Fountain Square and, on the right, you'll see the reconstructed Venetian Loggia, originally dating from the early 1600s. Prominent Venetians once met here to conduct business affairs; it now houses city government offices.
A little farther down 25th Avgusto, also on the right, is the Church of Ayios Titos, dedicated to the patron saint of Crete (Titus of the Bible), who introduced Christianity to Crete. Head down to the harbor, with a side visit to the Koules (harbor fort) if you have time , then pass on the right the two sets of great Venetian arsenali -- where ships were built and repaired. (The sea at that time came in this far.) Climbing the stairs just past the arsenali, turn left onto Bofort and curve up beneath the Archaeological Museum to Plateia Eleftheria (Liberty Sq.), where you can pride yourself on having seen the main attractions of Irakion and reward yourself with a refreshing drink at one of the many cafes on the far side.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.