A view of Heraklion Harbor from the Venetian Fort Koule, in Heraklion in Crete, Greece (an Atlantis site).
A view of Heraklion Harbor from the Venetian Fort Koule, in Heraklion in Crete, Greece (an Atlantis site).


Crete Island – Heraklion

$5,999 - $6,999


Heraklion is the capital of the Greek island of Crete, the largest island in Greece. It’s a vibrant port city that has both a modern feel and a fascinating history. There’s a bustling city center, beautiful beaches and historic sites, fountains, buildings and museums. Whether you are looking to shop at the Central Market, take in the sun at Ammoudara Beach, see the night life in Lions Square, or learn about Minoan Civilization and the Greek myth of Theseus at the Palace of Knossos, there’s always something to do in Heraklion.



Destination Information

The City

The city of Heraklion is situated near two major Cretan archeological sites from the Minoan era: Knossos Palace and Phaistos Palace. The Palace of Knossos was the most important center of Minoan civilization, and is associated with the Greek myth of Theseus and the minotaur. Phiastos Palace is about 60 kilometers (or 37 miles) outside of Heraklion and overlooks Crete’s tallest mountain.

The city is also home to Koules Fortress, a Venetian fortress with 26 rooms and vaults displaying old cannons and period pieces.

The Ammoudara Beach is a Blue-Flag awarded beach about 5 kilometers (or 3 miles) outside of town that will let you soak up the sun.

Dates & Availability

  • Summer Break 2024




May 11, 2024 - May 31, 2024 3 weeks



June 1, 2024 - June 21, 2024 3 weeks



June 22, 2024 - July 12, 2024 3 weeks



July 13, 2024 - August 2, 2024 3 weeks



You may pay over time, fundraise, consider scholarships, and more. Learn about our significant partial need-based scholarships here.

Participants may transfer to another program or receive a refund up until a predefined amount of time before the start date.

What’s Included

Atlantis programs include ~20h/week of shadowing, housing, some meals, transportation, travel health insurance, and more. Airfare is not included but can be very affordable.

Hospital Overview

The General University Hospital of Heraklion
The General University Hospital of Heraklion, also known as the University Hospital of Heraklion (PAGNI), is a major hospital in Crete with 750 beds, located about 5 miles from Heraklion. Opened in 1989, the university hospital was constructed to improve secondary and tertiary care services. It serves as a teaching hospital for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Crete. The hospital plays a crucial role in medical education, research, and healthcare services for the region. The hospital boasts that “a wide variety of surgical procedures, including [transplants] and the most up-to-date laparoscopic techniques, are performed in its operating rooms” and that it is “in the forefront in implementing management information systems.”

Alumni Favorite

1866 Street

The central market on 1866 street is lined with shops that sell meat and cheese, fruits and vegetables, clothes, jewelry and souvenirs and more. A visit to the market is a great way to take in the culture – it’s at its liveliest in the morning when the locals stop in to get their shopping done. And here’s a fun fact for you: 1866 Street is named for the year of a famous Cretan uprising.

A 'handmade in Crete' sign hanging outside of a market in Crete, Greece (an Atlantis site).
A 'handmade in Crete' sign hanging outside of a market in Crete, Greece (an Atlantis site).

It was the best experience of my life. I remember standing in the OR and saying to myself “I don’t care how long it takes, how hard it will be or how much money it will cost. I’m going to become a doctor.” I have told all my friends that are pre-med that they need to do this. Not only did I have an amazing time in the hospital but I also made friends that will last a lifetime.

Atlantis students speaking to a doctor while shadowing (Athens, Greece)
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Our excursions are designed to offer a deeper look into your host culture, for both the educational benefit and the enjoyment of exploring a new place with others who share your interests in travel and medicine. Excursions range from historical tours to culinary and cultural explorations.

Your Site Manager will inform you of the excursions they have planned during your program orientation. If you make travel plans outside of your city for a weekend and it conflicts with the events your Site Manager has planned, notify your Site Manager several days in advance so that they can plan accordingly.

Atlantis students on a program excursion.
Atlantis students on a program excursion (Genoa, Italy).

Language Skills Not Required

Most participants do not speak the local language at their Atlantis program. English levels vary within the hospital, but no knowledge of the language is required for Atlantis to be valuable. There is enough English spoken in the hospital for participants to benefit from the programs, as you can read in our testimonials. 

Many patients in your future career will not speak your language and will come from a different cultural background, so the Atlantis experience prepares you for that intercultural perspective. Any slight language barrier you may encounter at Atlantis also helps you develop “resilience and adaptability,” an AAMC core competency.

Clinical Experience that Stands Out to Schools

Medical schools want 3 things: healthcare exposure, GPA/MCAT, and certain competencies. Uniquely, “360 Shadowing” gives you the best version of the 1st, frees you to focus on the 2nd, and cultivates/shows the 3rd to medical school admissions.

Two students walking out of a hospital wing.
Atlantis students in a hospital wing (Lisbon, Portugal).

Funding Your Future

The cost of Atlantis isn’t too dissimilar from the cost of many study abroad programs that you may find. And we’re here to help: from our extensive fundraising guide to flexible payment plans and financing options, we make the process simple and easy, allowing you to focus on what really matters.

An Atlantis student smiling while shadowing abroad.
An Atlantis student on an excursion experiencing culture while shadowing abroad (Athens, Greece).

Bring a Friend

Consider bringing a friend to the same program you’re applying to. Although the vast majority of Atlantis alumni have gone on programs without knowing someone in their cohort, bringing a friend allows your experience to be shared in a unique way, while still allowing you one of the benefits of Atlantis: meeting new pre-health friends from across the country. Consider sharing this idea with your friends.

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students walking and smiling.
Atlantis students exploring together on a program excursion (Athens, Greece).

Med School Interview:
Atlantis Alum vs. Typical Pre-med

Compare a possible medical school interview of an Atlantis alum with that of a typical applicant by looking at responses to common questions.