Crete

Discover the Crete island

Floating in the Mediterranean, a stop in front of Africa, you arrive in beautiful Crete, the largest island of Greece. Crete itself is a small state where each region has something special to showcase.

In Crete, the visitor can find the holiday that he dreams depends on the area he chooses. There are complete calmness and elsewhere intense life and fun.

It is the favorite isle for many Europeans and Americans and it is easy to see why.

If you love adventure, Crete is the ideal destination for exploring and wandering even on the most rugged points of the island. Just dare it.

Crete was the center of Europe’s most ancient and amazing cultures, which reached its climax around 1500 BC. The Minoans, prehistoric Cretans, had founded Europe’s first urban culture as far back as the third millennium BC. The Minoan civilization, often referred to as the ‘cradle’ of European civilization, was the manifestation of King Minos’s imperial power, with palaces-centers of administration, religious and economic activity. The Minoans’ art, defined by sophisticated elegance, splendid, vivid and naturalistic, was what distinguished them from other flourishing civilizations of the Bronze Age. Vestiges of this brilliant era abound at Knossos (near present-day Heraklion), Phaistos, and numerous archaeological sites around the island.
Crete is the Great Island to Greeks, the Megalonissos, not only because it’s the biggest island of the country, but also because it is associated with its people’s pride, famous bravery and resistance to whichever conqueror from the ancient Romans through the Ottoman pashas to the German invaders in World War II. Cretan people are also famous for their hospitality to visitors and foreigners, for their preserving tradition and their devotion to family values.
The island boasts 155 km of sandy beaches along its coastlines, as well as a varied landscape that includes magnificent snowcapped mountains, silver-green olive groves, endless vineyards, fascinating towns, and picturesque villages. From the spectacular Elounda peninsula and the palm-fringed beach of Vai of its Eastern part to the scenery of deep gorges and lush lowlands of the West, it is rewarding to nature lovers and thrill seekers alike.
It is no accident therefore that Crete has today become one of the most popular travel destinations, attracting millions of visitors from around the globe. Its world famous sites, other than the evocative archaeological monuments, include the imposing Samaria Gorge, the Venetian castle at Rethymno and the Arkadi Monastery, a stunning piece of Renaissance architecture and a place of pilgrimage for Cretans.

The island of Crete

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Crete is the largest Greek island and is located at the southernmost tip of Greece between the Cretan and Libyan seas. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations visited by thousands of travelers from all over the world.

Crete consists of four Municipalities: Heraklion, Lassithi, Chania and Rethymnon. It is surrounded by dozens of small islands, of which only four are inhabitable.

Crete has a daily air and a coastal connection with Athens, Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Peloponnese and some islands of Cyclades and Dodecanese. The capital of the island is Heraklion, one of the largest cities in Greece.

It was then that the island suffered severe disasters from the eruption of the volcano of Santorini. Crete is an island with countless alternations of landscapes, combining perfectly the wild aspect of the mountain scenery with the colorful paradise of flowers and the green plains, the intense cosmopolitan life with the calm and serenity of the atmosphere.

Crete was first inhabited during the Neolithic Age and reached its peak in the Minoan years when the Minoan civilization flourished between 2800 BC. and 1400 BC, mainly on the dynasty of King Minos.

Those who love the crowd will find many organized sandy beaches with crystal clear waters that attract many bathers, while lovers of tranquility can head to the various beaches of the island and relax in the nature surrounding them.

In Crete there are many Venetian castles, churches, monasteries, museums, ancient ruins that together with the beautiful and enchanting scenery that prevails everywhere will make your holidays unforgettable.

Crete is a very popular destination for visitors from all over the world. Due to its large extent, one visit to the island is not enough to explore. Remember that every time you return to Crete you will discover new beauties that will fascinate you.

The Beautiful Landscape of Crete

Crete is a mountainous island and its landscape is dominated by the mountain range Idi (Psiloritis), the White Mountains and Mount Dikti. Its huge coastline, measuring more than 1,000 km, extends from the north of the Crete to the south of the Libyan Sea. Crete’s interior alternates between the fertile plains, the lush forests, the caves and the gorges with the most famous the Gorge of Samaria while its southern coast offers some of the quietest and isolated spots in Europe. Its entire coastal perimeter is laced with amazing beaches, blue sea, picturesque bays,  villages, resorts, and historical sites of every kind.

Crete Travel Guide

Chania Prefecture

The prefecture of Chania is one of the four regional units of Crete. It is bordered by the Prefecture of Rethymno, north, and west of the Cretan Sea and south of the Libyan Sea. Its territory, in the inland, is mountainous – semi-mountainous, while the lowlands are mainly found on the coasts, where the most densely populated settlements are located. On the shores, there are most of the summer tourist resorts.

Chania is a beautiful Venetian harbor with dozens of cafes and restaurants, the picturesque alleys leading to the historical districts of Splantzia, Topanas, the old Jewish quarter, Sintrivani square and Kastelli with the archaeological Minoan sites are just some of what you can admire in the Old Town The city of Chania stands out for its excellent tourist services, since every year it manages and serves thousands of tourists from Greece and abroad, with a large number of accommodations of all categories, catering and entertainment.

Chania is not the only destination of the prefecture, as there are beautiful villages and settlements that are worth winning a place on the tourist map of the area. Some of them are, Platanias, one of the most popular resorts, the coastal village of Kolymbari, Kissamos which is close to some of the most beautiful beaches such as the lagoon of Balos, Sougia with its stunning beach, Agia Roumeli, situated at the exit of the Samaria Gorge, the picturesque summer resort of Loutro, Kalives, the settlement of Almyrida and others.

Kandros

The capital of the Province of Selino. It was destroyed by the Germans because of its participation in the resistance.

Many eminent Byzantine churches can be found in the surrounding villages, with walls full of paintings.

Platanias

Platanias is a village about 10 km’s west from Chania, following the road towards Kissamos. In the Venetian inventories Platanias is mentioned as Platanea and Pirgho Platanea, there were possibly two different settlements. Originally the village was built amphitheatrically on a high, rocky place with picturesque houses. Now it has spread to the sea-side.    

Opposite of Platanias is the island of St. Theodori or Thodorou. The Turks mention it as Tourlou-Andasi, and the Venetians as San Theodoro or San Todaro.

In 1897, Platanias was the headquarters of the general Timoleon Vassos, during the Cretan fight against the Turks.

Kasteli

It is built on the site of ancient Kissamos, the port of the ancient town of Polyrrenia. Later, the town was occupied by the Romans, then passed to the Arabs, and later the Venetians, who built a small castle (Kastelli) from which it took its new name.

Kastelli is the capital of the Province of Kissamos, known for its superb wine. It has a harbor and is connected by a ferry boat to Gytheio.

Chrisoskalitisa Monastery

Down on the south-west extremity of Crete is a bay with enormous black rocks. On the highest one of them is perched the most beloved but also the most remote monastery.

Topolia

A large village with the Byzantine churches of Ayios Ioannis, Ayia Paraskevi, Timios Stavros. A few kilometers beyond the village the Topolia Ravine begins. The road passes through a tunnel and arrives at the cave of Ayia Sophia. The chapel of Ayia Sophia is at its entrance.

Elafonissi

A small island brimming with tranquility color and light. It has a lace-like coastline and dazzling sand dunes with small cedar trees and lilies.

Samaria Gorge

The Samaria Gorge is the longest in Europe, with a total length of 18km. The width of the gorge is 150 meters at its widest to 3 meters at its narrowest. Its status as a national park protects its rare flora and fauna. The walk through the gorge takes between 6 and 8 hours. The path runs downhill but requires strong, comfortable footwear and some degree of physical fitness.

Platania Beach

It is located right in front of the settlement. It is a huge beach, mostly organized with sun loungers and umbrellas, while giving guests the opportunity for water sports. There are also several cafes and beach bars.

Gerani Beach

It is located in the settlement of Gerani, quite close to the city of Chania and it is a long beach (2,5 km), organized in several places with umbrellas, sunbeds, showers even lifeguard, while in the trees near it, can the visitor find natural shade.

Stephanou Beach (Seitan Ports)

Approximately 20 km away from the capital there is this small, beautiful beach. It is hidden at the end of one of the bays that create vertical rocky volumes, giving the whole landscape a wild beauty. It is made up of sand and gravel and access is from a rough trail or boat.

Visit the museums in Chania, Archaeological, Naval, War and Folklore, as well as museums of Typography and Chemistry, the Mosque of Kuchuk Hassan (Gialim Tzamis), the Archaeological Museum of Kissamos, the Samaria Gorge, the Aptera archaeological site, the fortress Frangokastelo near Hora Sfakion, Lake Kournas, etc.

Chania Airport: (28210) -83800, Olympic Airport: (28210) -63171, Aegean airport: (28210) -63366, KTEL Prefecture of Chania-Rethymno: (28210) -93052, Taxi: (28210) -94300, (28210) -98700, General Hospital of Chania: (28210) -42000, Pharmacies: (28210) -92447, (28210) -93288, Police Department: : (28210) -63072, Port Authority of Chania: (28210) -98888, Chania Fire Brigade: (28210) -90433, Tourist Police: (28210) -25930, Chania Traffic: (28210) -25905, Archaeological Museum: (28210) 90334, Nautical Museum, Akti Kountourioti (Fortress): (28210) -74484, Gallery: (28210) -36190, House El beast Venizelos: (28210) -56 008

AirPort

From Athens (western terminal) there are regular flights (45′) to the airport of Souda, situated 15 km outside Chania. You can get to Chania by a city bus, taxi or the Olympic Airways bus.
From Thessalonica, there is a weekly flight to the airport of Souda (1h 15′).

Name

Phone Numbers

Athens Olympic Airways

96.66.666, 93.63.363-5

Thessalonica Olympic Airways

031-260121-29

Chania Olympic Airways

0821-57701-3

Chania Airport

0821-63219

Port

There are daily departures from Piraeus to Chania (port of Souda), situated 7 km southeast of Chania. The distance is 157 n.m. and the trip’s duration is 11 h.

Ports

Phone Numbers

Piraeus Port Authority

42.26.000

Chania Port Authority

0821-26083

Souda Port Station

0821-89240, 89884

Kastelli Port Station

0822-22024

Buses

City buses perform regular itineraries from Chania to:
Kalamaki – Daratos – Galatas – Agia – Agia Marina – Mournies – Perivolia – Souda – Chalepas – Nea Chora – Lentariana.

Municipal buses travel from Chania to:
The graves of Venizeloi – Kalathas – Stavros
Stalos – Agia Marina – Platania – Gerani – Maleme – Chandris
Platania – Kolimbari – Kastelli – Platanos – Sfinari
Tavronitis – Voukolies – Kakopetro – Floria – Kandamos – Paleohora
Drapania – Topolia – Elios – Kefali – Vathi
Vrysses – Askifou – Nimbro – Hora Sfakion – Vamos
Alikianos – Sambrona – Agia Irini – Sougia
Fourne – Laki – Omalos
Georgioupoli
Elafonissi
Kournas – Assi Gonia
Falasarna

Name

Phone Numbers

KTEL of urban buses, Chania

0821-23345, 23024

KTEL of Municipal Buses, Chania

0821-23052, 23306

Rethymno Prefecture

In the Shadow of Mount Ida

The mainland is mostly mountainous with the famous Psiloritis (Ida) mountain dominating the center-east of the prefecture. In the north and south, where the coast is located, there are the fertile lowlands, with the large olive groves, the apricot trees, the pear trees, the cherry trees, and others. Apart from agriculture, tourism plays an important role in the economic development of the region, as it is a popular destination, especially during the summer months, for thousands of tourists, Greeks, and foreigners.

Rethymno town is built on the northern coastline of the prefecture, in the Cretan Sea. It is a modern city, which has all the public services and banks, and remarkable tourist infrastructure. There is the Old Town with its beautiful Venetian harbor and the lighthouse, while the trademark is Fort Forza, which dominates the hill of Palaiokastro. In Rethymnon there are several historical monuments, Venetian and Ottoman, a large number of museums and exhibitions, as well as many important temples and churches and places of pilgrimage.

Other prefecture destinations, which are high on the list of visitors’ preferences, are the beautiful Panormos settlement 22 km west of the capital, Bali, which is considered to be a tourist resort, 32 km away from the town of Rethymno, the coastal village of Plakias with its beautiful beach, the southern coast of the prefecture, Agia Galini settlement, the historical villages of Anogia, Zoniana and Axos, Saktouria and Melambes that give access to some of the most popular beaches of Crete etc. All the settlements of Rethymno prefecture, have excellent tourist facilities, which combined with the proverbial hospitality of the residents and the excellent service guarantee that they will satisfy even the most demanding visitor.

Monastery of Preveli

During the Cretan battle against the Turks and the German Occupation, the monastery contributed significantly to the Greek struggle for liberty and independence, as it provided refuge to all fighters, Greek and allies.

Idaion Andron Cave

It is one of the two Cretan caves claimed as the birth place of Zeus. The other one, is “Diktaion Andron” in mount Dikta.

Monastery of Arkadi

The monastery of Arkadi is located 22 km south-east of Rethymno. It is a symbol of the Cretan fight for liberty and independence from the Turks. There are many versions concerning its date of establishment. The monastery’s exterior is very impressive with thick (1.20 m wide) walls, while the church, built in 1587, is dedicated to St. Constantinos and the Metamorphosis of the Saviour. The monastery includes a guesthouse and an altar with an ossuary, where the bones of the Cretan warriors are kept, and a small collection of ecclesiastic heirlooms, post-Byzantine icons, vestments and documents concerning the monastery’s history.

City buses perform regular itineraries from Rethymno to the villages :

  • Platanes
  • Perivolia
  • Adele
  • Pigi
  • Loutro
  • Armeni
  • Koumbes
  • Atsipopoulo

Municipal buses travel from Rethymno to:

  • Armeni – Koxare – Spili – Akoumia – Melambes – Agia Galini -Timbaki – Mires – Heraklio
  • Koxare – Kissos – Aktounia – Vato – Kerames
  • Koxare – Assomatos – Lefkogia – Plakias – Myrhios
  • Agios Vasilios -Agouseliana – Kanevo – Kali Sykia – Sellia – Rodakino – Chora Sfakion
  • Perama – Margarites – Ancient Eleftherna – Eleftherna
  • Perama – Axos – Anoghia
  • Perama – Agios Ioannis – Zoniana
  • Episkopi – Eleftherna
  • Stavromenos – Monastery of Arkadi

Name

Phone Numbers

KTEL Urban Buses of Rethymno

0831-22659

KTEL Municipal Buses of Rethymno

0831-22212, 22785

Taxis travel all around the Prefecture

Name

Phone Numbers

Radio-taxi of Rethymno

0831-25000,
24000, 22316

Sea Port

There are daily departures from Piraeus to Rethimno. The trip’s duration is about 11 h.

Ports

Phone Numbers

Piraeus Port Authority

42.26.000

Rethymno Port Authority

0831-22276

The prefecture of Rethymno has many beautiful beaches on its coastline, sandy and pebble, some easily accessible, but some hidden, “wild” beaches that cause the visitor to discover them.

North shoreline

It is a huge sandy beach (10 km), one of which is right in front of the city of Rethymno, and extends eastwards. It is mostly organized, with sun loungers and umbrellas, has lifeguards, and offers guests the opportunity to enjoy water sports and activities.

Petre beach

Long beach located west of Rethymnon, near the village of Episkopi. It consists of sand and in several parts it is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, while there are tavernas, cafe and beach bars. It accepts a large number of visitors every day, but due to its extent, there are always some pieces for relative isolation.

Panormou beach

It is located in the homonymous village and it is an organized beach with the fine sand beach. The visitor will find cafes and taverns while having the possibility of some water sports.

Bali Beach

It is the beach of the settlement of Bali and is located 32 km east of the capital. It consists of sand and pebbles and is organized with sun loungers and umbrellas. Everyday a small unbreakable is created and is not recommended for lovers of isolation.

Livadi beach

In fact, it is another beach of the previous settlement, as it is a breath away from it. Peaceful sandy and shallow beach, ideal for children. It is well organized with umbrellas and sun beds and showers, while there are several shops for food, coffee and drinks. It also allows for sports and games in the sea.

Southern coastline

Damnoni beach

A long beach that is 33 km south of the town of Rethymnon. It consists of fine sand and is organized in several parts. It accepts thousands of bathers daily, as it is quite popular. There are tavernas and a hotel.

Ammoudi Beach

Very close to the previous one is the small beach Ammoudi. It is composed of fine pebbles and is quite organized, while it is known as the beach of nudists. If you are not a fan of nakedness, it is good to visit it May-June, where there are not many tourists.

Plakia beach

Great beach with fine gravel and relatively deep but crystal clear waters. It is one of the most popular beaches not only of Crete but also of Crete. It is organized in several parts and there are several hotels, restaurants and cafes, while it offers the possibility of water sports and activities, such as free diving, as the depth of the area is of considerable interest.

Schiniaria Beach

About 7 km west of Plakias, there is this beautiful and crystal clear beach, which in recent years has become a pole of attraction for many visitors. It is composed of thick sand and is surrounded by beautiful rock formations, while the same is impressive and it is worth exploring. It is quite organized and you will find beautiful taverns where you will enjoy fresh seafood.

Preveli

One of the most beautiful beaches of Crete is Preveli beach. It was named after the homonym monastery and is located at the mouth of the Kourtaliotis River at the end of the beautiful palm grove. It is an organized beach with umbrellas and deck chairs, while there are some shops for eating and souvenir shopping. If you climb the icy waters of the river, you will find yourself in front of a miracle of nature. The Phoenicians, the dense vegetation, the small and big waterfalls and the river flowing among them, create a landscape of amazing beauty that will enchant you.

One of the most beautiful beaches of Crete is Preveli beach. It was named after the homonym monastery and is located at the mouth of the Kourtaliotis River at the end of the beautiful palm grove. It is an organized beach with umbrellas and deck chairs, while there are some shops for eating and souvenir shopping. If you climb the icy waters of the river, you will find yourself in front of a miracle of nature. The Phoenicians, the dense vegetation, the small and big waterfalls and the river flowing among them, create a landscape of amazing beauty that will enchant you.

Triopetra Beach

A large sandy beach named after the three big rocks that rise from the sea on the edge of a peninsula, which creates two separate beaches, the small and the large Triopetra. It is organized in some places and there are taverns and rooms to let.

Agia Galini

It is located in the homonymous settlement and is a perfectly organized beach, which is flooded daily by hundreds of visitors. Due to the fact that the wide river flows out, it is divided into two separate sandy beaches. In Agia Galini visitors can enjoy water sports and free diving.

Visit the Old Town and the important temples and monasteries, the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Marine Life, the Museum of History and Folk Art, the Municipal Gallery “L. Kanakakis”, the Veli Pasha Mosque, the Ibrahim Khan Mosque , the Neratze Temple that is now used as a conservatory, the Fortezza Venetian Fortress, the Municipal Garden of Rethymno, the legendary Arkadi Monastery a few kilometers far from the capital, the port of ancient Sulia near Agia Galini, the Kourtaliotis Gorge and the Idaion Andron, the cave where Zeus was raised near Anogia, the Cave “Sfendoni” at the entrance of the Zonians, etc.

(28310) -22212, Radio Taxi: (28310) -25000, (28310) -72900, Rethymnon Hospital: (28310) -87100, Rethymno Health Center: (28343) -40000, Anogia Health Center: (28310) -22276, Tourist Police: (28310) -28156, Police Station of Rethymno: (28310) -88154, Police Station of Anogeia: (28340) -31204, Traffic: (28310) -88173, Fire Department: (28310) -35288, Archaeological Museum: (28310) -29975, Arkadi Monastery Museum: (28310) -83076, Fortezza Fortress: (28310) -28101

Heraklion Prefecture

It is located between the prefectures of Rethymnon (west) and Lassithi (east), while north lies in the Cretan Sea and south of the Libyan Sea.

Its economy is based on producing olives and the famous Cretan olive oil, citrus fruits, cereals and even bananas. The economic development of the area is significantly enhanced by tourism, as the prefecture is full of archaeological sites and historical monuments. It has picturesque villages and popular summer resorts, while on its coastline there are many beautiful and unique beaches.

Heraklio Town

The prefecture of Heraklion has as its capital the town of Heraclion, which is the biggest town of Crete. A wall of 3 km with four gates and seven ramparts contains the town of Heraklion and its suburbs. The network of gates and walls is a unique monument of the Venetian fortifications. In this prefecture, one can see museums and many archeological places. Most important of these are Knossos and Phaestos. Like in the rest of Crete, many festivals of artistic or folkloric character are organized.

The city itself consists of two parts: the new town, with its modern shops, and busy squares, and the old town, with its Venetian fountains, the Loggia, its markets and its alleys: the present and the past. Heraklio expresses Crete’s uncanny ability to blend the old with the new.

The town’s center is the Elefteriou Venizelou Square. In Venetian times this was the centre of the city, and even today it is a meeting place and the heart of Heraklio. In the center of the square is the Morosini Fountain, or ‘the Lions’, as the local people call it. The fountain was built in 1628 by Francesco Morosini, Governed of the island.

Near there is the Basilica of Ayios Markos, built in 1239, and the Loggia. The Venetian Loggia, a building in the Italian Renaissance style initially erected in 1623- 1628 and was used as a club for the Venetian nobility. Today it houses Herakleio Town Hall. Directly behind the Loggia is the Byzantine church of Saint Titus. The relics of St. Titus, who is the patron saint of Crete, are kept inside. Another sight in Herakleio is the Cathedral of St. Minas (1862- 1895), the largest church on Crete. Inside are six icons by the great Cretan icon- painter Michail Damaskinos, who lived in the 16th century and was among the teachers of El Greco (D. Theotokopoulos). The town of Herakleio is surrounded by the famous Venetian Walls, work on the construction of which began in 1462, protect the city on three sides. The thickness of the walls is as much as 60 meters in some places, and the moat, was between 20 and 60 meters broad. The top of the walls can be reached only by the staircase leading up to the Martinengo Bastion. The view over Heraklio is panoramic. Here, too, is the tomb of the famous author Nikos Kazantzakis, a square monument of large stones with a roof and a wooden cross. The simple, white

Heraklion, the birthplace of celebrities

The capital is Heraklion is built on the northern coast and is the administrative and commercial center of the county. It is the birthplace of great personalities such as Nikos Kazantzakis, whose name is given to Heraklion airport, and there is also his tomb, which is one of the city’s attractions. Also, El Greco, the Nobel Prize-winning poet Odysseas Elytis and others. In Heraklion there are all public and municipal services, and its tourist infrastructure is fully developed.

Malia

East of the city of Heraklion and 34 km away, there is a prime tourist destination, Malia. The settlement is built near the border with the prefecture of Lasithi, and it is only 28 km from Agios Nikolaos. It consists of two districts separated by the main road. To the south is the old village with picturesque streets, houses with courtyards and flowered flower beds. There are also traditional cafes and taverns offering local mezedes. In the northern and coastal zones, it is the most “unruly” part of the settlement, with countless cafes, bars and clubs, and the frantic, no-frills nightlife. In Malia there is a huge number of hotels and rooms to let. Almost every street, dozens of taverns and restaurants are waiting to serve the thousands of tourists, Greeks and foreigners (mostly English) who visit the village every year.

Hersonissos

The same possibility for entertainment, but with a more cosmopolitan touch, also gives the coastal resort of Hersonissos. It is located 25 km east of Heraklion. It is one of the most popular settlements, not only of the prefecture but also of Crete, and has a number of hotels of all categories. Also, restaurants, cafes, and entertainment centers for all tastes, waterpark, and even golf course, while giving access to some of the best and busiest beaches of the area. For those who are looking for a quieter stay, without departing from the fun of Hersonissos, the area of ​​Anissaras, located a few hundred meters away, is ideal.

Matala

About 70 km away from the capital and on the southern shore, is Matala, which is one of the most popular destinations in the county. The coastal village of the past decades (60-70) was the place where hippies met and stayed. Today it is a modern summer resort. It offers excellent accommodation, dining and entertainment facilities, while giving guests access to the archaeological sites of Phaistos, Agia Triada and Gortynas. Other popular settlements in the prefecture of Heraklion are Kalamaki very close to Matala and the seaside village of Agia Pelagia, 18 km west of Heraklion. Kokkini Hani, Tympaki, the traditional villages of Arhanes, Zaros, Arkalohori and  many others.

Agia Triada

In the early 1920s, the Italian School performed excavations in the area, which brought to light a Minoan palace of great archaeological importance. Historians claim that it was built upon the ruins of a 1600 BC settlement, ruined by a fire in 1450 – 1400 BC, only to be re-build anew. The structure includes storage-rooms, the royal chambers, the altar and many murals. As the ruins of a slate-paved road, starting here and ending at Phaestos, indicates, this palace probably served as the royal summer residence.

Archanes

The picturesque village of Archanes is located 11 km south from Heraklio town. In Archanes you will find the fine rozaki grapes. In Archanes you can visit the old churches of the Archangel Michael and Agia Triada, from the 14th century.

Many of the areas near Archanes are of archaeological interest such as Tourkoyeitonia, Fournoi, Anemospilia, the peak sanctuary of Jucktas and Vathypetro.

Caves

  • The Cave of Eileithyia (Ilithiia)
  • The Cave of Agia Paraskevi Skotinou
  • The Kamares Cave
Knossos Palace

An Unforgettable Sight

Unless you have godlike powers of imagination, the only way to appreciate the bizarre and charming features of the Palace of Knossos is to go there — view its outrageously open facade — join the crowds streaming through its barely guarded portals — stroll the brilliant Central Court where bull-leapers and acrobats perform — star in a wondrous stupor at frescoes that leave your mouth agape. Words fail. Comparisons are utterly inadequate. Simply stated, there is nothing else like it, nothing to compare with it in the world (except of course Crete’s other major palaces).

The Setting

But here we have only words and so must make an attempt to describe a work of art, a living thing of beauty, with cold, harsh facts. The palace sprawls over nearly five acres of land, down a sloping hillside on a site adjacent to the town (with a population estimated at over 80,000). The palace overlooks a small valley through which a stream (called the Kairatos) runs for most of the year. The palace contains roughly one-half-million square feet of floor area, distributed over three to five floors (due to the sloping site), not counting basement storage rooms. It is home to perhaps a thousand people. It has courtyards, reception rooms, apartments for the king and queen, workshops, storerooms, shrines, a whole wing of private apartments. It is a self-contained city in itself.

Appearance

First impressions are the most lasting. Traveling along the main road from Amnissos to Knossos, the palace slowly emerges into view on the hillside ahead. First just the roof line, then the top floor, then the next, and the next, rise above the trees until, as you near Knossos, all five stories loom high above, like the wall of a great limestone canyon. Hundreds of shapely wood columns, painted blue, brown and red against the white background, support open verandahs that ring each floor.

A procession of upthrusting U-shaped stones line the porticos, like a row of hunting trophies. These are the famous Minoan bull’s horn figures — a theme repeated everywhere on Crete. The bull plays a special role in Minoan culture and religion. The overall appearance of the building is one of welcome, of “open arms,” an outward-look rather than an inward shirking, acceptance rather than avoidance.

Open to the World

The Palace of Knossos is amazingly unprotected, in shocking contrast to the official buildings of Egypt, whose exteriors show only a stark closed face to the world, or the city of Babylon, surrounded by supposedly impregnable high walls, yet still unable to prevent periodic sackings (such as the one recently inflicted by the Hittites). The dozen or so other large palaces on Crete share this casual outlook on the world, doing without protective walls or defenses.

There are good reasons for this openness. There is a remarkable lack of inter-city conflict on Crete, such as has always plagued Mesopotamia. The geography helps, mountains and hills separating cities, allowing a high degree of autonomy, though Knossos is the acknowledged leader. As for external danger, the reason is clear. Crete enjoys the natural protection of an island, combined with a navy that totally dominates the surrounding seas. It would be foolhardy indeed for anyone to attempt an invasion.

Palace Entertainment

Palace visitors must use the main entrance just off the West Court — invariably crowded with people awaiting entry, or anticipating a performance of some sort in the L-shaped Amphitheater located adjacent to the northwest corner of the palace. Cretans love to dance, and dancers often perform in the palace amphitheater, or in the West Court itself. The Crowds are larger when the occasional boxing match takes place, a fistfight with gloves between two male combatants, often ending with one of the combatants knocked senseless, but otherwise unhurt. Wrestling is nearly as popular.

But crowds reach their peak, the tiers of the Amphitheater packed, people standing in the West Court and along the adjacent Royal Road (that leads to another smaller palace), when gymnasts perform. Cretan gymnasts, both men and women, young and agile, dressed identically in loincloths wrapped between their legs to gain complete freedom of movement, perform feats seldom seen anywhere else in the world. They work in pairs, a male and female, lending each other a hand, with ingenious harmony. Their bodies are so perfectly formed, so graceful of movement, that just watching them walk onto the stage is a pleasure.

One specialty, only performed by the most expert female gymnasts, requiring incredible flexibility, is the full backbend. Almost too painful to watch, with a slight assist from her partner who supports her briefly, the gymnast finishes the slow, breathless maneuver with her feet and hands on the stones of the stage, her back bent agonizingly in a circle, her body into a U-shape. This inevitably brings a hush to the usually noisy audience, followed by a singular gasp when she moves lithely across the stage while bent this way, like some sort of strange animal.

Entering the Palace

Initial entry into the palace is oddly unsatisfying, many visitors disappointed at the lack of a grand portal. You enter through a small, ordinary-looking door into the West Porch, a decidedly plain room, a where the gate-keeper nods you along, keeping the line moving. Then quickly, your disappointment wanes when you walk through another small door into a long dogleg hallway (a frequent architectural feature of the palace), lined with astonishingly lifelike images in bright colors depicting people striding beside you bearing gifts. This is the Corridor of the Procession, through which merchants, traders and landowners periodically bring tribute, in a day-long procession — thus the name. It also leads visitors into the heart of the palace, opening onto a columned anteroom and beyond to a wide staircase leading to the top floor where the main reception rooms are located.

The Central Court

Much of the palace is open to visitors. To get the most out of your visit, hire a guide. The palace harbors several hundred rooms, connected by a maze of corridors, columned verandahs, open walkways, and light wells, all clustered around the spectacular Central Court. Go there first. Surrounded as it is by the palace, here reaching two stories, the sounds of voices bouncing off the walls, it seems smaller than it is: in an area greater than 15,000 square feet. It is large enough to play host to bull-leaping performances. Many of the most important rooms open directly onto, or can be easily reached from the Central Court. For example, the Throne Room (a surprisingly unassuming chamber) is reached, unobtrusively, even modestly, through an antechamber at the north end of the west wall. Next to it are the Central Stairs leading to the second story.

For a length of 1km after Agioi Deka there are the ruins of a large town scattered left and right of the road; during the Roman period this was the Capital of Crete. There was a small settlement on the site of Gortyn since the late Minoan period. But Gortyn became known later during the Archaic period and reached the high point of its glory in 69 B.C. when the Romans made it the capital of the Province of Crete and Cyrenaica and built many majestic structures there, such us the Praetorium and the Odeion, next to which was found the famous Law-Code of Gortyn carved in stone blocks. Opposite the ruins of the basilica of Ayios Titos, the road left leads after 33 km. to the coast at Lendas. Ancient Lebena was on the site of modern Lendas; it was built at the beginning of the Minoan period and flourished much later during the Roman period when the inhabitants of Gortyn built a Temple of Asklepios there at the site of the therapeutic springs. A gorgeous sand beach at Lendas is also suitable for winter swimming. Winter is so mild that it is said the swallows spend it there. From Lendas you can visit the remote Monastery of Koudoumas by caique. On your return you follow the coast road which goes west to the marvelous sand beach of Kales Limenes where the Apostle Paul landed.

Phaestos

The second major Minoan Palace in Crete after Knossos, controlled, like Knossos a fertile plain that of Messara. Like Knossos it was the center of religious and economic activities The palace has been excavated by Italian Archaeologists. Its importance lies not only in its size, but in the fact that we have there a clear stratigraphical sequence of two successive palaces. This is of great consequence for our understanding of Minoan history and for our reconstruction of the major phases of Minoan civilization. We know that there were two palace periods. The old palaces were destroyed by earthquakes, and that made the Cretans rebuild them on an even grander scale. Although such early palaces existed also at Knossos, Malia and Zakros, it is mostly at Phestos that we have their visible remains. A destructive earthquake around 1700 BC brought the old palace to an end. Much of the palace has been destroyed, by a destructive earthquake around 1700 BC, particularly on its south side where it has been eroded away. It was a complex structure with five different, independent, but still coordinated units that had separate functions. Included were magazines and workshops indicating its role as industrial and trade center. Although trade was widely practiced, people depended mainly on agriculture, the foundation of the economy. Religion was also very important. The king or priest has to mediate between people and the Gods for the good harvest. For this reason it is perhaps more accurate to view the palaces as economic and cult centers than private dwellings to the hypothetical Queen or the King. A visit to Phaestos must be combined with a visit to the Iraklion Archaeological Museum, where all the items, including the “Disk of Phaestos”, found on the site, are on display.

Matala

A fishing village which just a few years ago was known as a hippy center and today has developed into a tourist resort. Consists the natural outlet of Phaestos in the sea and later Gortyn and it was the palace’s second harbor in the Minoan period. Tombs from Greek, Roman and Early Christian times have been found in the caves, and it is believed that they were first inhabited in the pre-historic period. There are also underwater caves, which can be visited by boat.

Matala has a fine beach and a sheltered bay, so it is an ideal place for bathing. Semi- circular sandy beach 300 meters in length, at either end of which are the cliffs which make the cove a rather private place.

These cliffs are riddled with a man- made caves hacked out of the rock. Once the famous caves of Matala were the homes of the fishermen who lived here, but during the ’70s they became one of the centers of the international hippie movement. Today, the caves have been fenced off by the Archaeological Service and it is forbidden to stay or spend the night in them.

North coast (Cretan Sea): Malia, Potamos, Stalis, Hersonissos, Anisaras, Analipsi. Gouves, Kokkini Hani, Karteros, Amoudara, Paliokastro, Lygaria, Agia Pelagia, Psaromoura, Mononaut

South Coast (Libyan Sea): Red Tower, Kalamaki, Komos, Matala, Red Sand, Marzalo, Agiofarago, Kali Limenes, Psili Ammos, Dyskos. Lendas, Trafoullas. Tripiti, Salamis, Helia, Agios Antonios, Pachia Ammos, Three Churches, Voidomatis. Aspas, Tsoutsouras, Skin, Dragon, Kastri, Armenopetra, Arvi, Sidonia, Tercha.

Visit the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the archaeological sites of Phaistos, Gortyn and Malia, as well as Ancient Tylisos. Museums in Heraklion, Archaeological, Historical, Natural History and the Battle of Crete Museum and National Resistance. The Venetian Castle Koules and the tomb of Kazantzakis.The impressive aquarium in Hersonissos and the Cave of Skotinou, just outside the homonymous village. The Rouva Gorge and Lake Zaros, the Ecological and Archaeological Park of Yuehta with its impressive flora and fauna.

HERAKLION

Venizelio Hospital: (2813) – 408000, University Hospital: (2813) – 402111, Police Departments of Heraklion: A: (2810) – 274010, B ‘: (2810) – 274190 (Alikarnassos) Mykonos), (2810) – 246720 (Police Department), Traffic Department: (2810) – 274080, Department of Tourist Police: (2810) – 274046

Port of Heraklion: (2813) – 406910-2, Olympic Airways (Airport): (2810) – 245644, Aegean Airlines: (2810) – 330475, Sky Express: (2810) – 223500, Minoan Lines: ANEK – Superfast Ferries: (2810) – 308000, N.Kazantzakis Airport: (2810) – 228402, KTEL Crete: Heraklion Port: (2810) – 246530, 245020, (2810) – 23940, Archaeological Museum: (2810) – 279000, Historical Museum: (2810) – 283219, N. Kazantzakis Museum: (2810) – 741689, (2810) -210102, 6948599006

MALIA

Regional Office: (2897) -031594, Pharmacies: (28970) -31900, (28970) -31590, Taxi: (28970) -31777, Municipal Police of Hersonissos (Malia): (28973) -40211
PENINSULA

(28970) -22042, Pharmacies: (28970) -22159, (28970) -23923, Hersonissos Port Authority: (28970) -22100, Municipal Police of Hersonissos (Malia): (28973) -40211, Taxi: 28970) -23723, (28970) -24343

Transportation

Buses

Urban buses perform regular itineraries from Heraklio to:
Knossos – Poros – Alikarnassos – Amnissos – Karteros – Skalani – Ammoudara – Linoperamata.

Municipal buses travel from Heraklio to:

  • Hersonissos – Malia – Lasithi, Agios Nikolaos
  • Archanes – Kato Archanes
  • Sissi – Milatos
  • Agia Pelagia
  • Phaestos
  • Matala
  • Agia Galini
  • Mires
  • Chani Kokkini – Gouves – Limenas Hersonissou – Stalis – Malia
  • Pano Hersonissos – Potamies – Mochos
  • Krasi – Kera Pediadas – Lasithi Plateau
  • Knossos – Peza – Apostoli – Kastelli – Xidas – Mathia
  • Kounavi – Alagni – Arkalochori – Nipiditos – Embaros – Kato Viannos – Ano Viannos – Vachos – Amiras – Pefkos – Sicologos
  • Kalloni – Agios Vasilios – Monastery of Apanosyfi – Tefeli – Harakas – Achendrias
  • Voutes – Petrokefalo – Agios Myron – Asites
  • Siva – Venerato – Agia Varvara – Ag. Deka – Mires – Phaestos – Matala
  • Mires – Phaestos – Timbaki – Agia Galini Rethymnou
  • Rodia – Fodele

Name

Phone Numbers

KTEL of Heraklio

081-245019, 245017,
245020, 220775

Radio-taxis travel all around the prefecture.

Sea Port

Daily repartures from Piraeus Salonica and frequent departures from Cyclades and Dodecanis Herakleio port

Name

Phone Numbers

Piraeus Port Authority

42.26.000

Salonica Port Authority

031-531504-5

Heraklio Port Authority

081-244956

Air Port

Daily repartures from Athens Salonica and Rodhes to the airport of Nikos Kazantzakis (Herakleio airport)

Name

Phone Numbers

Athens Olympic Airways

96.66.666, 93.63.363-5

Salonica Olympic Airways

031-260121-9

Heraklio Olympic Airways

081-229191, 245111-2

Heraklio Airport

081-245644

Athens Air Greece

3244457-8

Heraklio Air Greece

081-330074-5

Salonica Air Greece

031-236946

Lassithi Prefecture

If Heaven exists

Lasithi is the fourth prefecture of Crete with capital the town of Agios Nikolaos famous for its graphics lake, which lies near the port. It is built at the northwestern side of the Mirabello bay, the biggest bay in Crete. The climate is unique: Dry, without humidity. The area has been inhabited since antiquity.

The Prefecture of Lasithi borders west to the Prefecture of Heraklion, while it lies in the Cretan Sea (north), Karpathion (east) and Libyan (south). It is perhaps the prefecture with the most peculiarity of soil morphology, as alternations and intense contrasts of landscapes are truly amazing. The majestic mountains, the plateaus with picturesque villages built on verdant slopes, the wild beauty canyons with small lakes and waterfalls, the huge plains with olive trees and the torrents that lead to beautiful and crystal clear beaches impress the visitor from the first moment.

Agios Nicholaos Town

Capital is one of the first cities to be developed touristy on the island of Crete, Agios Nikolaos. It is located in the northwest of the prefecture and in the bay of Merambelos, in the Cretan Sea. The trademark is the beautiful lake Voulismeni, with the settlement embracing it, as it is built in the hills surrounding it. It is a popular tourist resort, since every summer the port and the dozens of restaurants, taverns and cafes around the lake are flooded by visitors. Agios Nikolaos can be a destination but also a starting point for visits to some equally popular settlements. Like the cosmopolitan Elounda located 10 km away, Amoudara with its crystal clear beach, Istro (12 km east), Pachia Ammos and others.

A walk around the shopping area of Aghios Nikolaos is always a pleasure. You can find everything!

One can also visit fine art galleries and woven handicrafts, jewelry shops, international bookstores, kiosks with Greek and foreign press, cafeterias as well as traditional coffee shops, taverns and restaurants.

At night, there are countless chances for fun in the numerous night clubs and discos, or at selected clubs with traditional Cretan dances, songs and mandinades or the latest hits of the Greek and international charts.

At the Municipal play grounds, located at various points of the city, the children can enjoy themselves playing for hours. The Municipality has also a “Polycenter”, at the renovated traditional “REX” building with a movie theater and with a fully equipped “Conventional Center”, suitable for 300 people.

Sitia

At the east and at a distance of 70 km from the capital, there is the beautiful town of Sitia. The amphitheatrically built settlement is a pole of attraction for the visitors of the prefecture because of the natural environment, the important archaeological sites and the proverbial hospitality of its open-minded inhabitants.

According to archaeologists, it is located at the site of the ancient town of Itia, the port of Presos and the birthplace of “wise Myson”.

Worth visiting in the town is the Church of the Analipsis of Sotira, the Archaeological Museum, which opened its doors in 1984, and the Laographic Museum, where you will find lots of information about the daily life and the tradition of the area. From Sitia, you can visit the ruins of the ancient city of Presos, at a distance of 15 km. South of the town, the Hamezi area where has been located a structure of the mid-Minoan and the ancient-empire period as well as the Monasteries of Faneromeni and Toplou.

From Sitia the visitor has the opportunity to visit the beautiful beaches nearby and to visit the famous Vai palm forest located 23 km away.

Ierapetra-Makris Gialos

The south coast is dominated by the city of Ierapetra, which is also the largest in the prefecture. It is located 36 km south of Ag. Nicholas, in one of the most beautiful areas of Crete. It is a “lively” city famous for its nightlife, while it has some of the most beautiful and clean beaches on the island. It can also serve as a base for visits to some important ecosystems. Very close is the forest of Seleucus and the mountains of Thryptian, but also some of the most interesting gorges of Crete (Mylonas, Ha, Sarakinas, etc.).

Just a short distance from Ierapetra (26 km), there is the tourist resort of Makry Gialos with its picturesque harbor and its large beach to receive thousands of visitors each year. It has several rooms for rent, restaurants, cafe, while in its quality bars the fun keeps until the morning hours. From the settlement start boats for Koufonissi and its “pristine” beaches with crystal clear waters.

Elounda

During your stay you can choose between: luxurious hotels, hotels A, B and C class, apartments, rooms and persions.

Your stay in Elounda can be more pleasant, by spending your time doing diferent activities like swimming, fishing, boating, water sports, climbing, walking and visiting the neardy traditional villages. From here boats depart for a visit to the islet of Spinalonga with its Venetian fortress, the isle of tears, as it has been dubbed, because for 50 years this was the place of exile for lepers. You can also visit Spinaloga from Agios Nikolaos.

Goudouras: It is located in the homonymous village and it is a long beach with fine pebbles. It is scarcely organized by some of the taverns that exist there, but it has crystal clear waters.

Achlaia: Beach with thick sand and quite organized with umbrellas and sun loungers, while giving the opportunity for water sports. It is located in the homonymous settlement, 15 km east of Ierapetra and near it there are taverns and rooms to let.

Myrtos: Very close to Ierapetra, and in front of the seaside settlement of Myrtos, there is this large sheltered beach consisting of fine pebbles. It is organized to a maximum extent. It has umbrellas, sun loungers, showers, locker rooms and even lifeguards, and has the water sports infrastructure. Very close to hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars.

Xerokampos; In the settlement and in the surrounding area there are the beaches: Alatsolimni, Vourlia, Potamos, Ampelos, Argilos, Gerontolakos, Mazidas Ammos or Megali Paralia, Lygia Lakos, Amatos and the beach of Agia Irini.

Golden Island: It is located in Koufonisi and is a crystal clear sandy beach with turquoise, shallow waters. It is not organized and you must have purchased the necessary ones beforehand. Other beaches on the island are Chalamas Beach, Sideboat, Asprougas, Akritamos, Kato Papaloukas, Kamares, Wells, Passage, Grace and Offer.

Sitia beach: This large beach is located next to the settlement and consists of sand, while in some places there is a small pebble. It is largely organized with umbrellas, sun loungers and showers, it has a lifeguard and has the facilities for water sports. There are cafes and bars nearby.

Saint Andrew: Also known as “Big Beach”, Agios Andreas beach is the longest beach of Ierapetra and is located east of the road to Makrygialos. It is made up of sand and pebbles, while it is organized on the track near the town where there are hotels.

Pumpkin: It is located on the peninsula of Spinalonga, opposite the islet of Pumpkin. It is also known as the beach of Agios Loukas from the homonymous chapel there. It is a beautiful, secluded beach with white sand and crystal clear waters that in recent years has become a pole of attraction for many visitors.

Volition: It is located a few hundred meters east of the settlement of Istro and is one of the most popular beaches not only of the prefecture but also of Crete. It is made up of white sand, which combined with the blue waters creates an exotic landscape of amazing beauty that impresses visitors. It is organized for the most part with sun loungers and umbrellas.

Scarecrow: It is 4 km east of Makrygialos and it is a white sandy beach with crystal clear waters. It is slightly organized with umbrellas near the unique tavern that exists. For greater isolation and nudity, the eastern part of the beach is proposed. Right next to it is Lagada beach, while to the west the beautiful beach of Lagoufa.

Vai: It is one of the most popular and multi photographed beaches of Crete and is at the end of the largest palm grove in Europe. White sand, crystal clear waters and palm trees create a Caribbean landscape, while small islands and pigeonholes complement the exotic touch. It is organized and there are several canteens for the necessary refreshing, The area is protected and it is forbidden to stay in it (tents etc.). Next to it there is also a beautiful beach, that of Psili Ammos, while further north there are the beaches of Itanos and Erimoupolis.

The palm forest of Vai, which has been characterized as “aesthetic forest”, the Diktaio Andro cave, where according to mythology was born Zeus, the Kapsa Monastery near Makry Gialos, the archaeological museums in Agios Nikolaos and Sitia, the Kazarma fortress in Sitia , the Milatos cave located in the homonymous village, the island of Spinalonga, etc.

Nature has “endowed” Crete, with many beauties and attractions, and it is no accident, one of the most powerful tourist destinations in Greece. The archaeological sites of Knossos, Phaistos, Zakros and Malia, the excavations brought to light the findings of the Minoan civilization from the most ancient civilizations in Europe, are of great interest and visit, attracting thousands of visitors.

Spinalonga

The peninsula of Spinalonga is situated in the North-east bay of Elounda. It is united with the land with an isthmus, the well-known isthmus of Poros. In the northern part of the peninsula the rock-island-fortress of Spinalonga.

For the protection of the port of Elounda a fortress was built during antiquity. Because of its strategic importance the Venetians built in 1579 a powerful fortress which is considered one of the most important of Crete. The fortress passed under the domination of the Turks from 1715 until 1903. Its gates opened again after the decision of the state of Crete, in order to receive the lepers of Crete until 1957. The name Spinaloga is a paraphrase of the Greek phrase “Elounda”, “Stinelonda”, which Venetians made Spina=akantha, loga=makra, Makrakantha. In 1954, the islet was renamed Kalidonia.

Spinaloga is a small rocky islet, in the entrance of the lagoon. The name Spinaloga is Venetian (Spina=thorn, longa=long). Spinaloga, since antiquity, has protected the harbor of ancient Olous. In 1715 the islet was handed over to the Turks with the conclusion of a treaty. From 1912 to 1958 the islet served as a sanatorium for the lepers of Crete. Today the entrance is free for the visitors who are attracted by its history and architecture.

Zakros

The Palace of Zakros, the fourth of the great Minoan palaces is very similar to the other three. The difference is that the Palace of Zakros lay before a harbour which played an important role in the commercial exchanges with Egypt and other countries in the East. It is built in an area full of orange groves and olive trees, at the side of two hills. The whitewashed houses of the village, with their beautiful gardens, give it a unique grace. From Zakro yoy have easy access to the archaelogical excavations site of seaside Kato Zakro, where an importan ancient village and a minoan age mansion have been found. Kato Zakros has a coastal settlement on a bay with pebbles and a crystal-clear sea.

Lasithi Plateau

One of the most beautiful areas in Crete. It is a green, fertile valley (817 m. altitude), covering an extension of 25,000 sq. km. full of cultivation of potatoes, garden and fruit products and almond – trees. The scenery’s beauty is completed with the 10,000 windmills which are scattered here for the area’s watering.

Tzermiadon, is the capital of Lasithi province. It is the biggest of all the villages that encircle the plain of Lasithi, this quite unique, green carpet hemmed in on all sides by the Lasithi mountains the range of Dikti. Excavations at Diktaion Andron cave, at Trapeza cave, at Karfi and Plati, indicate that the area has been inhabited ever since the Neolithic Period. Later in the years, it was part of the ancient city of Littos which thrived. In the surrounding coutryside there are several caves of archaeological interest, one of which is the Trapeza cave, east of the village at a height of 90 metres above the plain.

Gournia

It is the best preserved Minoan settlement from the period of the new palaces. Although the house-walls were very low, the visitor can get a feeling for the appearance of a Minoan town. It was divided into blocks with irregular streets between them and one gets the impression that the town grew haphazardly; there was no pre-arranged plan. A notable feature is a small palace which is placed in the centre and which dominates the settlement, being also on a higher level.

Among the best preserved houses are those of a carpenter (where somes saws were found), of the potter, and of the smith Household items, tools and pottery were recovered from every section of the town.

On the right side of the road, on the slopes of a hill, there are the ruins of a Minoan town. The American archaeologist Boyd Hawes, who conducted the excavation, uncovered the foundations of an entire provincial Minoan town which flourished during the Late Minoan period (1600-1400 B.C.).

Vai palm-forest

Vai palm-forest lies 90 km east of Agios Nikolaos and occupies an area of 150 square miles. According to a local legend, Phoenician merchants arrived here and threw date-seeds, which produced the famous palm-trees (vagia), after which the area was named.

Toplou monastery

It was built in the 15th century, most probably on the ruins of an older monastery. It has famous relics and icons.

The Dikteon Cave (Dikteon Andron)

Municipal buses travel from Agios Nikolaos to:

  • Kalo Chorio – Pachia Ammos – Kato Chorio – Ierapetra
  • Pachia Ammos – Lastro – Tourloti – Sitia
  • Ellinika – Elounda – Skinia
  • Neapoli – Sissi – Milatos
  • Neapoli – Vryses – Zenia – Tzermiado – Agios Georgios – Mesa Lassithi – Psychro
  • Exo Lakonia – Zenia
  • Kritsas
  • Malia – Heraklio
  • Elounda – Schisma
  • Elounda – Plaka
  • Lassithi Plateau
  • Gournia – Istros – Ierapetra

From Sitia, buses travel to:

  • Palaeokasto – Azokeramo – Zakros
  • Monastery of Toplou – Vai
  • Metochia – Katsidoni – Karidi
  • Piskokefalo – Maronia – Praissos – Lithines – Makrigialos – Ferma – Ierapetra
  • Palaeokastro – Vai

From Ierapetra, buses travel to:

  • Lygia – Myrtos – Mournies – Males
  • Mournies – Amira – Ano Viannos – Heraklio

Name

Phone Numbers

KTEL of Ag. Nikolaos

0841-22234

KTEL of Sitia

0843-22272

KTEL of Ierapetra

0842-28237

Taxi

Taxis travel all around the prefecture.

Taxis

Phone Numbers

Radio-taxi of Ag. Nikolaos

0841-24000, 24100, 22786

Sea Port

There are regular itineraries from Piraeus to the ports of Agios Nikolaos and Sitia. The distance is 200 n.m. to Agios Nikolaos and 206 n.m. to Sitia, while the trip’s duration is 12h. and 12h. 50′, respectively.

Ports

Phone Numbers

Piraeus Port Authority

42.26.000

Agios Nicholas Port Authority

0841-22312

Sitia Port Authority

0843-22310

Agios Nikolaos
Hospital: (28413) -40900, Agios Nikolaos Police Station: (28410) -91402, Port Authority (information): (28410) -22312, Tourist Police: (28410) -91409, Traffic: : (28430) -22272, Agios Nikolaos Bus Station: (28410) -22234, Archaeological Museum: (28410) -24943, Spinalonga: (28410) -41773

Ierapetra
Hospital: (28423) -40222, Pharmacies: (28420) -24888, (28420) -22479, (28420) -28884, Police Department: (28420) -90160, Port Authority: (28420) -22294, KTEL Prefecture of Lasithi: 28430) -22272, KTEL of Heraklion-Lasithi: (2810) – 245019-2842028237, Taxi: (28420) -22000, (28420) -26011

Sithia
KTEL Prefecture of Lassithi: (28430) -22272, Taxi: 6932757553, (28430) -20420, Health Center: (28433) -40100, Pharmacies: (28430) -22276, (28435) -00622, Department: (28430) -22259, Airport Police Station: (28430) -20765, Port Authority: (28430) -22310, Sitia Airport: (28430) -20150

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Heraklion is the capital of Crete and It is the fourth largest city in Greece and the third largest urban area in Greece.
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The prefecture of Lasithi is located in eastern Crete and is a beautiful corner of Crete that attracts visitors ...
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Rethymno is located in the center of Crete between Chania and Heraklion. It is a beautiful area ...
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