The most eastern prefecture on Crete is the less occupied with approx. 77.000 locals and the capital Agios Nicolaos. The area is dominated by the Dikti Mountains and the Lassithi plain, situated at 1200 meter above sea level. Explore the traditional villages, like Tzermiado for pottery craft, or Orthodox monasteries like Moni Kristalenas and the cave Psychro or Dikti, the place where according the stories the great Mythological God Zeus was born.
Agios Nicolaos is a modern city with a beautiful inside lake bordering the sea and the promenade. Shops and Restaurants here are widely provided and around the city you’ll find luxurious hotels. The most expensive places we find in the village Elounda, once the holiday home from the great English statesmen Winston Churchill. In front of the village the island of Spinalonga, were until 1957 the Cretans lived that where infected with leper. The sickness was seen as a punishment of God and the religious Cretans “expelled” the infected people to the former Venetian castle island.
About 6 Km from Agios Nicolaos is the village of Kritsa (the dragon village); here you can visit the 3 aisle church of Panagia (Holy Mary) which has some very good preserved wall paintings. The village offers traditional embroidery made by the local women and is also famous as a ‘location’ set for many of the Melina Mercouri films.
Going to the eastern parts of this prefecture we arrive in Sitia, a nice little town with hotels and apartments. It’s built on a hill so almost every house here has a perfect view on the sea. In the area is the Monastery of Toplou, which is worth a visit. Following the same route we end up at the Palm Beach of Vai and if we go more south than we come in Zakros, which lies near the famous Irini gorge, with nicknames like the valley of death or butterfly gorge. Further down south-east is Makrygiallos with fantastic beaches. More inland is the nice village of Paleokastro where you’ll make nice holidays on Crete.
The southern-most city of Europe is Ierapetra. Every year we repeat here the record with the sunny days in the European continent, Ierapetra has an average of 325 per year.
It’s a town with some historical sites like the fortress, but mainly you’ll find here shops, hotels and apartments, besides the normal local live of course.
There’s a small charming village on 12 Km. west from Ierapetra named Mirthos where people find a harmony of local live and tourism all year long.
You may go on a boat trip from Ierapetra to Chrissi Island and when you do that, than you’ll understand why the Greek gave the word that means “Gold” to this place.