Agios Nikitas Beach

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Agios Nikitas is located 65km south of Heraklion, on the east side of the Asterousia Mountains. The most common way to get there is to drive in the dirt road that starts from the village Ahendrias and ends at the Monastery of St. Nikitas after 15km. The route runs along steep cliffs and wild sharp rocks.

The monastery is built on a high hill with breathtaking views to the Libyan Sea. The church of the monastery, dedicated to St. Nikitas, is built in a cave and dates back in 1640. The climate in the area is so dry, that you can see mango and avocado trees in the gardens of the monastery!

Inside the monastery there is a short path leading to the beach of Agios Nikitas with 230 steps. It is a beautiful pebbly beach with crystal clear and deep green waters. It is isolated and far from the comforts of the touristic areas. If you’re a fan of nudism, you must remember that nudism near monasteries is considered offensive to the monks.

Read more at : http://www.cretanbeaches.com

AGIOS NIKITAS BEACH ON THE MAP

The village and the beaches of Lendas in Crete

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The small coastal village of Lendas is 73 kilometer south east of Heraklion, in  south Crete. The name Lendas derives from the word lion (liondas), because from high up the peninsula looks  like a lion. Lendas is an ancient Greek and Roman site, and has Byzantine churches and some excavations that you can visit.

Lendas is a cosy little village filled with flowers, friendly people, and t plenty of tavernas. For some people this has become a favourite destination on the island of Crete, because of the intimate town beach, the cosy atmosphere and the fact that it still has a feeling of being pretty unaffected by tourism. There’s peace and quiet there. In the evening there is a bit of entertainment but no really wild and crazy night life. This appeals to some people that mark it down as a favourite and want to return whenever they can.

The large picturesque and quiet sandy naturist beach with a few pebbles as well, is one of the largest beaches on the island where you can swim without your textiles!

LENDAS ON THE MAP

 

The city of Rethymno

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Rethymno is located in the north end of the prefecture, built by the sea and is a city with many faces. Rethymno or Rithymna as it was once called has been inhabited since the Later Minoan III period. Nowadays, it keeps the elements inherited by its history (from antiquity up to now), preserving at the same time the characteristics of a modern city. You can reach Rethymno by boat from Piraeus or by plane from Athens to Chania and then drive 60 km to Rethymno.
Bus services are daily and often to all Cretan areas while the north road network is convenient for a relaxing journey.

Rethymno combines the conveniences of a large city with the beauty of an old town. Both elements will mesmerize you.

Read more at : http://www.visitgreece.gr/

RETHYMNO CITY ON THE MAP

 

Seitan Limania beach in Chania, Crete

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Seitan Limania (or Stephanou beach) is located 20 km north east of Chania town, at the east side of cape Akrotiri, near the airport of Chania. This exotic tiny beach with impeccable emerald waters is one of the best in the area!

The beach is surrounded by huge rocks, though they provide little shade and as it is rather small, it can easily get overcrowded so try to avoid visiting at weekends and during the peak of the tourist season. The beach is completely unorganised so make sure that you carry water and everything else you need with you.

Seitan Limania Beach on the map

 

The city of Sitia

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Sitia is the easternmost city on Crete near the Cape Sidero, 64km from Agios Nikolaos. It is a city with about 10,000 residents, built on the west side of the bay of Sitia, on a warm and dry area. Sitia has the only airport in eastern Crete and the most important port, with ferries running to Piraeus, Milos, Rhodes, Kassos and Karpathos. There are frequent bus services to Ierapetra and Agios Nikolaos, and great efforts are being made to improve the road network linking it with the rest cities of Crete. It is a very well organized city with many shops, tourist facilities, hospitals, banks, etc. The residents work mainly with agriculture and tourism.

In Sitia, apart from swimming in the long beach east of the city, you can stroll in the harbor, enjoy your coffee in the many cafes in the beach road, get lost in the old town with the traditional houses and the picturesque yards, visit the castle Kazarma and the ruins of a Venetian monastery. Moreover, you could visit the Archaeological Museum with exhibits from 3500BC to 500AC, all coming from the wider area of Sitia. A folklore museum exhibition also operates in the town with traditional objects of 19th and 20th century. Lastly, it is worth visiting the local produce stand, where you can learn about the products of Sitia. Among them are olive oil, Cretan wine and raki. Indeed, the oil of Sitia is the best in the world, winning several international awards every year.

Read more: http://www.cretanbeaches.com

THE CITY OF SITIA ON THE MAP

Agia Fotia Beach in south east Crete

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Agia Fotia is a coastal village at about a quarter of an hour drive east of Ierapatra (13 kilometers), in the south east of the island of Crete. It is between Ferma and Koutsouras. The area is very quiet and picturesque. In order to reach Agia Fotia you take the exit leading from the main road that runs between Ierapetra and the seaside resort of Makrigialos.

The beach of Agia Fotia is about 150 – 200 meters long. It is a sandy beach with crystal clear waters. The beach is surrounded by high mountains. Here and there you find trees for some shade, but there are also a number of umbrellas and sun beds for rent.

AGIA FOTIA BEACH ON THE MAP

 

The Village and the Beaches of Xerokampos in Southeast Crete

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Xerokampos is located in the extreme southeast of Crete and can be reached from the substantial village of Ziros or from the village of Zakros which is more north. The roads are good here. Xerokampos is not really like a village or a beach, but it is more like a collection of different beaches, and groups of houses, a hotel, a pension, a few tavernas. The houses, the accommodations and the tavernas lie a bit scattered over the valley. There are three “main beaches” and  several other smaller in the area.

The village of Xerokampos doesn’t really have a center and the houses are spread out over the area, there are many beaches to choose from, and a taverna every here and there. There were quite a number of hotels, apartment buildings and pensions, but they are all small scaled, so no large hotel complexes.  The area of Xerokampos was already inhabited in prehistoric times. There are remains of an Minoan town (which has not yet been excavated) and a sanctuary.

Here, the landscape is arid and truly eerie, characterized by bare rocks and steep mountains. The vegetation is limited to bushes and there are some places with a few olive groves.

Xerokambos is ideal for relaxing holidays and is not suggested for party animals. Here you will enjoy the crystal clear unspoilt beaches. Some of them are the “Ambelos” beaches, Argilos beach and Vourlia.

Xerokampos Village on the map

The city of Heraklion

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Heraklion is the largest urban center  in Crete, the capital of the region and the economic center of the island. The first European civilization, the Minoan civilization, flourished on this land 5000 years ago. Currently the population of the municipality of Heraklion is approximately 150.000 people. It is a very dynamic and cosmopolitan town, all year long. Thousands of visitors can be seen shopping in the market or visiting the museums and other places of interest. During the last 20 years the city has made also a remarkable progress in the academic and technological fields.

The city lies along the North coast of the island, having to the west at about 80 km the town of Rethymnon and at 135 km the city of Chania. To the east is the town of Agios Nikolaos (60km) and the town of Sitia (130km).

Heraklion airport (HER), named after the Cretan writer Nikos Kazantzakis, is one of the biggest in Greece and receives approximately 15% of the total tourist traffic of Greece. The airport is about 5km east of the city. Major car-rental companies have desks at the airport. Taxi and public bus are available for transfer from/to Heraklion.

This city also receives a lot of visitors by boat. There are daily ferry trips to and from Piraeus (Athens’ port), and many weekly ones to and from other islands and towns in Greece. The terminal at Heraklion port is within walking distance from the town’s center and there is plenty of taxis to take visitors to their destinations. The inter regional Bus terminal is also located close to the port.

Heraklion today, as a modern town, has extensive facilities that cater for all needs of its visitors. There is a lot of hotels ranging from Luxury class to small rent-a-room and youth hostels operating all year round. Most of them are located in the old town. Travel bureaus offering excursions and special events, car hire companies and other tourist related agencies are also close to the old town’s center and the port.
As far as entertainment goes the options are almost unlimited. The people of Heraklion enjoy going out a lot, either for lunch, dinner, a coffee or a drink, or all of them – the weather, of course, helps a lot to this. So there is plenty of restaurants, family taverns, luxury café – snack bars, traditional coffee shops (Kafeneia), music halls with traditional Cretan or Bouzouki (Rebetica songs), discos, small pubs and music bars, either indoors or outdoors, open throughout the year and frequented by visitors and locals alike.
Heraklion, being the business center of the area, has plenty of stores selling clothes, shoes, jewelery etc. Stores are open in the morning (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and in the evening (5 p.m. to 9 p.m.) with the exception of the evenings of Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

The city’s long history and cosmopolitan character is reflected to its rich cultural life throughout the year. A wealth of cultural events from music & dance recitals to theatrical performances, to lectures, to art exhibitions and much more are hosted in the many private or public places that the city offers.

The major cultural event in Heraklion is the summer cultural festival, organised by the municipality. It is a three-month extravaganza of music, theater and dance, both of Greek and foreign performers. Most concerts take place outdoors at several outdoor theaters which have been created out of the bastions of the Venetian walls, adding to the scenery of every performance.

The Heraklion’s carnival celebration and parade, the municipal cinema and the Mediterranean Festival of Arts (25 September-05 October) are organised also by the municipality of Heraklion.

History is very much alive in the old town of Heraklion, just like in most Greek cities.
From the old Venetian Harbor, the August 25th Str., leads to the old town’s center. The central square while surrounded by cafes, stores and restaurants, is dominated by the fountain of the Lions, built by Morozini the Venetian governor in 1628. The Town Hall, is today housed in the Venetian Loggia, a building from the same era and next to it, the plateau and the cathedral of Agios Titos an exceptional monument from the Byzantine era.

From the central square the street of the “Central Market” ends at “Kornarou Square” with the coffee house, housed at “Koubes” a Turkish fountain and next to it the “Bembo fountain” built by a Venetian nobleman. To the left “Averof Str.” leads to “Eleftherias sq.” , Heraklion’s main square where the Archaeological museum stands and to the right ‘Kyrillou Loukareos Str” leads to Agios Minas cathedral and Agia Aikaterini Museum.

All around the old part of the city, a visitor can walk following the Venetian walls that meet at the old port and “Koules”, the fortress that dominates the old harbor of the city.
The visitor to Heraklion should definitely visit the archaeological site at Knossos and the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion that houses most of the Minoan findings in Crete. Special attention should also be paid to the Historical museum of Heraklion that houses findings from the early Christian era to today and the Museum of Natural History.

http://www.interkriti.org

The Samaria gorge

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The Samaria gorge is the second most visited tourist attraction in Crete (following the Minoan palace of Knossos) and by far the most popular walk. More than a quarter million people walk through the gorge every year from May to October. In winter the gorge is closed to visitors due to danger posed by water and falling stones.

The Samaria gorge is the longest one in Europe. It is an area of stunning natural beauty. Rare flora and fauna have survived in this area and are protected. The mountains that have formed it are wild, high and steep. One will pass through forests of ancient cypresses and pines and descend between vertical cliffs. The path starts from Xyloskalo (near Omalos) in the White Mountains at an altitude of 1230 meters and comes to an end at the village of Agia Roumeli at the Libyan sea. Walking through the gorge usually takes anything from 3 to 5 hours (excluding the breaks).

If you would like to avoid the crowds, you could choose to start your walk towards the middle of the day. This way you could reach Agia Roumeli (photo below) in the evening, having enjoyed the gorge all to yourself. You could spend the night in Agia Roumeli and then have a wonderful day at the beach before you leave.

Agia Roumeli at the end of the Samaria Gorge

Agia Roumeli

Nevertheless beware: the Samaria gorge is not just an easy stroll. The path is 16km long and although it is maintained and in good condition, it is quite stony and also steep at times. If you are not used to this type of exercise you may find it pretty heavy going and will certainly feel your legs for days afterwards.

As seen at : http://www.agiaroumeli.com

Reserve your excursion to the Samaria gorge with Blue Aegean at : WWW.BLUEAEGEAN.COM

SAMARIA GORGE ON THE MAP