Greece Travel Secrets’ potted guide to Eastern Crete and why you should
consider it for a holiday, including seeing Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Vai Beach
The Lasithi Plateau in Eastern Crete
Eastern Crete has seen some of the densest tourism
development on the island, particularly in the north between Irakleio and Agios
Nikolaos on the Gulf of Mirabello, where bustling resorts have gobbled up the
Beyond the gulf, however, the far eastern region holds some
of the most stunning scenery on the island, from rugged mountains to an
unexpected palm beach.
Crete’s main centre of package tourism lies east of the
capital, Irakleio, stretching along the north coast to Malia. Here a string of
resorts have all but usurped the old villages with cheek-by-jowl hotels,
apartments, restaurants, bars, travel agencies, and souvenir shops.
Agios Nikolaos in Eastern Crete
Around Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos, set prettily around a little lake, is
another bustling centre. Amid this hedonistic coastal strip, the ancient palace
of Malia and the Minoan town of Gournia anchor this changing landscape to the
Where to Stay in Agios Nikolaos
Far Eastern Crete
A short drive inland takes you into another world. The
provincial hill town of Neapoli is a gateway to the windmills and timeless
farming villages of the Lasithi Plateau, High in the Dikti Mountains is the
Diktean Cave, birthplace of the Greek god Zeus. At Kritsa, the fresco-covered
Church of Panagia Kera is an artistic jewel.
The Panagia Kera Church in Kritsa
Sitia and Beyond
A stunning coastal drive, not to be missed, brings you
further east to Sitia, with its attractive waterfront and relaxed pace. From
here you can strike out across a starkly beautiful mountainous landscape to
reach the monastery of Moni Toplou, the palm-fringed Vai Beach, and the remains
of the Minoan palace at Zakros.
Ierapetra, Europe’s southernmost town, is the largest on the
south coast, with some fine beaches in small untouristy resorts on either side.
Here on the south coast it’s a total contrast to the busy resorts on the north
Where to Stay on Crete
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