Located on the eastern side of Crete, Lassithi is the least tourist region of the island. Although it has some popular places, including Elounda, Sissi, Sitia and Ierapetra, the rest of the region is authentic and away from mass tourism. The best beach of Lassithi Greece is Vai, an amazing place with an impressive palm forest and crystal water. All the beaches have crystal water and relaxing atmosphere. Very interesting are also the traditional villages in the Plateau of Lassithi, keeping all the local customs and a calm pace of life. A drive around will bring you to ancient sites and Medieval Castles, such as the Minoan palace of Zakros and the famous island of Spinalonga. Share it!
1. Vai palmgrove
Vai was totally unknown until the early 1970s, when a popular commercial for the Bounty chocolate with coconut was filmed here, using the magical background of palm trees. In the advert, coconuts were falling from trees, however Vai palms produce dates. Consequently coconuts had to be falsely hung to create the right impression. The ad made this unknown earthly paradise renowned throughout the world.
2. Voulisma beach
In front of the touristic settlement, there is a nice sandy beach with turquoise waters. The sea surface is mainly flat, because the beach has easterly orientation. while winds in Crete come mainly from west. The beach is organised with umbrellas, sunbeds and water sports.
3. Golden beach (Belegrina)
The thousands of visitors arriving daily with the boat from Ierapetra to Chrissi island mainly swim on the beach of Belerinina or Golden Beach. Bright blue waters, white sand with pink shades from the thousands of broken shells, the junipers that hold the sand with their huge roots is the backdrop that makes anyone fall in love with this place.
4. Kolokytha beach
Kolokytha is a small island just opposite the Peninsula of Spinalonga, 12km north of Agios Nikolaos and close to Elounda. Opposite the island there is the fantastic beach of Saint Luke, mostly known as Kolokytha. To access the beach you should first follow a scenic route: From the town of Elounda, follow the road leading to the East, along the shore. You will pass the old salt pans on your right hand, which now host many birds.
5. Almiros beach
Almiros beach is located 2.5km south of Agios Nikolaos and is the most popular beach of the city. It is shaped near the exit of Almiros River, which empties on the south part of the beach. Next to the beach, the protected wetland of Almiros hosts several rare birds, towering eucalyptus trees, reed and some palm trees.
6. Makrigialos beach
Makrigialos is located 58km southeast of Agios Nikolaos and 23km east of Ierapetra. It is a large village, located near the exit of the lush canyon of Pefki. Being initially a humble harbor with no roads in the ‘50s, Makrigialos has faced a strong growth and has become the largest tourist destination in the region. It actually consists of two settlements, Makrigialos and Analipsi, which are now united.
1. Richtis Gorge
2. Milonas Gorge
The Gorge of Mylonas or Saint John is located 18km east of Ierapetra. It starts near the village of St. John, at an altitude of 500m, and ends at the beach of Kakia Skala. Descending the gorge from Saint John is impossible, as it is stopped by a high waterfall, and canyoning equipment is necessary.
3. Kritsa Gorge
Kritsa Gorge starts near the picturesque village of Kritsa, 9.5km southwest of Agios Nikolaos and ends at the village Tapes. It’s 4km long, reaching a width of only 1.5m in some places. It is easily accessible with a few points that need attention, where you have to climb over some big rocks (not too hard). The only time you should not visit the gorge, is when it has rained previously and there are ponds in the gorge, which block the passages.
4. Ha Gorge
One dominant feature of the area of Ierapetra, in front of the beautiful village and the minoan settlement of Vassiliki is the Gorge Ha. It is considered one of the wildest gorges in Crete, a rare morphological phenomenon of nature, probably caused by tectonic earthquake.
5. Sarakina Gorge
16km west of the Ierapetra is the traditional village of Mythi. In a short distance from the village, the small Sarakina Gorge starts, which ends near the Mirtos. The length of the canyon reaches 1.5km and its width ranges from 3 to 10 meters, with only a few points exceeding that.
6. Zakros Gorge
The beautiful Gorge of Kato Zakros (or the gorge of the Dead) starts in a short distance from Ano Zakros, nearly 100km southeast of St. Nicholas, and ends at Kato Zakros. The beauty of the landscape, the historical importance of the gorge and its accessibility, attract many visitors every year.
Museum & Archaeological sites
1. Archaeological Museum of Sitia
The Archaeological Museum of Sitia operates since 1984 and hosts the most important archaeological finds from eastern Crete (from Sitia, Palekastro, the islets of Mochlos and Psira, the necropolis of St. George, the palace of Zakros, the Hellenistic town of Xerokambos, Ziros, Makrigialos, Lefki island and ancient Itanos).
2. Spinalonga Islet
Spinalonga is a small island located at the entrance of Elounda lagoon and north of the Gulf of Mirabello. It has an area of 85 acres and its maximum height is 53 meters. The history of the island still inspires awe. It has been a Venetian fortress, a castle colony, a rebel refuge, a place of exile for lepers, a communication link with Cairo during the Second World War.
3. Toplou Monastery near Sitia
Toplou Monastery is located in the northeastern tip of Crete, at the base of Sidero Cape, 10km east of Sitia and 6km north of Palekastro. The monastery is one of the most historic monasteries of Crete and is known for its vast real property.
Zakros is located in a remote area of eastern Crete, 45km southeast of Sitia. Communication with the Mid East was faster from here during the Minoan Age, thus the Minoans built here the administrative center of Eastern Crete, with an important port. The findings are very rich (sheets of gold, ivory, jewelry, pottery, etc.) and prove the close relationship of the city with the ports of Cyprus, Egypt and the Middle East.
5. Gournia Minoan Town
6. Ancient Lato
The name Lato is taken after the Dorian pronunciation of the goddess Leto, who probably was worshiped here. However, the patron of the city was the goddess of childbirth, Eileithyia, who is depicted on the coins of Lato. moverer in Lato was born the admiral of Alexander the Great, Nearchus (360 to 312 BC).