The easternmost town in Crete. A small and pleasant coastal town, built in a semicircle on the western side of the Bay of Sitia (Si̱teía GR: Σητεία), a typical, peaceful Mediterranean port. It is the capital of the county with the same name and is sited 69 km east of Agios Nikolaos.
Like the other Cretan palaces, the palace of Zakros, was first built in about 1900 B.C. The present ruins seen by the visitor belong to the second building phase, in about 1600 BC. The total area of the palace, including ancillary buildings, is approximately 10,000 sq.m. It was not only the permanent residence of the royal family, but also the administrative, as well as commercial and religious centre of the surrounding area. The long term excavations have yielded over 10,000 objects, many of them considered unique, which are now on display in the Iraklion and Sitia museums.
A palm tree forest stretching on a marvelous valley and sandy beach. It consists of self planted palm trees of Theophrastus (Phoenix Theophrasti). It is unique of its kind in Greece, Europe and probably the world. Vai because of its special value and beauty is protected by the Greek state, European Union and international contracts. The protected area covers 23.4 ha. The sandy beach of Vai is amongst the most beautiful in Crete and Greece and attracts thousands of visitors every year since Vai is a top destinations especially for the new comers. The small islets opposite the beach add a lot to the beauty of the place. There is a parking area, a tavern, a canteen, umbrellas and seabeds. There is regular public bus connection with the towns of Sitia and Palaikastro during the summer and many organised day trips by travel agencies. If you don't like crowds, you can walk a little to the south from Vai to Psili Ammos a lovely small beach with fine gold sand which is nested in a small cove.
Makry Gialos (Long shore GR:Μακρύ Γιαλός) is a small beach resort on the south-east coast of Crete, located 60km from Agios Nikolaos, 25km from Ierapetra, and 33 km from Sitia. Makry Gialos features a small fishing harbour and a nice 1km long sandy beach that stretches from the harbour to the east. Four more lovely beaches can be found in the immediate area. Accommodation is available mostly in family-run studio and apartment complexes and there is a good choice of bars, restaurants, tavernas, some of them right on the beach front or at the small fishing harbour. Makry Gialos is the administrative centre of the wider area which comprises some picturesque traditional villages built on the tree covered mountain sides. The area has been inhabited since the Minoan times as many ruins from this as well as the Roman and the Venetian periods prove.
A small picturesque village by the sea characterized as a landscape of exquisite, natural beauty. With joyful and peaceful inhabitants who constantly tease each other. It is located in Crete, north of Lasithi prefecture, between Agios Nikolaos and Sitia, at equal distance (30-35km) from the three major cities(Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Ierapetra). Ideal place for holiday or special weekends. You will enjoy the most colourful sunset and the most beautiful daybreak from any other place. The serenity of the morning open view, with the sun rising from the sea, will be unforgettable. The small island, opposite the village, with the small church of Agios Nikolaos, offers a unique beauty to the landscape.
In Makry Gialos, at the place Katovigli, near the church of the Dormition of the Virgin, have been unearthed remains of a Roman Villa. Pendlebury (BSA XXXIII p. 100) had already noted the existence of a Roman settlement here. Excavations begun in 1977 (not yet completed), have shown that there were indeed large domestic establishments, dated from the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD, but it is not possible at this stage of the excavations to draw definite conclusions. One room after another has been discovered and the whole excavation so far, covers an area of roughly 1500 sq.m.
In 1971 systematic excavations were begun by the Ephor of Antiquities Kostis Davaras north-west of the village at Plakakia. Here he located an important villa of the lateminoan period. The dig was completed in 1977 having shown that the villa had been destroyed by fire.It had strong outer walls, inner courts, many rooms with thresholds, flagged floors and areas perhaps connected with the worship of the Sacred Tree. It must have been roofed with bamboo canes covered by a layer of clay (as a number of the older traditional village houses still are). Among the most important movable finds were vessels of pottery and stone, figurines and an amygdaloid seal-stone of steatite engraved with a representation of a Sacred Ship. On the ship a sacred precinct or altar is shown with a tall palm-like tree standing like a mast. On the prow of the ship a worshiper or a priestess stands facing the altar, clenched fist raised to the brow in the recognized Minoan attitude of worship. This is the first clear evidence of the existence of Sacred Ships or Boats connected with the Minoan religion; it has its parallels in the ancient religions of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Source: "Sitia" by Nikos Papadakis - archaeologist
A picturesque town built at 260 m. above sea level, located at the end of the road from Sitia to the eastern part of the island, 38km away from Sitia and 19,5km from Palekastro. Zakros has 750 inhabitants, farmers, producing olive oil of excelent quality, stock breeders and fishermen. It is the commercial and administrative center of the area with the villages : Adravasti (75 inhabitants, 300m a.s.l.), Azokeramos (58 inhabitants, 230m a.s.l.), Kelaria (34 inhabitants, 250m a.s.l.), Klissidi (15 inhabitants, 220m a.s.l.) and Kato Zakros a small coastal village, site of the fourth large Minoan Palace, located 7.5km from Zakros at the bay of the same name. There is regular public bus transportation from Sitia to Zakros. The town and the wider area offers quite few facilities to the visitors, apartments for rent, restaurants cafes, shops etc. During the summer cultural events are taking place at the central square of the town, attracting both tourists and locals. The area is characterized by lush vegetation, due to the many springs and streams with running water, while watermills were built in some of them.
Xerókampos (GR: Ξερόκαμπος) is a beautiful coastal settlement in a place of natural beauty. The distance from Ziros is 20 km and from Zakros 11 km. The wonderful beaches, the healthy climate and the important ancient places of interest attract both Greek and foreign visitors. The settlement offers a infrastructure of small hotels, apartments, taverns, super markets and supporting facilities. Xerokampos is an old settlement. It is first recorded in the 1583 Venetian census. The ancients were certainly aware of the beauty of this place and its important position and the site has been inhabited since the Minoan times. The settlement would appear to have been at the spot called Katsounaki and on Trahilas hill a peak sanctuary already looted was discovered. There are important ancient sites from Hellenic times on the hills of Antisternia and Farmakokefalo. At Farmakokefalo where the excavations are under the authority of the archaeologist N. Papadakis an important town, mainly of the Hellenistic era was brought to light. It is possible that the town is Ambelos which various literary sources and correlation place in this area of Crete.
The village of Papagianades (GR: Παπαγιαννάδες) with ~160 inhabitants, is situated in the area of Lefki at an altitude of 480 m above sea level, approximately 90 km from Agios Nikolaos and 19 from the town of Sitia. It was first recorded in an Egyptian census in 1834 with 8 Christian families. It was also recorded by Chourmouzi Byzantios in 1842. In the 1881 census the village is recorded with a population of 77 pertaining to the Community of Handras. The Ai Lias hill just before entering the village is of local interest as well as the Monastirakia, a ruined Minoan settlement. There is also the church of Panagia Eleousa with frescoes dated back to the 14th century. The sightseer can sit and relax at the marvelous Panteli, a place in a gorge with lot of trees, joining the villages of Papagianades and Maronia. The chapel of Virgin Mary is worth visiting as well.