at 3.9km (N) from Vangelis Villas
Agios Nikólaos (GR: Αγιος Νικόλαος), with 9.500 inhabitants, is the capital of the Lassithi province of Crete. It is built around a picturesque lake at the north-western side of the Mirabello bay, the biggest bay in Crete. Major administrative, cultural and communications center, Agios Nikolaos is one of the most developed tourist areas, not only in Crete but in Greece in general. Thanks to the beautiful coasts, the great sights and the cosmopolitan life, this lively city hosts every year thousands of visitors without losing one bit of its tranquility and traditional hospitality.
at 4.2km (N) from Vangelis Villas
The Archaeological Museum of Aghios Nikolaos is one of the most important in Crete and has been in operation since 1969. It houses collections of very important archaeological finds from the whole of Eastern Crete, an area extending from Malia as far as Zakros. These are displayed in chronological order from the Neolithic period (5700 - 2800 B.C.) to the end of the Roman times (100 B.C. - 400 A.D.) Its showcases include more than 1350 vases from the 3rd millennium B.C. as well as gold and copper finds (the most ancient found in Crete).
at 6.4km (NW) from Vangelis Villas
Lato (Gr: Λατώ) was an ancient city of Crete, the ruins of which are located approximately 3 km from the small town of Kritsa. The Dorian city-state was built in a defensible position overlooking Mirabello Bay between two peaks, both of which became acropolises to the city. Although the city probably predates the arrival of the Dorians, the ruins date mainly from the Dorian period (fifth and fourth centuries BC). The city was destroyed ca. 200 BCE, but its port (Lato Etera or Lato pros Kamara), located near Agios Nikolaos was in use during Roman rule. There is some suggestion that the city was named after the goddess Leto (of which Lato is the usual Doric form) and may be mentioned in Linear B tablets as RA-TO. Lato also minted coins in antiquity, bearing the likeness of the goddess Eileithyia who appears to have been the one particularly worshipped at Lato. Nearchus, admiral of Alexander the Great, was born at Lato.
at 6.6km (W) from Vangelis Villas
Kritsa is one of the most picturesque towns in Crete, built amphitheatrically on a rock hill. It is located 11 km from Agios Nikolaos and has 2000 inhabitants. The people keep the old Cretan customs and the traditions and the town is considered one of the most important centers of the Cretan folk and weaving art.
at 8km (S) from Vangelis Villas
Between OLEROS and OLERIA there is the village Meseleroi, which took its name from the ancient OLEROS. It is situated at 10 km in the north of Ierapetra at an altitude of 360 m. Ancient Oleros flourished during the classical times, to be conquered by thepowerful Ierapytna. Oleria was a place of worship for Oleria Athena, with its famous statue, venerated by the residents of Oleria and Ierapytna.
at 10.3km (S) from Vangelis Villas
It is a small village, at 7 km in the north of Ierapetra, at an altitude of 212 m. According to tradition, the village took its name from a large uncultivated olive tree. It produced at least 10 sacks of olives and it provoked admiration by its size, and mostly by its height (Makrylia meaning tall olive tree). The village is old and traditional, with original Cretan style houses that have remained untouched over the time, in a beautifuland healthy environment, with a view of the overgrown with olive trees plain, with a rich history and hospitable residents. Foreigners have bought houses and live there. Thevillage’s interior is impressive, with the old olive presses, the bridge-house in the alley, the village’s architecture and aesthetics. Evidence of ancient settlements is reported by the locals.At the site “Ellinika”, in the south-east of the village, on the hill “Petras”, where there are traces of an ancient Acropolis. Also at the site “Kefalovrysi”, there is an unexploredcave, where ancient skeletons and fragments of pots were found. The Christians took refuge in this cave during the Turkish rule in order to protect themselves, as its entrance is high up and cannot be seen from below. In the same area, at the site “Elion Riza”, there are traces of ancient artifacts of domestic use and mortars chiseled in the rocks. There are natural caves at the site “Koutsounari” above the village, where the residents also took refuge in cases of danger from the raids of conquerors and pirates. Makrylia’s tower, which is referenced to in medieval sources, was situated at the Monastery of Saint Anthony which had 101 cells. A historical Monastery that, according to tradition, was the place of gathering and shelter of the area’s chieftains, being a fortified position, with the tower and the thick walls thatprotected those confined in the Monastery. There was also the Legend of “Avoli Merthia”, that is of the myrtle tree beyond which no bullets could pass and harm its defendants. In the Monastery, the catholicon of which has been erected and dedicated to the Apostles Peter and Paul, there was the Golden Bell. In the village’s precinct, during the Turkish rule, a lot of battles took place and the heroism of the residents of the wider region is well documented, with the most famous incident being the one of Nikolaos Varsamidiskilling Pitavotyros. Makryliá used to be a shelter for the residents of Ierapetra during the German Occupation, in 1583 it had 187 residents, with its first settlers coming from Meseleroi and building their first huts there. In 1951, it had 225 residents and, in the 2001 census, 120 were registered. It produced olive oil, carobs, cereals, had 3 olive presses, and 150 threshing floors in their cereal fields. A sight to see in Makrylia is a site below the village, where rocks of various geological periods, fossils of animals and fish can be seen, scientific research is conducted byforeign Universities and environmental education is provided to students. Today, Makrylia is a small lively village, its residents are increased, its physiognomy is set out by the renovations of stone-built houses, and it receives a lot of visitors for itssights.
at 10.7km (SW) from Vangelis Villas
The village is located at 480m a.s.l. 24.5km away from Agios Nikolaos, taking the road from Kalo Horio- Prina, and 15 km from Ierapetra. It has 617 inhabitants, including the smaller villages Kamara and Psathi. Forests of platans, pine trees, olive trees and a spring with small waterfalls, are the characteristic of the villages environment. The hill " Kastelos " is overlooking the village and almost all the county of Ierapetra and the Libyan sea. At the top of Kastelos there is the cave "40 Chambers" with the small chapel of "Timios Stavros" in it. Sights :The gorge of Havga, the cave 40 Chambers, the cave Theriou Koufala, the hill Kastelos, the chapel of agios Antonios with curved temple and entrance, the chapels Agios Georgios, Agia Paraskevi, and Panagia Cultural associations :The cultural association of Kalamafka. Cultural events :The patronal feasts of Panagia at August 15 and Timios Stavros at September 14. Facilities to the visitors :No accomodation. A few taverns and cafes operating at day time.
at 11.7km (N) from Vangelis Villas
The area is touristic developed with many shops, restaurants on the shore, bars and several excellent hotels famous for their comforts and the variety of amenities offered. The lagoon of Elounda is shaped between the coast and a small peninsula of 7-8 km length ... Spinalonga, since antiquity, has protected the harbor of ancient Olous.
at 14.2km (SW) from Vangelis Villas
The village of the rising sun, as its name declares. The golden rays illuminate Anatoli, the hanging rocks, the Holy Cross church, Drygies, Karkasa, and give the impression that the sun keeps rising. It is an old, historical, traditional village, situated at 17 km in the north-west of Ierapetra, at an altitude of 600 m. Its housesare visible from the plain and seem like white doves, nested in the fortified mountain of Anatoli. A privileged place, it has been a cradle of men of letters, Notaries, University professors, with great history and civilization.In the 70s, most of Anatoli’s residents got down to the plain and worked in the glasshouse cultivations. They founded, along with residents from other villages the settlementsStomio, Nea Anatoli, Ammoudares. The small picturesque village Kalogeroi, which, according to tradition, was built by a Turkish Aga, is part of Anatoli. It is referenced sincethe era of the Venetian rule. In 1583, along with Kalogeroi, it had 666 residents. In 1951 it had 897 and in 2001, along with Nea Anatoli, it had 1235 residents. The Tower of theVenetian feudal lord still lies in ruins in the north of the village. It nurtured important men of letters, such as Antonios Damilas, scribe and printer, Neilos Damilas, scholarlypriest-monk in the Karkasia Monastery, Dimitrios Damilas, brother of Antonios, scribe and printer in Milan, who published the “Greek Grammar” in 1476, Anthimos Donos,and Ioannis Olokalos, whose notary documents have been recently published. The latter had his seat in Drygies, a wonderful location in the east of the village with runningwaters, a tavern with a view of Ierapetra and the little church of Saint Foteini. Anatoli was an important intellectual center, having a school during the Venetian rule and a secretschool during the Turkish rule.The area of Anatoli, a fortified position, produced great fighters during the Turkish rule, such as Emmanuel Lakerdas, general chief of Ierapetra, Iakovos Mahairas, AthanasiosBarberakis and Georgios Bekiaris.Its history and struggles were imortant in all the historical periods. It has many ecclesiastical monuments, Monasteries and Byzantine icons of great art.The old traditional settlement of Anatoli has remained untouched by time, with its stone-built houses, the alleys, the old Kato Vrysi. Five years ago, it entered a program ofrenovation, was characterized as a traditional settlement and today houses and tourist lodgings of exceptional esthetics are built in stone. In a few years, Anatoli of Ierapetra willbe one of the most beautiful villages of Crete, with its wonderful climate, its extraordinary view, its incomparable natural landscape on which the Museum of Natural Historyof Crete has worked and about which it published a relevant document.Anatoli as well as its residents have to this day been successful in the agricultural, tourist and intellectual sectors. Personalities coming from the village dominate the political,social and intellectual life of our country. Anatoli was a Municipality in the beginning of the 20th century, then a Community and today a Local Department ofthe Municipality of Ierapetra, building its future on solid foundations. Hosting important cultural events, with itshistorical, folkloric and musical contributions, it is a center of attraction of bothlocals and foreigners. With two taverns, two coffee houses, a renovatedold school and hospitable residents, it satisfies the most demandingvisitors. Anatoli is even rich in snails and wild mushrooms.
at 14.8km (SW) from Vangelis Villas
One of the largest villages of Crete, in the north of the valley of the river Sarantapichos.It is 28 km away from Ierapetra and 40 km away from AghiosNikolaos, in a verdurous slope within immense olive groves, with an unlimitedview to the valley of Myrtos, the Libyan Sea and the mountain peaks that surroundit.The village took its name from ancient Malla, which is speculated to have beenbuilt at the same place or somewhere nearby. Ancient Malla was a city-state,with an army and a currency of its own, which presented Zeus, the Labyrinth,the Eagle and the word MAL. It is included in the 100 cities of Crete and in the“Cretans’ Common”. A lot of archaeological findings are now in the Museumof Heraklion, in museums abroad and in private collections. The inscriptionsfrom ancient Malla include treaties between “Malla and Lyttos”. “There shallneither be any spoliation of Malla by the Lyttos residents nor of Lyttos by theMalla residents”. Lyttos, an ancient city in the plateau of Lasithi, had often rumblingswith “Malla”, probably about the ownership and use of their mountainborders.An inscription found in 1848 contains the text of a treaty with the city Teos ofIonia. The city “Mallos” of Minor Asia is thought to have been a colony of Malla.The city Malla is also referenced in the alliance treaty of 30 Cretan cities withthe king Eumenis II of Pergamos.The most important of the gods the residents of Malla worshipped was ZeusMonnitios and he was also venerated in the adjacent cities. One of their greatestfestivities was Ypervoia.Evidence of inhabitation during the Hellenic and Roman eras has been found.During the Venetian rule, Malla, the seat of a feudal lord with two towers, wasthe largest village of Kastelania of Ierapetra. In 1583 it had 1483 residents, 5parishes and 7 priests. In the following censuses, in 1881 it had 754 Christiansand 15 Muslims. In 1951 it had 1253 residents and in 2001 499.Malles has been visited by a lot of travelers who have written down their impressions,the most prominent of whom being the Italian GEROLA.The Malles region also includes the abandoned village Aghios Georgios Loutra,the Holy Monastery of Exakousti, the old Monastery of Armos that was thesummer seat of the bishop of “Iera” and, as it has been reported, 7 bishopshave been buried there. Malles, except for their wonderful natural landscapes,the special routes for the nature lovers to the plateau of Katharos, to the sourceof Retiko and the surrounding mountains, has also important ecclesiasticalmonuments. Panagia (Our Lady) Messohoritissa, a church built in the times ofthe Palaiologoi dynasty, Saint Nicolas, the two-aisle church of Saint Charalambosand Afentis Christos (Our Lord the Christ), with the most beautiful temple,the work of the wood-carvers of Lasithi who specialized in church temples.Now a large village, Malles, with a rich history, folklore, civilization and strugglesin different historical periods, was visited by the national leader EleftheriosVenizelos. During the German Occupation, 18 people were executed. Itnurtured many and important Fighters. It used to be a Community, a formerMunicipality and is now a Local Department of the Municipality of Ierapetra.Rich in olive production, it has a cultural center, a post office, a football field andteam, cultural associations, an agricultural co-op and many traditional coffeehouses.