Today's tour will be useful for people who will be vacationing in the area of Makra Gialos, Analipsi or other places in the area of Ierapetra. They are the perfect starting point for a more detailed exploration of the eastern part of Crete. The route we propose leads through many interesting points, although the distances between them are not too large. For this reason, visiting places in the far east of the island should be combined into a larger whole. The basic condition for completing this tour is to set off early in the morning.
As in previous trips, we also provide this route on the google map. The beginning and end of the route is marked by the town of Makry Gialos, but we could not "close" the route on the map due to the limited number of points on the route.
First, we set off to Sitia , the smallest of the large cities of Crete. The distance between Makry Gialos and Sitia is approximately 33 km. It is necessary to reserve from 45 minutes to an hour to travel this distance.
In Sitia, it is best to park your car near the coast. The port and the promenade along it are the most popular places in the city. Near the port, there is a small fortress called Kazarma. Although it is empty inside, it is worth visiting, because it offers a beautiful panorama of Sitia. In addition, it is worth walking through several streets and seeing this "city of stairs" up close. Those interested in archeology can also visit the local archaeological museum. It is small, but many artifacts found at excavations in the area have been collected in it.
The second point of the route is the Moni Toplou Monastery, about 15 km from Sitia. It is one of the most important and richest monasteries in Crete, so it is definitely worth a look. There is also a wine bar in the vicinity of the monastery, where you can try and buy interesting wines made from local grape varieties.
The next place on the route of our trip is a small excavation of the ancient city of Itanos located next to the beach of the same name. Although this place is located next to the famous Vai Beach, relatively few people come here. It's a pity because it's worth it. You can also find some other lovely and almost empty beaches in this area. Of course, Vai is also worth visiting, although in the high season it is a very crowded beach and is already heavily commercialized. Despite the fact that it is one of the top places of Crete, it is worth seeing when we spend our holidays in the nearby area.
Vai Beach is only 10 km away from the Minoan Palace in Palaikastro . This is one of the least known Minoan palaces in Crete, probably also due to its remote location from popular tourist centers. However, if you like archaeological sites, your imagination will certainly have a lot to show off here.
Then we follow the road leading to Zakros and then to Kato Zakros . Here, too, there are excavations of the Minoan Palace, which is considered to be the fourth largest and most important palace from the Minoan era. Next to it, there is also the entrance to the Ravine of the Dead, however, you must book a separate day for this tour. In Kato Zakros, it is also worth "visiting" one of the taverns and eating lunch there. Local taverns are famous for their very good fish.
From Kato Zakros we go to Xerokambos , where there are beautiful and little-known beaches, e.g. one of the most beautiful: Mazida. It is worth taking a little longer rest here. These beaches are sandy and the water is insane, so don't forget to bring your towels and costumes.
From Xerokambos we go to Makry Gialos, but this is not the end of the trip. Serpentines, which you have to take to the top, are a big attraction here. When you are high enough, it is worth getting out of the car to look at the whole area. It is a really beautiful piece of Crete.
Before you even reach your destination, make a stop at the Moni Kapsa monastery built into the rock. Although the church itself will probably be closed, it is worth entering the monastery and going upstairs to the cave where the monk Gerontoyiannis lived. The monastery can be visited until 19, so if you do not settle down on the beaches at Xerokambos, you will also have time to visit Moni Kaps.
Missing an idea for connecting tourist points on the map of Crete? Maybe a little tour around Rethymno? This is of course an option for people who have a hotel / guesthouse in the Rethymno area and have a rental car.
This time we offer you another car route located in the Heraklion Prefecture. This is the route we have named the Archaeological. We realize that seeing three large archaeological sites in one day is quite a challenge.
This time we are giving an idea for a second road trip. This time we put together a few points on the tourist map of the western tip of Crete. In this case, we also encourage those who will make this route to post photos documenting the trip in the comments under the Facebook post.