SITIA

They say this part of Crete, in the eastern side of the island, is different, intact and authentic. It’s the land that gave refuge to the ancient Eteocretans, the true Minoans, who were hiding from the war rage of the Dorians. This is the land that gave birth to the poetic tradition of “Erotokritos”.  A unique philosophy of life that is based on the joy of love, celebration, kindness, open-heartiness, a sweet “craziness” and a never-ending mood for teasing the foreigners in a dialect that bursts of lyrism and images.  Here, in the charming capital of eastern Lasithi and the birthplace of the famous Cretan poet of the Renaissance, Vitsentzos Kornaros, hides the most secret and unknown face of Crete.

Amphitheatrically built around a beautiful bay on the north-eastern part of Crete, the easternmost large town of Crete mesmerizes the visitor with its serine and romantic atmosphere.

The city’s most popular attraction, Kazarma or Casa di Arma, an imposing Venetian fortress of the 13th century, stands strong on a slope as proof of the city’s medieval glory. The exceptional Archaeological Museum, the arc of Sitias’ history from the Minoan civilization to the Greco-Roman era houses innumerable treasures. The highlight of the museum is the magnificent chryselephantine statuette of the Minoan Palaikastro Kouros. The heart of the city beats on the port and the beautiful paved peer with tall palm trees where locals and visitors love to stroll around, next to the traditional restaurants, the vibrant cafes and pubs.

From here, all roads lead to the exotic palm forest of Vai, the only forest of its kind in Europe and one of the most famous sights in Crete. An unexpected scenery of an African oasis next to a golden beach. Further north, overlooking the emerald waters of Erimoupoli, stand the ruins of the Phoenician colony of Itanos, recounting the days of glory and grandeur of one of the most powerful and rich cities of the ancient world. East of Sitia, in the middle of a magical plateau with vineyards and olive groves, stands the famous and strong Moni Toplou, the historic medieval monastery and fortress of the 14th century. Visitors are amazed by the impressive architecture and local pink stone, the rare ecclesiastical treasures of the monastery’s museum and the famous winery.

  • view_headlineRoutes and sights close to Sitia

    An understated scenery of light, water and stone; astonishing sacred sites, unrefined natural beauty, a Mediterranean landscape with African colours. Every inch on the map of Sitia district offers the traveller an unprecedented experience of initiation in the grandeur and simplicity of primeval Crete.

    • The Minoan palace of Kato Zakros, the fourth largest palace in Crete, reveals, in all its splendour, another great administrative, religious and trading centre of the Minoan civilization. The archaeological site is next to one of the most beautiful beaches of the island and the ending point of the eerie Gorge of the Dead, the famous and most popular monument of nature in eastern Crete.

    • The deserted medieval settlements of Sitia’s mainland. The village of Voila, with its beautiful tower, the fountains and the church of Agios Georgios with the family tomb of the ancestors of Dionysios Solomos, Greece’s national poet. Etia, with the imposing restored Venetian mansion of feud Pietro de Mezzo, one of the most characteristic specimens of Venetian architecture of the 15th century in Crete and the most important listed monument of the Cretan country.

    • The route from the village of Ziros to the magical virgin beaches of Xerokampos. A dreamlike descent through narrow serpentine roads and dry, naked mountains overlooking the rocky islets of Kavali and the exotic, breath-taking Koufonisi.

    • The archaeological sites of Palaikastro and Praisos, the most important city of the ancient Eteocretans.

    The beautiful Gorge of Richtis, between the village of Exo Mouliana and the rocky bay of Richti, is captivating. An evergreen 3-hour route through the dense forest with the overwhelming aromas of herbs, the watermills and a fairy-tale lake at the bottom of the falls.

    The beautiful beaches of eastern Lasithi, a turquoise symphony between the Sea of Crete, the Karpathion and the Libyan Sea. The popular and organized beaches in the South (Agia Fotia, Koutsouras, Makris Gialos, Goudouras), the virgin and secluded beaches of the east coast (Xerokampos, Zakros, Karoumes, Kouremenos, Chiona), the rocky and wavy beaches of the North (Mochlos, Platani, Papadiokampos).

    The historic 15th century Monasteri of Kapsa, pinned onto a steep rocky slope at the ending point of the Pervolakia Gorge, overlooking the Libyan Sea. Mystic atmosphere made of legends, folklore and literature straight out of the “Life and Times of Alexis Zorbas”.

    • The exotic paradise of Chrissi (“Gaidouronisi” or the "donkey island") opposite the south coastline of Lasithi. Thalassotherapy with aquamarine, the aroma of old cedars and thousands of shells on crystal white sand. A rare ecosystem that is part of Natura 2000.

  • view_headlineWhat’s not to miss ...

    • Take a walk around the beautiful traditional villages of North Sitia. Lastros, Mirsini, Sfaka, Tourloti, Mouliana. Wonder around the beautiful alleys with the blooming yards and the historic small churches. Mingle with the all-hearted locals at the picturesque traditional cafes where you will listen to the catchy “mantinades”, a form of musical declamations popular all around Crete.

    • Watch the sunrise from Cape Sidero, the north-easternmost part of the island. The wuthering heights of Crete.

    • Buy top quality local products of Sitia, such as thyme honey and of course, the famous olive oil of Sitia, among the best olive oils in the world.

    • Sample unique local delicacies that can only be found in Sitia, such as “xinogalo” (a type of sour cheese) and the well-known sweets of Sitia.

    • Taste the exceptional local cuisine in the famous taverns of Mochlos and Chiona.

    • Visit the barren island of Lefki (Koufonisi), known as “Dilos of the Libyan Sea”. You will be impressed by the ruins of an ancient theatre that could sit 1,200 persons and the “royal blue” workshops that were brought to light by archaeologists.

  • view_headlineTravelling to Sitia

    Travel to and from Sitia with ANEK LINES. Enjoy a comfortable journey with one of the leading passenger ferry operators in the Mediterranean.

    ΑΝΕΚ connects Piraeus and other popular destinations with Sitia through the Cyclades, Crete and Dodecanese route (Piraeus, Milos, Santorini, Anafi, Heraklion, Sitia, Kassos, Karpathos, Diafani Karpathos, Chalki, Rhodes) with port-to-port itineraries. The company offers top quality service and authentic Cretan “philoxenia” on board.

    The modern fleet and highly trained crew of ANEK, promise a pleasant on board stay, meeting the needs and demands of the modern traveller. ANEK ferries have spacious cabins of all categories, comfortable and air-conditioned all-user areas with many entertainment options, modern stores, gourmet restaurants and café -bars.

    ANEK highly values gastronomy and offers exquisite menus based on authentic Cretan products and tastes of the Cretan cuisine. All ΑΝΕΚ ferries offer 24hour internet service (wi-fi and Internet Corners) at designated areas.

    Discover our best prices for ferry tickets and unique offers for passenger tickets and cabin accommodation throughout the year.

  • view_headlineArriving at Sitia

    ANEK LINES ferry arrives at the port of Sitia, the only port in Eastern Crete.

    From Sitia, you can easily travel by bus to all remaining popular destinations of Lasithi District, such as Agios Nikolaos, Elounta and Ierapetra.

    You can also travel to Sitia by car from Heraklion (link στο κείμενο Ηρακλείου) (130 km drive), if you traveled on the Piraeus - Heraklion route.

    Sitia is the ideal point of departure for on-road trips to the eastern part of Crete as well as the entire island. ANEK LINES offers reliable and value for money transportation services so you can take along your own car, motorcycle, trailer or caravan and enjoy unique trips around the island.

  • view_headlineNext stop: West Lasithi

    Approximately 80 km west of Sitia, the stunning bay of Mirabello reveals the famous “jewels” of Lasithi District:  the cosmopolitan capital of Agios Nikolaos with the beautiful Voulismeni lake in the centre of the city and the idyllic seaside resort of Elounta, the luxurious vacation spot of the rich and famous from around the world. Off the coast, the island of Spinalonga captivates the visitor with its atmospheric Venetian castle town, one of the most important maritime strongholds of the Mediterranean. The mainland in west Lasithi hides a charming world of legends and primeval traditions. The beautiful mountain village of Kritsa, a living example of Cretan architecture and the Cretan way of life stands right next to the impressive ruins of the ancient stronghold of Lato. The Lasithi Plateau with thousands of white sand dunes and the oldest wind farm in the world. The majestic Ha Gorge, the king of all of Crete’s gorges with its inaccessible beauty and the island’s greater falls. The legendary Diktaean Cave, the birthplace of Zeus and a breath-taking masterpiece of geology. The pine forest of Selakanos, a paradise of wild natural beauty and the renown bee-garden, Crete’s true realm of bees. Mesmerizing Ierapetra, the southmost city of Europe with the Venetian fortress of Kales dating back to the 13th century, the legendary house of Napoleon and the intense nightlife.

  • view_headlineUseful telephone numbers

    ΑΝΕΚ LINES - Central Reservation Dept.: 0030 210 4197400 Sitian Holidays: 0030 28430 28555 Sitia Police Station: 0030 28430 22259 Sitia Traffic Police: 0030 28430 22259 Sitia Port Authority: 0030 28430 22310 Sitia Post Office: 0030 28430 22283 Municipality of Sitia: 0030 28430 22271 Sitia Hospital: 0030 28433 40100 Sitia Airport: 0030 28430 24424 Sitia Taxi service: 0030 28430 22700 Sitia Intercity Bus Service: 0030 28430 22272

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