Ierapetra (Kamiros, Pytna, Ierapytna) is the southernmost city of Greece and Europe, and has since ancient times been a powerful city due to its strategic position. The city continued to prosper during the Roman era, when unique buildings, theatres and public baths were built. Today, the city is the most populous of the prefecture of Lasithi, and it enjoys 340 days of sunshine a year. It is also one of the most thriving cities, thanks to its market garden vegetable crops.
Kato Mera is the old town, with its port and “Kalé”, the castle town’s landmark, built in 1212. The castle, with its palm trees, annually hosts the “Kyrveia”, which are the Municipality of Ierapetra’s cultural events. In the old town you will find the church of Our Lady of “Kalé”, the Lord Christ, or Saviour, which is the oldest church in the city (14th c.) and St. Nicholas, which is so called because it was built by four sailors and fishermen called Nicholas.
In the old town you will see the Mosque, which was built in the late 19th century, and you can visit the Archaeological Museum and the Town Hall Square, which houses exhibits from the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman period. The Minoan finds in the collection are particularly remarkable. Also, Napoleon slept a night in a house here, on his way to Egypt.
Along the beach there is a row of restaurants, cafés and shops which cover your every need. The local cuisine is special. Try the cheese pies, courgette balls, “staka” (a roux dish made from goat milk fat, a favourite of Cretan cuisine), goat stew, rabbit in wine sauce, snails in oatmeal, fried snails, all cooked with pure Cretan olive oil, and of course enjoy them with local wine (whilst also doing justice to the unique Lasithi raki with appetizers).
Agia Fotia, a small green bay with a settlement of the same name, is located 14 km to the east of Ierapetra. It was named after the church of Agia Fotini, located here. A small river pours into its waters. The beach, which is very famous, is covered with small black pebbles and the turquoise waters are crystal clear, which is why
it is annually awarded the blue flag of the European Union. It is very well kept, has a tavern with great Cretan food and fresh fish, umbrellas and sun beds, and a bar under the trees with music that relaxes and entertains you, while at the beach volleyball court matches are organized.
Before and after Agia Fotia, and within one to six kilometres of Porfyra Village, there is a host of beautiful beaches.
The beaches at Ferma, Ahlia, and Makrigialos, next to the settlements of the same names, are wonderful, with deep or shallow crystal clear pebble waters. They are edged with rocks, and pine trees fill the landscape. About 6 km west of us is the beautiful and quiet pebble beach and crystal clear waters of Koutsounari, or Long beach, as it is 5 km long. All the beaches are well looked after.
This is a unique landscape! It is an exotic paradise with turquoise waters which the locals simply call “Island”!
To the south of Ierapetra, and just eight nautical miles away, is Chrissi, an island seven kilometres long and two kilometres wide. This is a unique island in Greece, as the trees are cedars of Lebanon and the major part of the sand consists of small, thin shells. The water is clear and a turquoise colour. Its cedars form the most natural forest of cedars of Lebanon in Europe (average tree age: 200 years, average tree height: 7 metres). It is one of the few places which modern civilization has not touched and is therefore protected by the Natura 2000 program, as an area of outstanding natural beauty and a wildlife refuge. On the north side of the island there is a small bar, the Church of St. Nicholas, a beacon on the north-west side and a house on the north-east side. The island has three residents. From mid-May until the end of October, small boats depart daily from Ierapetra and Makrigialos for Chrissi. After an hour’s journey, the ship approaches the south side of the island, which is the most peaceful, at the “Vougiou Eye”, where there is a small pier and a restaurant-canteen.
The mountainous landscape of Crete, is often carved by wild, deep yet beautiful gorges.
The Ha gorge is considered one of the wildest of Greece, a rare morphological phenomenon of nature. Its name probably derives from the verb “χάσκω”, meaning “to separate” or “to gape” – to form a chasm or an opening.
It is narrow, very sheer and extends for approximately 1800 metres, but access to it is very difficult. Inside, there are around 24 waterfalls, 10-35 metres high. Getting through it is difficult and requires the use of rope, and swimming in pools of water.
This virgin habitat has been untouched by man since its formation and it prohibits anyone from knowing it well or going through it. In and around the gorge, the flora and fauna are very rich. Small lakes are important wetlands for many migratory birds, but also for birds and mammals who live there permanently, and many rare and endangered plant species have found an ideal refuge in the gorge.
Mesona Gorge is a continuation of the Havgas Gorge to the southeast, towards Mount Thripti. It is passable from the ancient path from Kavousi, through Havgas, and continues parallel to Mesona.
The Sarakina Gorge is near the village Mithi, twenty-two km west of Ierapetra, in the southeast foot of Mount Dikti. It is small (only one and a half kilometres long) but beautiful, with ponds and waterfalls, particularly impressive since the walls reach a height of 150 metres. Just an hour is enough to pass through it and find the Kryopotamos River. An hour walking amidst the lush vegetation of plane trees, myrtle, oleander and osier. Along its bed flows the Kryopotamos almost all year; it is passable on foot only in the summer, and in the spring the river bed is ideal for canyoning.
They also call this the “Sarantapihos” Gorge because, when the mythical giant passed by here, he bent down to drink some water and his long beard tore the mountain in two, so the gorge was created.
The Pefki (Pine) Gorge starts south of the village of Pefki and ends just north of the “White River” area at Makrigialos. It is one of the most beautiful small gorges of Crete, with spectacular formations and vegetation. The well-designed path following the riverbed of the gorge for virtually the whole of its length makes it very accessible.
THE MYLONAS WATERFALL
The Gorge of Mylonas, or St. John, is located 18 kilometres east of Ierapetra. It starts from the village of Agios Ioannis (altitude 500 metres) and ends at the beach of Kakia Skala. The descent of the gorge from Agios Ioannis is interrupted by waterfalls and so it is impossible to get down without technical means from the top and through the bed of the gorge. Access to the large waterfall of Mylonas is via two routes: the easier one passes through the pine side of the gorge and is part of the old ditch to carry the water; the other, through the riverbed, is more difficult.
The attraction of the gorge is the large waterfall of 20 metres, to which those who visit the gorge are led. Especially in winter, after heavy rainfall, the waterfall doubles in volume and the view is unique.
Discover the nature, local history and tradition.
There is great archeological interest among the Minoan Palace of Zakros as well as the Minoan and Ancient cities of Lato, Palaikastro, Itanos, Mochlos, Hamezi and Gournia.
The history of our Monasteries is rich as well. Moni (Monastery) of Toplou, Moni Faneromenis and Moni Kapsa are just a few of them.
For everyday getaways with outstanding sense.
"GO KART" IERAPETRA
Well known sport and unique fun, for all ages.
Within 10 minutes drive, an ideal and safe track is waiting for you to have lots of fun.
Traditional dishes of Lasithi, based on local and fresh products.
Local products such as olive oil, honey, dairy produce, traditional bread and rusks, local meat, seafood, wine, raki etc. make up the wonders of Cretan cuisine.
Try the cheese pies, courgette balls, “staka” (see above), boiled goat, rabbit cooked in wine, snails in oatmeal, fried snails, potatoes in their jackets, “dakos” (a Cretan meze consisting of a slice of soaked dried bread or barley rusk topped with chopped tomatoes and crumbled feta or mizithra cheese, and flavoured with herbs, such as dried oregano), Cretan barbecued goat and anything else created by the imagination of your host.