Eastern Crete (see map
The town of Sitia is unique.
Located at a considerable distance from major towns
of Crete, Sitia has developed a unique character. The
locals wallow in this knowledge. In summer Sitia is
the only location on Crete where tourists number more
than the local population. Sitia is the hometown of
Vintsentzo Cornaro. It offers ideal conditions for relaxation
and uneventful holidays. Guests who need to feel their
adrenalin running in their blood stream would better
look for other resorts, west of Sitia. The locals are
warm-hearted, friendly and hospitable.
A pedestrian zone extends
along the waterfront of Sitia. It is an ideal location
for a leisurely walk where you can meet a lot of beautiful
local girls that might accept your invitation for coffee
or a treat at a nearby coffee or pastry shop. There
are a lot of such shops by the waterfront that have
successfully integrated with local culture. For example
the MITSAKAKI shop, which is intricately connected to
the history of the town, specializes in “loukoumades”
and traditional pastries. The TZELESSOU shop, next to
a string of restaurants by the waterfront, is a favourite
meeting place for most young people of Sitia. Other
well-known shops are CAF? ITANOS, and CAF? VAI. At THEMIS
shop you will find an excellent selection of ice-cream
flavours products of the Cretan company by the same
name. Finally, the KALABOKI pastry shop offers quality
cakes, a tradition that lasts for almost half a century.
For a taste of the Mediterranean
cuisine your choice should be the BALCONI restaurant.
At MICHOS the emphasis is on roast meat. Right on the
waterfront you will find the restaurants of REMETZO,
KOLIOS, KASTRO, ZORBA. Rabbit in lemon sauce is the
specialty of KLIMATARIA restaurant located just outside
the town. Near the Roussa Church, upon the hillside
lies the PLATANOS tavern, a charming family restaurant.
The NEROMYLOS, a watermill converted to a restaurant,
specializes in grilled meat and offers a wonderful view
to the town of Sitia. At Chiona location there are three
fresh-fish taverns. A very tasty starter is the fish
soup. On the way to Makris Yialos you will find the
DRAPANOI restaurant (also known as “The Spring
of Paradise” to tourists; God knows why). It is
rather isolated but with a very interesting menu. This
restaurant features also two dancing floors and live
folk music. The same restaurant offers reception services
for christenings, weddings and other social events.
In addition to the restaurants, there are numerous Greek
coffee shops in villages that also offer homemade specialties.
Sitia is not the clubbing
center of Crete and we are far from crying over spilt
milk for that. However, Sitia is not without nightclubs.
For example, GLYFADA at the waterfront offers a wide
range of drinks to warm up the senses and the proper
environment for a chat and soft music. The STATUS, at
the entrance to the town on the way to Piskocephalo
is an interesting “joint” for young people
in their thirties. To the east one can find the BYZANTIUM
for high decibel entertainment. The PLANETARIUM is built
on a hill inside the town.
- GETTING AROUND
A fine sample of the wild
nature of Crete stretches from Sitia to Makrys Yialos.
Remote beaches and secrete routes create an out-of-this
planet atmosphere: sun, dust, stone and sea. The beach
bordering the east side of town, stretching up to Petra,
was polluted in the past. Now, by dint of private initiative,
the beach is clean, with shower installations dotting
the fine sand. This beach is conveniently placed near
the town and attracts young people who enjoy surfing
in its crystal clear waters.
Now, lets have a look
at Vai, the renowned palm forest of Crete. A true paradisial
spot had it not been for the umbrellas and deck chairs,
a modern eyesore around Crete. If you must see Vai,
then you had better visit it off-season. The locals
would rather bathe at ERIMOUPOLIS, known also as ITANOS,
the name of a submerged ancient town the ruins of which
are visible from the shore. Moving south from Vai, on
routes reminiscent of Mexican landscapes, you will come
across the Medieval Monastery of TOPLOU endowed with
a very large estate, PALAIKASTRO with the CHIONA beach,
KOUREMENOS and ROUSOLAKOS beaches.
KATO ZAKROS is known for
its Minoan palace and fish taverns. XEROKABOS, although
difficult to access, offers one of the
last idyllic spots
of Crete: white sand, absolute serenity, and wild lilies
growing on sand dunes. Unfortunately, this is going
to change with the installation of a power plant at
nearby ATHERINOLAKOS location. Now, if you also enjoy
boating, you could hire or rent a boat and row or speed
to KOUFONISSI from cape Goudoura. The isle, rather a
rock, is deserted but with interesting Minoan ruins,
sand dunes, wonderful beaches (unfortunately you will
come across umbrellas and deck chairs here, too, during
the summer). The isle is ideal for camping as well.
In addition, there are organized excursions to the isle
from Makry Yialos. More information about daily trips
to KOUFONISSI is available from the boat owners at Makry
Stigmes, Crete's magasine