Sitia, a coastal town on Crete, situated in the northeastern part of the Lasithi region. It is accessible by boat and by plane and it’s an ideal base for exploring the surrounding area. Although Sitia isn’t particularly picturesque, it’s a beautiful seaside amphitheater city stretched out along the coast. It has about 10,000 inhabitants and is lively day and night. It is worth walking along the beach, where you can find taverns, cafes and bars, and the narrow streets that lead up to the hill to Kazarma, the fortress of the castle which was the commanding post during Venetian rule.
Sitia is different than other places on Crete that I’ve visited. Even the traditional music differs, as violin is the traiditional instrument, not the Cretan lyra. It has all the necessary infrastructure to fully serve tourism, while keeping the authenticity through the selflessness of its people. We stayed in Sitia for 3 days at Lassion Golden Bay hotel.
- Analog latitude computer
On the port road there is a pavilion which houses this unique exhibit. It is the first sundial clock ever discovered, which also serves as analog latitude computer, which precedes the mechanism of Antikythera by about 1400 years.
- Ancient Itanos
An area of historical importance, located 27 km from Sitia, which flourished during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, as an export hub for goods to the East. Just above Itanos is Hermoupolis beach, which is very beautiful and peaceful, ideal for relaxation.
- Vai palm grove (beach)
Via is one of the many famous beaches of Crete. It is home to the largest palm grove on the island, but also the largest with this type of palm in Europe, and is a protected natural area which extends two hundred acres. The scenery is exotic with palm trees, golden sand and blue water make a very beautiful and impressive scene. To enjoy the panoramic view it is worth climbing up the hill observatory. From there you can continue on to south beach, which is not organised, much quieter and nudist friendly.
- Toplou Monastery
One of the famous monasteries of Crete, with a long history, situated 10km east of Sitia. It has a large number of valuable Byzantine icons, which shows that it flourished in the 14th and 15th centuries. The museum of the monastery exhibited remarkable images, ecclesiastical arts and crafts and military relics from the Turkish occupation and world war two. Our interesting tour there was given by George Avgoustinakis, an interesting man whose knowledge really impressed me.
- Toplou winery
Just opposite the monastery lies the winery, which produces wine and a traditional drink called raki, as well as the Viositia company, which produces organic olive oil. If you’re at the monastery you should visit these places to try unique wines and top quality olive oil, which is exported in packaged bottles to 27,000 outlets in northern Europe. The tour and wine tasting was hosted by the oenologist Manolis Stafylakis. A man who loves what he does and shows it in a unique way.
- Hiking in Richtis canyon
It’s a downhill hike that will take us about two hours through an easy path that follows the bed of a small river. The vegetation in the area is strong, with many platanus, walnut, oleanders and many other species of trees. Even though there are only a few places where you need to be careful, you feel like you’re crossing the jungle. The length of the route is about 3 km and descends an altitude of 350 meters. In the middle of the gorge, we came across the ruins of two watermills, where locals used to grind wheat and other grains using the pressure of the water. After an hour and a half of walking you’ll reach the waterfall of Richtis which falls from a height of about 20 meters, creating beautiful scenery. It is the best place to relax and enjoy this unique natural beauty. Hiking this canyon is something that many travelers from around the world come to experience. The path leads to the bay of Richtis and ideally you should arrange for someone to pick you up and take you back to the village, as it’s steep and the distance is long to go on foot.
Ideal place to taste traditional cretan cuisine and drink raki, the cretan spirit in Sitia.
A great restaurant in Vai where you can taste traditional local cuisine with a beautiful view of the palm grove and the beach. This restaurant was a pleasant surprise as I didn’t expect to enjoy such a nice meal in a such a touristic place!
Traditional tavern in Piskokefalo village where you can taste local cuisine.
- To kentriko
Traditional cafe – tavern in Exo Mouliana village where you must definitely go to eat after making the hiking in the canyon of Richtis.