Top at Karfi

Minoan settlement Karfi on Lasithi plateau Karfi is a crucial Minoan village east of Diaselou tis Ampelou (Seli) which is placed at the borders of the areas of Heraklion and Lasithi. The village was constructed on the eastern section of the magnificent limestone outcropping and experts say it populated the entire level space amongst the highs Small and Big Koprana and housed around 3,500 residents. The title Karfi (Nail), is unusual and it was assigned afterward because its authentic historic title was ‘forgotten’. The village started in the period when the Minoans were pursued aside by the Dorian people who… learn more


Palace of Festos

Palace of Festos overlooking the Mesara plain. After about 4 1/4 miles (7 km) in western direction from the destroyed, former Roman provincial capital Gortys and the small town of Mires, one reaches the ruins of the Palace of Festos. The palace is particularly impressive and, unlike Knossos, have not been restored. Also the magnificent location of the palace on a hill above the Mesara plain and overlooking the often snow-capped peaks of the Psiloritis mountains makes the visit worthwhile. History Festos was one of the oldest and most important cities on Crete. At the time of the peak of… learn more

Arhanes, south of Heraklion

vineyard area south of Heraklion

Aqueduct, burial ground at Fourni, Arhanes, Minoan megaron of Vathypetro. Sightseeing south of Heraklion: Aqueduct of Heraklion If one drives from Heraklion via Knossos in the southern direction, one reach the Venetian bridge of Ayia Irini after about 4.2 miles (7 km), where the remains of an extraordinary aqueduct are visible, which once supplied Heraklion with fresh water. The aqueduct has a medieval or even ancient appearance, but is in reality not even two centuries old. It was built in the short time of the Egyptian administration of Crete in the years from 1832 to 1840. A little further, at… learn more



Gournia, the best preserved city of the Minoans. History Gournia, which is situated in a saddle between two low hills along the highway from Aghios Nikolaos to Ierapetra, is the best preserved city of the Minoans on the whole of Crete. The original name of this Minoan city is not known and the present name comes from small, ancient hallows, which belonged to the houses of the settlement. It is not to determine when Gournia was originally founded and only the ruins tell us the story. From the graves of Mochlos, however, we know that as early as the 3rd… learn more


Palace of Knossos

Knossos, the largest Minoan palace. Knossos is located about 3 miles south of Heraklion on a flat, largely artificially constructed hill, which was known in ancient times under the name ‘Tselepi’ or ‘Kefala’. There is by far the largest of the Minoan palaces found so far. There are also offers for guided tours to Knossos by bus and hotel transfer available. History The area was settled at least since the Neolithic period around 6,000 BC. By the end of this period around 3,000 BC it was a larger settlement in a lush area on fertile soil, which was described by… learn more

Panayia Kera church

Panayia Kera Church

Old Byzantine Panayia Kera church at Kritsa History The Panayia Kera church is a three-aisled and dome-shaped church, with fantastic Byzantine frescoes. It is located along the road from Aghios Nikolaos about 1/2 mile before Kritsa. The excursion is then also very practical with the adjoining, ancient Doric mountain town of Lato. The church was constructed in three sections and the present center nave with the dome hall was built in the 12th century. The construction of the dome is unique in Crete since it clearly shows the Venetian influence. On the other hand, the southern nave, consecrated to Saint… learn more



Matala, the hippy sandstone caves on the Libyan Sea. Location of Matala From the Palace of Festos there is a turn-off to Matala, which is 7 miles away. Before you reach Pitsidia after 4 miles and after another mile you will notice a dirt road which leads to the right to Kommos, the old port of Festos. This settlement flourished from the Neopalatial period to the Romans. During the excavations, a sacred complex with surrounding buildings were discovered, which dates back to the 1st century AD. The buildings in the southwest were probably warehouses or port facilities. 7 miles further… learn more



Lato, the best preserved mountain city of the Dorians on Crete. Location and history of Lato Just outside Kritsa, there is an asphalt road for about 2 1/2 miles to the archaeological site of Lato. Alternatively, the village of Chamilion, 2 1/2 miles west of Aghios Nikolaos on the signpost road to the Lasithi Plateau (and can be reached by bus or hired car), one can take a one hour hike in beautiful countryside along the signs to Lato. Lato was originally founded by the Dorians and existed until the classical age. The ruins are not much visited, as tourists… learn more

Vai beach

Beach at Vai

The beach at Vai. The beach at Vai – the Vai Finikodaos – famous for its palm trees, contrasts with the surrounding area and rest of Toplou. The sudden appearance of Europe’s only wild-palm forest is indeed an outstanding sight. The palm trees are the local species Phoenix theophrasti (Cretan date palm) and have been native to Crete for thousands of years. Their fruits are inedible, as is the case with all the palm trees in the northernmost region of the Mediterranean. Probably there were more of them at the time of the Minoans, as they are depicted on many… learn more

Crete Aquarium

Crete Aquarium

Crete Aquarium at Gournes. At Gournes, 10 miles east of Heraklion, the most frequently developed coastline is interrupted. There, to the west of the village of Gouves, a former air force base of the US Air Force awaits its rehabilitation and revitalization. So far only the Gouves Animal Shelter and the Crete Aquarium were built, which are surrounded by destroyed fences and crumbling roadways. The Crete Aquarium is the most spectacular marine aquarium on Crete and the signposts from the highway can hardly be overlooked. The Crete Aquarium has 30 tanks, some of which are huge in size, and houses… learn more