The seaside village of Agia Pelagia is
built in the centre of a picturesque bay, 24
km. southwest from heraklion. It takes its
name from the homonymouw churvh, in the
Monastery of the Sebbathians, ruins of which
are found at a distance of 1 km. west of the
During the last few years, the resort has
known great tourist development, as its sandy
beaches attract many visitors who find here
all kinds of services.
From Aghia Pelagia you can visit the
postminoan graves and the University
(Pritanion) of the 4th century B.C. which were
found in 1970 at the site Kladistos or
Kladotos and support the view that this was
the site of the ancient city of Apollonia.
Worth visiting is also the nearby cave, with
the name "Evresi", where - according to
legend - local people found the icon of Agia
The seaside resort of Amoudara is
located about 6 km. west of Heraklion. Its
450 inhabitants live mainly off fishing and
tourism. The busy resort of Amoudara has
become very popural, mainly due to its
extensive, sandy beaches.
The picturesque village of Viannos,
with the old traditional houses, the plane-
trees and stone fountains, is built
amphitheatrically on three hills, by the slopes
of Dikta mountain. Viannos is located 66 km
south-east of Heraklio and has a population
Ancient Viannos participated in the
alliance of the Cretan cities, under the rule of
Eumenes B', King of Pergamos. It was then
conquered by its powerful neighbour city of
Ierapytna (Ierapetra). During the German
occupation, Viannos was destroyed by the
Germans, while all of its 820 inhabitants
were executed. Viannos is the home land of
author Ioannis Kondilakis.
From Viannos, one should travel the
church of Agia Pelagia, with lovely frescoes
(1360 AD), the gorge of Viannos - Amiras, the
shrine of Hermes and Venus at Kato Symi, as
well as the cave of Vigla.
The traditional village of Fodele is
located 29 km. west of Heraklion and is built
in an area of orange groves. According to
historians, this was the site of the ancient
town of Astali, which was the port of ancient
Axos. The village is also known as the
birthplace of the painter Dominicos
Theotokopoulos, better known as "El
A visit to the Fodele churches of The Holy
Mother (Panaghia) built on 1383 and of the
Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, built in the
11th or 12 century, is worthwhile, as well as
to the ruins of the house where it is believed
that El Greco was born. Near the village, and
at the altitude of 450 meters, you will also
find the venetian monastery of the Order of
Heraklio, the capital city of the
homonymous County, has about 125.000
residents and is the biggest city of Crete, as
far as the number of inhabitants is concerned.
This is also the financial and administrative
center of Crete, while its port is the biggest
one on the island.
According to historians, this was the site of
the ancient roman town of Iraklia, the port of
Knosos, which - after the arab occupation of
the island, in 824 - became one of the busiest
ports of the Mediterranean Sea. At that time,
begun the fortoifications of the town, with the
creation of a deep pit around the city (pit in
arabic is hantak) and the building of a castle.
Taking its name from the arabic word hantak,
the city is then renamed to Hantakas. In
1961, the Byzantine emperor, Nikiforos Fokas
takes over the city, which remains yunder
byzantine rule up to about 1210. It is then
taken over by the Venetians and it becomes
known by the name of Handax or Candia.
During the Venetian rule begins the building
of the castle surrounding the city even today,
while during the turkish occupation of the
City it takes again its old name of Hiraklion,
or Megalo Kastro (Great Castle) to the locals.
The contemporary city of Chania, is full of
shops, public squares and streets, where you
will spot structures of the periods of the
venetian and the turkish occupations. Among
them, you will notice the overwhelming
venetian castle or "Megalo Koule", which
protects the venetian port, the Morozini
Spring (1628) and the Bebo Spring (1588), the
venetian Lotzia (1626 - 1628) and the
awesome byzantine church of Aghios Titos,
the cathedral of Aghios Minas and the church
of Aghia Ekaterini (15th century). In
Heraklion you will also find the - worth to
visti - Archaelogical Museum, Historical and
Traditional Museum, as well as the Museum
of Natural History.
Limenas Hersonisou is located at a
distance of 27 km. south of Heraklion and it
has about 2.200 residents. As its name tells
us in greek, thw village is built on a small
cape, full of exquisite, sandy beaches.
According to historians, the area was
inhabited during the prehistoric age, and for
a long time it was the port of the ancient city
of Litou. The minoan goddess Vritomartida
Artemis was worshiped here, but there exist
no remains of her temple. The area is full of
roman remains and the ruins of two
protochristian churches of the 5th and 6th
Today Hersonisos is one of the busiest and
most developed tourist areas of Crete, where
th\e visitor can find all kinds of
entertainment. Along the beaches there exist
many hotel complexes, shops, restaurants and
bars, which are full of Greek and foreign
tourists during the summer. The
homonymous village is further inland and at a
small distance from the busy tourist center.
At the end of the town you will visit the
Laographic Museum of Liknostatis, which is
The picturesque village of Kali
Limenes, with 100 inhabitants, is located west
of Levina and the cape of Lenta, 82 km south-
west of Heraklio.
According to historians, the Apostle
Paul disembarked here, on his way to Rome.
Visitors can go, by boat, to the
monastery of Koudouma and Tsoutsouras. By
boat or car, one can also visit Lenta, a small
seaside community, and the nearby ancient
city of Levin, famous for its Asklepieum. Near
the beach stands the islet of Trakos, as well as
ancient Lassea, one of ancient Gortys'
The "head" village of Kastelli is
located at distance of 36 km. southeast of
Heraklion. Near the village a cemetary has
been unearthed dating back to the Roman
period, while historians believe that the
building housing the village High School, is
built on the ruins of a venetian castle
(Castello) which gave its name to the village.
The village residents, numbering at about
2000, live off agriculture and mainly off the
cultivation of grape vines and olive trees of
the plateau of Pediada.
From Kastelli it is worth to pay a visit at the
excavation site of the ancient city of Litou, at a
distance of 4 km., which is of great
The seaside resort of Malia is built
along an exquisite sandy beach, about 36 km.
east of Heraklion. A rich plateau, boasting a
great number of watermills, surrounds the
village, with cultivations of orange groves and
groceries. Today, the village is characterized
by great tourist development and is one of
the most visited areas on the island.
From Malia, you may visit the archaelogical
site of Malia, where a minoan town has been
found as well as an exquisite minoan
The resort village of Matala is located
at a distance of about 70 km. southwest of
Heraklion and its has 300 residents. In
antiquity, Matala was the second port of
Phaestos, and after its destruction in 220
B.C., it became the port of ancient Gortina.
During the past few years, the resort has great
toursit development. Its beautiful beaches
and the spectacular caves atrract many
swimmers. According to archaelogists, the
prehistoric people of the area lived in some of
these caves, while others were used as graves
during the 1st and 2nd centuries. During the
'70s, the caves became a symbol and a
gathering place for hippies from all over thwe
Starting out from Matala, it is worthwhile to
visit the Monastery of Odigitria (She who
leads) a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary
and the Apostles.
The seaside resort of Stalida is
located at a distance of about 33 km. east of
Heraklion, in a beautiful area with nice
beaches sparse meadows.
The village has few residents, who live off
tourism, since its development is important
during the last years.
The picturesque village of Tylissos is
located 14 km west of the city of Heraklio, on
the eastern slope of Psiloritis. The area is also
known for the ruins of three Minoan
mansions of the Early Palace Period, which
were ruined -as all Minoan palaces- in 1400-
It is also a good idea to visit the ruins
of the Minoan mansion at Sklavokambos, 8-10
km west of Tylissos.