Crete Northeast

Crete Northeast

We love to travel, but every now and then it is also relaxing to spend a week in one place and do day trips. On the largest Greek island of Crete you can enjoy the sun, the sea, good food and nice villages.
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Sitia is located in a quiet region in the northeast of Crete. we had booked a rental car and accommodation in advance. Villas Delight is a small-scale residence with a view of a valley with olive trees.

Olive orchard
Villas delight in Sitia

From Amsterdam you fly directly in 3 hours and 45 minutes to Heraklion, the capital of Crete. If you have collected the car from the car rental company, you can head towards Sitia, which is about 130 km away to the east of the island. You can also visit Knossos first.

Heraklion airport


Knossos is the most important and famous archaeological site in Crete. Knossos was once the center of the highly developed Minoan civilization and was one of the oldest known cities in Europe. King Minos ruled his empire from Knossos. It is the origin of much of Greek mythology. For example, the myth of the labyrinth with the Minotaur and the story of Daedalus and Icarus took place in Knossos. This is where reality and mythology converge.

From Knossos it is about 2 hours drive to Sitia. On this ride you can occasionally stop to enjoy the beautiful coastal route and the view. We visited Crete at the end of April. The temperature is already nice and the poppies are blooming.

View from the coast road

The apartment complex is located at the top of the Sitia hills, overlooking the olive groves. To visit Sitia you have to take the car. It would be a straight line to walk, but the road goes down steeply and therefore up again.


Sitia is a port in the eastern part of Crete and has about 12000 inhabitants. It is built on a hill. It has many terraces on the harbor and a long sandy beach. From the harbor you walk via stairs and narrow roads to the Venetian fortress Kazarma.

Fort Kazarma

There you can enjoy a nice view. You can also take a look at the Greek Orthodox church ‘Church of Saint Ekaterini’.

Church of Saint Ekaterini

Day trips from Sitia

Northeast Crete sights

Monastery of Toplu

The 15th century Monastery of Toplou, 10 kilometers east of Sitia at the foot of Cape Kavo-Sideros. This monastery 20 minutes drive from Sitia is open daily from 9am to 6pm and entrance is three euros per person. It used to have cannons to protect itself against pirates and the Turks. Beautiful icons and valuable relics can be seen. The museum also shows weapons from earlier times. In the parking lot to the left of the monastery you can also admire an intact Greek windmill.

The monastery of Toplou
Old venetian windmill

Itanos Beach

Itanos, also known as Erimoupolis, is located 24 km northwest of Sitia and 9 km from the monastery of Toplu. You can therefore visit Itanos in combination with the monastery. Here, in addition to the beaches, are the archaeological ruins of ancient Itanos. In ancient times this was a prosperous area, which was due to the trade in purple paint and glass. This was also a lively area during the Roman and Venetian times. There are no beach facilities or shops. A visit to Itanos is easy to combine with a visit to the palm beach of Vai.

Palm tree on a deserted, empty beach at Itanos

Vai Beach

Vai is one of the most popular sandy beaches in Crete. The beach with palm forest is located on the northeast coast of Crete, 24 kilometers from the town of Sitia. In the summer months of July and August, the beach is packed with tourists. We were here during the May holidays. Then it is still quiet and idyllic. The palm forest, partly along the beach and for the most part inland, has been a protected natural area since 1973 and one of the 19 aesthetic forests in Greece.

Chiona Beach

Chiona beach is a beach located in the northeast of the island of Crete. It is a small sandy beach and on the edge of the beach are two fish tavernas, which are unfortunately still closed in April. There are a number of tamarisk trees for those seeking some shade in the summer. The beach is also quite quiet.

Terrace at Chiona Beach

Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos is located about 70 km from Sitia and it is the capital of the Lassithi department. This popular seaside resort is built against a hill. This place is popular because it exudes the real Greek atmosphere, with picturesque narrow streets. Agios Nikolaos is also special because of the inner lake called Voulismeni. It is surrounded by high rock walls and it is said that Voulismeni is bottomless. It is not allowed to swim in the lake, but you can sit comfortably on one of the terraces and you can eat delicious food at the (fish) restaurants around the lake. The name Agios Nikolaos means Saint Nicholas, or Saint Nicholas. This is the patron saint of sailors.

Tourists take a rest on a bench with a beautiful view over the port of Agios Nikalaos
Cheese on the market of Agios


Mochlos is a small fishing village located between Agios Nikolaos and Sitia. It is opposite the small island called Mochlos. It has a pleasant boulevard with a number of taverns. The surroundings of Mochlos are very suitable for beautiful walks through the rocky area. During the Minoan period, the island of Mochlos was an important port for East Crete and nowadays one can sail with fishing boats to the island in the bay to visit the remains of that period. Ideal for people who love peace and nature.

Beach chairs on the rocks at a terrace on Mochlos

Church in Pachia Ammos beach

in Pachia Ammos beach there is a beautiful church along the sea, on the road to Agios Nikolaos.

Greek Orthodox Church along the beach

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