Route Length: 89 km
Ierapetra - Myrtos - Kato Simi
Here you can stop for a swim in the calm waters of the beach by the settlement or take a bite to eat at the fish tavernas by the sea.
Continue westward, still following the coast road: you will pass many deserted, quiet coves and beaches without a trace of ‘organization’, perfect for those who love solitude.
After about 5.5 km, you reach Tertsa (3), another small seaside village. In Tertsa there are few rooms and tavernas – and two great beaches. In the small valley are all sorts of fruit trees: mandarines, oranges, loquat (musmullas) and quite a lot of bananas.
Going on, the road starts to go uphill. Leaving the sea behind, you pass by Sykologos (4). After this village it is worth taking a short detour to visit Kalami, a small abandoned village where one can admire traditional Cretan architecture.
Before you get to the village of Pefkos (and so on to Viannos), you should make another and longer detour. Take the road that leads to Kato Symi (5).
Gradually the landscape changes: it becomes increasingly more mountainous and greener, until you arrive at this historic village, located on the outskirts of one of the most important pine forests of Crete.
Here, in WW II bloody events occurred: the village (and its environs) was destroyed by the Germans in an act of revenge, as the mountains above Simi sheltered many rebels.
At Kato Symi, an agro-tourist business operates: stop for lunch in one of the traditional taverns, amidst the sounds of running water and under the shade of huge plane trees.
Those who have time and the desire can continue on the way through the pine forest of Symi – ideal for hiking. Here lies an important ancient outdoor sanctuary of the Minoan and later historic times, dedicated to Aphrodite and Hermes: unfortunately it cannot get inside the fence. The road after several turns leads to Omalos of Viannos Plateau: a stunning, unspoilt landscape.
If you do not have so much time at your disposal, simply walk to Ano (Upper) Symi: an almost abandoned village, where the church of St. George dominates with its frescoes of the 15th century.
Pefkos - Ano Viannos - Keratokampos
From Kato Simi return to the road towards Viannos, passing through picturesque little villages like Pefkos (6) and Amiras (7).
At Seli point of Amira make a stop at the memorial to the Holocaust in the area. At Amira village you can also visit the newly built Holocaust of Viannos local Museum.
Then you drive on to historic Ano Viannos (8), where you can enjoy a Greek coffee on the square, under the big plane tree.
At Ano Viannos you can also visit the small Folklore museum of the village.
On you go to Kato Viannos (9), taking the road towards the south leading to Keratokampos. The view is superb, and once more you pass through beautiful villages that maintain their traditional nature, such as Khondros.
Once at Keratokampos (10), it's time for a dip in the waters of the Libyan Sea.
The best beaches (Listis, Larinaki) are located just a little outside the village, to the west. Even further west Dermatos beach is impressive, and even offers enough trees for shade. The disadvantage of it however is that it is open to the winds blowing in the area.
The seaside village there has all the basic facilities for a relaxing holiday. In addition there is a rather unexpected find, the Gallery of Viannos, hosting remarkable works by contemporary Greek artists.
Keratokampos - Emparos - Hinderland of Heraklion
From Keratokampos your journey may take you on into the hinterland of Heraklion. Returning to Kato Viannos though, follow this time the fork in the road to Embaros. After passing beautiful Martha and Thomadiano you get to Embaros (11), a village built in the valley of the Bariti river.
It is worth a stop to taste the famous sweets the women's cooperative in the village produce.
Then on you go ever deeper into the interior of the province of Heraklion, heading towards Kastelli, the main village of the area, passing by olive groves, vineyards and small villages (Afrati, Panagia).
From Kastelli you can visit the nearby village of Thrapsano with its long tradition in pottery-making.
- Tips, Suggestions, Iseful info
- History, Culture
- What to do (Activities)
- What to see (Culture, Nature)