- Region: Crete
- Prefecture: Lasithi
- Municipality: Ierapetra
- Population: 1.050
Small and personal, quiet and well - it is somewhere you feel a sense of ownership about the moment you arrive. At the end of a dazzling, exciting narrow winding road, descending from the plain around Zakros itself.
The journey to Zakros builds and improves the experience that "you've really traveled" to get there. You are in the East 52km southeast of Sitia. You have reached this wonderful coast and there is nowhere further to go!
You are by the sea with a large pebble beach and often-dazzling waters. It's quiet, feels as "real" as a beachside place can, there is a little tourism as such and what there is mostly consists of daytime visitors to the Palace of Zakros archaeological site.
The site is a prized destination for many and we've heard numbers of people call it the site that has most impressed them in Crete. There is a lack of mobile phone reception which delights some and will require adjustment from others!
How to get there
Sitia is the likely starting point by car, motorcycle or bus (bus info). From Sitia a bus to Kato Zakros exists and otherwise a wonderful car drive (about 1 - 1.1/2 hours).
For the adventurous there are some wonderful and most indirect routes along unpaved roads - including an easily traveled (with slow pace and great care) one from Xerokambos.
Or for stunning mountaintop views of the sea, gorges and mountainscapes, a journey made via Roussa Eklissia, Mitato to Adravasti is hard to match and most memorable - what a sense of achievement you feel after that journey!
Another most enjoyable transition from any time spent in Sitia would be to travel to the beach at Vai (try to be there close to dawn or dusk to avoid crowds), perhaps including a visit to the fascinating Toplou Monastery (recommended-see more about it in Sitia) on the way and stop at Palekastro (many places to stay) and/or Zakros for refreshments or more solid food intake!
Where to stay
Please see our links to local hotels at the bottom of this page.
What to see & do
The views, swim, walk (E4-path goes from Zakros through the Gorge of the Dead (5.5 km approx. very slow going, sid to take 6.5 to 8 hours!) to Kato Zakros where the gorge reaches the coast.
Eat fresh fish and more at the tavernas, read, write, make conversation and visit the minoan Palace of Zakros. Zakros palace was the last Minoan palace to have been discovered (1962) and the excavations prooved remarkably fruitfull.
Tour the mountain villages and other coastal points nearby, including Xerokambos.
Xerokambos is a quiet village and farming settlement on the far southeastern side of lovely Crete. Its isolation means that tourism is a pretty much low-key, the busiest period is July and August. There are two splendid beaches and a few scattered tavernas.
Go scuba diving at Vai beach.
Don't expect a lively nightlife, but who's complaining?
Where to eat & drink
Akrogiali taverna represents many people's ideal of a taverna on the sea front. Casual, with the hint that good fresh fish would be a fine thing to eat. One could sit here and enjoy savouring much for many moons.
Three further tavernas offer a variety of dishes and are almost as close to the water's edge.
Liked the place on Christmas Day 2000 - of course it was virtually deserted and not a cafe, taverna or domatia was open. But this undeveloped eastern coast gem is somewhere to get to and hold off the world's humble and bubble for a while, in whatever way YOU choose.
Later visits with other people around have also been a delight. It is just plain and simple, it is unpretentious. We are going back for another look, gaze and daze!