Kritsa, where Argyro Rooms is located, is a lovely traditional village of the Lassithi region, approximately 11 km. west of the town of Agios Nikolaos lays on an altitude of 375 m. Its inhabitants are the descends of the ancient city "Lato Etera", whose ruins are discovered 3 km. northwest of the village and is a "must" visit, once you are in Kritsa. In Kritsa people keep the old Cretan customs and traditions. You can enjoy walking through the narrow streets and alleys of the village that will give you unique pictures to keep in mind. Kritsa has many Byzantine churches with wonderful frescoes of the 14th and 15th centuries. The most remarkable is the famous "Panagia Kera", with its dome and steep sides, surrounded by cypress trees offering an astonishing sight.
Panagia Kera: One of the most popular Byzantine monuments in Crete (13th- 14th A.D.) is located in Logari, one kilometer east of Kritsa. This triple-nave Byzantine church is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, to Saint Anthony and Saint Anna. It is adorned with superb wall paintings on particular themes such as the representation of Saint Anna, other icons of saints, and the fourteen scenes depicting the secret life of the Virgin Mary. The main characteristics of all the wall paintings are their vividness, expressiveness and aesthetic perfection. Their existence had been hidden for hundreds of years by earlier Christians to avoid their destruction by the Turkish occupiers. It also has three aisles and dome construction. Although the Venetians occupied Crete during the period, they allowed the Cretans to decorate their churches as they desired. The rare fresco techniques used and the subject matters make ‘Panagia Kera’ particularly interesting to visit.
After a warm welcome at Argyro Rooms, probably with a glass of the local firewater called raki, Argyro will personally guide you through your hands-on lesson. You will be using Argyro’s homegrown/home reared ingredients to enjoy a traditional meal with extra relish! Of course, the actual content on your cooking lesson menu will depend on your preferences and seasonal availability of ingredients. Contact us for more information.
Ceramic & Glass Workshop: George Perakis has more than 30 years of experience as a practicing artist and teacher of ceramics and glass at Krtitsa Village. He has taught many students from many countries in various aspects of the art and craft of ceramics and fused glass. He teaches his workshops in English or Greek, depending on students’ requirements.
Visit the Museum of Kritsotopoulas House: Rodanthe (Kritsotopoula), a young woman from Kritsa, in East Crete tragically died in the heat of battle in 1823, disguised as a male rebel. Now honored as Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa, Rodanthe featured in the annual memorial service held last Sunday of May, every year. Her house used to be on the old part of Kritsa Village and is now transformed into a museum. You can visit it and enjoy a real view of how a traditional house of Kritsa was organized over a century ago. There is also a big collection of his creations, where you can find unique gifts for yourselves or your friends. So, once you are in Kritsa, don't lose the opportunity to take part in a workshop or even just visit his collection.
Visit Ancient Lato, The ruins of ancient Lato are located approximately 3km north of Kritsa, scattered between two hills at an altitude of 380m. This site has a stunning view over the bay of Mirabello. The name Lato has been taken after the Dorian pronunciation of the goddess Leto, who probably was worshipped here. However, the patron of the city was the goddess of childbirth, Eileithyia, who is depicted on the coins of Lato. Moreover in Lato, the admiral of Alexander the Great, Nearchus (360 to 312 BC) was born. His father Androtimos was the ruler of Lato and moved to Macedonia, where he became an adviser to King Philip II. Young Nearchus followed him and grew along with his friend Alexander, also having Aristotle as his tutor. The town existed in the Minoan period but flourished after the Dorian invasion. It had been inhabited until the Roman era when it started to decline. Lato was one of the strongest cities in Crete, as evidenced by the agreements (based on extant inscriptions) with other towns. The port of Lato was on the site of today’s Agios Nikolaos which was back then called ‘‘Kamara’’. ‘‘Kamara’’ during the 3rd-2nd century BC, finally took the lead from its mother-town Lato and developed rapidly like most seaside places on Crete due to the development of maritime trade. Lato is a widely visited archaeological site that is considered the best-preserved town of the classical - Hellenistic period in Crete and is one of the most complete in Greece. Here you will see the fortifications, the market, the Prytaneum, the little theater, temples, public buildings, cisterns, etc.
The plateau of Katharo lies 26km south of Agios Nikolaos and 16km west of Kritsa, at an altitude of 1150 meters. The waters of the Plateau are transported through the beautiful gorge of Havgas into Lassithi Plateau. Katharo is uninhabited, although several farmhouses are belonging to the villagers of Kritsa. You will only see a few family gardens with potatoes, apple trees, and vineyards, mainly grown by the shepherds of the area. You will also see the picturesque chapel of Lord Christ, celebrating on August 6. Katharo can be accessed through Kritsa, by a narrow but beautiful road that leads to the plateau. If you have an elevated car it is worth following the road that connects Katharo to Lassithi Plateau. Lastly, there is a third rough dirt road connecting the plateau with the Males village, next to Ierapetra. Katharo is a scenic place of Crete, quite different from the usual places on the island. In summer, you can walk between stone walls, apple trees, oak trees, but also explore the surrounding mountains. In the Plateau, you will find a few taverns that cook traditional dishes and operate throughout the summer. On the other hand in winter, when Katharo is usually covered with snow, the taverns are open only on holidays and when the weather is good. Finally, it is worth mentioning that the plateau is a very important point for research by paleontologists since the 19th-century fossils of elephants and dwarf-hippos have been found, dated around 540,000 years ago. This is exactly what maintains the belief that Katharo was once a lake, around which these animals lived.
Enjoy the nearby beaches: Almiros Beach is located 11km away from Kritsa and is quite a long, sandy beach. It is shaped near the exit of Almiros River, which empties on the south part of the beach. Next to the beach, the protected wetland of Almiros hosts several rare birds, towering eucalyptus trees, reed and palm trees of Theophrastus (such as these in Vai). The beach is well-organized, offering sunbeds and umbrellas for the guests. The water is shallow and usually calm, making it ideal especially for families and young children. The area has a canteen, a beach bar offering soft drinks and food, while there are also many options for water sports. The seawater is very cold in some places due to the river that flows all year.
Ammoudara Beach: Ammoudara is located 12km away from Kritsa, on the old road connecting Agios Nikolaos to Sitia.It is a nice beach with turquoise waters and consists of two parts. On the left side, is a sandy part that is organized offering umbrellas, sunbeds, and water sports. On the right side is a rocky part which isn't organized and you can relax under sea-trees.
Voulisma Beach: Turquoise waters and white sand, surrounded by green hillsides, or Caribbean look in other words. It is one of the most beautiful beaches on Crete, located 25 km away from Kritsa, well organized, offering sunbeds and umbrellas. There is also a cafe with drinks, coffee, and snacks. The route from Kritsa to Voulisma Beach is very good. Once you get in Agios Nikolaos, you choose the new national road to Ierapetra and in 10 minutes you reach Voulisma. Tip: Especially during July and August, the beach is overcrowded.
The sea surface is usually calm because the beach has easterly orientation while winds in Crete come mainly from the west.There are several restaurants and taverns located on the beach in case you get hungry.
Agios Nikolaos itself provides all the shops from clothes and gifts to news, book and paraphernalia shops to cafes, attractive bars above and around the "lake" and harbor to a range of restaurants covering many tastes.
Enjoy an amazing cruise and explore every bit of the Kolokytha’s gulfs. You will dive into the crystal clear water of Mirabello Bay, rest in the golden beach, visit Spinalonga Island and swim to the unique pebbled seashore of the picturesque village of Plaka.
Or an alternative option could be a Sea Kayak exploration of this unique, great place.
Explore and you can visit villages on the road to Sitia - one of the most scenic coastal roads anywhere. The fine monastery of Toplou beyond Sitia merits a visit....perhaps with a pause in Sitia itself. In the other direction pass through Elounda and carry on to Plaka for fresh fish at the water's edge, with the Pasolini-esque view of Spinalonga island opposite.
Explore the traditional Cretan villages of Kritza and Mochlos and enjoy a lovely lunch as both are famous for this. At Kritsa Village a worth visit is the archaeological site of the ancient city of Lato one of Crete's few non-Minoan ancient sties. And why not ... here at Kritsa Village, you can order a pair of Cretan boots for postal delivery at Detorakis one of the best shoemakers.
From Kritsa it is a 16km climb up to the spectacular Katharo Plateau, which is cultivated by people from Kritsa, some of whom have homes here.
The area around Elounda offers excellent diving ... or Snorkeling in some ruins of the sunken ancient city of Olous, remaining in the sea.
A list of Top 10 Must-See Attractions:
Archaeological Museum of Aghios Nikolaos
With beautiful antiquities from the Minoan Civilization and the Palace of Zarkos east Crete.
Byzantine Church of Aghios Nikolaos
The oldest Byzantine Church in Crete 7th century with beautiful frescoes at the entrance of the Hotel.
Village of Kritsa and “Panagia Kera”
Byzantine church. A very beautiful untouched village only 10 km from Aghios Nikolaos. The famous church of Virgin Mary with unique architecture and beautiful frescoes and old icons.
The Plateau of Lassithi
The mountain of Lassithi and the Plateau of the Wind Mills with the cave “Diktaion Andron” where Zeus, King of Olympic Gods, was born.
Spinaloga island with the Venetian Castle
A beautiful excursion by boat in the Mirabello Bay.
Kri – Kri Island
Just across the bay 2 miles from the Hotel. A natural reserve of the rare wild Cretan goat Kri – Kri.
The ruins of Minoan Palace of Malia
The ruins of the Minoan Palace of Malia and the excavation site.
The Byzantine Monastery of Toplou
The Byzantine Monastery of Toplou nearby Sitia Town with famous icons collection unique in the world. Producer of excellent wine, Virgin Olive Oil and Cretan Raki.
The Knossos Palace
Home of the legendary King Minos with the Labyrinth and the King’s treasures at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. A unique collection of frescoes, paintings, jewelry of the Minoan civilization 2000b.c.
The Beaches of Vai (palm beach) and Palaikastro
Both awarded by the European Union among the 100 best beaches in the world.
About 3km north of Vai is the ancient Minoan site of Itanos, It may appear fairly desolate today, but this was an important site.
Customs & Festivals
- The “Lato” summer cultural events, the festival of Agios Nikolaos on December the 6th, as well as the Resurrection and the burning of Judas on stage in the center of the lake in Agios Nikolaos.
- The Resurrection at Toplou Monastery in Vai.
- The summer cultural events and the Free – Fish Night in October at Elounda.
- The festival of the Metamorphosis on August the 6th in Zakros.
- The cultural events “Kirbia” in July or August, and the traditional festivals on August 15th in Ierapetra.
- Three – day cultural events in August, the liturgy at the church of Kera on August 15th and the festival of Metamorphosis on August the 6th in Kritsa.
- The festival of Panagia on August the 15th in Neapolis.
- The cultural association of Tzemiado organizes cultural events throughout the summer season.
- The “Kornaria” cultural events in July or August, the festival of “Soultanina” in August and the festival of Prophet Elias on July the 20th in Sitia.
More activities in East Crete here.
Check-in: 14.00 pm
Check out: 12.00 pm
Minimum Stay: 2-3 nights, depending on the season
How To Get There
The small and hospitable Argyro Rooms is located at picturesque Kritsa Village nearby Agios Nikolaos Town.
From May through mid-October there are direct charter flights to Sitia (68km) km from the village) and, more frequently, to the capital Heraklion (68 km). Tickets can be bought in advance for almost all flights via our partner website.
"The journey is the thing". A superb way of enjoying the journey to Crete is to fly to Athens and take the ferry from Piraeus (Pireas) - the port serving Athens. A still-romantic way to travel by the overnight ferry from Piraeus to Heraklion Port (70km). Tickets can be bought in advance for all ferries via our website.
If you want to explore the region while you're here, we recommend that you rent a car, other means of transport are limited and/or infrequent. We suggest our sister website, which offers competitive prices and you can collect your car at either airport. We recommend that you rent a car, other means of transport are limited and/or infrequent.
Book your transfer online easily and safely from the airport or port to any location via our partner website.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through CreteTravel.com
Dining: Delicious traditional breakfast and traditional meals are available at Argyro Rooms under the grapevine.
Internet Access: WiFi Free of charge
Swimming Pool: No
Communal areas: No
Meetings/Functions: Not suitable
Disabled Access: Not suitable
Pets: Not allowed
Languages Spoken: Greek, English
Parking: Free private parking is possible on site