- Region: Crete
- Prefecture: Lasithi
- Municipality: Sitias
- Population: 50
Kato Zakros, simply awesome, 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 with stunning views 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 44km southeast of Sitia. You have reached this wonderful coast and there is nowhere further to go!
The setting of Kato Zakros is simply amazing. 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.
There are very few places where you can enjoy such a beautiful bay, a Minoan Palace and a spectacular Gorge. Add sunrises, sunsets, shooting stars and starlit nights, a handful of welcoming, traditional tavernas (supplied by their own organic gardens which you can walk amongst) coastal walks and no shops! This is a very special place.
About Palace of Zakros, 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!
Kato Zakros remains and maybe is the the most original, unspoiled, non touristic destination in Crete.
How to get there
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!
From May through mid-October there are direct charter flights to Sitia and Heraklion Airport. 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. Tickets can be bought in advance for all ferries via our website.
If you want to explore the region, ubsolutely you do, 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.
And why not, you could if you wish , book your taxi transfer online easily and safely from the airport or port to any location via our website.
Where to stay
Terra Minoika Villas, these quality villas, with spectacular views over the bay and all the sights of the area, mix interior modernism and luxury with a sense of place, dominating the entrance of this small, unspoiled village situated 40m above the sea surface and 300m away from the sand and pebble beach.
Stella’s Traditional Apartments, a real gem in a serene setting.
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?
More exciting activities in East Crete.
Where to eat & drink
Platanakis family 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.
Kato Zakros is such a pretty little seaside village - and if you are taking public transport, there, ask the bus driver to let you off the bus right up at the top near upper Zakros, you can then walk through the Valley/Gorge of the Dead, a fabulous hike with ancient Minoan caves high up everywhere. It takes about an hour and a half and you come out at Kato Zakros. You can then walk to the village past the ancient ruins of the Minoan Palace of Zakros which you can explore, and finally treat yourself to lunch or coffee and iced fresh orange juice. Don't miss the late afternoon bus though - there is only one!
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!