Crete is the largest island in Greece, and the fifth largest one in the Mediterranean Sea. Here, you can admire the remnants of brilliant civilizations, explore glorious beaches, impressive mountainscapes, fertile valleys and steep gorges, and become part of the island’s rich gastronomic culture. Crete is, after all, a small universe teeming with beauties and treasures that you will probably need a lifetime to uncover!
Lasithi (Lassíthi) region. Welcome to the easternmost and least mountainous region of Crete, where the population resides in four semi-urban centers: Áyios Nikólaos, Ierápetra, Sitía and Neápoli. The mythical palm tree forest of Váï, the Gulf of Mirabello, the windmills on the Plateau of Lassíthi (the largest in Crete), beaches lapped by crystalline water, beautiful cities and luxurious hotel resorts all make up a rather fascinating world.
Who says that during your summer holidays all you can enjoy is sun-kissed beaches and water sport activities? Well, in Crete at the same time you can enjoy night life to its maximum, live for a while like a millionaire, sunbathe with the beau monde and find peace of mind on a serene island teeming with history that has inspired best-selling famous writers. Try some of the things on offer, or why not? Try them all!
First stop: Ayios Nikolaos, or just “Ayios” as the locals call it, nestles alongside beautiful Mirabello Bay, on the northeast coast of Lassithi Prefecture in East Crete. Mirabello or Merabello Bay is the largest natural bay in Crete. The name of the bay comes from the Italian “mira il bello” (loose translation: “admire the beauty”), a tribute to the wonderful sea views from the bay. Ayios Nikolaos is an extremely popular resort that draws crowds of entertainment-seeking visitors every summer. Numerous restaurants, bars, and night clubs give the place its characteristic cosmopolitan atmosphere. A beautiful lake dominates the place. Legend has it that the goddesses Athens and Artemis used to bathe in its waters that are connected with the volcano on Santorini. A narrow channel of water connects the lake with the sea, while an imposing backdrop of red rock and trees adds to the natural beauty of the scenery. Near the lake, an open theatre hosts artistic and cultural events throughout the summer.
Second stop: Elounda, of course! Elounda lies 11 km north of Ayios Nikolaos, and is noted for its coves, rocky coastlines, the beautiful village of Elounda itself, the fishing harbour, the sunken city of Olous and the remains of a Byzantine basilica. But what is really amazing here is the impressive selection of luxury hotels, resorts and restaurants. The outstanding natural beauties of secluded Elounda bay and the first-class accommodation services have made Elounda the number one favourite for world leaders, royalties and celebrities alike.
You may not believe it, but it’s true. Below are just some of the services on offer:
• Luxurious spa treatments to be enjoyed in pools and bubble tubs, private steam rooms and saunas, and an endless selection of treatment suites, relaxation lounges, and meditation rooms.
• Limousine service, helicopter and private jet services, car and yacht hire.
• Daily fitness programmes, and numerous sport activities (volleyball, badminton, mini golf, water skiing, windsurfing, sailing, etc.)
• Sightseeing excursions and boat trips to Spinalonga, Ayios Nikolaos, fishing trips and sunset cruises.
• Accommodation specially designed for families and daily activity programmes to entertain children (such as fun competitions, animation programmes, etc.)
If you have already tried out the activities above, it’s time to take a caicque and head for Spinalonga, also known as Leper island.
Spinalonga. She played with the word rolling it around her tongue like an olive stone. The island lay directly ahead and as the boat approached the great Venetian fortification which fronted the sea. A walk around Spinalonga –with some of the finest views of the clear blue waters that surround the island– will guide you through the pages of the novel. Strolling around the island takes about an hour, but the serenity of the place and the remnants of its recent history will certainly tempt you into spending much longer. A left turn by the old town hall takes you down to the beautiful seafront; take advantage of the opportunity to take some time for a swim here.
Port Police: 28410 22312
Olympic Air: 28410 28929
Λ.Α.Ν.Ε.: 28410 26465
Taxi: 28410 24000
Touristic Police: 28410 91409
Traffic Police: 28410 91423
Hospital: 28413 43000, 28410 66000