Sitia, Crete Island
Once you reach the waterfront in Sitia you'll spot the long sandy beach curving around the bay to the east. It's a very long beach which is clean and with a gently slope into the water. It seemed to us a very safe place in which to swim and many families were enjoying the water. There are showers at least at the western end (and probably further along as well). Clean public toilets are at the western, town end on the other side of the harbour wall. There are a number of cafe/bars all of which have canopied extensions on the beach front so it's possible to cool off with a drink in the shade.
You can hire sun loungers and umbrellas if you find some to spare. Someone comes round to collect the 6Euro (2009) daily rate fee for 2 loungers and shade umbrella.
We enjoyed the snorkelling around the rocks that make up the eastern edge of the harbour. The water was very clear and although there wasn't a massive variety of marine life it was good to get back in the sea and do some fish watching. Luckily all my family enjoy this activity and even my daughter got excited at seeing the cute little dappled flatfish skimming over the sand; eyes on top, mouth to one side.
Given this was the height of the summer season the beach didn't seem too packed but if you prefer more beach space to your self try the other end of the bay. There's a small parking space with some shade under trees. The swimming is still good but there are no facilities nearby unlike the busier town end. So Sitia beach should have something for everyone. Try it.
From the outside the museum looks very unappealing - it could surely be nominated as one of the most ugly museum buildings in Greece - but step inside and you'll find much to interest you even if only for a short visit.
Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 08.30 - 15.00 Adults over 18 years are charged 2Euros for entry.
Most, if not all, of the material on display has come from the local area of Eastern Crete and you can get a good idea of the archaeological wealth of the region by looking at the displays, most of which are in cabinets.
The exhibits are organised in chronological order starting with the oldest - if you go round clockwise, that is.
Many of the real treasures of the region have been moved to Athens or elsewhere but the exhibits are still worth browsing. I'd never seen painted sarcophagi before, clay pots that were as big as me and the final delight was the figurine carved out of Hippo ivory with gold leaf in places.
We could take photographs as long as we didn't use flash but as the display room was very light anyway so the flash wasn't necessary.
I'm glad we visited the Museum before we did much exploring of the actual sites in the region. It helped us to see how the treasures from each locality fit into a chronology and they gave us a better idea of how some of the people lived all those years ago.
The castle fortress known today as "Kazarma" (Casa di arma), is the most famous historical monument in Sitia.
The Kazarma used to be a military centre. The fortification of the Kazarma can be dated to the late Byzantine period.
In nowadays the Kornareia festival take place in the fortress of Kazarma.
There are the following collections in the nuseum of the Monastery Toplou
Collection of Cretan icons.
Collection of engravings.
The most important exhibits of the Museum are:
Theotokos the Immaculate, 15th century. Portable icon. (photo1)
Christ Pantocrator, 15th century. Portable icon, painted by Andreas Ritzos(photo2)
St John the Precursor with scenes of his life, 17th century. Portable icon painted by F. Kavertzas(photo3)
The Dormition of the Virgin, 15th century. Portable icon.
Virgin of the Passion and St Nicolas, 1642. Portable icon.
Sts Theodoroi, 1723. Portable icon by the painter Niketas.
Holy Trinity, 17th century. Portable icon.
Sts Ignatius and Savas, 17th century. Portable icon.
Sts Athanasius, Cyril and John the Merciful, 17th century. Portable icon.
Its open daily during the summer from 08:00-14:00
The ticket cost 3 euro.
PHOTOS ARE NOT ALLOWED
all photos were taken from "Father Filotheos"
I suggest you a visit at the winery Economou at Ziros. Its a very charming place. A very old village-house about 400 years old, renovated from the owner Gianni Economou with a very nice garden. This house is made up for the purposes of the winery. He is the oenologist and he is very famous for his experience as he was working as oenologist at Chateaux Margaux and for his wines (especially the red and the sweet). He accept visitors under appoitment. You also have the chance to taste the wines and buy them. His phone number is +30-6974433986
We really liked Sitia, the most easterly town on Crete. It was relatively calm compared with the hustle and bustle of the bigger towns of Rethymnon, Iraklion and Chania. Being right at the end of the National Highway, it somehow feels isolated and out on a limb.
It's still very much a working port but also has a tourist industry attracted by it's long sandy beach and taverna lined harbour. The beach is popular with wind surfers.
The mostly modern buildings rise in steps up the hillside behind the harbour with the only Venetian evidence being the shell of the fortress above the bay.
Sitia makes a good base to explore the eastern end of the island from, with Paleokastro, Kato Zakros and this eastern coast within easy reach. It is where we would like to visit if we ever return to Crete.
From Sitia you can catch ferries to Pireaus, Kasos, Karpathos, Halki and Rhodes so could make a good stopping off point before travelling further afield.
Sitia is a small and pleasant coastal town, built in a semicircle on the western side of the Bay of Sitia, a typical, peaceful Mediterranean port. It is the capital of the county with the same name and is sited 73 km east of Agios Nikolaos.
Visitors in Sitia particularly enjoy the climate and the wonderful beaches. The highest temperature in the summer is approx. 30 C. and the lowest in winter is 7 C.
You can see the Venetian fortress "Kazarma" which overlooks Sitia and plays host to several concerts and other performance events, especially during the July and August arts festival of Kornaria (concerts, theatre, events, readings and more).
Sitia is very relaxing to walk in, and one walk might include the Archaeological Museum, which displays finds from the most significant minoan Palace of Zakros and several other local sites.
The Archaeological Museum of Sitia has the most important finds from eastern Crete and Minoan period.
P.S. Photo from www.culture.gr
The Folklore Museum of Sitia contains many important folklore exhibits, mainly handwoven materials, embroideries, local costumes, furniture.