S Ierapetra: the hidden gem of southern Crete
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Ierapetra: the hidden gem of southern Crete

Crete ● Ierapetra ● Lassithi ● 21 June 2017
 

Have you visited all the famous towns and villages of Crete and now are you looking for something different, an off-the-beaten-path experience in Crete? Then, Ierapetra, one of the best Lassithi has to offer, is the place to be!

Ierapetra is a small, sun-kissed seaside town in south-eastern Crete, with beaches lapped by the Libyan Sea. In the narrow, winding streets of the harbour, even now, you can see children playing without care, like in the old times. The sea is ever-present, imposing in the landscape, giving the place incredible sunsets and creating a romantic atmosphere.

The best sites in Ierapetra are the Ottoman Mosque in Kato Mera and the Venetian Kales Fortress, which is built in the 13the century and has a lovely view of the port. Worth visiting are also the Church of Afentis Christos, which was built in the 14the century and still holds to the custom of burning an effigy of Judas at Easter, and the Ottoman School, which was built in 1899 and is now home to the Archaeological Collection of Ierapetra, where you can admire, among other exhibits, the beautiful statue of the goddess Persephone in a veil. A simple walk through the snaking streets of the old town is also a lovely experience.


From Ierapetra, you can do many excursions that will show you the natural beauty of the landscape around it. Myrtos is a picturesque seaside village, but there are also many mountainous villages, such as Anatoli, Oreino, Pefkous and Agios Ioannis, which offer you fantastic view of Lassithi's landscape. Mount Thrypti near Ierapetra has the famous Ha Gorge, where hiking is an unforgettable experience. A nice spot is also the area between Makrygialos and Goudouras, home to the Monastery of Agios Ioannis Kapsas, on a hillside near the exit to the Perivolakia Gorge, overlooking the Libyan Sea.


The islet of Gaidouronissi, which is included in the European Union's Natura 2000 network of protected areas for its natural beauty, has azure waters and wonderful beaches. You can go to Gaidouronissi from Ierapetra by boat or caique several times during the day.


Just 15 km from Ierapetra, is located the Minoan settlement of Gournia, which is one of the most important archaeological sites in Crete.

The top beaches around Ierapetra are Agia Fotia, Peristera, Megali Paralia, Myrtos and Tholos. However, there are many untouched, secluded small coves that can be discovered by exploring the whole coast or by rib and offer a more private experience in the warm waters of southern Crete.


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