The most important center of the east coast of Crete is the town of Agios Nikolaos, located along the north-east coast in front of the Mirabello gulf. Just north of the city is the beautiful Venetian fortress of Spinalonga, built on an island in the bay. Another Venetian fortress is located in the town of Ierapetra located along the south-east coast. Among the attractions to visit in this area is the archaeological area of Zakros, located along the east coast of Crete, where you can see the ruins of an ancient Minoan palace dating back to the 16th century BC.
Very beautiful is also the Lasithi plateau which has an average height of 840 meters and is surrounded by mountain ranges. This is the area of the Crete windmills. Near the village of Psychro there is the cave of Diketon (Dictaeon Andron) which in ancient times was considered the birthplace of Zeus.
On the eastern coast of Crete, two beaches are worth mentioning: that of Itamos (with its archaeological site) and that of Vai (due to the presence of the only natural palm grove in Europe).
THE BEACH OF VAI
Maybe the beach of Vai leaves a little to be desired for the crowding (buses from all over the island are constantly sending off waves of tourists). Perhaps the effect of the expanse of umbrellas on the equipped beach is not particularly appreciated by tourists who love the integrity of the places. But the sudden sight of a valley of palm trees of various sizes repays the kilometers traveled to reach this truly special place.
THE VILLAGE OF XEROCAMBOS
At the southeastern end of Crete is Xerocambos. This village is located about 50 minutes by car from both Sitia and Ierapetra. Although difficult to access, it offers one of the last idyllic places on Crete: white sand and tranquility.
The small village of Xerocambos is the perfect place for a peaceful vacation. An essential place where the cell phone does not work, there are few tourists, there is no pharmacy, banks and nightlife. But there is a beautiful sea and a valley of green olive trees, Aleppo pines and other spontaneous Mediterranean vegetation and an always mild climate.
Written by Luca di Lalla. Photos by Luca and Niccolò di Lalla.