spinalonga (the leper island) - spinalonga is a small island near Elounda in East Crete, also known as the Leper Island, as that is where lepers from Crete and the rest of Greece were quarantined until 1957. The strategic position of the rocky islet for the control and defence of Elounda harbour could not but mark Spinalonga with a turbulent history of fierce battles and much human suffering.
Tip: Although there are no scheduled boat trips to the island out of season, you will find boat owners willing to take you across from Plaka.
zeus cave (psychro cave) - ancient Minoan sacred cave in Lasithi plateau. According to Hesiod, Theogony (477-484), Rhea gave birth to Zeus in Lyctus and hid him in a cave of Mount Aegaeon. Since the late nineteenth century the Diktaean Cave, which is above the modern village of Psychro, has been identified with this sanctuary.
matala - Matala was the port of Phaistos during the Minoan period, and the beach where, according to legend, Zeus brought princess Europa. The most interesting characteristic of the village are the neolithic caves, which were later used as a burial ground by the Minoans and Romans, and occupied by hippies in the 1960’s.
Tip: The red beach, just a short hike away from the village through the mountains, is definitely worth a visit.
anogia - the mountainous village is the true face of Crete. It is known as being the centre of resistantce during WWII, and producing the best Cretan musicians.
Tip: Try the local specialty, lamb ‘ofto’ at one of the tavernas, and go to the pastry shop at ‘meidani’ square for ‘galaktoboureko’ or ‘kadaifi’ with ice cream.
phaistos - gortys - agia triada - these three archaeological sites south of Heraklion make for a very interesting day trip for those who want to dig a bit deeper in the lives of the Minoans, and the history of the island.
For organised day tours and car/bike hire, ask at the reception desk or call our contact number.