June 2012
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Travel – Palekastro – a village in Crete rich in archaeological sites

Palekastro is a city or a large village in Crete, not very large or populated (with about 1100 inhabitants). Agriculture is the main occupation of this place. This place is more famous for something else, the village being rich in archaeological sites. There are beaches around the area and a folklore museum that is popular in the area.

Attractions of Palekastro:
• Vai: This is about 8km away from Palaikastro and is an aesthetic palm forest. The biosphere is unique and one can see, Phoenix of Theophrastus palm trees here. This is considered to be the most beautiful palm grove of Europe.
• Itanos: This is a town that was established in prehistoric years. This was once a seaport, used mainly for the trade with Egypt. The importance of this trade made Itanos a commercial and political center. It flourished until the first Byzantine years.
• Toplou: This is about 10km from Palaikastro. It is a magnificent and historic monastery that was established in the 14th century. This monastery has the most remarkable architecture and the castle-like appearance. It is known for its rich collection of unique treasures and the impressive old byzantine icons.
• “Hiona” beach: This beach is about 2km away from the village. It is an important Minoan city that was discovered along with many rare finds. The rare finds include a very important gold and ivory statuette that is about 50cm high and which is displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Sitia. The Minoan civilization was known to be destroyed by the eruption of the Santorini volcano. In the process of excavation of this site, the existence of the sacred Temple of Zeus was revealed.
• The Folklore Museum of Palaekastro: This is a lodge that is rebuilt in a traditional Cretan house which houses tools and objects that were characteristic of local agrarian life.
• Canyon: This is a wildly beautiful site that is located about 5km away from Palaikastro and which is about 2 km in length. This is a walk full of scenic beauty, taking around 1.5 hours. The gorge ends at a beach that is ideal for swimming, fishing and resting. Rarely seen birds, eagles and hawks are found flying above the canyon.
• Zakros Cave: This cave is at a distance of about 5 kilometers away from the village. This is the most beautiful and one of the greatest in Crete. The cave has many stalagmites and Stalactites, looking very beautiful. This cave ends where a small lake is present which is below sea level. One can tour by foot or by a boat.
• Gorge: This gorge is about 20 kilometers away from Palekastro, and on a road passing through the small villages at the sides of the mountain is located Zakros. This is a lush village with fresh water springs and tall sycamore trees. There is an entrance with beautiful Canyons that are very high with straight walls and caves. These are also called “The Canyon of the Deads” as the dead were buried here by Minoans.
• Kato Zakros – Minoan Palace: This palace is at the end of the beach, Kato Zakros. This is a quiet spot in Crete. This palace was a communication point with Middle East and Egypt. Now, there are fish taverns that are few meters from the beach.
• The Cretan diet: This is a traditional local diet of the Mediterranean island of Crete, also called “Mediterranean diet” which is very popular in the place.
• The Archaeological Museum: This is a museum with exhibits from the whole of Eastern Crete, like the early Minoan cemetery of Mochlos, the Zakros palace, Lato and Elounda. Also present are plenty of coins ranging from about 330-350 BC to 200 AD exhibited here along with more than 1500 vases of these times.
• The Folklore Museum: This is a museum exhibiting woven textiles, embroideries, handicrafts and a model of an old traditional Cretan house along with Old photographs, paintings and costumes of the olden times.
• Hora Sfakion is in the southwest of Crete. It is a tiny harbor and has about 475 inhabitants. It is the capital of Sfakia region, located to the south coast of Crete. There are many beaches like Ilingas, Filaki and Sweet Water Beach.

Best time to visit / climate:

The best time to visit this place is in summer. One can expect showers between October and April. The temperatures are ideal from July to August.

Location on Google Maps:

View Larger Map

Top Sights Travel Guide: Crete (Kindle) Rough Guide Map Crete [Folded Map] Lonely Planet Crete (Regional Guide)

How to get there:

The village of Palekastro is situated in the most eastern corner of the island of Crete, Greece.
There are buses from Sitia or taking own transport is a better option.
Flying directly to Iraklion International Airport “Kazantzakis” from any international airport of Europe or to the new Sitia Aiport is another option as there are regular flights to Sitia from Athens, Rhodos, Karpathos island, Preveza (West Greece) and Alexandroupolis (North Greece).

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers):

Hotels at palaikastro
Hotels at wikitravel
hotels at greekhotels
Hotels at crete-vacation

Blogs / Sites about Palekastro:

Blogs and reviews at travelpod
Blogs and reviews at we-love-crete
Blogs and reviews at explorecrete
Blogs and reviews at palekastro.wordpress

Images and photos of Palekastro:

Images at Google search
Images at crete-pictures
Images at stefanomolinari

Videos of Palekastro on youtube:

Palekastro, Sitia, Eastern Crete

Palekastro, Sitia, East Crete

Creta – Palekastro e dintorni

Windsurfing in Palekastro (Crete) summer 2009

Relaxing in Palekastro

Chiona Beach, Palekastro, Crete

Windsurf – Palekastro – 2011

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