Vathypetro - Archanes - Heraklion
Vathypetro 4km south of the village of Archanes at an altitude of 555 meters, Greek archaeologists have brought to light a Minoan rural villa of the 16th century b.C. Similar to the Minoan palaces although much smaller, it was probably the residence of a local ruler. Among the most important finds are an olive-press, some big clay jars and a unique wine-press still “in situ” at the south wing of the villa.
Highlights: The Minoan Villa site,
Dam at Halavriano stream
E4 Hiking route and other trails
Archanes is so close to Heraklion in time and in distance, so much a pleasure too. You pass through Kato Archanes and climb a short distance to the main (Epano) Archanes village.
The large village (and a large agricultural centre as well) has little in the way of places to stay, but has been restored and beautified with European Union funds, as well as private initiative. A truly remarkable job has been done here, the place looks great but retains as much atmosphere and as many original features as possible, it is a model for such projects in our opinion.
The mayor of ten years, is one of the most active, to the visible benefit of the place, in creating and encouraging the establishment of museum, arts, special and cultural events - general civic quality, most refreshing. The village people are proud of their successful efforts to keep the village alive, clean, traditional and beautiful. They are also genuinely friendly.
Archanes has won awards - 2nd best restored village in Europe and 1st in long term development prospects. Streets have been newly stone-paved, there are more splendid displays of blooming flowers, fruit trees and plants in the yards, terraces and balconies of the houses - a walk around the back streets is a pleasure as a result.
Highlights: Panagia Church
Afentis Christos (Giouhtas mountain top)
Main square with restaurants
Fourni archeological site
Summer minoan palace site
Heraklion or Iraklion, the birthplace of El Greco and Nikos Kazantzakis, a vibrant working small metropolis with a great number of attractive features which do much to temper initial impressions.
Heraklion is Crete's biggest city (among Chania, Rethimno, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Ierapetra), whose emblem is the Venetian fortress of Koules and it harmoniously combines a multilingual past as Byzantine churches standing next to the Venetian mansions and Turkish fountains and a thriving present with many restaurants, coffee shops and bars that cater to every taste.
Apart from shopping and the designer clothes on Daedalou Street ("Daydaloo"), there are many small shops off all the main streets which sell those local products which normally are used when you live in Crete. Just have a look along 1866 Street and more so its side streets - you may find a curio distinctly different from more typical "gifts" offered to visitors in gift shops.
The famous tourist attraction, the Saturday market that was by the port, an almost kilometre long display of fruit and vegetables and sundry items - has now sadly moved to an obscure suburb.This is a brief guide to some of the well known and some less well known enjoyments and rewards of Heraklion.
Highlights: Knossos Palace
Morozini's Fountain (Lions)
Venetian Port & Fortress
Nikos Kazantzakis Grave