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R[oute] 10

Secrets of the East


Sitia - Toplou Holy Monastery

Holy Monastery of Toplou
15 km / 25 min from Sitia
(35°.13′.16.30″ N / 26°.12′.57.04″ E)


  1. Wine Press built on 1709 at Vai
  2. Vai Beach
  3. Kato Zakros
  4. “Hiona” Tavern on Hiona beach
  5. Archaeological Site of Ancient Itanos


Visiting the East of Crete is really worth your time. The paysage is totally different to the one in the West -you will feel you are on another island! There are interesting walks, great things to visit and amazing beaches to relax.

Heading East you can stop at the town of Agios Nikolaos for a coffee by the lake and then you will follow the sea route towards Sitia. A 15-minute drive and you will arrive to your first stop: the famous monastery and winery of Toplou which dates back to the 1 4th century! The monastery houses Wo museums a religious one and a folklore one, with historical relics, manuscripts, books and beautiful etchings of great importance. The vineyards in the area go as far back as arvone can remember. There used to be an old domain in the palm grove, while there is a wine-press in the area dating back to 1709. Replanting started in 1975 and now more than 60 acres are organically cultivated, producing 100.000 bottles ofwine per year!

Continue drivingwest until you reach Vai: the renowned palm tree beach of the island. A really tropical- like place, perfect for relaxing and swimming.

If you are planning to spend the night south, this is a great option: head down to Kato Zakros, a small gulf beach with a few tavems and apartments to rent. There is also the small Gorge of the Dead where the ancient Minoans used its caves to bury their dead. A feeling of mystery and holiness surrounds the whole place. The whole south east shores are great for *lirnming, with clear fresh, deep waters and beautiful beaches. You can make a round and go back through the town of lerapetra. That’s how you will have explored the whole east part of the island and its secrets.