Ierapetra "the bridge of the Libyan sea"
The Southernmost City of Europe, facing the Libyan Sea. It is the largest city in Lasithi region and the sunniest city in Europe; Ierapetra enjoys the smoothest, almost rainless weather in Europe, and the most hours of sunshine with a temperature that rarely drops below 12 C all year long! You can easily drive there from Heraklion (following the direction to Agios Nikolaos; before entering the town, you turn right). Ierapetra is located 105km away from Heraklion, 36km from Agios Nikolaos, 56 km from Sitia, 240km from Chania and 185km from Rethymnon. An alternative route from Heraklion to Ierapetra would be Heraklion-Skalani- Arhanes- Arkalohori- Ano Viannos- Mirtos-Ierapetra. A more interesting route, since driving through picturesque, traditional villages.
The visitor can take a leisurely walk in the vivid center of the town, along the coast, in the small municipal park near the Town Hall, or in the quiet picturesque narrow streets of "Kato Mera" - the old part of the town.
Pick up a handmade gift from a colorful market stall and enjoy the exciting sounds of busy Cretan life!
The character and the charm of the cozy old neighborhood has been retained, while it has been given new life as a shopping and eating experience for the visitor.
Local handicrafts and souvenirs, valuable gold or silver items, fashion wear, leather goods or the latest sports goods can be found at surprising prices all over town.
Whether you pick the peaceful cobbled streets of the old city in Kato Mera or the busier seafront, you are no doubt going to relish a walk in the charm of genuine Cretan sounds, smells, tastes, colors; handmade artifacts from outdoors workshops make marvelous souvenirs.
Sightseeing won’t be complete until you have called at:
- “Napoleon’s House”. When Napoleon was en route to Egypt in 1789 he stopped off, according to the tradition, and spent a night in Ierapetra.
- The mosque opposite the Ottoman fountain
- The old Ottoman School, at the City Hall square, where archaeological finds (from the Minoan to the Roman eras) are exhibited
- The Fort " KALES " . The fort was built by the Venetians in the 13th century and is known to Ierapetrans as the "Kales", has been erected on the top of the southernmost mole of the ancient harbor. It is one of those monuments of the past which, because of its solid construction and the fact that it was still garrisoned until the latest years of the last century, still exists today to serve as a reminder of some of the nation's most difficult times.
- The Port. The port of Ierapetra is located at the old town and gives shelter to small boats and ships. Efforts are made to enlarge the port so to be able for bigger ships to dock and make Ierapetra the only one town on the south coast line of Crete in direct line with the African countries and the Levant. Today only fishing boats and small cruising ships can moor.
The beaches of Ierapetra are awarded each single year with Blue Flags, by the European Union. Practically all the shore of Ierapetra, from east to west, within a distance of 4 miles is suitable for swimming.
In the town there are two organized beaches, with umbrellas, sun-beds, bars, water sports etc. One is located east of the town on the way to Makry Gialos and the other smaller one near the port, in front of the old town.
Pebbly and with shallow waters, there is the best organized beach of Livadakia. For some quietness, drive to the secluded beaches of Livadi and Peristera. Agia Fotia and Myrtos are famous too. Don’t skip a swim on them.
Beyond doubt, the winning card of Ierapetra for a beach experience is the volcanic little island of Chryssi, which will take your breath away with its stunning natural beauty. Get to it by boat on a day trip and feel the sensation. A short one-hour sail to the area of Vougiou Mati will take you to a string of more or less secluded coves, pristine beaches and sand dunes with gold and white sand, turquoise crystal clear waters, but also acres and acres of forests of rare cedar trees.
In the nearby area don’t miss Selakano, a forested valley about 35Km from Ierapetra. It forms one of the most important ecosystems on Crete. The trail is great for hiking and normally takes 1-3 hours. In the east, there is a panoramic view of the Libyan Sea, at a distance of 15 km.
Enchanting for its history, gorgeous for its natural beauty, ideal for day trips to mountainous and seaside villages alike, Ierapetra is well developed to meet the needs and preference of all.