Lasithi, East Crete
There are four different regions in Crete, each of them with its own unique characteristics, fantastic landscape, and a collection for great things to do. Lasithi, a region often overlooked and forgotten, solitary and unspoiled, treasures arguably the most authentic side of Crete.
Lasithi is the easternmost region in Crete, a place where life runs at a different pace and where unique landscapes and places to see will not stop surprising you.
The main touristic city in the region is Agios Nikolaos, nestled in the Mirabello Gulf, on the Cretan Sea. Agios Nikolaos is also the capital city of the region.
The region hosts the most important highlands on the island, the Lasithi Plateau, surrounded by the Dikti Mountains.
There are several archaeological sites to visit, including the sunken city of Olous, the mysterious Minoan Palace of Kato Zakros, and the Valley of the Dead.
When to visit Lasithi
Springtime is a good time to visit the region. Endless varieties of flowers color the mountains of Lasithi creating spectacular landscapes. Bushes of wild thyme, rosemary, and oregano add a touch of fragrance to the atmosphere. In spring, you can enjoy pleasant walks without the scorching summer temperatures and almost no tourists around.
In Summer the sea is warm and the skies usually lack clouds. This region receives the lowest quantity of rain on the island. In summer there are also cultural festivals in cities and villages to which everyone is welcome to participate.
During Fall, the temperatures go down by a few grades. Great to enjoy mountain walks or discover the gorges.
In Winter, rainfall and snow are common in higher terrains, such as the Lasithi Plateau and the Katharo Plateau where many roads are closed during winter. Life in the southern city of Ierapetra goes on quite as normal since it remains Crete’s fourth most important city.
How to get to Lasithi
Once you’ve arrived in Heraklion, you can reach Lasithi driving east along the National Road. It’s a pleasant road trip that can last a little more than an hour. The region hosts a small national airport in the city of Sitia, but your flight is more likely to arrive either at Heraklion or Chania.
You can also drive all the way from Chania or Rethymnon, since the trip will be longer it’s a good idea to make a few stops along the way. Those traveling by bus from Chania usually need to change their bus at the Central Bus Station in Heraklion.
How to move around in the Lasithi region
Moving around in Lasithi is fairly simple since roads are in quite a good condition. If you’re in need of extra advice, check this tips to drive safely in Crete.
The buses departing from the central stations of Agios Nikolaos, Ierapetra, and Sitia reach the main centers in the region and the rest of the island. There are a few connections with smaller villages, and special bus services are active in summer to get to the most important touristic landmarks in Lasithi.
If you’re interested in exploring off-the-beaten track spots, there’s no better way to visit Lasithi than renting a car and driving around on your own.