Sitia is a small and pleasant coastal town, with a continuing
presence and a historical life which has its roots in ancient times. built in a semicircle on the western
side of the Bay of Sitia, a typical, peaceful Mediterranean port. Today it has a
population of 9000.
Visitors in Sitia particularly enjoy the climate and the wonderful
beaches. The highest temperature in the summer is approx. 32 C. and
the lowest in winter is 7 C.
Sitia is the seat of administrative and public services for the
provides a modern airport with flights to and from Athens and a port
with daily connections with Piraeus and other islands of the south
east Aegean sea. A comfortable and safe road network connects Sitia
with the other towns of Crete taking the visitors wherever they
wish, so is a good starting point for
several excursions throughout Eastern Crete. Some of the most
important places to visit are Toplou Monastery, Palaikastro, Vai,
Zakros, Kato Zakros, Xerokampos, Makri Gialos, Itanos.
A fine sample of the wild nature of Crete stretches from Sitia to Makrys Yialos. Remote beaches and secrete routes create an
out-of-this planet atmosphere: sun, dust, stone and sea. The
beach bordering the east side of town, stretching up to Petra,
was polluted in the past. Now, by dint of private initiative,
the beach is clean, with shower installations dotting the fine
sand. This beach is conveniently placed near the town and
attracts young people who enjoy surfing in its crystal clear
Now, lets have a look at Vai, the renowned palm forest of Crete.
If you must see Vai,
then you had better visit it off-season. The locals would rather
bathe at Itanos, the name of a
submerged ancient town the ruins of which are visible from the
shore. Moving south from Vai, on routes reminiscent of Mexican
landscapes, you will come across the Medieval Monastery of
Toplou endowed with a very large estate, Palaikastro with the
Chiona beach, Kouremenos and Rousolakos beaches.
Kato Zakros is one of the best places very well knowing for its Minoan palace and fish taverns.
Xerokampos, although difficult to access, offers one of the last
idyllic spots of Crete: white sand, absolute serenity, and wild
lilies growing on sand dunes. Now, if you also enjoy boating, you
could hire or rent a boat and row or speed to Koufonissi from
cape Goudoura. The isle, is deserted but with
interesting Minoan ruins, sand dunes, wonderful beaches. The isle is ideal for camping as
well. In addition, there are organized excursions to the isle
from Makry Yialos. More information about daily trips to
Koufonissi is available from the boat owners at Makry Yialos.
name Sitia is derived from the ancient city of Itia,
birthplace of one of the seven wise-men of the antiquity, Mison. Sitia existed during the Late Minoan
period and until the Venetian period. During the Venetian
occupation the town of Sitia was destroyed three times. In 1508
by a terrible earthquake, in 1538 by the pirate Barbarosa and in
1651 by the Venetians so as not to fall in the hands of the
For two centuries Sitia ceased to exist as a town, until 1869.
The present city was built in 1870. Since then, Sitia is
developing to one of the most important urban areas in Crete. Sitia is the birth place of the
great poet Vintsenzos Kornaros, who wrote a masterpiece of
Medieval poetry, "Erotokritos".
The poem narrates the story of the princess Aretousa, daughter
of the king of Athens Hercules, and Erotokritos, son of
Pezostratos, member of the king's court. The most
imposing monument of the past that dominates Sitia is the
fortress of the castle called Kazarma from the "Casa di Arma".
Kazarma was one of the buildings of Medieval Sitia, and it
served as soldier's barracks and army headquarters. Kazarma and
the imposing wall around it were originally built in the Late
Byzantine period. The walls were repaired by the Venetians many
times and especially after the terrible earthquake of 1508 and
the attack by the pirate Barbarosa in 1538.