Elounda (Greek: Ελούντα), alternative transliterations are Elounta or Elouda, is a small fishing
town on the northern coast of the island of Crete in Greece. Elounda belongs to the municipality of
Agios Nikolaos, which in its turn until recently (2010) belonged to the prefecture of Lasithi and as of the passage
of new legislation, now belongs to the periphery of Crete.
Istro(n) is located 12km east of Agios Nikolaos and 22km north of Ierapetra, very close
to Kalo Chorio. It is a quiet village, situated in a lush valley full with olive groves and springs,
which has been developed during the last decades. However, the development was fortunately mild, mainly
due to the regional building restrictions because of the archaeological discoveries. The main growth
driver of Istron is undoubtedly the emerald beaches which are scattered in three adjacent bays. Istro
is built on the site of the archaic city Istrona. Ruins of a Minoan city with unknown name have been
revealed on the Vrokastro hill, south of Kalo Chorio. During the Venetian Era, the barren plain was
turned to a vast olive grove and several water mills were built, ruins of which still exist. Today,
locals organize cultural events and the local Folk Museum reminds of their glorious past.
Crete's major urban centre
Knossos or Cnossos (/\ˈnɒsɒs/; also Knossus or Cnossus /\ˈnɒsəs/; Greek: Κνωσός,
pronounced [kno\ˈsos]), is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and is considered
Europe's oldest city. The name Knossos survives from ancient Greek references to the major
city of Crete. The identification of Knossos with the Bronze Age site is supported by tradition and by
the Roman coins that were scattered over the fields surrounding the pre-excavation site, then a large
mound named Kephala Hill, elevation 85 m (279 ft) from current sea level. Many of them were inscribed
with Knosion or Knos on the obverse and an image of a Minotaur or Labyrinth on the reverse, both
symbols deriving from the myth of King Minos, supposed to have reigned from Knossos. The coins came
from the Roman settlement of Colonia Julia Nobilis Cnossus, a Roman colony placed just to the north of,
and politically including, Kephala. The Romans believed they had colonized Knossos. After excavation,
the discovery of the Linear B tablets, and the decipherment of Linear B by Michael Ventris,
the identification was confirmed by the reference to an administrative center, ko-no-so, Mycenaean
Greek Knosos in Linear B, undoubtedly the palace complex. The palace was built over a Neolithic town.
During the Bronze Age, the town surrounded the hill on which the palace was built.
Matala (Greek Μάταλα) is a village located 75 km south-west of Heraklion, Crete.
Matala is part of the community of Pitsidia within the municipal unit of Festos, Heraklion regional
unit. The artificial caves in the cliff of the Matala bay were created in the Neolithic Age. Matala
was the port of Phaistos during the Minoan period. In the year 220 BC. Matala was occupied by the
Gortynians and during the Roman period Matala became the port of Gortys. In the 1st and 2nd centuries
the caves were used as tombs. One of the caves is called "Brutospeliana" because according to the
legend it was frequented by the Roman general Brutus. Matala was then a fishing village. In the 1960s
the caves were occupied by hippies who were later driven out by the church and the military junta.
Now Matala is a small village living mainly from tourism. Canadian folk singer Joni Mitchell's
experiences with the Matala hippies were immortalised in her 1971 song Carey.
Fascinating most well preserved Venetian old town
The Arkadi Monastery (in Greek: / Moní Arkadhíou) is an Eastern Orthodox monastery,
situated on a fertile plateau 23 km (14 mi) to the southeast of Rethymnon on the island of Crete.
The current catholicon (church) dates back to the 16th century and is marked by the
influence of the Renaissance. This influence is visible in the architecture, which mixes both Roman
and baroque elements. As early as the 16th century, the monastery was a place for science and art and
had a school and a rich library. Situated on a plateau, and surrounded by a thick and high wall, the
monastery is also built like a fortress. The monastery played an active role in the Cretan resistance of
Ottoman rule during the Cretan revolt in 1866. 943 Greeks, mostly women and children, sought refuge in
the monastery. After three days of battle and under orders from the hegumen (abbot) of the monastery, the
Cretans blew up barrels of gunpowder, choosing to sacrifice themselves rather than surrender. The monastery
became a national sanctuary in honor of the Cretan resistance. November 8 is a day of commemorative parties
in Arkadi and Rethymno. The explosion did not end the Cretan insurrection, but it attracted the attention of
the rest of the world.
Damnoni is located 35km south of Rethymno and 5km east of Plakias. It is a popular tourist
resort, very well developed and organized. Damnoni is located at the exit of a large valley, protected by
high mountains. The beach that stretches in front of the resort is a long bay with beautiful turquoise
waters and coarse white sand. Here you will find all the services of a very well organized beach like
umbrellas, snack bars, showers, changing rooms, water sports, scuba diving centre, great hotels,
restaurants, horse riding centre etc. The west end of the beach, the most organized part, has a small
river with water all year round. Moreover, there is a tavern in the middle of the beach “drowned” in
tamarisk trees. The eastern end of the beach is quieter and is linked with the adjacent beaches of Ammoudi
via a short dirt road.
Μost picturesque city in Crete
Kournas is the name of a village and nearby lake on the island of Crete. It is in the
Apokoronas region of Chania regional unit close to the border with Rethymno regional unit, 47 km from the
town of Chania. Kournas is a fairly large village perched on a hill overlooking the lake. It is in the
Georgioupoli municipality, not far from the town of the same name. A working village which has seen less
depopulation than some of its neighbours, Kournas is known for its pottery and many popular taverns. The
taverna's seats are largely in the road - it is popular for its specialties of 'kokoretsi'
(grilled offal) and 'galaktoboureko' (custard and orange tart). Road sign Crete's only freshwater lake,
Lake Kournas, is relatively large, with a perimeter of 3.5 km. Although almost all touristic leaflets say
that it is possible to walk around the lake, that is not true. At least not at the end of the rain
season (winter). There is a nature preserve on the Southwest of the lake. But there is a rustic road from
the North of the lake to the Hills on the West of the lake too.
Elafonisi (Greek: Ελαφονήσι [elafoˈnisi] "deer island") is an island located close to
the southwestern corner of the Mediterranean island of Crete, of which it is administratively a part,
in the regional unit of Chania. When the weather is fine it is possible to walk to the island through
the shallow water. The island is a protected nature reserve.