This guide details the best things to do this summer in Lasithi. Covering the easternmost section of the island, Crete's quietest and most unspoiled region is full of palm-fringed beaches, woodland waterfalls, sun-baked vineyards, and remote archaeological sites. Sink into a sun lounger and work on your tan, or try snorkelling, diving, or windsurfing in the clear blue waters.

    Summer in Lasithi brings grape and olive harvests, so take some time to try local products in the area's farms and monasteries. It's also the best time to experience nightlife in Agios Nikolaos or Elounda, with terraces decorated with fairy lights and revellers spilling out into the streets. Read on for the best things to do in Lasithi when the sun is shining.

    What are the best things to do this summer in Lasithi?

    1

    Gournia Minoan Town

    Experience life in Crete 4,000 years ago

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    Gournia Minoan Town is the most complete Minoan settlement in Crete. Dating from roughly 1,500 BC, its ancient cobbled streets wind uphill, passing well-preserved houses, workshops, and storage rooms. At the top, the remains of a palace, a temple, and a small theatre overlook the brilliant turquoise waters of Mirabello Bay.

    Gournia was an industrial centre on the island. Tools found here include potter's wheels, saws, an oil press, and a coppersmith's forge. It was also an important trade centre in the ancient world, and Gournian artefacts have been found as far away as Egypt. Natural rock shelters at the edge of the site were used as a cemetery, with bowls, vases and jewellery found in the tombs.

    Lokasi: Pacheia Ammos 722 00, Greece

    Buka: Daily from 8.30 am to 3 pm

    Telepon: +30 2842 093028

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    2

    Diktaion Andron Cave

    Supposed birthplace of the Greek god Zeus

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    In ancient times, Diktaion Andron Cave (or Dikteon Cave) was dedicated to the worship of Zeus. The upper cave contains the ruins of an altar, while a set of steep steps descends around 100 metres into the 5 echoing chambers below. At the bottom of the cave, a lake is surrounded by enormous stalactites and stalagmites which bend around the water in strange shapes.

    The cave's most famous stalactite is the 'Mantle of Zeus', which forms a curtain hanging over the lake. Offerings discovered in the cave include daggers, arrowheads, seals, clay ritual vessels and a copper figure of a bull. The cool temperature in Diktaion Andron Cave makes it a welcoming habitat for rock doves and long-eared bats.

    Lokasi: Psychro Cave 720 52, Greece

    Telepon: +30 2841 022462

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    3

    Cretan Olive Oil Farm

    Gorge yourself on local Cretan delicacies

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    Cretan Olive Oil Farm belongs to a family that has been producing olive oil for over 135 years. Guided tours take you around the olive groves, herb gardens, beekeepers' huts and raki distillery, and introduce you to the farm's resident goats and donkeys. Take the opportunity to taste some of their homemade products, which include olive oil, wine, raki, honey, cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes.

    Cooking classes immerse you in the tastes of the Mediterranean, and you can also try your hand at pressing olive oil, milking the goats, or making cheese. If you're interested in Cretan culture, there are also pottery workshops and folk dancing lessons. The farm shop has all kinds of delicious produce for you to take home.

    Lokasi: Ag. Nikolaos 721 00, Greece

    Telepon: +30 2841 024139

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    4

    Vai Beach

    Scenic beach shaded with palm trees

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    Vai Beach is known for its expansive grove of date palm trees, the largest natural palm forest in Europe. The fine golden sand is tightly packed with sun loungers and umbrellas, surrounded by calm azure waters. It's a popular spot for jet-skiing, and you'll also see wakeboards and banana boats out on the water.

    Surprisingly given the crowds, Vai Beach is also a wildlife attraction, as thousands of migratory birds pass through here on the journey from Africa each spring. At the south end of the beach, a small taverna overlooking the bay serves grilled seafood and traditional Greek dishes. Climb the steps next to the restaurant to get panoramic views of the coast from the viewing platform.

    Lokasi: Epar.Od. Monis Toplous - Vai, Toplou 723 00, Greece

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    5

    Richtis Gorge

    Idyllic hike through a protected nature reserve

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    Richtis Gorge is covered in lush, verdant woodland, and is popular for its scenic 3-km hike. Wild herbs like oleander and sage grow around the brook, and the area is rich in wildlife with many species of birds, butterflies, and lizards. The highlight is a spectacular waterfall, which drops more than 20 metres over the cliffs. Shallow pools at the bottom are great for a swim on a hot day.

    Start in the village of Exo Mouliana and follow the path down past Lachanas Bridge, a stone bridge built in the 19th century. Alternatively, you can park near the bottom of the gorge and climb up to the waterfall before returning to the rocky cove at Richti Beach.

    Lokasi: Agíou Nikoláou Siteías 221, Exo Mouliana 720 57, Greece

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    6

    Zakros Palace

    Minoan royal palace and ancient trading post

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    Zakros Palace is the smallest of the island's Minoan palaces. It was a key trading hub, where boats left the port and travelled across the Middle East and North Africa. The palace is surrounded by the remains of a multitude of workshops, storage rooms and shrines where metals, precious stones and inscribed clay tablets have been found.

    The site's most remarkable artefacts, like a bull's-head drinking vessel and a vase carved of rock crystal, are on display at Heraklion Archaeological Museum. The gorge surrounding the palace, called the 'Ravine of the Dead', is filled with caves that were used by the Minoans as tombs. At the base of the gorge, the former Minoan port is now a pretty beach lined with cafes.

    Lokasi: Zakros 723 00, Greece

    Buka: Daily from 8.30 am to 6 pm

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    7

    Kouremenos Beach

    Crete's best windsurfing beach

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    Kouremenos Beach boasts excellent weather conditions for water sports, with steady winds throughout the day and flat waters in summer. The sheltered conditions in the bay will suit beginners, while more experienced surfers will enjoy tackling the waves further out. There are 2 surfing shops here, Freak Surf Crete and Gone Surfing Crete, where you can take lessons or rent equipment.

    The long stretch of beach is a mix of sand and pebble, with plenty of space to spread out. Calm, shallow seas are good for swimming and you'll see plenty of local families enjoying the water. Numerous bars and restaurants along the beachfront serve satisfying hunks of grilled meat, Greek salads, and local beer.

    Lokasi: Kouremenos Beach Rd, Palekastro 723 00, Greece

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    8

    Toplou Monastery

    A historic monastery with magnificent artwork and local produce

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    Toplou Monastery, built in the 15th century, has a colourful history that includes looting by pirates and the Knights of Malta, and an underground resistance during WWII. Remarkable medieval frescoes, 18th-century paintings, and modern Greek sculptures decorate the interior. The biggest attraction is the painstakingly detailed icon Lord Thou Art Great, by local artist Ioannis Kornaros.

    A museum displays collections of Byzantine icons, silver crosses, books, and documents, as well as more recent rifles, radios, and revolutionary banners. Wine and raki are made at the monastery from locally grown produce, along with organic honey and award-winning olive oil. Guided tours end in the tasting room, where you can try a variety of reds and whites.

    Lokasi: Toplou 723 00, Greece

    Telepon: +30 2843 061226

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    9

    Spinalonga Island

    Tiny island where leprosy patients were once quarantined

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    For centuries, Spinalonga Island was used as a stronghold by Venetian and Ottoman rulers, before being turned into a leper colony in 1903. Boats land at Dante's Gate, where the original patients would have arrived, so you can walk through the daunting arched tunnel into the colony. Houses, shops, churches, and the hospital are now mostly ruined, overgrown with trees, and eerily quiet.

    A casual stroll around the island will take 1 to 2 hours, and offers delightful views of the clear blue seas and boats bobbing by the mainland. A small pebbled beach by the seafront and shallow waters give you the opportunity for a peaceful swim. Boats depart daily from Elounda and Agios Nikolaos.

    Lokasi: Spinalonga, Ag. Nikolaos, Greece

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    10

    Lake Voulismeni

    Pretty lake surrounded by bustling cafes and restaurants

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    Lake Voulismeni occupies a prime spot in the middle of Agios Nikolaos. It's the centre of the town's nightlife, surrounded by bars, restaurants, and cafes. Stop here for lunch on a sunny day to watch the crowds, or enjoy a sunset view of the lake with a drink on one of the terraces.

    Alexandros Cocktail Bar and Cafe du Lac are popular with the town's young and hip crowd, while Chez Georges and Cafe de Paris offer a more laidback atmosphere. Head to La Strada or Cafe Hellas for delicious fresh seafood and tempting ice cream sundaes. The viewpoint just above the lake is a great place to snap a selfie.

    Lokasi: Agios Nikolaos 721 00, Greece

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    Victoria Hughes | Penulis yang Berkontribusi

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