••.•´¯`•.•• Lasithi Highlights ••.•´¯`•.••
••.•´¯`•.•• Milatos ••.•´¯`•.••
MilatosThere is a pleasant stony beach that is fairly narrow and steeply shelving that has wooden steps down from the road, another stony beach closer to the harbour
The harbour is interesting. This is a wonderful place to visit, very quiet and off the beaten track but accessible easily from a surfaced road.
The road up to the cave is just before the turn down to Paralia Milatou and is not for the faint-hearted. Although surfaced, it zig-zags precipitously forever upwards, often with no crash barrier in evidence. Parts are very narrow and visibility poor because of the tight bends. I actually closed my eyes at one point and I am not usually affected by such things!!
There is a parking area for the cave and then a walk of some 200 metres along well made cobbled footpath clinging to the edge of the cliff. The land plunges away steeply down a deep gorge but at least the path is "fenced."Make sure you take a torch as it is pitch black inside after the bright sunlight. Watch your heads as well, as the roof dips very low as you concentrate on the uneven ground ahead.
Inside is a beautiful church, built into the cave. This is the church of St. Thomas, built-in 1935 to commemorate the mass slaughter by the Turks in 1825 of 3,600 locals. The locals hid in the cave during the Revolution and vainly tried to defend themselves from the Turks who had circled the cave entrance. Eventually, hunger got the better of the Greeks and they had to exit, hoping some would survive. Sadly, most were immediately slaughtered and 18 priests burnt to death. The few that survived were sent to Egypt as slaves.
••.•´¯`•.•• Elounda ••.•´¯`•.••
Elounda, a charmer of a port, once the ancient city-state of Olous. Its numerous colourful fishing boats lent a charming backdrop to this tourist town and the phalanx of eating establishments were testimony to the popularity of dining by the waterside. While the waves lapped we stepped out over the water and sat down to courgettes and fried sardines as we awaited the arrival of our ferry to Spinalonga and thought how good life was."
Definitely worth a look if you're in the area.
••.•´¯`•.•• Ag.Nikolaos ••.•´¯`•.••
Agios Nikolaos, capital of the Prefecture of Lasithi, is one of the most highly developed tourist towns in Crete and one of the nicest.
It lies along the west of the Mirabello bay. The climate in the area is mild with extremely low humidity. It is an ideal place to relax and recover one's energy in some of the great bars and restaurants. (Try one of the bars) which is moored in the Harbour.
Agios Nikolaos is the administrative, communications, cultural and commercial centre of the Prefecture of Lasithi and has approximately 8500 inhabitants.
The sea in Agios Nikolaos is superb and the surrounding area of the city is noted for its sandy beaches and beautiful bays.
The landmark of the city is a small lake, known as "Voulismeni" that is located in the centre of the city, at the foot of the cliffs. Its shape is circular with a diameter of 137m.
According to the mythology, the goddess Athena used to take her bath in this lake. It is so deep that it was thought years ago to be bottomless but it has now been found to be 63m deep. It is said that at the end of the 2nd world war all the German tanks and armoured vehicles were thrown into the lake. Whether that is really true or not is unknown as swimming is not allowed and only The French diver and explorer Jaque Cloustuo has been allowed do dive in it. and was connected to the sea only recently, with a canal opened at 1870.
It is an especially picturesque site with many open-air cafes and restaurants along the bank. Small boats leave the harbour to visit the Venetian fortress of Spinaloga, near Elounda.
Every summer the Municipality of Agios Nikolaos organizes cultural events, music and dance events, theatrical performances, exhibitions, shows. Also, during the Naval week, artistical swimming, water skiing, wind-surfing contests are organized.
The place where the Town is used to be the ancient "Lato pros Kamares", which was the harbour of "Lato Etera", The Ancient City of Lato was once an important and powerful city After Lato was abandoned the port carried on and it also served as a harbour In the Roman and the first Byzantine period. During the Venetian occupation, a fortress called Mirabello (beautiful view) was built on the site where the Prefecture building stands today. Nothing of the fortress remains
••.•´¯`•.•• Spinalonga ••.•´¯`•.••
The island of Spinalonga (Greek: Σπιναλόγκα), officially known as Kalydon (Καλυδών), is located in the Gulf of Elounda in north-eastern Crete, in Lasithi, next to the town of Elounda. The island is further assigned to the area of Kalydon. It is near the Spinalonga peninsula ("large Spinalonga") – which often causes confusion as the same name is used for both. The official Greek name of the island today is Kalydon.
Originally, Spinalonga was not an island, it was part of the island of Crete. During Venetian occupation, the island was carved out of the coast for defence purposes and a fort was built there.
During Venetian rule, salt was harvested from salt pans around the island. The island has also been used as a leper colony. Spinalonga has appeared in novels, television series, and a short film.
Today, the uninhabited island is a popular tourist attraction in Crete. In addition to the abandoned leper colony and the fortress, Spinalonga is known for its small pebble beaches and shallow waters. The island can easily be accessed from Elounda and Agios Nikolaos. Tourist boats depart from both towns on a daily basis. There is no accommodation on Spinalonga, meaning all tours last only a few hours. Boat trips from Elounda take approximately fifteen minutes while trips departing Agios Nikolaos can take almost an hour.