Our excursion to the east starts from the region of Makrigialos, east of Ierapetra.
Just beyond all touristic and developed cities, Makrigialos is located along a coastline filled with secluded coves and quiet beaches .
As we move on, we will visit one of the most important and rich monasteries, the monastery of Toplou. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint John, it has always played an important role in the struggles of the Cretans for freedom. As a fortress ,it has been a center of great works of art and pirates.Nevertheless, the monks managed to preserve its beauty and made it into a museum that displays icons of great artistic value, Bibles, artifacts , rare documents and clothes etc. They also produce and sell excellent local organic products such as wine, olive oil and raki.
The highlight of the excursion, however, is the famous Palm Beach of Vai, a place of inconceivable beauty.
The beach of Vai is the only natural palm beach in Europe and became famous because of a Bounty add on TV.This tropical forest is located at the exit of a narrow valley and very close to the beach.The thick sand dunes and the rare plants form a real oasis in the desert landscape.Here you can enjoy the crystal clear waters of the sea, as well as the shadow of the gigantic palms.
Our last stop is Sitia.
When the Byzantines arrived, Sitia slowly become an important commercial port and it still remains as such today.In Sitia notable is the amphitheatrically way the town is build with epicentre the harbour. Among the Cretans, the people of Sitia are known for their fine literary sensibilities.Enjoy yourself, admire the fortresses of the city which stretches the waterfront and enjoy your evening coffee, before resuming on the road.
Have a safe trip and a great time !