Passengers travelling by ferry to Sitia, arrive in a small coastal town known for the friendliness of its inhabitants and the beauty of its surrounding region!
Such a small town, but such a long history! Sitia actually takes its name from Eteia, the ancient Minoan city. This may have been home to one of the seven sages of antiquity, Myson (some say he was from Laconia, in the Peloponnese). The city prospered throughout the ages due to trade with other ports throughout Greece and the Mediterranean. During the Byzantine era, it continued to prosper, becoming the seat of a Bishop.
This was a favorite city of the Venetians during their rule, but an attack by the pirate Barbarossa and then a terrible earthquake changed the city’s fortunes. During the Ottoman Era, the Pasha Hussein Avni rebuilt the city, calling it Avniye, although of course the Greeks called it Sitia still.
Worthy as the destination is in itself, the drive you take to reach it is also gorgeous!
This very small coastal town is an ideal destination for those who want to escape the more touristy areas to the west. This is Crete’s most unspoiled location, where life is not built around tourism. Tourists are warmly welcomed, and the facilities and services are excellent. But in Sitia you will be better able to connect to the authentic local culture of Crete. Stunning natural attractions are near Sitia.
Make your booking in advance with a ferry to Sitia now and not later, since the island gets really crowded in summer months, therefore, it is possible that you will not find any ferry tickets or accommodation.
Getting to Sitia by ferry
Getting to Sitia can be achieved from the Greek mainland port of Piraeus, reaching the island in about 10 hours with a conventional one, always depending on the port of departure and the number of stopovers. If you are in one of the islands in the Dodecanese or the Cyclades, you can take the ferry to Sitia. Note that using the ferry is not only the cheapest way to get to Sitia but also the most exciting one since you get to admire the beautiful endless blue sea and feel the summer breeze.
Piraeus to Sitia Ferry
The Piraeus Sitia ferry route connects Athens with Crete. The crossing operates each week with sailing durations from around 19 hours. Piraeus to Sitia sailing durations and frequency may vary from season to season, so we advise doing a live check in our online booking system to get the most up to date information.
Sitia ferry port
The Sitia ferry port is the best in the eastern part of the island and can accommodate small fishing boats and larger cargo and transport boats as well. The weekly boats for Rhodes leave from here. Around the harbour there are many restaurants and tavernas as well as coffee shops.
Transportation in Sitia
Sitia can be reached in two ways. The first is from Ierapetra in the south cutting across the region of Sitia from the Libyan Sea to the Sea of Crete in the north. The road winds along the coast with its charming coves and majestic bays. The other route is along the north coast from the west, a route which takes you through the picturesque villages of the region.
- Public Bus: Once you arrive in Sitia, all the villages and areas of interest can also be reached by bus. There is a timetabled bus route with the Public Bus Company KTEL. The buses are modern and comfortable and you will reach your destination in perfect safety along routes of stunning scenery
- Taxis and Private Transfers: A taxi offers you easy and fast transfer to your destination. Many taxis can be found close to the port and in any central spot. You can book your taxi in advance by calling (+30) 694 468 6367 or by visitng Sitia Taxis
Direct bus departing from Heraklion and arriving at Sitia. Services depart three times a day, and operate every day. The journey takes approximately 3.5h.
Renting a car is a particularly great choice for getting to Sitia. The drive, and particularly the stretch from Agios Nikolaos to Sitia, is beautiful.
Holidays in Sitia
Sitia may not be as popular as other cities in Greece, but don’t let that fool you. Sitia is a smaller but beautiful upcoming tourist destination that is worth a visit. You will be surprised by some of the unique things to do and places you can explore at this hidden destination.
You might wish to revisit it someday again, to take a break and relax at Sitia.
The Cretan sunshine, a sparkling sea, dreamy beaches, epic legends: Everything about Sitia guarantees a great holiday, bringing together the beauty of past and present in this magical corner of Crete. Beyond the beaches, you will enjoy the cafes and savour the local cuisine, washed down with tsikoudia (the schnapps-like firewater of Crete).
Places to Visit & Things to do in Sitia
If you have plans to visit Greece and are not sure if Sitia should be included in your itinerary, keep reading. In this list, we have put together some of the things to do in Sitia and around. We have a hunch that if you include this city in your travel plans, you will be thrilled you did so.
- The Gorge and the waterfall of Richtis
- The Kazarma Fortress
- The Archaeological Museum
- The Folklore Museum
- The Ancient City of Itanos
- The Toplou monastery
- The Small Villages
- The Home of Vitsentzos Kornaros (author of the epic poem Erotokritos)
Furthermore, Sitia is an ideal holiday destination if you want to relax and explore Cretan nature and gastronomy. If you are into outdoor activities, there are some great hiking trails as well as beaches that are perfect for windsurf. We also recommend exploring the historical monuments and archaeological sights of the area.
Beaches in Sitia
Sitia has a great advantage in comparison with the more crowded, touristic places in Crete: it isn’t widely known among Greek tourists, therefore its beaches still remain virgin, clean and rather quiet. Sitia is an ideal starting point to explore the beautiful beaches of the prefecture of Lassithi.
Hereunder, are some of our recommendations of the best beaches on the north and east coast of Sitia are:
- Sitia: Very nice beach located close to the center of Sitia. Sunbeds and umbrellas are free of charge. They are offered by the bars and restaurants located behind the beach area. It is expected that you buy your drinks and food from the bar/restaurant during your stay on the beach. There are also areas on the beach with no sunbeds and umbrellas
- Vai Beach: One of the most famous beaches in Crete. Vai is a sandy beach surrounded by the only palm forest in Europe. This forest has about 5,000 palm trees and it is a protected area
- Itanos (Erimoupoli): The Erimoupolis beach located 26km east of Sitia , just north of the famous palm forest of Vai . The name takes the ancient city of Itanos , which remains in the area. Next to the archaeological site of Itanos are the three consecutive bays with equal number of Erimoupolis beaches.
- Agia Fotia: This is a calm tourist resort with nice beaches. The area is surrounded by pine forests and a small chapel of Agia Fotia is located near the beach.
- Karoumes Beach: From the settlement Chochlakies , located 8 km south of Palekastro and 26 km from Sitia , begins a fantastic , affordable canyon that after 1.5 hour walk ends at the clean and picturesque bay Karoumes. You can reach the most isolated beach in eastern Crete through the gorge or boat from Kato Zakros and Kouremenos
- Kedromouri: Small beach with calm waters, pebbles and caves that are perfect for shade. The beach is secluded and access is via a short path
- Chiona: The Chiona is a beautiful, medium-sized beach. Is green and cool waters. It is shallow and suitable for children. From here not leave without combine your swim with one stop in the surrounding taverns. The fish soup with fresh fish specialties is certainly not compared with any other
- Maridati: Beautiful secluded beach with small pebbles, clear blue waters and a few trees. There are no facilities nearby, so make sure you have the essentials with you
Our favorite beaches on the south of Sitia are:
- Ammoudi: Magnificent, windless beach with golden sand and shallow, turquoise waters. It is isolated and it has no natural shade, but you will find a tavern near the beach for food and refreshments
- Kalo Nero: Close to the village of Kalo Nero you can find 3 beautiful beaches: Koutsounari, Stausa and Anaskelou. They are ideal for quiet time by the sea, away from the crowds
- Botzalaki: Beautiful, secluded beach with clear blue waters and pebbles
- Livari: An isolated area of unspoiled beauty where you will find 2 peaceful beaches with amazing waters. You can swim overlooking the impressive mountains, gorges and caves of the area
- Goudouras: Large beach with small pebbles and sand. It has a few umbrellas and sunbeds, as well as cafes and tavernas nearby
- Macheridia: These are 3 secluded beaches next to each other, with sand and clear blue waters. Access is via footpath
Accommodations in Sitia
There are plenty of hotels, airbnb, rooms and accommodations in the town. A wide range of Kissamos apartments, hotels, resorts and villas all over the island welcome you to enjoy your stay by the sea offering all the requested facilities.
Here are some suggestions in order to choose your ideal hotel in Sitia:
- Itanos Hotel
- Flisvos Hotel
- Elysee Hotel
- Avra Maris
- Apollon Hotel
- Lassion Golden Bay
- Sitia Beach City Resort and Spa
- Porto Kaza
- Ploimon Apartments
- Hotel Sea Breeze
- Villas Delight
- Nereids Apartments