What to do in the area of Hersonissos
Bella Vista Hotel, strategically located in between the international airport of Heraklion and the pretty city of Agios Nicolaos, allows you to visit some of the most beautiful and interesting places in Crete, such as Spinalonga island, the historical monuments in Heraklion and the archeological site of Knossos, some of the famous monasteries in Crete and of course some of the most beautiful Cretan beaches.
The traditional village of Old Hersonissos Open or Close
The great historic, colorful village lies in the south of the coast, spreading on slopes and even plains, with a breathtaking view to the neighbouring coasts, bays, small havens and villages of the northeastern valley.
Old Hersonissos is one of the oldest and most picturesque villages on Crete, keeping its unique architectural character unaltered with characteristic elements from the neoclassical architecture and also from the Venetian architectural forms.
Not only due to its unique aesthetic character, but also due to historic and social reasons, the village was declared ‘traditional’ in 1978.
Nowadays, Old Hersonissos is a well-preserved and admirable village with a great potential to offer to the Rural Tourism.
The basic point of attraction is the central square of the village with a fountain in the middle, which was declared ‘the most beautiful square on Crete’, where a great number of people throngs during the whole tourist season, where the traditional taverns, cafes and all sorts of shops offer their services round the square.
Agricultural goods are produced in Hersonissos, following traditional methods of culture. Those products are sold in various shops of the village. Moreover, a workshop of ceramic art is functioning in Hersonissos. In addition, a guest can find hand-made embroidery and woven items, making an acquaintance with the local culture.
In recent years the tavern owners have organised a Cretan evening once a week, usually on Mondays, with live music and traditional dances.
The most brilliant, local celebration with the guests’ participation is the Assumption of Virgin Mary, on 14th and 15th of August. Great festivities take place on the central square, with live Cretan music and traditional cuisine.
Old Hersonissos preserves the character of original Crete with hospitable inhabitants and neat, traditional facilities. Moreover, its climate, its location and the fabulous, surrounding nature make it unforgettable and the visitor’s first choice. During your wandering in the village, it is worth visiting the restored Primary School, and the Museum of Ecclesiastical History (a restored building, part of the Venetian castle). There are two churches in the village, one in the main square and one at the end of the village. Both are typical examples of Byzantine art and are worth a visit.
Do not forget the Byzantine monastery of Saint John at the cemetery and the churches Panagia and Agios Dimitrios.
Right after Hersonissos, there is the largest and most modern golf installation in Greece.
Heraklion city Open or Close
Heraklion is the 4th largest city in Greece. It has the largest port and airport in Crete. Heraklion Airport is also known as “Nikos Kazantzakis” International Airport, in honour of the most famous Cretan writer worldwide.
Apart from shopping, visiting the restaurants and the cafes in Heraklion you will have the opportunity to visit the archeological site of Knossos, the famous Minoan Palace which lies 5 kilometres southeast of Heraklion, in the valley of the river Kairato and the 4 big museums of the city:
- The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, housing the major exhibits of Minoan Crete
- The Historical Museum of Crete
- The Museum of the Battle of Crete
- The Natural History Museum
Agios Nicolaos Open or Close
Agios Nikolaos, or just Agios as the locals call it, dominates the beautiful Merabello Bay, on the northeast coast of Lassithi Prefecture in East Crete.
Agios Nikolaos is a pretty town by the sea with its own picturesque lake. Try to locate a cafe right above the lake; the view is great. There is also a scenic route from Agios Nikolaos to Elounda and Plaka, as well as boat trips to Spinalonga island.
Elounda and Spinalonga island Open or Close
Spinalonga is a very small island with a Venetian fortress; it was used as a leper colony until 1950. You can arrange a boat trip to Spinaloga from Elounda or Plaka, a small traditional village with a lot of nice fish taverns and a lovely view of the summer sunset.
Elounda is located in east Crete, north of Agios Nikolaos and south of the seaside resort of Plaka.
Elounda was once a picturesque fishing village in the lovely Mirabello Bay. The inhabitants lived from farming, fishing, salt extraction from the Venetian saltpans, and emery mining. Once discovered by tourism, Elounda developed into a resort famous for its beautiful scenery and the luxury hotels which are still being built in the area. It is said to be the place with the most five-star hotels in Greece.
Traditional villages Open or Close
Between Hersonissos and Stalida there is a scenic route driving from Stalida to Mohos village. The road is full of curves but the views are panoramic, especially at sunset. The area around Hersonissos is filled with traditional picturesque little villages that are worth to visit: Koutouloufari and Piskopiano are located at walking distance form Old Hersonissos. Visit also Mirtos or Myrtos, Vrahassi, Mohos and Krasi.
From Krasi the road continues to Lassithi Plateau and Diktaion Antro, which according to the mythology was the birthplace of Zeus.
Another not so well known but also beautiful plateau in the area is Katharo Plateau which is located at an altitude of 1200 meters and it is 26 km from Agios Nikolaos and 12 km from the plateau of Lassithi.
Beaches Open or Close
There are nice beaches, especially "limanakia", a number of very small bays located to the east of "Creta Maris" Hotel. Don't forget to pay a visit to "Lychnostatis" Cretan Museum, as well as the waterparks of "Aqua Splash" and Star Beach.
In a short distance not more than 15 minutes drive you can choose among other beautiful beaches such as Analipsis, Anissaras, Malia, Stalis or Gouves.
If you are willing to drive a little further, you will be definitely satisfied for the effort, as many of Crete’s most marvelous beaches lie on the southeast coast line. Visit among others Ayiofarango, Ierapetra, Kalamaki, Makry Gialos, Matala, Sissi, Siteia and Vai.
- Monasteries Open or Close