A unique excursion in Sitia
We are exploring the Eastern Part of Crete and we first visit the Historical Monastery of Toplou. It is located is the northeastern tip of Crete, at the base of Sidero Cape , 10km east of Sitia and 6km north of Palekastro. The monastery is one of the most historical monasteries of Crete and is known for its vast real property. In religious circles it is known as the Monastery of Panagia Akrotiriani, while the locals just call it the Great Monastery. After we do visit the Monastery’s winery for a tour and wine tasting.
Our next stop will be in Vail Forest Palm Beach. It is the most famous beach in East Crete , as its main feature is the large palm grove with the Cretan Date Palm ( Phoenix theophrasti). Its name derives from the word Vai meaning palm in Greek. The palm grove is the largest in Europe with approximately 5.000 palm trees, while there are smaller colonies in other parts of Crete and in Southwest Turkey. According to the legend , the trees have grown from discarded date stones thrown into the sea by Saracen pirates. However, the palm grove is more than 2000 years old and the pirates are more recent. Thus this hypothesis has changed and the Saracens have been replaced with Phoenicians that governed the Mediterranean Sea 20 centuries ago.
We will complete our visit to the East part by visiting the town of Sitia, a town of 10.000 residents . We will visit a shop which sells local Cretan products and we will do a food tasting.