Private East Crete Panorama
After meeting your professional guide on the pier, you will depart from Aghios Nikolaos port, and drive along the northeast coast to Toplou, approximately 90 minutes away. Here you will visit one of the most important Monasteries in Crete and the only surviving monastery in the Sitia area - all the others were destroyed by war and pirate raids. It is built on a rugged plateau and its architecture resembles a castle, due to the fact that throughout history it had to defend itself from pirates and various invaders. It was founded in the 15th century, but was destroyed during the earthquake of 1612. The Venetians rebuilt it but it was destroyed again during the Turkish occupation. During your visit you can admire the exquisite collection of icons and engravings. The site has three floors, which are divided into cells, guest houses, kitchens, the abbot's residence and warehouses. The monastery's characteristic bell tower bears relief crowns and crosses with inscriptions and the date 1558.
You will continue on to one of the most beautiful beaches of Crete - the beach of Vai, famous for its palm forest located right on the beach. It is the largest palm forest in Crete. This beautiful beach, discovered by a few hippies in the 70s, has become one of the island's biggest attractions. During a stop for approximately one hour, you will have free time to enjoy swimming or just gazing out at the beautiful sea from your included beach chair.
Then, it's off to Sitia a small, quiet port town of architectural importance. The history of Sitia originates in prehistoric times as the palace of Zakros (1900 B.C.). The city has endured many misfortunes, including an earthquake in 1508, the invasion of the Turkish Admiral Barbarosa in 1538, and the destruction by the Venetians during their invasion in 1651. Today, you will find a quiet seaside town that is not overrun with tourism. Here, you will stop for lunch in a nice waterfront tavern. After lunch you will drive back to Agios Nikolaos, approximately 90 minutes away.
Please Note: This tour offers customized departure times between 7:30 AM and 7:00 PM. If your preferred departure time is not listed, please contact us to place your request.