Our Out-Of-Town section is a guide to towns & villages just outside the city of Heraklion.
Most feature attractions, museums, restaurants, bars and clubs and these popular destinations
are easy to get to by car or bus, for KTEL bus timetables, see 'useful links' on the directory page.
Alikarnassos is a busy suburb of Heraklion, a short drive from the city centre, on the road to the airport and readily accessible by bus. It's interesting for its long one-way main street with many boutiques, hairdressers, tavernas and bars. There's a good 'Pita Gyros' restaurant opposite the main square 'ΓΕΥΣΤΙΚΟΝ' (Gefstikon), tel: +30 2810 288 599 where we often enjoy a souvlaki and watch the aircraft fly over, just above our heads! On the same street (as it exits onto the main road) is 'Tsirakos Restaurant', tel: +30 2810 220 194 which is always packed, but great for some home-cooking! Alikarnassos hosts a superb open-air street market every Tuesday from 7am, where local fruit and vegetables are in abundance!
Kato Gouves is a short drive from Heraklion. Turn left at the crossroads on the Old National Road and down the Main Street where there are shops, supermarkets and many restaurants, cafés & bars including the stylish 'Onar Café-Bar', tel: +30 2897 041 001. The street eventually leads to the long sandy beach where you'll find further tavernas & bars. Try the 'Yacht Café-Bar' or the 'Galazio Lounge-Café' (both open year round) for a relaxed Mythos beer or Greek coffee. Turn right at the crossroads and up the the hill to the village of Pano Gouves where there are are several good tavernas and a mini-market. If you visit the famous Skotino Cave (2 kms further on), Pano Gouves is perfect for a Greek 'meze' lunch on your way back!
Hersonissos is one of Crete's most famous holiday resorts, with many hotel and apartment complexes and while the beaches tend to be quite small, there is plenty to do and see to make you visit a memorable one. We like a long stroll along the sea front with it's large number of cafés and restaurants, perfect for a refreshing 'frappé' coffee en route. There are several clubs and 'Matrix' in the centre attracts some big name DJs during the season, tel: +30 2897 021 103. However, don't miss Old Hersonissos (a 5 minute drive from the main resort) where you'll find some excellent tavernas in the pretty square and we'd recommend 'Lemonies', tel: +30 2897 023335, a short walk from the square and open all year round.
Stalis (or Stalida as it is also know) is a large holiday beach resort with endless restaurants and cafés, including a couple of 'Irish' bars, situated on the long road that makes its winding way through the town. There are some large hotel complexes here and one that we like is the 'Alexander Beach Hotel & Village', tel: +30 2897 032 134 which has several pools and a bar on the beach! If you fancy a cool Guinness, try the authentic 'Dwyers Irish Pub', established in 1996. One of our favourite restaurants is the 'Sergiani Greek Restaurant', tel: +30 2897 032 111 where eating 'el fresco' in their pleasant surroundings is a must. Having said that, there is such a wide choice of places to eat, you'll have trouble choosing one!
Malia is a popular destination for the 18-30’s seeking serious fun in the sun. The street leading down to the beach has countless bars, clubs and restaurants. Prices are good everywhere and Malia is the best place to be if you’re looking for an ‘all-day’ English Breakfast - we once had one for less than 3 euros! The ‘Galaxy Bar’ as you enter the town (on the corner by the traffic lights), is great for people watching, tel: +30 2897 031 009. We also recommend exploring the 'old town' within walking distance of the main road (and all the action!) where there are some very good tavernas offering authentic Cretan cuisine. Or, if you fancy a 'Big Mac' or a 'KFC' or a 'Subway' sandwich, they're all in Malia too... as are locally grown bananas!
Just outside Heraklion going towards the west, you go through Amoudara, a summer resort area. It has a long sandy beach divided into different areas and lots of hotels, shops, cafes and bars on both sides of the road. Here you can find the Technopolis cinema complex, which also has an outdoor theatre where we saw 'Mamma Mia' last year, which was a little strange, watching a movie set on a Greek island, on a Greek island!. The restaurants Μουσσες (Mousses) tel: +30 2810 257 085 and Πετούσης (Petousis) tel: +30 2810 821 376 have both been around for a while and are just two of the many you can find there. If you are into late evenings and clubbing, visit 'Summer Club Buddha' or 'Club Terirem'... time to party?!
Arolithos is situated on the old road towards Rethymnon. It is privately owned and could be characterised as a reconstruction of a typical Cretan village including various Cretan Art workshops, two traditional houses, an 'A’ class hotel, a restaurant and a taverna, a café and a 'kafenion', as well as a small church for weddings and christenings. The houses are built in the traditional way and are separated by narrows alleys full of flowers and plants. There are little shops scattered around and you can enjoy your coffee at the kafenion or a meal at the restaurant. A recent addition is the Museum of Rural History and Popular Art. It is open all year round and offers accommodation. Tel: +30 2810 821 050 or visit www.arolithosvillage.gr
Rogdia is situated on a green hillside above Heraklion and has breathtaking views of the city and the coastline. It’s about a 20 minute drive from the city, up a moderately winding road. There are several tavernas and restaurants on the way up to the sprawling village, but one in the village, built out on stilts, that we particularly like is Ρέμβη (Remvi) tel: +30 2810 841 441. The view from there, especially on nights with a full moon, is truly spectacular. The village itself is very pleasant to wander around. A little further on in the village is the turning to the monastery Μόνι Σαββαθιανών (moni Savathiana). It’s set in the countryside about 5 km from the village and closes at 5.30pm.
Archanes is a large village about a 30 minute drive from Heraklion and accessible by regular buses, as are most places in Crete. The village has been restored thanks to European Funds and is worth a visit if only for wandering around its pretty streets, admiring the architecture, gardens and terraces. There are plenty of tavernas and cafés to try, a favourite of our is the 'Diktamos', tel: +30 2810 751 022 (live music Friday and Saturday evenings), but why not taste some of the delicious Cretan cheese pies and pastries from one of the bakeries in the village. A must when you are there, is a visit to the tiny 'Folklore Museum', where there's a fine collection of local farming implements, woven fabrics and historical photos to be seen.
Anogia is a 45 minute drive from Heraklion, on a winding mountain road and well worth a visit. Famous for its cheese and honey, it has shops with traditional textiles and you can see women working on their looms. The village sprawls in two levels: in the top half there is a plane-tree shaded square where you can enjoy a coffee or other drinks while on the lower level, there is another small square at the end of the village with a sprinkling of restaurants, one of which is Αεράκης Ο Ντολμάς (O Dolmas) tel: +30 2834 031 340 opposite the 'shrine' to Nikos Xilouras kept by his sister. It plays host to the 'Yakinthia Festival' every summer with a purpose-built amphitheatre just outside the village. More at www.yakinthia.com

© 2011 NowHeraklion / Managing Editor: Clive Birch