Updated: Oct 3, 2021
For an unforgettable experience why not take a break from the hub of Agios Nikolaos and take a drive of about 15 minutes inland towards to the mountains of Kritsa (approximately 11 km inland from Agios Nikolaos in East Crete). It is also possible to take a daily trip from the port of Agios Nikolaos by land train (the Happy Train) to do this trip.
This traditional village with old houses and narrow streets is located on the Lassithi mountains and built amphitheatrically on a rock hilI. It is a marvellous small village with approximately 2200 inhabitants who live in traditional whitewashed or stone houses on top of mountainside terraces. This is also where Jules Dassin, husband of Melina Mercouri, filmed some of his movies.
From Agios Nikolaos, either drive or ride a bicycle uphill to an altitude of about 600m - not a steep climb. Before reaching Kritsa make a small detour to the lovely mountains of Kroustas where you can visit the historical landscape forest park of Kroustas
Then continue to Kritsa where you will be welcomed by a rainbow of colours in the narrow streets of the town. You will see multicoloured weavings, embroideries and textiles hanging from terraces, entrances and just about anywhere else. You will see the women crafting traditional Cretan design on their looms or with needles in hand. Most of these hand made items are for sale in the narrow streets.
Then visit the Church of Panagia Kera to feast on amazing Byzantine frescos dating from the 14th century.
These are one of the finest preserved Byzantine-era frescos in Crete and for that reason, has become one of the most culturally and historically significant churches on the island.
There are many taps around the village where you can drink clear mountain spring water. Kritsa is on a hill and many of the small streets are uneven, so appropriate footwear will help you enjoy this lovely small and traditional village in the East of Crete.