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|THE VILLAGE AND THE BEACHES OF KATO ZAKROS IN THE SOUTHEAST OF CRETE|
In the extreme east of Crete, at the end of a winding road going down from Zakros, lies the little village of Kato Zakros: not more than a couple of houses and a beach. There is not much accommodation in Kato Zakros, and there is no supermarket, just a few taverns, and even in low season there aren't that many rooms for rent. It's situated on a beach which is partly big pebbles, and on other parts some sand and some pebbles. You can see the kaiks floating in the sea, and sometimes laying on the beach. I like Kato Zakros very much because of its simplicity, the friendly inhabitants and the kind of tourists that visit the place and stay overnight. Most of the accommodation is very basic, and not all rooms you are offered have private facilities but the views and the solitude in Kato Zakros make up for that. especially in the evening you get that feeling of being far away from it all and it is easy to make contact with sometimes interesting people. Everybody comes together in the couple of taverns of the village for a nice meal, some wine and a look at the sea.
For all hotels, apartments and studios in Kato Zakros - click here.
There are three beaches in Kato Zakros, next to each other. The first one you will see when you drive into the village is the largest one and it consists of sand an pebbles. The second one (as you follow the path to the north) is a smaller pebble beach where the fishing boats lay. It is mostly used by the few locals of Kato Zakros if they want to take a swim. The last one is an even smaller but very attractive pebble beach that you can reach by stairs. It is sort of enclosed between the rocks. There is a small patch of sand where it is easy to go into the water. From this beach is the start of the walk to the Pelikita Cave, which is 6 kilometers away in the bay of Karoumba (it takes about one and a half hour). The cave has stalagmites and stalactites and it is believed to have been inhabited in neolithical times and there is also a quarry where stones have been taken out to build the palace of Kato Zakros. If you want to make the hike to the cave (up and down 3 hours) take plenty of water with you and realize that there are no places to escape from the sun. It's also good to bring a flash light because the cave is quite large and of course it's dark.
|THE MINOAN PALACE OF KATO ZAKROS IN THE SOUTHEAST OF CRETE|
It can probably get pretty busy in Kato Zakros during the daytime because the remains of the ancient palace of Kato Zakros are within its boundaries. The palace at Zakros is the fourth in terms of size among the Minoan palaces. It was located at an advantageous strategic position, at a protected bay, and was the centre of commercial exchange with the countries of the East. Some say it's impressive, I say it's just old stones, which don't mean too much to me, but while you're there why not make a visit? This palace was only discovered in the early sixties and it was very special because unlike the other palaces it had not been looted and so countless precious artefacts and interesting objects were found. These objects can be admired in the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion. Previously you could just take a look at the palace, now there is a fence around it, there are opening hours and admission is charged (not much, in 2013 it was two euro per person). If you take a look you get a little bit of an impression of the palace. The thing we liked most were the turtles that were swimming around in the water of the ancient cisterns.
The palace of Kato Zakros was built in stages and most of it dates from around 1600 BC. All together the palace of Kato Zakros consists of more than 250 rooms including a treasury, a kitchen and working spaces. I liked more the landscape around it with the cypress trees, the mountains and the caves. Between Kato Zakros and the higher situated village of Zakros is the Valley of the Dead, where the Minoans used to bury their dead in the caves that you can see in the cliffs. You can walk through this valley. It leads along a river bed and the length is about 6 kilometers. The walk takes about 2 to 3 hours depending on how fast you walk. There are no tavernas along the way so you must bring your own water supply.
In the evening Kato Zakros becomes quite a desolate place though (if you are lucky enough to have found a room there), where you can see loads of stars if the sky is clear. Visitors seem mostly French and some German. If you want to stay there overnight I think it's wise to make a reservation ahead. Most of the area in and around Kato Zakros is considered of archaeological importance and much still has to be excavated. Therefore building houses is almost impossible in and around the village and thus Kato Zakros has more or less stayed the same over all the years. I was told a story that even in Zakros (the "upper village") 8 kilometer away people were digging in their garden and found Minoan graves. They quickly covered it again, because finds like this mean that you lose your home and the place is marked an archaeological site. Who knows what else will be found in this area in the coming years. Almost immediately after you have left Zakros and head for Kato Zakros you will see the remains of a Minoan villa.
|Akrogiali Taverna - Kato Zakros|
For this restaurant we made a special detour last holiday after a few hours at the beach of Xerokampos. It is a place where we have been more often and where we have had breakfasts and evening meals. The position on the beach of Kato Zakros, the kind service and the vibes are special here. The owner of the restaurant is named Nikos and he also rents out rooms at the beach. We have stayed with him a couple of times. Since rooms are few in Kato Zakros maybe it is a good tip. The food in the taverna is simple and honest Greek food, and the coffee is good. We love the special kind of fried potatos that Nikos makes and his mezes (a little bit of everything to go with your drinks).
And yes, actually we always try to hop on by the Akrogiali Tavern in Kato Zakros for a lunch, should we stay somewhere in the area. Kato Zakros is such a special place, the atmosphere in the tavern is very good and all the people are friendly and happy to see you again.
Our verdict: an 8 out of 10
|Cretan Family Tavern Nikos Platanakis - Kato Zakros|
The Taverna Nikos Platanakis is located on the beach of Kato Zakros. We order a tzatziki, a Greek salad, moussaka and lamb from the oven. The service is friendly and smooth. The fries are crisp and the wine is good (retsina). The Greek salad is a bit simple. With a dressing or some herbs it would have been a little bit nicer. The rest of the food is fine.
Our verdict: a 9 out of 10
|Kato Zakros Hotels - Hotel Yiannis Retreat - very good reviews|
Set in a fragrant garden, Yiannis Retreat is a traditional complex of stone houses in the lush valley of Kato Zakros in Crete. It offers free bicycles and self-catered accommodation 500 metres from the beach. The air-conditioned rooms at the Retreat Yiannis have wooden ceilings, stone walls traditional decorative items. Each includes a kitchenette with a dining area, a microwave and fridge. Guests are provided with products such as coffee, jam, olive oil and local spices. All units have a balcony or patio with views to the garden. Guests can relax in the garden that is created on 3 different levels with private corners, deck chairs and swings. Scenic Zakros village is 8 km away and has shops and small cafés. On the beach in Kato Zakros Bay there are some taverns serving Cretan cuisine. The famous Gorge of the Dead is a 2-minute drive. Free private parking is available on site.
Check availabilities and prices & book Yiannis Retreat in Kato Zakros - click here.
For all hotels, rooms, apartments, studios and villas in Kato Zakros - click here.
|Kato Zakros Hotels - Coral Rooms|
Enjoying a seafront location in Kato Zakros Beach, Coral offers a restaurant and free bikes. It features air-conditioned accommodation with Mediterranean Sea and mountain views. Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas. Fitted with stone details, all bright rooms at Coral open to a furnished balcony. Each comes with a mini fridge and a TV. Guests may start their day with a continental breakfast at Akrogiali restaurant, which is 50 metres away. Lunch and dinner options consisting of traditional fish dishes are served. Facilities include a 24-hour front desk. An array of activities can be enjoyed in the surroundings, including cycling, hiking and windsurfing. Free sun loungers and umbrellas are provided at the beach. The Minoan palace of Zakros is 150 metres away. The beach of Vai, popular for its palm tree forest, is at a distance of 35 km. Sitia Public Airport is 45 km away.
Check availabilities and prices & book Coral Rooms in Kato Zakros - click here.
|Kato Zakros Hotels - Athena Rooms|
Athena Rooms boasts a privileged location just 10 metres from the beach of Zakros and 200 metres from the Minoan Palace of Kato Zakros. Its traditionally furnished rooms enjoy views over the Libyan Sea and free Wi-Fi access. Featuring stone details and iron beds, the air-conditioned rooms at Athena come with a hair dryer, coffee maker, electric kettle and mini fridge. Some rooms also include a fireplace. Within only 30 metres, you will find a tavern where you can taste original Cretan dishes, while at 150 metres there is a cafe. The Gorge of the Dead can be reached just 500 metres away from Athena. Siteia Airport is at 43 km.
Check availabilities and prices & book Athena Rooms in Kato Zakros - click here.
|Kato Zakros Hotels - Katerina Apartments, very good reviews|
The family-run Katerina Apartments is perched on a green hill in Kato Zakros of Crete, within 500 metres from the beach. It offers self-catering units with free Wi-Fi and panoramic views over the Libyan Sea. Opening to a furnished balcony, the studios and apartments of Katerina are traditionally decorated with beamed ceilings and dark-wooden furnishings. Each air-conditioned unit features a seating area and a well-equipped kitchenette with dining area. A TV is also available. A breakfast, consisting of coffee, cake and jams, is provided upon arrival, while guests are also offered raki, wine or a beer. Taverns and mini markets can be found within a walking distance from the property. Katerina Apartments is located 44 km from the coastal Siteia Town and its port and 112 km from Agios Nikolaos. The Minoan Palace of Zakros is 500 metres away, while the famous palm beach of Vai is 30 km away. Free parking can be found on site.
Check availabilities and prices & book Katerina Apartments in Kato Zakros - click here.
|Kato Zakros Hotels - Kato Zakros Palace Apartments, very good reviews|
Kato Zakros Palace Apartments is located in Kato Zakros Village, 300 metres from the beach. It offers rooms and studios that enjoy panoramic views over the Minoan Palace, the Bay of Kato Zakros and the mountain. Free WiFi is available throughout. Opening to private verandas, the air-conditioned units come with a satellite TV. They also have a fridge and a bathroom with a shower cabin. Some also include a seating area and a kitchenette with a dining table. Various taverns and cafés can be found within 500 metres of Kato Zakros Palace Apartments. The town of Agios Nikolaos is 117 km away. Free private parking is possible on site.
Check availabilities and prices & book Kato Zakros Palace Apartments in Kato Zakros - click here.
|Kato Zakros Hotels - Ambeles Apartments|
Located in Kato Zakros Village, Ambeles Apartments offers studios and apartments that open to a terrace. It features a restaurant, while free WiFi is available in public areas. All units at the Ambeles will provide you with a TV and air conditioning. Some have a kitchenette with cooking hobs. Each bathroom comes with a shower. At Ambeles Apartments you will find a terrace. Other facilities like a laundry are offered. The property offers free parking. Sitia Airport is located 20 km from the property.
Check availabilities and prices & book Ambeles Apartments in Kato Zakros - click here.
|Kato Zakros Hotels - Terra Minoika Villas|
Constructed of local stone and wood, Terra Minoika Villas is located in Kato Zakros Village, just 40 metres from the beach. Its self-catered accommodation offers custom built furnishings, a sea-view balcony and free Wi-Fi. Combining modern and traditional décor, the air-conditioned studios include a seating and dining area, and a well-equipped kitchenette with electric oven, cooking hobs and fridge. A LED satellite TV, and hair dryer are standard. Some units include a hydromassage shower, fireplace and 2 balconies. Complimentary climbing equipment, maps and information on climbing excursions are provided to guests looking for adventure. A personal fitness trainer is also available upon request at no charge at the on-site gym. Terra Minoika Villas is a 1-hour drive away from the coastal town of Sitia. It is 25 km from the famous palm forest and beach of Vai. Heraklion International Airport is at a distance 160 km.
Check availabilities and prices & book Terra Minoika Villas in Kato Zakros - click here.
|Kato Zakros Hotels - Bay View|
Featuring a garden and sun terrace, Bay View offers rooms with a balcony overlooking the sea. It is located 4 km from the beach of Kato Zakros and is surrounded by a 20,000-m˛ farm. All air-conditioned rooms include a TV and a fridge. The bathroom comes with a shower and free toiletries. Bay View is 4 km from Zakros Gorge and 150 km from Heraklion International Airport. Free parking is available on site.
Check avaialbilities and prices & book Bay View in Kato Zakros - click here .
|Villa Kalliopi in Zakros - Villa with private pool - excellent reviews|
Located in Zakros of Lasithi, Villa Kalliopi is set amidst an olive grove and features a private pool with a furnished sun terrace. The two-bedroom villa offers free Wi-Fi access and includes a seating area with fireplace. Enjoying views over the pool, the garden and the mountain, the air-conditioned villa is elegantly decorated with wrought-iron beds and well-chosen decorative items. It features a fully-equipped kitchen with dining area, microwave and stove. A safe and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels are available. Guests will find taverns and mini markets at the centre of Zakros Village, within 3 km from Villa Kaliopi. Xerokampos is 5 km away and Kato Zakros is 10 km away. The seaside Sitia Town and its port are located 37 km away, while Agios Nikolaos is at 100 km. Free parking is possible on site.
Check availabilities and prices & book Villa Kalliopi in Zakros near Xerokampos - click here.
|Rent a room in Kato Zakros|
Like I said: sometimes it can be difficult to find a room in Kato Zakros, especially if you arrive at the end of the afternoon you could be disappointed (and especially in high season of course). Nikos from the Akrogiali Taverna can help you. He rents out the rooms called Poseidon and some others behind his taverna. In Poseidon not all the rooms have a private shower and toilet, but they are cheap and there is a large terrace in front of the building which makes up for this (does not exist anymore). The rooms behind the taverna do have private facilities and they are a bit more expensive. Most of the rooms are small. Whatever you are looking for you can ask Nikos, because he has good connections and he can maybe help you to find what you are looking for.
Tel. 0030 28430 26893 - Send an e-mail to Nikos / Akrogiali Rooms.