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Kato Zakros - 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 taverna's, and even in low season rooms are scarse. 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.
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 Archeological Museum in Heraklion. The palace 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 cypres 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 burry 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 lenght 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.