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THE AREA AROUND THE VILLAGE OF MILATOS ON THE ISLAND OF CRETE
Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete
Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete

Sisi is a small and very attractive village on the north coast of Crete between Heraklion (40 km) and Agios Nikolaos (25 km), just a little of the main road. To reach it you have to drive over a curvy road through the olive groves and the nature. The port of Sisi is charming and long stretched, and it looks like there is a river running through it. From here several boat excursions are organized (with small boats) to beaches and villages in the surrounding of Sisi. Around this small "river" there are several tavernas where you can have a great meal and have a wonderful view at the same time. Downstairs at the tavernas you can feed the leftover bread from your meal directly to the many ducks that are swimming here.

Compared to Chersonissos and the less charming (in my point of view, sorry...) village of Malia, Sisi is a little gem, which is surprisingly still in sort of an original state, with no enormous buildings, McDonalds, giant hotels, or ugly promenades, like in the other two villages I mentioned. It's reasonably quiet, and it's pleasant to walk over the boulevard with its terraces and restaurants or through the backstreets with all kinds of shops, including a bakery, a special shop for plants and seeds (you can for instance buy young courgette or tomato seedlings here) and a couple of supermarkets. You can have a drink in the harbour and look at the sea, or explore the surroundings.

There's a path along the coast from Sisi to the nearby village of Milatos that will lead you to three other beaches that are better than the beaches you can find in Sisi itself. It might seen like a shame that there is a lack of good beaches inside the village of Sisi itself, but I see it as a blessing in disguise, because if there would have been an awesome sandy beach here I am sure Sisi would not be what it is today and would be like Malia and Chersonissos instead. I am happy that it is not. Besides this Sisi has all the modern amenities like a bank, cash-machines and several car rentals. In the street behind the boulevard a new and very large new church has just been buillt. What tiny village could do without it?

Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete
Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete

Agios Nikolaos: some people like it and some people don't, like with most places. And although Agios Nikolaos is rather a big place compared to other villages on Crete (it has close to 20.000 inhabitants, and many more if you count the tourists that are visiting), I, as a person that likes the peaceful and quiet spots, still think this place is okay. For me that means that it's a nice place to visit and look around for an afternoon. The landscape and it's position are unique: surrounded by the blue water of the Mirabello Gulf, with the islands of San Antonio and Spinalonga in front of it. It has a long promenade, a beautiful lake, nice shops (a cristal shop I found was really amazing), plenty of taverns and hotels.

Agios Nikolaos has become a very populair tourist desination, so it can become crowded. On a hill at San Nicolo Bay, where the Venetian ships made their stops, you can find the well preserved Agios Nicolaos Church that dates from the 10th century (next to Hotel Minos Palace - supposedly with special, bright and beautiful fresco's of saints, but it was closed when we were there). The town of Agios Nikolaos got its name from this little church. Here the Venetians had their fortress Mirabello. Now this has been covered with hotels. The seaside of Agios Nikolaos was covered by the fortress island of Spinalonga. Agios Nikolaos is the capital of the nomos Lassithi. Most life you will find around the Voulismeni Lake and the harbour. The former sweetwater lake was connected to the sea by a canal between 1867 and 1871 (the main reason being that the water in the lake was pretty smelly). It was said to be bottomless, but in fact it is around 60 meters deep.

Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete
Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete Sisi and Epano Sisi, Crete

Agios Nikolaos is a very nice town for making walks along the very long promenade with interesting shops, while in the meanwhile have a look over te sea and the island in front of the town. There are nice shopping streets with something for everybody (gold, furs, clothes, spices, precious stones, special sponge shops, the usual tourist shops). Many people just like to wonder around and make a stop every now and then to have a coffee or a drink on one of the many terraces. Popular are also the day trips the the nearby island of Spinalonga with its Venetian fortress and the trip with the aquarium boat, which has a glass bottom so you can see the sealife.


Hans Huisman, http://www.angelfire.com/super2/greece/ 2013