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Gouves (Iraklio) - Sitia - Toplou Monastery - Vai - Istro - Agios Nikolaos

Trip Details

Date: Sun, 17/08/2003
Distance: 293 km
Motorcyclists: Manolis, Sakis, Panos
Photographers: Manolis
Authors: Manolis
Translators: Sakis
Map: Trip map
Photographs: Link

Sightseeing map

This destination was the longest that we actualized as long we were on the island. We followed east course, from the northern side of the island, until Vai.
We started from Gouves, with destination Vai, as we wanted to swim there. Despite the fact that it wasn’t far (about 140km.), the road wasn’t good, as after Agios Nikolaos the national road stopped  and the road was becoming narrow, uphill and with many turns. The roadway was bad.
First stop in Sitia. Sitia is one of the most beautiful cities of Crete. Constructed amphitheatrically at the gulf of Didimos, offers at the visitor an astonishing view. Its beautiful beach with the peaceful and clear water fascinates and challenges everyone that was passing, a fact, which didn’t leave us untouched!
As we left Sitia, we followed the way to Toplou monastery, which was our second stop. The monastery appears from far away as a high tower full of memories. It was built from limestone and has square fort figure. The monastery is known and with the name “Madonna Acrotiriani”, because is found near the cape Sidero. Toplou took its name the period of Turkish domination. It worth visit!
We left behind the monastery and moved to the eastern point of Crete, we were found at the crossway of Vai (5,5km.). We followed the way left. Two kilometers further down there is another crossway. The road to the right leads at the Palm forest. Palm trees all over fascinate the eye and make the short route more pleasant until we reach Vai, the only big palm forest of Europe! Next to a clear sea, these tropical trees give a spectacular view. The tradition says that Arab soldiers that came to Vai, ate dates and from the cores that throw at the area, the palm trees grow. After we enjoyed the view, drank our coffee, took the road to Agios Nikolaos.
At the route near the village of Istros, from the road, we saw a fabulous gulf and an amazing beach. We didn’t resist at the temptation and stopped for a swim… of course we were right, as when we finally reached the beach, realized that it was magic!!!
Last stop before returning to Gouves was Agios Nikolaos. It consists, maybe, the most beautiful and pictorial city of Crete. We sat at the port and enjoyed the view as the sun set… fabulous view! Agios Nikolaos may not be the most tourist resort,  as regards with the other big cities of the island, but for us was the most beautiful… it is all about taste! After we enjoyed our coffee, we took the road back, while it was getting dark…