Sitia, Crete - the easternmost port town of Europe
The town is one of the economic centers of the Lasithi region. European route E75, which ends in Vardo, starts in Sitia. Sitia also hosts the island's third airport, a new airport for domestic flights which became operational in the summer of 2005.
The earliest settlement of the town dates back to Minoan times; excavations in the neighboring site of Petras have unearthed architectural remains that date back to the end of the Neolithic period 3000 BC and continue throughout the Bronze Age 3000-1050 BC.
According to Diogenes Laertius, Sitia was the home of Myson of Chen, one of the Seven Sages of Greece.
The town was later expanded and fortified by the Venetians who used it as a base of operations for the Eastern Mediterranean. During the Venetian occupation, the town was destroyed three times: by an earthquake in 1508, by a pirate attack in 1538 and finally by the Venetians themselves in 1651 so as not to fall into the hands of the Turks.
After the Venetians moved out of Crete, the town was abandoned for two centuries until it was resettled by farmers in 1869. The main remnant of the Venetian occupation is the Kazarma (from Italian casa di arma), the old fortress overlooking the harbor.
Sitia has so far been spared the blessings of mass tourism; even though there is a long and beautiful beach along the road leading to the palm beach of Vai and several places of historical interest, the town is visited by few tourists and has largely kept its genuine Mediterranean flair.
How to get there:
By plane: There are flights from Athens to Sitia 4 times a week (Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday).
By ferry: There are ferries from Piraeus twice a week (Tuesday and Saturday).
By Car/Bus: Taking the National road from Agios Nikolaos to Sitia takes 60-90 minutes and from Heraklion to Sitia 2.5 to 3 hours.