Touring the Heraklion Prefecture
You are in luck if you'd like to get out of Heraklion (realistically you need a car, taxi or motorized wheels if you only have a day). Some very good and interesting places are nearby.
Achlada is filled with old buildings and ruins, but there are also wonderfully restored houses, two delightful small Kafeneions in the old centre and two at the roadside by the main church above the village.The views are magnificent.
On the way up to Achlada from the National Road be sure to look out for the sign to the Old Fountain, a great place to sit and admire the views over the Aghia Pelagia peninsula and beyond to Dia island.
The old fountain, well-worn and carved with insignia and dates, still springs fresh water. (25 minutes drive)
Karteros is a few km from the airport on the Old national road, east of Heraklion, you pass a BP petrol station selling large earthenware pots and if you look carefully a right turn is sign-posted (bearing the British Horse Society logo) to the Riding centre of Crete.
Here you can enjoy horse or pony rides, a horse and wagon tour along the nearby canyon and, at certain times, wonderful traditional Cretan meals - food is cooked in a traditional oven. Also, at certain times you will see Raki or Tsikoudia being made, which is the Cretan equivalent of Grappa.
Zaros is a picturesque village located at the southern slope of Mount Idi (Psiloritis) and some 50 km from Heraklion.
It has a beautiful, small lake and a breathtaking view to Psiloritis. There are quite a few traditional workshops of weaving, painting (icons), and musical instruments. The name Zaros is considered to be prehellenic, and means the abundant water flow.
It is clearly indicative of an age old history which is further verified by the Minoan findings in the Kourtes area, as well as the remnants of the Roman aqua ducts from which ancient Gortys got its water supply.
The visitor to Zaros has the opportunity to admire the wonderful mountainous landscape, the numerous monasteries and churches of the area, the traditional architectural style of the old houses and the small lake of Votomos.
For more extensive touring around the Heraklion prefecture, we have prepared three longer tours: