Anissaras is a small resort 20 km from Heraklion Airport, specializing in family holidays with children. There are no noisy discos and night parties. For youth leisure, Hersonissos, located a kilometer from the center of the village, is more suitable. There life is in full swing 24 hours a day. In Anissaras, people and nature awaken with the dawn of the sun. Tourists try not to miss any of its rays. Most of the time they spend on the beaches. A feature of the resort is the complete absence of private beach areas. Hotels do not have their own fenced areas. Even near the fashionable hotel complexes, the coastline belongs to the municipality. This means that the entrance to all beaches is free. You will have to pay for a chaise longue, an umbrella and other equipment necessary for recreation.
Hotels of the village are ready to receive guests on the highest class of comfort. The resort can be reached by buses departing from Heraklion Bus Station, a taxi or a car rented at the airport. The latter option is the most preferable, as in Crete public transport runs on schedule, sometimes only twice a day. Travelers who want to wander through the ancient sights of the Minoan period will be uncomfortable getting to some of them with transfers. In the village you can order the services of a guide or make an independent route, using the description of objects and the navigator.
- 1 St. George’s Church
- 2 Dia Island with a small cave for diving
- 3 Zoodochos Pigi Temple
- 4 Piskopiano Museum
- 5 Lychnostatis Museum
- 6 Palace of Knossos
- 7 Dinosaur Park
- 8 Aquaworld Aquarium
- 9 Labyrinth Park
- 10 WaterCity Water Park
- 11 Acqua Plus Water Park
- 12 Aposelemis Canyon Trekking
- 13 Samaria Gorge
- 14 Lassithi Valley
St. George’s Church
Almost all excursions in Anissaras begin with a visit to the Church of St. George. This tiny snow-white temple is located on the very edge of the cape opposite the island of Dia with a cave. From here opens an amazing view, which has long been appreciated by the newlyweds for their wedding photos. Hersonissos and the sea bay are clearly visible. At the foot of the hill on which the church is built, there is a small bay. It is always clean and clear water. If you are tired of endless waves, ebbs and tides, then after sightseeing, you can swim in calm water. There is always windless weather, so everything around is peaceful, calm and grace. Nearby are the hotels“Aldemar Knossos Royal”,working on the system “All inclusive” and“Mitsis Laguna Resort & Spa”,which has the highest rating according to the travel portal tripadvisor. St. George’s Church is not a functioning church.
Address: Anissaras village, Crete periphery, Greece
Dia Island with a small cave for diving
In the north-west of the village, in the sea is the island of Dia, resembling the outlines of a large animal floating on the water. Archaeological excavations of an ancient settlement of the Minoan period are being conducted on the island, but tourists are not allowed there. The main attraction is a small cave that attracts diving enthusiasts. Here you can swim with a mask, snorkel, scuba diving, photograph the underwater world. No one lives on the island, and this is its main charm. In order to get to the island, it is best to hire a fishing boat. Local residents are very friendly to the guests of the village, and help them as soon as possible to settle in the resort.
Address: Anissaras village, Crete periphery, Greece
Zoodochos Pigi Temple
You can get acquainted with Byzantine religious traditions in the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary “Life-giving Spring”. Its foundation dates back to the 15th century, but the modern building appeared much later. The idea of building a new church on the site of the ancient temple of the Virgin Mary belongs to three monks Gervasios, Serapionas and Averkios. They began to implement the tasks in the 18th century. For two centuries, the building has repeatedly suffered from fires, during the liberation war (1922) it was allowed almost to the ground. Funds for the restoration were found only in 1935. Of the ancient paintings, only one is well preserved – the face of the man Alexei of God. Restorers came to the conclusion that the temple at one time was painted by the Constantinople artist. A bell tower was attached to the temple. On the National Highway from Heraklion to Rethymno there is a sign towards the location of the church. It is the largest domed temple of Crete, it is crowned with three domes at once. Visiting hours – in the morning until 12.00, in the evening from 17.00 to 19.00.
Address: Marias Chatzikiriakou 14-16, Pireas 185 38, Greece
The mountain village of Piskopiano is famous for its agricultural museum. It belongs to the National Historical Museum located in Heraklion. The exposition is located in an old mill where olive oil was produced. The building was provided by the family of Menelaus Parlamas, it once housed their family factory. The collection was assembled throughout Crete. In 1988, the museum opened to visitors. The exposition consists of three parts. The first exhibition hall is decorated in the form of a traditional Cretan winery. Here are exhibited agricultural tools, which were used to process vineyards and harvest crops. One of the exhibits is an old distillation machine for the production of grape vodka raki. The second hall is dedicated to the main village crafts – blacksmiths, potters, carpenters. The exposition is located in the former press shop. The third hall is dedicated to Cretan textiles. Particular attention is paid to the national embroidery, samples of which were collected in all Cretan villages.
Official site: https://www.historical-museum.gr/
Address: Piskopiano village, Crete periphery, Greece
In the neighboring town of Hersonsissos, which is located a kilometer from Anissaras, one of the most unique open-air museums Liknostatis is open. It is conceived as an ancient Cretan city. On its territory there are traditional dwellings of farmers and representatives of the middle class of citizens, a chapel, a mill, presses for the manufacture of olive oil and wine production, a gumno and shepherd’s shelter, a ceramic workshop and a weaving shop, an apiary and craft workshops. Visitors can stroll through the garden with Cretan fruit trees, grass glades, see an exhibition of stones and minerals, a collected herbarium of local plants. An amphitheatre is available on site, where various events are held. The art gallery exhibits paintings by Cretan artists. The service includes a café, library, souvenir shop, organization of events, Wi-Fi. At the entrance, visitors can take a tablet with an audio guide at the checkout. The museum is open every day, except Saturday, from 9.00 to 14.00. An adult ticket costs 6 euros, an audio guide of 2 euros, students and children have discounts.
Official site: http://www.lychnostatis.gr/
Address: Hersonsissos, Crete, Greece
Palace of Knossos
Moving closer to Heraklion, tourists are sure to visit the ancient city of Knossos, on the territory of which there is a unique monument of the Minoan era – the Palace of Knossos or the Labyrinth of the Minotaur. The attraction is striking in its size. The area of construction is 22 thousand square meters. m Each site had its own purpose. For example, from the northern entrance the road to the port began, the whole part of the palace performed trading functions, here they sold, bought, exchanged goods. In the western courtyard there are places for religious rites and cults. Here is a monument to Arthur Evans, who began excavations and proved to the entire scientific world, the Palace of Knossos is not a myth or fiction, but a really existing historical object.
official site: https://www.welcome-greece.gr/the-palace-of-knossos/
Address: Knossos village, Crete periphery, Greece
Robotic huge reptiles will delight visitors in Dino Park. It is arranged in the form of a prehistoric village and presents about 60 models of archaeosaurs extinct in the Cretaceous-Paleogene period. Excursions give special pleasure to young visitors. Here they will be shown how the baby dinosaur hatches from the egg, arrange an exciting quest through the jungle of the Jurassic period, and let them play virtual games. The park covers an area of 16 thousand square meters. meters. It’s all buried in greenery. 5D and 7D cinemas have been built on the territory, where you can watch stunning films with their realism.
Official site: https://www.dinosauriapark.com/index.php
Address: Gournes, Heraklion, Crete
Exotic aquarium-terrarium is located in Hersonissos. The institution positions itself as a center for the rescue of reptiles and other representatives of the animal world. Any amphibian or reptile can be taken for a while to take care of it at home. Any of the visitors can become such a kind of sponsor. Also near the entrance there are vases for donations. At the same time, the entrance ticket costs 6 euros, regardless of age. The exposition consists of 20 closed aquariums with fish, octopuses, cuttlefish and one open with a turtle. Lizards, iguanas, chameleons live in glass terrariums. The institution is open every day, except Sunday, from 10.00 to 17.00. The ticket office closes at 4:15 p.m.
Official site: https://aquaworld-crete.com/
Address: Filikis Etairias 7, Limenas Hersonissou, Crete 700 14, GREECE
In Hersonissos there is a unique amusement park “Labyrinth”. This is a favorite vacation spot for children and their parents. The concept is based on the myths of the Minotaur, Theseus, Ariadne and the famous labyrinth of Knossos. The park covers an area of 1.3 square kilometers. In addition to exciting quests and interactive tours, here you can visit a riding club, a small farm with a petting zoo, a pottery workshop, a field for a minigolf, an orchard. For visitors there is a Minoan café with a large selection of drinks, sandwiches and ice cream. The park is open seasonally, starting from May 15.
Official site: http://www.labyrinthpark.gr/gr
Address: 4th km of Hersonissos-Kastelli road, Ano Hersonissos district, Crete, Greece
WaterCity Water Park
Near the village of Anopolis is an entertainment area “Water City”. It is the largest water park in Crete. It covers an area of 8 hectares, on which a variety of water attractions, swimming pools, recreation areas, several cafes are installed. The complex works seasonally. It opens in May and welcomes visitors until October. The territory is decorated in ancient Greek style. Slides are divided according to the level of difficulty. The most extreme attraction is sidewinder-Boomerango. For lovers of flying there is a “bungee”. In addition to the “lazy” river, there is also a “crazy river”, on which visitors descend on rafts, now and then getting into whirlumbers and jumping rapids. Nearby are hotels «Holiday Home Kokkini Hani – HER02102h-OYC», «Golden Bay Boutique Hotel & Bungalows». They can relax or stay overnight.
Official site: https://www.watercity.gr/en/index.php
Address: Water City Waterpark, Anopolis, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Acqua Plus Water Park
Another water entertainment area is located in Hersonissos. It is smaller and simpler, but also very popular. The water park was opened more than 20 years ago next to the golf course. It is distinguished by special comfort and amenities for relaxation. Attractions are constantly updated. The territory is conditionally divided into active and children’s zones. The water park is called the “Garden of Eden” because of the location of the pools and the lounge on a hill. It offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. The highlight is the garden of exotic plants, a lot of greenery and well-groomed. For thrill seekers there are extreme slides, and swimmers will be pleased with a real Olympic pool.
Official site: https://www.acquaplus.gr/
Address: 5th km of Hersonissos to Kasteli, 71200, Hersonissos, Crete, Greece
Aposelemis Canyon Trekking
Anissaras travel agencies offer several types of outdoor activities. One of them is an extreme hike in the canyon Aposelemis. The property is 4 km away. You can go with a group, a guide or on your own. Locals warn that the route is not the easiest. There are no laid safe paths, the path will pass along mountain trails and stones. The reward will be magnificent panoramas opening from the height of the peaks. The territory is not landscaped. There are no cafes, benches and comfortable places to relax. Going on a hike, you need to take care of comfortable shoes, drinking water and sandwiches for a snack. Snakes may encounter along the way. The length of the canyon is 6 km.
Address: 4 km from Anissaras village, Crete, Greece
Unlike the Aposelemis Canyon, the Samaria Gorge is one of the main tourist routes of Crete. In 1962, this area received the status of a National Park. The length of the gorge is about 13 km, the reserve itself covers an area of 4850 hectares. The entrance is located at an altitude of 1250 meters above sea level. Tourists gradually descend to the bottom of the gorge along mountain trails and stone steps. For a physically unprepared person, such a walk for 3-4 hours will become tiring. Before the trip, you need to calculate your strength.
Official site: https://www.samaria.gr/
Address: Agioi Apostoloy, opposite Lidl supermarket, Chania, Crete, Greece 73100
The picturesque plateau of Lassithi is located on the road to the cave of Zeus. The local climate is significantly different from other areas of Crete. In winter it is cold, and in summer there is no swelting heat. Exotic plants do not grow, but apple orchards are bred everywhere. The valley is located at an altitude of 900 m above sea level. Judging by the archaeological data, this area began to be inhabited in the Neolithic era. The plateau has its own heroic history. It was always difficult to get here, and the local population resisted all the occupiers. Therefore, during the reign of the Venetians, numerous partisan detachments made sabotage sorties from here. Attractions of the valley are unusual windmills, the cave of Zeus. There are 18 villages on site, each of which guests will be happy to see in traditional Cretan taverns.
For travelers coming to rest in this part of Crete, it will be interesting to know that the hotels in the village of Anissaras are the cheapest along the coast. At the same time, they are in no way inferior in comfort and hospitality to their 5-star counterparts.