Myrtos or Mirtos is:
- one of the jewels of Crete, seaside Cretan village in southeast Crete, near Ierapetra in Lassithi Prefecture. The Village has a population of around 600. Most of the local inhabitants are farmers, a fact immediately obvious from the many greenhouses in the area.
- a village with rooms for rent, small hotels, restaurants, tavernas, café-bars, supermarkets, a bakery, butchers, shops, a pharmacy and a cashpoint. Banks are not in the village, but Ierapetra is nearby (15 km) and has everything. You can reach Ierapetra by car, or there is a bus every two hours.
- boasts one of the best beaches in the area, with ash-grey sand and clear water, just the place to dive in and enjoy the blue sea. The main beach is right in front of the Myrtos tavernas and cafés, and stretches west, where it broadens out. Continuing even further west, you will find beaches where you can camp. There is also a magnificent beach at Tertsa village (5 km away) with some tavernas.
- a special part of Crete. In few other places you will see so many colours: blue doors and shutters, white house walls, bright red tomatoes hanging on the trees to preserve them until they are eaten (a particular feature of Myrtos), the green mulberry trees in the streets and the bright displays of flowers and plants in the gardens.
- a quiet place where you will have a good time as long as you’re not interested in a hectic nightlife. You can spend your days on the beach, drink your coffee gazing out at the sea, read a book and stroll round the area. In the evenings you can enjoy your food and wine in one of the little tavernas on the seafront or in the village alleyways.
- like a voyage back in time. As you enter the tiny seaside village you will be charmed by picture-postcard images. The little village of Myrtos spreads out alongside the sea, blending sweetly into the landscape.
Weather in winter
In summer Myrtos is bustling with life, dominated by the sea and tourists, whereas the winter days, calm and peaceful, with the village returning to farming work. The daily temperatures in winter of Myrtos in what is classed as really winter during the period middle of January until the end of February rarely falls below 16-18 degrees in the daytime. In the evenings the temperature can drop to about 12 degrees. November, December and March you can expect temperatures of 20 a 22 degrees. Of course there are some days with rain, this is mainly heavy showers for a short period of time, but most regularly you enjoy the sun. Myrtos is one of the few places in the Mediterranean where swallows spend the winter. Some of the restaurants, cafes and terraces are open the whole year long. In the nearby city of Ierapetra there are more supplies and the market on Saturday morning can be visited in wintertime too. There are a lot of trips that can be made in the surrounding areas of Myrtos. Also for walking long distances it’s the perfect time.
The history of Myrtos, too, is lost in the mists of time. The archaeologists who have excavated and studied the area tell us that Myrtos was first inhabited in the Early Minoan period (c. 2800-2000 BC).
Two important Minoan settlements have come to light near Myrtos: Fournou Korifi, one of the oldest settlements in Crete (2800-2200 BC), and Pirgos, which flourished a little later (2200-1450 BC).
Pirgos is just at the east end of Myrtos, on a low hill accessible by an easy path.
Fournou Korifi is 3.5 km to the east but the archaeological site is closed to the public.
On September 15, 1944, during the Second World War, the occupants of Myrtos were ordered by the German occupiers to leave the village. Many refused to do so, resulting in the executing of eighteen inhabitants as a reprisal, and the almost complete destruction of the village by fire. In the village of Myrtos there is a monument and commemorate every year on September 15.
Near this monument, every year on October 28, Ohi Day is commemorated.
Tourism started at the beginning of 1970. Initially Myrtos was especially popular amongst hippies, but later also ‘regular’ tourists started to visit the village. Since 1980 apartments have been built in Myrtos, still until now tourism in Myrtos is relatively small-scale and not comparable with the north cost of Crete.
What to do in and around Myrtos?
Walk around the narrow streets of Myrtos. Among the houses which are whitewashed each year shortly before Easter, to be dazzling on the great feast-day. Admire the pretty gardens scented with colourful flowers and herbs planted in pots, big clay jars and even olive oil cans.
Don’t forget to go into the village kafenio (café), the local meeting-place where the inhabitants of Myrtos gather for endless conversations, card games or backgammon, and try a Greek coffee skilfully prepared in the traditional way.
Visit the little church of Agios Antonios (St Antony), now restored, and the old school next to it, which houses the Myrtos museum, with Minoan finds and local folk art and implements.
Visit the Minoan settlement of Pirgos nearby. You won’t need your car as the footpath starts next to the river, at the Ierapetra end of the village. The path is easy and it’ll take you about half an hour to climb up to the top of the hill with the ruined Minoan houses. From here you can gaze out over the sea and look down on Myrtos. It’s best to do this in the cool of the day, in the afternoon or early morning, to avoid the blazing summer sun.
Mirtos Hiking Village
Walking in the surroundings of Mirtos in South Crete, this means to enjoy nature, silence and great outdoors. “Surprising!” … “What a silence!”… “What an unexpected variety!” These are only some of the comments from our guests after walking in our region. There is a rich variety of plants, herbs and birds, even birds of prey. The views to the mountains and the sea or the visit of a picturesque mountain village will stay in your memory. The impressive Sarakina gorge in the hills behind Myrtos is worth an adventure. For more information please visit Mirtos Hiking Village.
Crete gorges are the magnificent monuments of nature and will give a flavor of the beauty of Crete. One of the most famous places to see on Crete is the Samaria Gorge, Europe’s largest gorge. This National Park is 18 km long with unbelievable natural beauty. The gorge is in southwest Crete in the regional unit of Chania. The options for hiking in the island are countless, also in the surrounding of Myrtos. Such as the Sarakina Gorge, the waterfall of Milonas, Koutsouras Gorge, Pervolakia Gorge, Richti Gorge.
Go for a drive to Ierapetra and take the boat to the island of Chrissi with its junipers and tropical beaches with pink sand.
Even if you don’t manage to visit Chrissi, it’s worth spending a few hours in Ierapetra. Ierapetra is a small modern town with a long history, a nice beach, small seaside tavernas, the Venetian fortress of Kales, the mosque and its own archaeological museum.
Take your car up to the villages of South Dikti mountain, such as Pefkos and Simi (or Symi), set in one of the last pine forests on Crete. Or Mithi, Males and Selakano which you can see from Myrtos.
And at least visit the village Kalami. Kalami is almost deserted, because the Government ordered the inhabitants of the village to leave as soon as possible, because of the construction of a dam which ultimately never was built.
Other sightseeing’s accessible from Myrtos will be: Lassithi Platea, Agios Nikolaos, Watercity, Knossos, Phaistos, Matala, Gournia, Spinalonga, Mochlos, Agia Fotia and Kato Zakro.
Explore more about the beach Mirtos, Lassithi beaches and other places such like monasterys, churches at the website of travel guide for Island Crete.
“Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind”.
(1.2 The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali)
Join the incredible magic of a yoga class. Nathalie Gesche shares her yoga practice in Tertsa and Ierapetra for all levels and ages. She offers daily classes, private lessons and workshops.
Tertsa yoga is 5 km away from Myrtos, along the seaside.
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