Archanes - A picturesque village between two mountains with a rich history

Feb. 21, 2022 | Greece

At a distance of 15 km from the capital Heraklion lies the picturesque village of Archanes. Travelling around the island by car, don't miss this wonderful place. It preserves the rich history and the archaeological heritage of Crete.

Archanes is located between the two peaks of Spafi and Psiloritis Mountains, which affects its beauty. The scenery, the old architecture and the access to the coastline make the village especially interesting to visit.

You can rent a car from the airport. It takes only 20 minutes along the scenic route.

What to do in Archanes

The settlement is divided into 2 parts: Kato Archanes (lower) and Epano Archanes (upper). The upper part is considered more modern. Here you walk through the atmospheric streets with neat, colorful houses, which are covered with grapes and flowers. Well-restored buildings and the participation of local people in the preservation of identity have helped save the cultural heritage of Archanes.   

There are also family vineyards where ancient varieties of grapes are grown. The local wine is quite famous even outside Crete. You can buy it as a souvenir, taste it in the winery and learn about the ancient past of the island.

In the village there are many historical monuments. One of them is located in the Turkish quarter of Turkogitonia - a Minoan palace, which was destroyed by an earthquake even before Christ. Excavations have unearthed parts of the premises, a theater, pottery, evidence of oil and wine production.

An important historical find is the ancient necropolis situated on the hill of Fourni. Here royal tombs with precious gifts were found. Many of the pieces can be viewed at the Archaeological Museum of Archanes (the rest are in Heraklion Museum).

Mount Yuhtas, which towers over the village from the west, is of archaeological and biological value to the population. The Minoans believed that Zeus was buried there, so they called it sacred.

Here was found Minoan sanctuary with interesting artifacts (BC) and the four-floor temple of Christ the Almighty (1443).

The mountain has a rich flora and fauna. A large number of plants and about 40 species of birds, many of which are in danger of extinction. In addition, from the top there is a beautiful view of the Archanes and the surrounding area. That is why you get great photos from here.

You can go up here on foot or by car. The distance from the village is 5 km.

Local food and cafes

In the village there are many cozy and atmospheric establishments, where you can have a good meal. We would like to highlight Bakaliko bistro store on the central square. Here you can not only have a good meal, but also buy olive oil, pasta, cheese, cold cuts, wine, rakija, etc. The dishes worth trying are grape leaves with bulgur, dzadziki with mint and lemon, and salads made with seasonal vegetables.

One of the best restaurants Kritamon offers an unusual combination of flavors from the best products from the local market. Try the green and spinach patties, smoked cheese and beef with mushrooms.

Alla Bregova