In the south-east of Crete, a small village now known as Myrtos (Mirtos) is a true hidden gem of the island. This picturesque village’s easy-going atmosphere is the stuff of legend, on an island known for the term “siga-siga” (slowly-slowly). Inhabited since before early Minoan times, Myrtos is an experience not to be missed.
Going South On Crete
Situated 13km west of Ierapetra, at the output of a wide valley filled with greenhouses and citrus groves, Myrtos is rich for many reasons. Situated at the end of the imposing Sarakina Gorge created by the River Kryos, the seaside town has only seen mild development compared to similar Crete destinations.
Famous for its wonderful beaches, of course, gray sand, the village has anything the adventurous tourist could want. Here you’ll find several small hotels, bars, cafes, restaurants, supermarkets, a gas station, a clinic, a pharmacy, and more.
Things to See and Do
Myrtos has not one, but two Minoan archaeological sites, at Fournou Korifi and Pyrgos, but the location has been populated since Neolithic times. Visitors will also find a Roman villa, a small museum, and an unbelievable natural landscape.
Myrtos’ beach is among the finest in all southern Crete. The winds off the Libyan Sea are not nearly as strong here as in other places, and the imposing cliffs that flank the beaches imbue the place with a sense of awe and calmness. This is a superb place for family vacations since the beaches are well organized with lifeguards, umbrellas, showers, changing rooms, cafes, restaurants, water sports, beach volley, and much more.
More Myrtos Info
Myrtos had some tragic moments in history, most notably during the Nazi occupation of the island in World War 2. There’s a monument with the names of 18 victims, who were executed by the Nazis in 1943 in retaliation for the deaths of two Germans in the nearby village of Symi. The town was also leveled, so most of what visitors see in the village is from the latter part of the 20th century.
Tourism to the village only began more recently. Beginning back in the 1970s. the village and beaches became especially popular amongst hippies, but later also ‘regular’ tourists started to visit the village. Since the 1980s, apartment complexes have been built in Myrtos, but tourism in Myrtos is still relatively small-scale and nowhere near as developed as the tourist centers which are found on the North coast of Crete.
Places to Stay
Myrtos has many great accommodations for travelers no matter what their disposition. The quaint hotels and villas in the area cover the spectrum from budget stays to unique and exclusive digs. Economical hotels include Hotel Mirtos, Hotel Esperides (Less than €40 high season), and Sarikampos Beach. There’s Sussana’s Pension for the budgets, and a wide array of choices via Airbnb. The Crete Authentique villa in the mountains overlooking Myrtos is an amazing immersion into the Cretan lifestyle.
To learn more about Myrtos Village we recommend readers visit the community’s official website here.