Things to see and do when visiting Sitia

Things to Do in Sitia, Crete
While Sitia itself lacks the bevy of historic attractions you might find in other main centres on Crete, its laid-back charm and beautiful harbour make the days slide by. This guide will help you pick out which attractions you want to check off.

 

Relax on the Sitia Beach
Located right at the southeastern end of the harbour and malecón, Sitia Beach is a nice stretch of mostly soft sand with all the usual amenities (sunbeds, umbrellas, showers, water sports, volleyball court, lifeguards in summer). The water is relatively shallow, although wind is pretty common, making it popular with windsurfers.The beach is long enough to rarely feel crowded and the further you walk from the harbour the quieter it gets. At the far end you can even find some trees for (free) shade and places to park campervans.

Kazarma Fortress
One of the only remnants of Sitia’s heyday as an illustrious 13th century Venetian port, Kazarma Fortress has been destroyed and rebuilt time and time again by a wide range of hosts from Venetian and Ottomans to pirates and even earthquakes (not the rebuilding part, though, obviously).These days, a variety of cultural events and concerts are held there to enjoy the great harbour views, including the big summer Kornaria Festival.The name Kazarma comes from “Casa di Arma” (House of Arms) and it is the only remaining section of the original town walls, which the Venetians mostly destroyed before they left to prevent the Ottomans enjoying their defensive benefits.

 

Stroll the Waterfront Promenade

The fantastic Sitia malecón runs the length of the harbour and is backed by the main centre of town. It is a pleasant place to stroll, lined with palm trees and excellent tavernas and cafés.The bustling harbour is filled with traditional fishing boats and the entire waterfront gives off a vibrant air, serving as the centre of daily life.

 

Traditional Crete food in Sitia restaurant

In addition to the obvious seafood choices, Sitia is also known for a few other specialties, including the local raki, called “tsikoudia”. There are several local dishes worth checking out, including koulourakia (sourdough buns), omaties (pork chitterlings stuffed with rice, liver, sultanas and spices), xygalo (creamy cheese), xerotigana (spiral fritters with honey), loukoumades (doughnuts with honey), kalitsounakia (sweet cheese pastries) and Sitian sweet cakes.

 

Roman fish tanks
Located in the northwestern section of the harbour, these Roman fish tanks provide a little added scenery, and some nice photos ops on calm days and, of course, fish.

 

Wander the Streets
The oldest area of town is located directly behind the malecón and this mazy, steep jumble of narrow streets leading up the hill is perfect for aimless wandering.Although the streets resemble those in popular old towns throughout Greece, instead of tourist crowds these ones are filled mainly with local Sitians just going about their everyday life.Make sure to check out the “piano stairs”, just up from the Roman fish tanks.

 

Witness the Volta
If you happen to be staying in Sitia on a Sunday night, be sure to head down to the promenade to see the Volta, an informal parade of locals dressed in their best clothes out for night of drinks, meals and socializing.

 

See the Folklore Museum
This small museum in the centre of the Sitia old town was opened in 1975 in a classic old home. Its collection of traditional costumes, embroidery, weaving, textiles, carvings and photos mostly date back to the late 19th and early 20th century.

 

Visit the Archeological Museum of Sitia
The Archaeological Museum of Sitia boasts a surprisingly varied collection of ancient artifacts from the region. There are displays and items from Greco-Roman times, the island of Mochlos dating back to the Bronze Age, a large Minoan collection from Zakros, a famous statue excavated in Paleokastro and fascinating pottery from the Geometric Period (900-700 BC).

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