Villa Mimaze is located on an island with a long and varied history. Crete has played a major role in many important events in Greek history and this is reflected in the many sites of historical importance and the numerous monuments one can visit today. In very close proximity to our villa you can find many of them, such as the ones listed below.
Just a few miles away from the port of Elounda stands the historic island of Spinalonga. Located in the gulf of Elounda, this small island attracts, thanks to its long history and cultural heritage, a great number of visitors and can definitely be considered a “must-see” place in Crete.
It was used as a fortress in ancient times as well as by Venetians during the 16th century, who made extensive fortification works that still remain an impressive feature of the island. The seaward bastion-type fortress of Spinalonga is considered the most typical of this era. After the ottoman rule, the Greek state used it as a leper colony until 1957. Despite the difficulties and limitations, the residents managed to build their settlement and lead a dignified life into this tiny island, inspiring many writers and artists.
Today Spinalonga is a popular tourist attraction, easily accessible with tourist boats that depart from Elounda every 30 minutes. The trip takes just 10 minutes and after arriving you can tour the island and enjoy a refreshing swim at the beach.
ancient city of olous
Twentieth century excavations revealed the ruins of the ancient Olous. The now sunken town is considered an important archaeological site and one of the top places to visit in Elounda. The biggest part of the city remains underwater and can be explored by snorkelling or scuba diving. Some remnants are still visible on the land, such as the well-preserved mosaics of the Basilica of Olous. Archaeological research in the area is still ongoing and more secrets are about to come to the surface.
At a very short distance from the center of Elounda lies the coastal village of Plaka. This small, traditional village is a popular tourist attraction that leaves every traveller satisfied. It overlooks Spinalonga and is mostly known for Plaka beach, on the west side of the village. Pebbled, picturesque and with crystal clear waters , this small beach is probably the busiest spot in Plaka with many traditional taverns within walking distance. Apart from Elounda, Plaka is another place where you can catch a boat to Spinalonga.
Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos
Elounda, the place our villa is located in, is part of the municipality of Agios Nikolaos. Agios Nikolaos is a big coastal town in the Eastern Crete which is known as a very popular tourist destination that acts as a hub to the numerous villages of Lasithi Prefecture. One of the top attractions in the city is the Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos. Inaugurated in 1969 is considered a significant museum in Greece with a rich collection that covers a vast historical period, from Neolithic period to Roman times, and exhibits the most important archaeological finds from Lasithi.
One of the strongest city states in ancient Crete, Lato was built in a strategic location, between two peaks, and offered great defensive coverage for the entire area of Eastern Crete. The city was named after the Dorian pronunciation of the goddess ‘’Leto’’ and flourished during the classical period of ancient Greece. Lato is currently a visited archaeological site and is considered one of the best preserved cities of the Classical Age. The most important monuments of the town include: the fortified part of the city, the ‘’Agora’’ and the ‘’Prytaneion’’, a structure mostly used by prominent citizens. Ancient Lato is located 3km north of the village of Kritsa overlooking the gulf of Mirabello, and is definitely one of the top-rated attractions in Agios Nikolaos.
Sitting between two hills in the municipality of Agios Nikolaos, Ancient Driros is today an important archaeological site in Crete. The city flourished during the 8th century BC and continued to develop until the Hellenistic era. Archaeological excavations in the early 20th century revealed the remains of the ancient city with important monuments coming to light such as: the temple of Apollo Delphinios and the Eteocretan Inscriptions. Some of the findings were transferred and are now on display at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. The archaeological site is open to the public and can be accessed from Neapolis Lassithi.
Folk art museum of Agios Nikolaos
Since 1978 in the center of Agios Nikolaos a small but intriguing museum has emerged. This special museum offers its visitors an interesting glimpse into Crete’s history and is definitely worth visiting. Reflecting the rich folk culture of Crete, the museum has a unique collection that represents different aspects of Cretan history and tradition such as: embroidery, agricultural tools, household items, manuscripts as well as pieces from the Ottoman rule.
Archaeological Site of Knossos
Knossos was the most important city of the Ancient Minoan Civilisation and is currently one of the most famous archaeological sites in modern Greece. Located in modern-day Heraklion, Knossos attracts visitors from around the world and its most popular attraction is the world-renowned Minoan Palace. The Palace of Knossos is a great testament to Minoans technological development as well as a symbol of power and wealth. It was mostly used for administrative and religious activities and its most significant monuments are: the Great Palace, the Royal Villa and the House of the High Priest.
The archaeological site of Knossos is now one of the top tourist attractions in Heraklion Prefecture and can be visited throughout the year.
9 miles south of Crete, surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, an undiscovered gem is sitting.Chrissi island, that is named after its golden sand, belongs to the Ierapetra municipality and is sure to amaze every visitor with its natural beauty and breathtaking landscape. Nowadays Chrissi is a popular tourist attraction, best known for its beautiful tropical waters and the thousands of shells that cover the island’s beaches. It also hosts the biggest natural juniper forest in Europe and that’s why it is designated as a protected area of natural beauty.
If you want to visit Chrissi, you can take the boat from Ierapetra port that takes about 45 minutes to reach the island. The shallow waters of the island are also perfect for underwater activities, like snorkelling and diving.
Toplou Monastery is a historic monastery in the Lasithi prefecture. It is dedicated to Virgin Mary and was originally built in the 15th century. After some turbulent times, when it was plundered several times during the Ottoman rule, it is now substantially restored and open to the public. The monastery was heavily fortified with a 10m high wall that protected it from raids and it’s now the most prominent feature of the monastery’s architecture. It houses a significant number of icons as well as several objects of religious art, such as crosses, seals, evolutionary flags and many artifacts which reflect the role played by the monastery in the history of Crete.