Tourist guide to the city of Iarapetra

Beautiful view of Ierapetra

Beautiful view of Ierapetra ©Visit Ierapetra | Crete/Flick

With a population of approximately 28,000 inhabitants, Ierapetra is the fourth largest city on the Island of Crete, located at about 100 km to the southeast from Heraklion and is part of the Lassithi Prefecture.

Ierapetra is the only city in the south of the island, famous for its agricultural products exported all over Europe, but also for its tourist attractions. Today we present a short tourist guide to the city of Iarapetra including some historical facts about the city, the most importabt tourist attractions and the beaches in the city and around it.


Brief history of the city

The history of the city starts in the Minoan period. In the third century, Iarapetra was known for piracy and after its conquest by the Arabs, rebecome a pirate base. During the Roman domination was one of the most important cities of the island. Over time, the city was conquered by the Romans, Arabs, the Venetians and Turks. In 1978, Napoleon I stopped at Ierapetra with his family on his way to Egypt, the house where he lived is still there today.

The architectural attractions of the city

Ierapetra is divided into the old town, called Kato Mera and the new town called Pano Mera. Kato Mera has medieval houses and narrow streets, tourists having part here of a typical Greek atmosphere. Another attraction of the city is the Fort of Kales, built by the Venetians in the 13th century and strengthened by Francesco Morosini in 1626 to protect the port. According to the local tradition, the construction of the fort is in relationship with the piracy, being conducted by the Genoese in 1212.

Beautiful view of Ierapetra

Beautiful view of Ierapetra ©Visit Ierapetra | Crete/Flick

Natural attractions around the city

At 12 km to the south of Ierapetra is the uninhabited Chrisi Island renowned for its white sandy beaches, dunes and forests of pine and juniper. In the surroundings of the the city you can see many wonders of nature, numerous canyons, mountains, as the Thryptis or the Dikti, waterfalls and forests, as the Selekano Forest, which is the largest in the island. Tourists can also find here many Minoan archaeological sites (Gournia, Episkopi, Vasiliki, Makry Gialos, Pyrgos) or ancient monasteries of the Byzantine period.

Gorge of Ha in Ierapetra

Gorge of Ha in Ierapetra ©Visit Ierapetra | Crete/Flick

Famous beaches of Iarapetra

In the city of Iarapetra and around it are 51 km of beaches, many awarded with the international “Blue Flag” which is given to cleanliness and service taking into account 27 criteria. Besides the beautiful sandy beaches you will also find charming beaches hidden in small gulfs, where you can relax alone or beaches where you can practice water sports: beach volleyball, diving, paintball and many others. Some of the most popular beaches preferred by those who choose stay in Ierapetra include the beaches at the east and west of Ierapetra, Koutsounari, Aghia Fotia, Farm, Myrtle Kakkos, Achla, Koutsouras, Kalamaki, Kavousi, Ammoudares, Pachia Ammos or Aghios Andreas. Close to beaches, the traditional Greek villages have a special atmosphere and picturesque landscape.

Southern Sunset in Ierapetra

Southern Sunset in Ierapetra ©storem/Flick

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