"..to circle the globe, observing
new lands, seas, people, and ideas
with insatiable appetite,
to see everything for the first time
and for the last time.."

N. Kazantzakis

"..to circle the globe, observing
new lands, seas, people, and ideas
with insatiable appetite,
to see everything for the first time
and for the last time.."

N. Kazantzakis

"..to circle the globe, observing
new lands, seas, people, and ideas
with insatiable appetite,
to see everything for the first time
and for the last time.."

N. Kazantzakis

"..to circle the globe, observing
new lands, seas, people, and ideas
with insatiable appetite,
to see everything for the first time
and for the last time.."

N. Kazantzakis

"..to circle the globe, observing
new lands, seas, people, and ideas
with insatiable appetite,
to see everything for the first time
and for the last time.."

N. Kazantzakis



In the Archanes - Asterousia Municipality
Customer Testimonails


A Municipality with an exceptionally versatile landscape, thanks to the two mountain masses, namely, Mt. Juktas and the Asterousia Mountain Range, and the fertile plain of Mesara, the seat of great cultures since antiquity, as well as the hills, torrent beds and gorges that carve through the landscape, forming ideal habitats for rare fauna and flora species.


The beauty of the nature and fertile land of the Municipality of Archanes-Asterousia have attracted people since ancient times. Looking at the area from above one can fully understand why the ancestors of current residents chose this land to create significant cultural centres and places of worship. Endless fields for farming, high mountains appropriate for grazing and rich waters have offered a perfect combination for the development of great civilizations throughout all historical periods.

The Municipality of Archanes-Asterousia has adapted to modern times, while keeping the atmosphere of tradition and its unadulterated inland character. The agricultural orientation of its economy and social organisation are the safety valve preserving an authentically agricultural landscape, interspersed with traditional villages, full of life, endless olive groves, vineyards and pastures, and a total of 55 villages that, literally, spring out of nowhere.

However, the region of the Municipality has gained most of its recognition from the fact that this is where some of the most renowned musical tradition, architectural heritage and cultural centres are located. Some of the best known names are: Archanes, one of the most beautiful listed traditional hamlets in all of Crete; Ethia, a typical example of a Cretan mountain village and a listed traditional hamlet; Myrtia, the family village of Nikos Kazantzakis and the home of the museum dedicated to this great literary figure; Houdetsi, home of the globally recognised Labyrinth Musical Workshop; Astritsi, home to the renowned Cultural Camping of youth theatre groups.

It is true that it may be difficult for one to imagine how a region so close to the urban centre of Heraklion can offer so many outlets for such a wide range of specialised interests. Adventure lovers will find the ideal playground for a number of outdoor activities, such as mountain climbing, canyoning in the well known gorges of the Asterousia, mountain biking, which has become very popular in recent years, walking – hiking on more than 15 trails in the Municipality and sea canoeing in the rock caves of the southern shores.

Gastronomic and wine tourism are also gaining ground. The climate and landscape have determined production activities and produce throughout the Municipality. At high altitudes and in the mountain ranges with the dry and infertile lands, animal raising is favoured, which provides meat and exceptional dairy produce. In the plains there are farmlands, the most important products being grapes and olives. This is where more than 70% of all branded Cretan wine is produced.

Noteworthy industrial wine maturing and bottling plants take advantage of the unique grape varieties in the region, e.g. Kotsifali, Vilana, Mantilari, and produce and bottle some of the best known wines on Crete. Thus, hundreds of locals and international visitors tour the wineries and oil mills of the Municipality, to see the wonderful exhibition premises and taste the excellent flavours on offer, as well as to participate in the renowned cultural activities organised every summer in the framework of the ‘wine routes’ programme.

All these factors and many more are what make the Municipality of Archanes–Asterousia a frequently visited destination for both local and international visitors. This land may not offer luxurious hotels and services that usually come with mass tourism infrastructure, but it has shaped its very own tourism product, a fact that has made it a top choice for many special interest groups. Nature lovers, hikers, mountain sports lovers, religious and cultural site tourists, families, groups of young people and students, know that they will find nature at its most unspoiled here, an endless source of cultural wealth and genuine hospitality, as expressed through the exuberance of the locals, their gastronomic culture, their customs, traditions and feasts. 

Emmanuel KokosalisMayor of Archanes - Asterousia Municipality



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A place for all senses!

The responsible traveller

The Municipality of Archanes-Asterousia includes areas that are habitats for very sensitive flora and fauna species (the Protected Area of the Asterousia Mountain Range and Mt. Juktas, wetlands with small birds in the Mediterranean zone of the Municipality, gorges and rocky coastlines, etc.). The existence of these species is an indication of a healthy environment and the least we can do is respect it by minimising the signs of our presence during our stay and after our departure.

So, we take with us all rubbish or other items that do not belong in the landscape, we enjoy the scents and view of aromatic and other plants, and only photograph them, without removing them. We also avoid fires and smoking.

Upon leaving, we leave behind us only footprints and take with us only memories. 

When to travel

The climate throughout the area is typically temperate Mediterranean, with mild winters and warm summers. During the summer nights there is increased humidity, especially at the foot of Mt. Juktas. On the southern shores of the Asterousia Mountains the low temperatures last a very short time and, as a result, winter is almost unknown. Rainfall is average, with exceptions, and it usually takes place between November and March.
  The small amount of rain does not allow for an extensive water supply network. The streams that do exist are small and are torrent-like. This is why if you are travelling here for canyoning you must be especially careful if it rains, as torrents may suddenly appear where you least expect them…
  Snow is very limited, even in the mountains. As for winds, the Asterousia Mountain Range is affected by the Libyan Sea and, particularly in the winter period, when there are powerful south-southwestern winds prevailing. Northern and southern winds blow often and they are rather strong. Northern winds, in particular, which blow in the summer (meltemia), pick up speed as they descend from the mountain ranges they encounter further north.

The area is perfect for outdoor activities throughout the year, due to the mild climate and low altitudes. Spring and autumn are ideal periods for walking-hiking and cycling, due to the reasonable temperature range and the rebirth of nature. Snowfall on Municipality mountains is rare, while you should expect very high temperatures during the hot summer days in the treeless mountain paths of Mt. Juktas and the Asterousia Mountain Range..


- HIKING & MOUNTAIN BIKIN: Months recommended: April, May, June, mid-September to mid-November. Avoid very hot days. Hiking the Municipality trails is enjoyable even in winter (unless stated otherwise in the separate description of each trail), as the winter in Crete is mild.
- CANYONING: Months recommended: Throughout the year. Avoid very hot days. We recommend you avoid waterless months (from mid-June to mid-October) because between descents you will come to stagnant water that you definitely do not want to wade through.
- CLIMBING: Months recommended: March to October. Avoid climbing from mid-December to mid-February (predatory bird mating season).
- SEA CANOEING: Months recommended: March to November. The Municipality’s sea activities can be enjoyed even during winter months, as the winter in Crete is mild.

  • Olive harvest: November – January (throughout the Municipality, mainly in the south, from the plain of Mesara to the northern slopes of the Asterousia Mountains).
  • Grape harvest: Mid-August – September (in the area of the municipal communities of Archanes and N. Kazantzakis, and less so in the plain of Mesara).
  • Raki (tsikoudia) distillation: From mid-October until the end of November (in the area of the municipal communities of Archanes and N. Kazantzakis, and less so in the plain of Mesara).
  • Sowing vegetables and local plants during the seed festival, at the seed bank in Pyrgos: Early spring
  • Crop sowing: October, November / Crop Harvesting: Late May (Mesara plain and Asterousia Mountain Range areas). 

Useful phone numbers and services

Municipal Unit of Archanes:
Tel.:2813 404013, fax: 2810 751898

Municipal Unit of Asterousia:
Tel.:28933 40109, fax: 2893 340141 - 151

"Nikos Kazantzakis" Municipal Unit Peza Town Hall:
Tel.:2813 401100, fax: 2810 743464 - 2810 743844


Citizens’ Service Centres [KEPs]:

  • Archanes: 2810 752960
  • Peza: 2813 401141 - 156
  • Pyrgos: 2893 340128 -129

Archaeological sites:
To visit archaeological sites, contact the Archaeological Collection of Archanes – Opening hours: From 08:00-15:00 daily, but not on Tuesdays; Tel: 2810 752712.


  • PEPAGNI (Regional University Hospital of Heraklion): Exchange Centre 2813 402111, Information 2810 392835, 2810 392549, Citizens’ Bureau 2810 392701
  • VENIZELEIO : Call Centre 2813 408000 (60 lines)


  • Agia Varvara: 28943 40100
  • Charakas: 28933 40000
  • Moires: 28923 40100
  • Arkalochori: 28913 40200
  • Kastelos: 28913 40000
  • Vianos: 28953 40000

Emergency Numbers:

  • The National Emergency Aid Centre 166
  • Police Immediate Response 100
  • European Emergency Number 112
  • Fire Department 199
  • Heraklion EMAK (Hellenic Rescue Team) 2813 407016


The charm of this land lies in, amongst other things, in the traditional character of the locals which has remained unaltered in all the villages you will have the opportunity to explore. Please, respect these traditional customs by behaving and dressing appropriately; the same is true about your contacts with the locals, perhaps forgetting for a moment the habits and customs of your land and… letting the discovery of the idiosyncratic Cretans carry you off down the various extensions of their history…

In the framework of your discrete presence the best way to keep an excellent relationship with the locals, especially in remote villages, is to keep them informed of your plans (camping with or without tents, hiking, etc.). A coffee, a raki at the village cafés, a word with the regulars will reward you with a warm offer of information, interest and very often… delicacies!