The monastery was built as early as the 16th century and combines both Baroque and Roman architectural elements. It is considered to be a symbol of independence and a center of resistance for Cretans against the Turks.Nowadays, it is one of the mostimportant historic monuments in Crete.
The Arkadi Monastery is just 22 km away from the town of Rethymnon. You will have to reach the National Road, take the exit of Tsesme-Platania and drive through the old National Road. You will pass by the villages of Tsesmes, Adele, Pigi, Loutra, Kirianna and Amnatos before you reach the Arkadi Monastery.
Visiting Hours (from Monday to Sunday):
April – May : 09:00 to 19:00 June – August: 09:00 to 20:00
September – October : 09:00 to 19:00 November : 09:00 to 17:00 December – March : 09:00 to 16:00
Church of Saint Titus
The church of St. Titus is one of the most important monuments in the city centre of Heraklion. It must have been first built in 961 by the Byzantine Empire but it was destroyed during the 15th century. In 1446, it was rebuilt by the Venetians until it was again destroyed by a blaze.
After the conquest of Turks in 1669, it was converted into a mosque, the Vezir Mosque. Today, it is an orthodox church dedicated to St. Titus and it is the Metropolis of the Diocese of Crete. All relics have been transferred and kept in Venice except for the skull of St. Titus which was returned in Crete in 1966.
The church is placed in a square with small cafes and shops surrounding it.
Holy Toplou Monastery
The Holy Toplou Monastery in the north-east of Crete is one of the most historic monasteries in Crete and worth visiting for various reasons. First of all, it displays a true depiction of the Byzantine art as it houses icons which date back to the 15th century. There is also a Museum of Copperplate Engravings and Greek Folk Engravings produced by the monks of Mount Athos in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the monastery of Toplou you can, also, find a wine distillery and olive groves on the surrounding area as it has its own brand producing organic olive oil and wine.
If you are driving from Agios Nikolaos, Heraklion, Rethymno and Chania to Toplou Monastery you should take the National Road to Sitia.
It should take you about 1 hour to drive to Toplou from Agios Nikolaos, 2 hours from Heraklion.
Visiting Hours (from Monday to Sunday): from 09:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 18:00.
Saint Mark’s Basilica
The Basilica of St Mark was built by the Venetians in 1239, as a symbol of love to their home and to fulfill the religious needs of the Venetian authorities. There was a bell tower which was an exact replica of the Basilica of St Mark in Venice. Under the Turkish rule it was converted into the Defterdar Mosque, named after Defterdar Ahmet Pasha and the bell tower was demolished in order to place a minaret instead. Nowadays, it houses the Municipal Art Gallery, displaying art exhibitions and many cultural events take place there.
It is placed right opposite the Lion’s Fount in the city centre of Heraklion and it is open to the public daily.
At night, you will see people sitting on the stairs drinking beer, as young people gather there.
Chapel of St Nicholas
The white white chapel is built on a rocky islet and if you look at it in distance you have the illusion that it is floating on the sea.
It is dedicated to St Nicholas who is the patron saint of sailors and the architect who built it, remains unkown. During the summer, many Greek weddings take place there and it is one of the most beautiful religious monuments in Crete. However, reaching the chapel will not be easy if you are not wearing the appropriate footwear but you will not be disappointed after you have reached it.
It is located in Georgioupolis which is 102 km from Heraklion. It will take you approximately 1h 28m to reach the destination.
Monastery of Agia Triada of Tzagarolon
The Monastery of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) of Tzagarolon is one of the most impressive monasteries in Crete and it is well-known for its impact on the education and economy in the local community. It was built by the brothers Jeremiah and Lawrence Tzagarolo and the fortress built complex and its architectural style is inspired by the Venetian era combined with Orthodox elements. The monastery holds a museum displaying woodcarvings and icons. You can, also, taste and buy organic olive oil or wine as the monastery produces vines and olive oil having won an international award for its products.
It is located in Akrotiri in Chania Perfecture. If you are already in Chania, it is a 15 km drive. You will have to drive to the area of Kounoupidiana and at the crossroad head to village Kambani. If you are driving from Herklion or Rethymnon, you will have to go to Chania and then reach your destination.
Visiting Hours (from Monday to Sunday):
During summer: 08:00 – sunset
During winter: 08:00-14:00 and 16:00 – sunset
Entrance fee: 2.5 € (free entrance for children up to 18)