"Visit Kato Zakros" Prefecture of Lasithi Things to Do Tip by MikeBird

Prefecture of Lasithi Things to Do: 9 reviews and 25 photos

  View of the Palace ruins
by MikeBird
  • View of the Palace ruins - Prefecture of Lasithi
      View of the Palace ruins
    by MikeBird
  • The stonier end of Kato Zakros beach - Prefecture of Lasithi
      The stonier end of Kato Zakros beach
    by MikeBird
  • Dead - Prefecture of Lasithi
    by MikeBird
  • The gorge - Prefecture of Lasithi
      The gorge
    by MikeBird
  • Ancient cistern - now occupied by terrapins - Prefecture of Lasithi
      Ancient cistern - now occupied by terrapins
    by MikeBird

At the far eastern edge of Crete is the ancient settlement of Kato Zakros ( Lower Zakros) which, in Minoan times, had been a very busy harbour and trading town. The relatively recent excavations in the 1970s revealed an extensive Palace with roads leading down to the port area a short distance away.

The ruins of the palace are worth looking at because there is a variety of different structures visible - the water cistern - still very wet and now occupied by terrapins; the smelting foundry where you can imagine the molten metal being extracted and the narrow, paved road leading off down to the port. Theories abound about the reason for the downfall of the Palace - was it the explosion of the Thera volcano or intruding raiders rampaging. Let's hope further evidence will be revealed to help unravel the mystery.

The entrance fee of 2Euros per adult (2008) includes a short leaflet with a plan of the excavations and some explanation but we were glad we had the Rough Guide book to Crete as well to give us further background. There were very few noticeboards providing information - which was the case at most of the Cretan sites we visited.

Moving onto the beachfront there is one taverna offering snacks but several restaurant tavernas. We chose the middle one owned by the Famiale Panakadis. We had seen their vegetable patch as it is next to the Palace site and the owner had enticed us into her restaurant on the strength of the freshness of the ingredients used.
Sitting at a table on the beach in the shade of the taverna was extremely agreeable and we soon mellowed into a feeling of satisfaction and peace with life whilst we waited for our lunch. We only wanted a light salad lunch which was perfect when it arrived.

Having eaten and feeling refreshed we all went for a snorkelling swim ( lots of sea anemones) and further relaxation therapy in the sun.

My wife and I had a walk away from the beach to find the gorge that extends into the hills behind the village. Its called the Dead's Gorge because in ancient times corpses were interred in the caves along the gorge cliffs. There is quite a well worn path up through the gorge which apparently takes about a couple of hours to reach Ano Zakros ( Upper Zakros). We didn't have suitable footwear to go far but we did manage to see the Blue Rock Thrush perching prominently on the cliffs.

Kato Zakros was for me one of the highlights of our whole trip. The ruins were interesting, the lunch excellent, the beach almost deserted, the walk into the gorge very scenic and the drive from Siteia really attractive. For me I love days where there's a variety of things to do like that.

Directions: At Paleokastro follow the signs for Zakros and once you reach Ano Zakros continue on down to Kato Zakros.

Review Helpfulness: 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 25, 2013
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“always choosing the forward facing seat”

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