For this trip it is a good solution to do one night stay in Sitia or Ag.Nikolaos. Slow drive to Vai will lead you to a beach and palm forest unique in whole Europe. This superb beach was discovered by a few hippies in the early 70s. Some years later it was declared a protected area, forbidden camping and visit only a day time. After Paleokastro you can take a road to Ano Zakros and along the road parallel with the George of the Dead,you will reach to Kato Zakros. Lets take a small view..Ano Zakros is a small village 38km south of Sitia. There you start hike to the George of the Dead which is both beautiful and accessible. It is called like that because the ancient Minoans buried their dead in its caves. Another important thing about the George is that it is the last section of the European E4 path which starts at Portugal and ends here. Kato Zakros is both beautiful for its archeological discoveries and superb coastline, plenty of restaurants and hotels. On the way back you can visit the Toplou Monastery, founded at 16th century, with its unique architecture and icons.
The best time to start this trip is early in the morning.Rent a car and enjoy the mountain area through which takes the road, reach the port of Agios Nikolaos and on 12 km away is located the amazing bay of the village of Elounda. The road from Ag.Nikolaos to Elounda follows the shore as it climbs to the top of a small mountain. The view from the top is in comparable. It is possible to see the whole Mirabello bay and all the way to the Eastern tip of Crete. In Elounda you can have a the lunch at one of the seafood taverns and enjoy the view at the luxury resorts heavily visited by VIPs . Continue your way to the next small village of Plaka, which overlooks the island of Spinalonga. This is one of the main tourist attractions of Crete. In addition to the abandoned leper colony and the Venetian fortress, Spinalonga is also known for its small pebble beaches. The island can be easily reached from Elounda or Agios Nikolaos. Park your car at the port and take a small boat and spend a few hours on the small "ghost island". The boat trip takes approximately 15 minutes from Elounda and about one hour from Agios Nikolaos.
Kritsa is the next point of this trip. It is located 11 km inland from Agios Nikolaos. It is a traditional village with old houses and narrow streets on the Lassithi Mountains. Since it is on the hills, from many points throughout the village there are far reaching views across the olive groves, down to the coast and up to the rounded Thripti Mountains. After 3 km from Kritsa is located the archeological site of Lato, an ancient Cretan city, built between two peaks and overlooking the Mirabello Bay. Park your car in front of the site, pay a small fee for the entrance and enjoy a few hours of the rich Dorian history.
Ierapetra is a small city on the south side of the island. Known as "the bridge of the Libyan sea" , it is, no doubt, the sunniest holiday resort in Europe. It is the southernmost town facing the African coast and enjoys the smoothest almost rainless weather in Europe. The temperature rarely drops below 12o C all year long! Ierapetra is built on the longest beach in Crete giving a big choice of golden beaches with deep crystal blue waters.
Naturally you will take a walk in the center of the city, then down to the narrow streets of Kato Mera, the old town of Ierapetra, pick a handmade gift from any colourfull market stall and have your coffee or lunch in one the cafes or traditional taverns all around the city.
On the south-east some 20 km from Ierapetra is a small unspoiled beach resort . It is a less developed destination of Crete with one of the best beaches in this part of the island. Plenty of good bars, taverns, with many establishments fronting onto the beach. There is also a small fishing harbor, a pleasant place for a walk and a pretty sandy beach. The place has been inhabited for centuries of which the evidence are many Venetian, Roman and Minoan ruins, like the Kapsa Monastery on the east side 4 km from the town.
If you are starting from Agios Nikolaos or Ierapetra, take the tarmac distric road west and in about 16 km you will find yourself in Mirtos at the mouth of the river Kryos. Mirtos is one of the best beaches in this area with its ash-grey sand and clear water. The advantage of the area is that it is not affected by the north winds as in Ierapetra. Myrtos keeps its traditional village character and special beauty of blue doors shutters, white houses, bright red tomatoes hanging on the trees to preserve them until they are eaten, flowers, trees and plants in the gardens. Mirtos is a quite place where you will have a good time. A visit to Myrtos is like a voyage back in time and you will be charmed by picture-postcard images.