Pefki is a traditional village 7 km north of Μakry Gialos in southeast Crete.
Pefki is a semi-mountainous village set out on the mountainside at an altitude of 420 m, and offers a panoramic view of the green local landscape.
More precisely, the village of Pefki is built on the slope of the low Romanati range, below the peak of Afendis Estavromenos.
Pefki on the Map
How to get to Pefki village
There are two ways to get to Pefki from the rest of Crete:
To Pefki from Sitia: As you drive from Sitia to Makry Gialos, you will see a sign to Pefki on the right. The route, along a tarmac road, is beautiful and highly recommended.
Most of the route is alongside Pefki Gorge, which, as its name suggests, is full of pine trees (pefko means pine), and has given its name to the village. In the valley of pine trees that you see as you drive towards the village is the small chapel of the miracle-working St George Samakidis, whose feast-day is celebrated on 3 November.
About 100 m before Pefki village is a map of the area, which not only provides the necessary information on the village but is actually quite tasteful compared to the maps you usually see. Take a look, especially if you want to visit Pefki Gorge, so you will be able to understand the signs on the path.
To Pefki from Ierapetra: if you are coming from Ierapetra, turn off towards the village of Agios Stefanos (there is a sign to it next to the bus stop in Makry Gialos). The road passes through Agios Stefanos and ends at Stavrochori.
Pefki - Brief History
A Late Minoan building has been discovered in the Kastelopoulo area of Pefki. It is thought to have been a beacon post or some kind of watchtower.
Some caves in the wider area bear witness to human presence here from Neolithic times.
You can see some of these traces in Apoloustres Cave and Vreikou Cave, 5 km from Pefki. In Apoloustres, some 20th-century visitors even found coins which, when cleaned, revealed the name of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
Pefki is recorded as a village in the Turkish census of 1671. In another census in 1834, there were 20 Christian and one Turkish family in Pefki.
The inhabitants of Pefki were mainly shepherds, as the largest tracts of land were mainly in the hands of the Turkish conquerors until the end of the 19th century.
After the rising of 1897 and the departure of the Turks, the properties started to pass into local hands. The year 1936 was a very important one for the area, as the dictator Metaxas subsidised olive cultivation, marking a period of local development.
History records that Pefki acquired electricity in 1970 and telephones in 1972. Today, traditional farming activities are supplemented by jobs brought by tourist development in the wider area of Makry Gialos.
Pefki and other nearby villages have also attracted the attention of Northern Europeans who buy up old houses and renovate them for use as permanent or holiday homes.
Useful information on Pefki village
In Pefki village there are no facilities such as cashpoints, banks or a post office, so don’t forget to bring money with you. There is, however, a petrol station to top up your car on the road from Makry Gialos to Pefki.
There are no hotels or apartments for rent in Pefki, as tourism has not yet affected the villages above the beach very deeply. However, in the village of Aspros Potamos on the way from Makry Gialos to Pefki, 2 km from the village, there are old renovated houses for those in search of something more traditional for their holidays here.
Pefki, like any self-respecting village, has the indispensable traditional kafeneia, where you can sit and enjoy a raki with the locals.
In Pefki you will find one of the most famous tavernas in the area, the Piperia (“Pepper Plant”). If you are on holiday in Makry Gialos, sooner or later one of the locals will recommend it as another good reason to go to Pefki. Try the omelette with staka cheese and you’ll soon understand why it’s worth coming up here. Another reason is the wonderful view!
Although the main sight in Pefki is definitely Pefki Gorge, it’s worth spending some time in the village, wandering through the narrow streets and enjoying the peace, simplicity and picturesque atmosphere of the place. Especially if you’ve come from a noisy resort, the peace and quiet of Pefki will feel blissful.
Pefki has its own Folk Museum, housed in the village Primary School. Here you can see everyday objects used by Cretans in the past, such as looms, grape presses, pithos jars, tools, spinning wheels, oil lamps, etc. The objects have been donated to the Folk Museum by inhabitants of Pefki.