Analipsis in east Crete
Analipsis is roughly 24 kilometres east of Heraklion, shortly after Gouves and before Anissaras. It is also known as Analipsis Hersonissou, as it is very close to the seaside resort of Hersonissos.
Analipsis is built along a long road, running over a kilometre from the old Heraklion - Agios Nikolaos National Road down to the beach.
Analipsis differs from the neighbouring seaside resorts in that tourist development began much later here. This gives you the impression, on entering Analipsis, that you are in a verdant Cretan village with houses and pretty gardens alternating with fields and olive groves.
Of course, as you near the centre of the village and the beach, there are more and more car rental bureaux, restaurants and other tourist businesses. You will also see estate agencies, showing that there is considerable interest in buying land and houses in the area, which is still being built up.
On reaching the beach of Analipsis, the first thing you see is the tiny church with the waves almost lapping at its foot. It is a very picturesque church and every tourist who passes through Analipsis stops here for a commemorative photo.
East of the church stretches the main beach of Analipsis, a large sandy beach with umbrellas and loungers
West of the church the coast is rocky. Few people go swimming there, unless they want to enjoy the peace and quiet or a pleasant walk under the tamarisk trees. If you like fishing from the shore, the rocks are the best place for your sport.
Continuing west, you come to a small, sandy cove, ideal for when the wind is blowing and the sea off the other beaches is rough.
At the end of the road is yet another sandy beach, at the mouth of the River Aposelemis, with a few ducks waddling about and attracting the attention of visitors.
How to get to Analipsis
From Heraklion to Analipsis by Bus: There are frequent buses to and from Heraklion. The Analipsis bus stop is on the old National Road, at the beginning of the long road through the village and down to the beach. This road is just over a kilometre long.
From Heraklion to Analipsis by Car: If you are driving from Heraklion, take the new National Road towards Agios Nikolaos (east). Take the Kastelli exit and turn left towards Hersonissos. The long, straight road leads to the old National Road. At the end, turn left towards Gouves, and you will see the crossroads to Analipsi just ahead.
The area of Analipsis was first developed during the Turkish occupation, when a small group of Turkish families built several stone houses here, and called their little village "Svourou Metochi."
After the occupation, the Turks left the area and the abodes were taken over by shepherds from the Lassithi Plateau, who needed a warmer place to pasture their animals in the winter, when the Plateau was covered in snow. The area began to grow as more villagers from the upper regions moved down, purchased land and built houses. With them they brought their culture, and a small church was built. Above the church door, carved in stone, was the word "Analipsis", meaning "the Ascension".
Analipsis is first mentioned as a small settlement of 68 inhabitants in 1920. The name “Svourou Metochi” remained in use until the early 70s, when the area started experiencing Crete's new industry – tourism. As with many villages, the new name was taken from the church, and Analipsis was born.
What you will find in Analipsis
Today, Analipsis is still used by shepherds to pasture their flocks in the winter, but now there are thousands of tourists also taking advantage of the area's summertime delights, such as the lovely landscape and beautiful beaches.
There are many hotels in Analipsis catering to the needs of these visitors, satisfying all tastes from the more luxurious accommodations to the informal catering apartments.
As in Gouves, the "main drag" runs at right angles – from the old road to the beach road, a distance of a little more than a kilometre. Along this road you'll find all you need to enjoy your holiday to the full. Here are the supermarkets, rental agencies and jewellery, leather and boutique shops. You'll also find several places to book sightseeing trips and other tourist activities.
The restaurants and tavernas are many and varied. There's a lovely town square situated in an open area, with a star-shaped decorated pavement and a huge palm in the centre. Also, you'll find several adjacent side streets which should be investigated. The well-paved beach road, with its many seaside tavernas, runs for a distance of almost two kilometres, and offers access to the area's fine beaches and accompanying water activities.
For a regular bus service, you must walk back up to the old road.
What to do in Analipsis
Stroll through the narrow streets around the main square. There are still several old houses, whose elderly inhabitants bring their chairs out in front in the afternoon to gather together and chat about the village news.
If you have your own or a rented car, go for a drive along the roads winding through the olive groves above (south of) the old National Road. Take pictures and add them to the Explore Crete Gallery.
Search for the loveliest beach from Kokkini Hani and Gouves to Anissaras and Hersonissos. At Anissaras, don’t forget to visit the little church of Agios Georgios on the peninsula next to the Royal Mare Hotel.
You can even walk there along the coast. It is 3.5 kilometres away, so it will take you an hour to get there and an hour back. Set off early in the morning or late in the afternoon and take some water with you. If you get hot, stop and have a swim off one of the many beaches along the way.
A vacation in Analipsis should include a visit to the Lassithi Plateau, which is a beautiful 30-minute drive along a good, climbing highway, which will offer you a multitude of wonderful vistas. Not only will you see the birthplace of many Analipsis locals, but you'll encounter the famous site of restored windmills – 24 at the last count. Also located on the Lassithi Plateau is the Dictaean Cave, where Zeus was born according to legend.
A water park and an 18-hole PGA golf course are also within easy commuting distance.
If bird-watching is your hobby, go to the mouth of the River Aposelemis at the end of the coastal road west of Analipsis. The wetlands formed at the rivermouth are full of reeds and tamarisks, with 19 species of nesting bird. Another 12 species are also said to feed here, though they nest elsewhere.