Sissi in north eastern Crete
Sissi by-the-sea, 45 kilometers east of Heraklion in eastern Crete,
is a pleasant surprise, well hidden at the end of a narrow, winding
road after turning off from the main, national highway.
at Sissi, you immediately realise that everything here is much
different than neighbouring Malia or nearby Hersonissos. What's
missing are the thousands of tourists and multitude of bars and
clubs that result in a more hectic atmosphere. In Sissi, life flows
at a much more easy and calm pace.
Sissi's main road reveals none of its particular
beauty and character. It's a sort of haphazard affair, with a collection
of small hotels and rent-rooms, a sprinkling of tourist shops and
fast-food snack bars scattered about and many cars disorderly parked
this way and that. But don't get discouraged. The real Sissi, its
inner soul, becomes apparent when you reach the end of that road
and come face-to-face with the lovely little port in the rich,
blue sea. You immediately want to stop and fill yourself with this
idyllic vision, and well you should. However, parking at this point
is limited, and you may have to continue to the right for several
metres to the clearing surrounded by many beach tavernas. You may
leave your car there, then double back to Sissi's charming port.
The harbourage, which is literally a work of art
by Mother Nature, was created by the sea burrowing deep far into
the land, forming a long and narrow bay, protected by a small stone
wave-breaker. This bay is so deep that it's easy for someone to
think it's an estuary of some mysterious river, which, of course,
When you get to know this lovely little port you'll discover it's
not "just another pretty face" - it also has a personality
and history all its own. During the Cretan revolution, it was strategic
spot for unloading guns and munitions for the daring Lassithi rebels.
Today, there is a pier on one side of the harbour where the local
fishing boats are secured, and a common, picturesque site is one
of the fishermen's women cleaning the catch of the day by the shore.
This fresh fish, and the other edibles of the sea, is what lures
many local residents from Heraklion to Sissi's tavernas, which
are built high on the port's pier. And, of course, every new visitor
should remember the golden rule of dining: "If the locals
eat there, you know the food is good!"
On the shore across from the port there is a small
sandy beach for anyone who can't resist taking a dip in the crystal
clear Mediterranean, which is always calm here, thanks to the wave-breaker.
Immediately after the beach, there is a beautiful hotel garden,
with numerous flowing palms and colourful flowers. It is certainly
one of Crete's most picturesque sights, which makes Sissi's special
little port even more unique.
The creator of the beautiful hotel gardens, whoever
he or she may be, deserves a round of applause - no, a standing
ovation - from
a grateful public, both local residents and visitors alike, for
adding to Nature's creation in making Sissi a refuge for those
seeking peace and relaxation - a sanctuary from the hustle
and bustle of nearby Malia and Hersonissos, villages that are only
a few miles away physically, but worlds apart in atmosphere. In
Sissi, you can let the tranquillity drift over you and marvel at
the exquisite colours of the deep blue sea and surrounding flowers
while enjoying a coffee or drink, a snack or a meal, in one of
the several excellent by-the-sea tavernas or cafeterias. Or, get
away from even the remotest connection with civilization by walking
along the shore, exploring neighbouring beaches, until you find
the one that has your name written in the sand.
What to see and do around Sissi
Or, if you're a bit more adventurous or inquisitive,
check out the interesting Malia archaeological site, or visit nearby
Milatos, which has popular seaside tavernas. In the same area,
you'll find Milatos Cave, and learn about its tragic history.
interesting sites in nearby areas are the monastery of Saint George
of Selinaris, the traditional village of Vrahassi, the beautiful
Lassithi Plateau, the historic Spinalonga island, the town
of Agios Nikolaos with its own lake and Elounda, the home of Crete's
most luxurious hotels.
There is much to see and experience, and
the changes are limited only by your own desire to explore.