Piskopiano, the traditional village of Piskopiano in Crete

Piskopiano – Holidays in traditional Piskopiano in Crete

piskopiano mapPiskopiano is a traditional village of 450 inhabitants, about 25 kilometres east of Heraklion. It is the middle one of the three traditional villages (Ano Hersonissos, Piskopiano, Koutouloufari) found one kilometre south of coastal Hersonissos, or Limin Hersonissou as is it officially known.

Piskopiano, like the other two villages of Ano Hersonissos and Koutouloufari, lies on the slopes of Mt Harakas, quite bit higher than coastal Hersonissos. This makes it a great place to sit on your hotel balcony or in a café or restaurant and enjoy the panoramic view.

Has anyone ever complained that they are bored of the view of the deep-blue Sea of Crete? Perhaps only the Cretans themselves, who have grown up with this magnificent view all around and take it for granted, not realising what an important part it plays in their lives and how much enjoyment it offers them every day. But just ask a Scandinavian or Dutchman what the colours of the seas of Greece mean to him, especially compared to the grey seas of his homeland.

How to get to Piskopiano

old hersonissos, piskopiano and koutouloufari satellite image

To get to Piskopiano from Heraklion Airport or the port by car, take the Heraklion – Agios Nikolaos National Road and drive east for about 25 kilometres.
On nearing Hersonissos, take the exit to Kastelli and turn right towards Hersonissos. As soon as you pass under the bridge of the National Road, you will see a small sign for Ano Hersonissos, Piskopiano and Koutouloufari.

To get to Piskopiano by bus from Heraklion, go to Hersonissos first and take a taxi to Piskopiano. It’s only a short distance so it won’t be expensive.
There is also a direct bus from Piskopiano to Heraklion at 7 am. The bus returns to Piskopiano at 5 in the afternoon, so it leaves Heraklion at around 4 o’clock. .

Holidays in Piskopiano

panoramic picture of piskopiano

Piskopiano is the poor relative of Koutouloufari and Ano Hersonissos, in the sense that it is the smallest village of the three. People usually drive through it en route to the next village, before Piskopiano can make them want to get to know it better. However, Piskopiano is not lacking in anything the other villages have to offer.

In Piskopiano you will find pretty little hotels and apartments for rent, with a swimming pool or without.

In Piskopiano you will also find restaurants and tavernas. If these are not enough for you, don’t forget that Koutouloufari with its picturesque streets is just 5 minutes’ walk away, while Ano Hersonissos with its lovely square is only a few hundred yards in the opposite direction. If you prefer something more up-to-date and cosmopolitan, go down to coastal Hersonissos.

As for the evening, Piskopiano has its own cafés and bars, while 20 minutes’ walk away is the queen of Cretan nightlife, coastal Hersonissos.

Beaches near Piskopiano

Two kilometres from Piskopiano are the lovely, busy beaches of Hersonissos, extending several kilometres along the coast from Anissaras to just before Stalis.

Other great beaches are the large beach at Stalis and the beach near the archaeological site of Malia.

If all these beaches near Piskopiano are not enough for you, rent a car or take your own if you have brought it to Crete, and start exploring to east, west and south. You can’t get any further north unless you take the boat from Hersonissos to the island of Dia.

Piskopiano and its history

Piskopiano seems to have been founded in the Middle Ages, when pirate raids drove people away from the coast to seek the safety of the hills, far from the sea.

The first mention of the village was in 1379, when it was part of the bishopric of Hersonissos (casale Piscopiano de Chersonisso). In 1583 it appears again as a small village of 111 inhabitants.

Later the Turks succeeded the Venetians, and in the first census they held, in 1671, the village had 15 taxable Christian families. This information is drawn from the historian Stergios Spanakis, whom everybody plagiarises but almost nobody acknowledges.

Later the Turks succeeded the Venetians, and in the first census they held, in 1671, the village had 15 taxable Christian families. This information is drawn from the historian Stergios Spanakis, whom everybody plagiarises but almost nobody acknowledges.

Today Piskopiano belongs to Hersonissos Municipality and has 450 inhabitants. The wave of tourism that spread out from the coast from the 1950s onwards has brought about great changes to all the villages. Old buildings have been restored and turned into hotels, not always in the traditional style, and the inhabitants have abandoned farming for tourism.
Unfortunately, it has proved impossible to discover any other information on the development of the village through the ages. Piskopiano, here for so many centuries, must have its own history. We hope that in future we will find the right sources or meet the right people to tell us more about it.

Sights in Piskopiano

The most important sight in Piskopiano is the village itself. Leave the main street and wander round the narrow streets, looking for the old houses still standing. If you see a sign to the Piskopiano Museum, ignore it because the Museum is no longer there (there is information that it will reopen in 2010).

traditional house in piskopiano

But Crete is full of things to see and don’t forget that Κnossos, the best and greatest Minoan palace in Crete, is only 30 kilometres from Piskopiano. Piskopiano is also just 8 kilometres from the archaeological site at Malia, which includes the Μinoan Palace of Malia.

The Hersonissos area also has other sights to offer, such at the Lychnostatis Folk Museum or the large CretAquarium in Gouves. There is another, smaller aquarium with fish, turtles and snakes in Hersonissos.

Activities in Piskopiano

Relax in your hotel and enjoy the view from your balcony.

Stroll through the village or go for a walk in the neighbouring villages of Koutouloufari and Ano Hersonissos.

Coastal Hersonissos awaits for swimming and sunbathing, shopping, fun in the waterparks with their giant slides and other water games, scuba diving, paragliding or waterskiing, bungee jumping and horse or donkey rides.

See here for more ideas on activities around Hersonissos.

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